I was born in a place where in spring bears wake up from their winter dream and come out from their caves into the wild, where wolves wander the mountains on frosty winter mornings, where the most beautiful cherry buds flourish in spring and where rivers revive during summer and early autumn. It seems pretty clear I love all seasons, but in the past couple of years, I capture myself wishing for snow; wishing for that mystique atmosphere of white streets where a snowy blanket illuminates the night.
We had a chance to go to Finland one year and experience this kind of beauty realizing one thing, that it doesn’t matter if we’re in Lapland riding a sledge pulled by reindeers or on a tropical island drinking cocktails, life is amazing just the way it is. Finland, especially its outskirts, covered in ice and snow was one of the most enchanting sights I’ve ever seen in my life. The never-ending whiteness that covers the simple architecture of Finnish houses which, by the way, have a sauna in their yard, painted my picture of a snowy Finnish tale. Dressed in wintery vesture, all of those decorated windows and balconies give Finland a special charm. I remember often going for evening walks just to enjoy the promenade of ornaments, candlesticks and romantic lamps held on glass balconies of flats and houses. Actually, I have never seen such dedication when it comes to decorating balconies like in this fair country. They absolutely stand out during the Christmas holidays. Every ornament is specific and fits in perfectly with the glint of snow in late evening hours.
Finns are well prepared for winter. There’s maybe a possibility that one of their 1000 lakes freeze during winter but there is no chance that fuels in engines or highways would have that problem. Our first surprise was finding out that the roads, as well as the steep part of the parking lot, have their own heating system. They also have little devices called ENGINE-BLOCK HEATERS and you use them if you want your car engine to be warm during those ice-cold nights.
Finnish people are really practical and innovative for we have seen numerous solutions that make everyday life much easier. Winter there provides a certain dose of creative craziness and in the streets, for example, you can see human sized caricatures made of snow, so basically you are walking down the street and enjoying interesting outdoor exhibits.
Little wooden houses in city squares enhance the idyll of Finnish cities, and every day you can go there in the open to buy fish. I would say that that fish was the best fish I’ve had in my life. One particular salesman caught my eye, in a pleasant way. He had gray hair and beard and he was always red in the face like he was encountering winter storms on a daily basis, which he probably did, however, each day he would greet us with a warm smile persuading us how winter is truly wonderful and magical, even though his place of work is located on the street where it’s -20 degree, on a sunny day.
Nobody’s afraid of winter, there’s an old Finnish saying that says-‘There is no winter just inadequate clothing.’ Everyone enjoys the snow especially winter sports. One of the most popular ones are freestyle skiing, Alpine skiing and cross-country skiing. It is quite often for school yards, parks and inter building places to become
When in Brazil, you hear the noise of kids playing football in the streets, when in Finland, you hear people cheering while watching ice hockey, also in the streets. It’s normal for adults to drive motor sledges or to practice fast Nordic walking. I was blown away by all of this.
We highly enjoyed sledding on a beach, by the sea. Yes, sledding on a beach, I know it sounds impossible, but it’s true. When you get tired of all the breathtaking adventures take a break and have some tea or cinnamon coffee, or even go to the library. We noticed that a lot of Finns go there to read books after their cardio walk, like going to public living rooms.
Next comes the delightful stay in the warm three- layered glass houses and of course, the inevitable sauna, a tradition which is not luxury but an essential part of the bathroom. I grew fond of that torrid room in which you dive into the smell of various fragrances such as pine, birch, eucalyptus and more.
In the end what can I say, Finland has officially stolen my heart, but enough about winter, for now, my next story awaits the gorgeous lilies of some other valleys, in some other parts of the world, on this beautiful planet we call Earth.