I had my doubts about this summer holiday. I did not feel safe, I felt traveling might be too risky and I would not enjoy the journey as much as I normally do. At the same time I started to feel more confident about the necessity to see my family and put my feet on the familiar ground. The last spring time was so intense and surreal, I started to loose my good spirits and fade under the waves of corona-news and the more isolated way of daily life took my energy.
I had to feel free again and have some space around me. I had to listen to the silence of pine forests and be touched by the wind by the Kainuu lakes. I also needed to walk the streets of Helsinki and see the new developments there. Smell the sea at the coastline of my youthful dreams from the past.
The covid-19 situation in the Netherlands and in the Finland is peaceful at the moment. There are very few cases coming daily and the health care is in a better position with so much less patients in the hospitals. We must not totally forget the pressure and the worry from the last months, because the virus is still so strong in many places. We must continue to be careful and be aware of the hygiene and keep the distance when it's possible and needed.
We flied to Helsinki and drove to Kainuu area by car. It takes about 7 hours to drive there taking two small coffee breaks. Flights went well wearing the masks and it was very quiet at the both airports: in Helsinki-Vantaa and in Amsterdam. In a plane you are really close to other people and it was a quiet journey to the destination. During our trip Finland was opening the borders to many Schengen countries in Europe and business traveling was possible even to more far away destinations. But mostly we saw Finns traveling in Finland outside of Helsinki.
It is always a pleasure to see how the landscape is changing on our way to more northern parts of Finland. What I really like about Kainuu area is the more hilly landscape and big views, lakes and endless looking forests and some swamps with white hairy flowers (tupasvilla).
I always sleep as a child having so much fresh air in my home country. Unexplainable peace lands in my mind and in my body. All the restless thoughts are gone, I guess I am more sure who I am on these trips to Finland. It is a pleasure to use my language and find the same products from the shop like in the old days.
We had a very pleasant stay in Sotkamo in a modern house near near the village. It was not really a summer cottage, it was more like a home with all the equipment needed. It was a good choice for this summer, because we had a little bit rainy weather with sparkles of sunny days. We could comfortably read some books inside the house if it was not possible to be outside.
We continued our walks in Finland. Every evening we had a nice, long walk before warming up the Sauna. We are dreaming of having our own summer, winter, all seasons place in Kainuu one day. Before that we visit different locations and learn what we want from our place.
Our children were chilling the most of the time. Many of our favorite activities, like downhill carting, were closed this summer. Luckily there was x-box in the house, wifi, plenty of games, the lake and innovative parents and grandparents entertaining the teens department. We also went to a basketball field every day and did some bowling too. We were all totally relaxing without any bigger plans, but enjoying the change of place.
After Kainuu we drove back to south via Jyväskylä and stayed one night there. Unfortunately I took only few pics with my telephone there and they were not so great. The town is quite interesting and has a beautiful harbor area near the lake. It was a very nice visit and worth to see.
The last few sunny days we spent in a hotel in Helsinki. I love the closeness of the Sea in my old hometown. Again we chose to be close to the water and had some beautiful walks in Kaivopuisto and near Töölönlahti. I took a couple of pictures when the kids went sup-boarding with my husband on our last day. I met my friend and my sister. It was good to catch up and just meet face to face.
I really like the architecture in Helsinki. It is a combination of old pastel colored Jugend houses, some ugly cool :) boxes from the later decades and the newest modern lines of elegant design. Finally I saw the new library and the living room of people : Oodi, central library of Helsinki, designed by ALA Architects.
The whole area near the Central railway station is totally transformed during the latest years to a beautiful outdoor exhibition of new architecture. So much space for walks, having a coffee, skating, playing basketball and just watching the life. This was one of the highlights for me to see this building and visiting it inside.
Now it's easier to be back home and I see our life with a more relaxed way and with some new inspiration. The life will not be the same for a long time this year I think, but I feel more ready to settle down and take it as it comes. I really hope the situation will get better everywhere and we can just continue our lives in a better way and with better understanding from now on.
Some restaurant tips from Finland
https://www.haapalabnb.fi: Local, seasonal products and bed&breakfast. own beer brand! Really nice atmosphere and food.
https://www.skiffer.fi/ravintolat/liuskaluoto.html: Only 2 minutes trip by boat to a little Island near Kaivopuisto. Great, thin "pizza's"(liuskat) and fresh salads. Also great mood and sea views for drinks! Afterwards good to walk on the rocks or swim at the nearby beach.
https://www.restaurantnolla.com: Our first restaurant experience in Helsinki this time. We were happy! Sustainable ideology and fresh seasonal products in a cosy, modern environment. Very nice service.
https://www.sinisenhuvilankahvila.com: I have to come here every time. I came to this cafe often when I lived in Helsinki and had walks around Töölönlahti. Such a view over the water and beautiful old villas in the neighbor. Whispers of old times and very tasty cinnamon rolls.