As I’ve learnt and lived over the last few days, Midsummer in Finland is a Really Big Thing. For a country with long and often unforgiving winters, midsummer brings about copious light, greenery, and even sunshine–in fact, the average temperatures in southern Finland exceed Belfast’s, and it’s only been since arriving here that I’ve consistently worn my skirt and dress (or just bummed around Maaria’s apartment in a oversized sleeping t-shirt).
True to Finnish stereotypes, Maaria’s family has a summer cottage, which is where she usually spends midsummer. This year, with the public holiday falling on the Friday, she decided to take me to the Seurasaari Midsummer Bonfires, the biggest such event in Helsinki. Held in a national park on an island, its main attraction is a series of bonfires–a nod to Finland’s pagan past–lit to celebrate the love and magic associated with midsummer. This also happened to be the first time Maaria’s attended, so we basically had a blast exploring and discovering and midsummering.
We got home at around 2am, and were still super yayayayay because yay midsummer!
This was a super lazy day. Yay super lazy days! Essentially, we lounged around, listened to and sang Sailormoon Musical (SeraMyu) songs (the fandom being how we “met” online over a decade ago), did some shopping, did some cooking, watched random things, and went to the beach.
We decided to be slightly less lazy, and headed into Helsinki and to the Suomenlinna island fortress. I bought a five-day transport pass (€36), which is valid on regional-ish buses, trains, trams, ferries, etc. We acquired our noms from a variety of supermarkets, and had a picnic overlooking the sea. I dozed off post-lunch in the sun–my new favourite hobby.
After we got home and had dinner, we sang karaoke! Yayayayay more Sailormoon and SeraMyu songs!
I baked a little in the morning, and sent Maaria to work with scones straight out of the oven. Continued my lazing around for a bit, but decided to get some tickets/plan for a few day trips. Since the 5-day pass takes me to Helsinki, I can then travel to other places, and so I got tickets for Tallinn (Tuesday), Porvoo (Wednesday), and Turku (Thursday).
Headed into Helsinki for a bit of exploring before meeting up with Maaria for a Magnum date.
Maaria hadn’t known about the Magnum pop-up until I squealed (very loudly) when we passed it on Sunday. Maaria hadn’t known about the awesome gelato-ness, either. Maaria lived very healthily before Samantha came along…
And then we ate dinner while watching Game of Thrones season 6 finale and regretted the combination, but then decided to have dessert to the rest of the episode (and may have regretted that, too). I’m sure we’ll learn one day…
Costs for this part of my Finnish trip has been a little difficult to calculate, and mightn’t be helpful for anyone who’s not a travelling housewife (since most of my food-related expenses are ingredients and such because I want to keep Maaria happily fed). I’ll be “actively travelling” again for three days from tomorrow, and will document those figures.