Week 4: Fri – Mon (My lazy Finnish midsummer)

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).

Friday

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.

Singing traditional songs.

Singing traditional songs.

Raising a pole of fertility.

Raising a pole of fertility.

Ice-creams, matching fannish shirts, and adorable canine photobombers! :D

Ice-creams, matching fannish shirts, and adorable canine photobombers! :D

We stumbled (and slipped) on a good spot for the main bonfires.

We stumbled (and slipped) on a good spot for the main bonfires.

Smoke!

Smoke!

Fire!

Fire!

The fellow who took this had amazing photography skills! :D

The fellow who took this had amazing photography skills! :D

As well as accidental-not-so-amazing skills. XD

As well as accidental-not-so-amazing skills. XD

Spinning in the forest! :D

Spinning in the forest! :D

The island at midnight.

The island at midnight.

We got home at around 2am, and were still super yayayayay because yay midsummer!


Saturday

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.

Hehehe I found Maaria's Sailormoon stash! :DDD

Hehehe I found Maaria’s Sailormoon stash! :DDD

Mmm, foresty bits!

Mmm, foresty bits!

A proper beach! :D

A proper beach! :D

A sat a little with my cider...

A sat a little with my cider…

...read a little...

…read a little…

...and napped a lot. XD

…and napped a lot. XD

Finnish dish for dinner! I tried to decorate it with crescent-moon cheese. XD

Finnish dish for dinner! I tried to decorate it with crescent-moon cheese. XD


Sunday

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.

Fortress walls.

Fortress walls.

Perfect spot for spying.

Perfect spot for spying.

Picnic on the cliffs.

Picnic on the cliffs.

Mmm, a Finnish pastry!

Mmm, a Finnish pastry!

Seagull perched on a statue.

Seagull perched on a statue.

!!!!!! This gelato!!

!!!!!! This gelato!!

After we got home and had dinner, we sang karaoke! Yayayayay more Sailormoon and SeraMyu songs!

Sailormoon karaoke!! \^____^/

Sailormoon karaoke!! \^____^/


Monday

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.

For me, sightseeing usually begins (and ends) with cathedrals--this is Helsinki Cathedral.

For me, sightseeing usually begins (and ends) with cathedrals–this is Helsinki Cathedral.

Organ!

Organ!

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…

Unsuccesful attempt at sneaking--my protruding umbrella probably didn't help.

Unsuccesful attempt at sneaking–my protruding umbrella probably didn’t help.

All my travelling/expatting means I keep missing out on the Magnum pop-up--but not today!

All my travelling/expatting means I keep missing out on the Magnum pop-up–but not today!

Wheeeeeee!

Wheeeeeee!

Our creations. <3

Our creations. <3

:DDD

:DDD

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.

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