So we successfully managed our incredibly cheap RyanAir flight from Frankfurt to Tampere, Finland, with no troubles or hangups, although we did have to carefully weigh our bags before checking in to make sure we were within our strict weight requirements. After some reshuffling and repacking, all was good and we made it Finland. We caught a bus to the city center from the airport, and it was great to finally be able to (mostly) understand the conversation around me again. Even Justin, though he doesn’t know words, recognizes the intonations and sounds of the language, and it felt homey.
Unfortunately it was raining when we arrived, so we had some lunch and then parked ourselves at a nearby shopping mall, where we commandeered a bench for a couple hours while we waited for our bus to Virrat. Justin has been teaching me to play chess to pass by the time we’ve been waiting for trains and planes, and while I haven’t won a game yet, I haven’t been a completely useless opponent either (one game ended in a stalemate), so hopefully soon I will finally win a game! Our bus arrived and whisked us off to Virrat, where we were picked up by my great-uncle Kalevi Helimäki and brought to his summer cabin. His wife, Marjatta (my grandfather’s sister) met us there and they welcomed us warmly and graciously hosted us for two nights.
They showed us around the town of Virrat, where Kalevi grew up, and we enjoyed the Finnish summer cabin life, including of course, sauna and dips in the lake. Here are some pictures of the lake:
I really love the classic Finnish summer cabin look, with it’s red walls and white trim. This is the cabin of Kosti Helimäki (Kalevi’s relative), which was next door to us. Unfortunately I didn’t get any good pictures of our actual cabins (which were smaller than this one) but it gives you an idea of what the area is like.
And because we are so far north, and nearly at the summer equinox, the sun never really sets fully so it stays light all night long. I took these pictures at midnight and you can see the moon and it’s reflection on the lake.