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Tuesday, October 29


In a Finnish suburb of Hämeenlinna, Taisto and Laila kindly welcomed us into their home for the night on our journey to Helsinki.  A salmon was on the fire inside the grillikota (bbq hut) when we pulled into the drive and we were invited inside to warm up.  Active sports enthusiasts and retired health care professionals, Taisto and Laila have created a warm and beautiful home in the classic Finnish style.  As an avid wood-worker, Tato built the home to include such luxuries as a bathtub (you hardly see bathtubs in Finnish homes), winterized greenhouse, and root cellar accessible from the kitchen floor (see photo below of Taisto fetching the post-sauna beer). Most Finns keep their cold storage in a separate building (dirt mound with a door) outside the house to house their preservatives, winter vegetables, beer and delicate summer plants.  

Hämeenlinna, located approximately 100km north of Helsinki, is home to a large park built for the 1952 Olympics.  It's less a park and more a lush and mossy forest with running/skiing trails, an outdoor pool, ski jump, volleyball court and sauna hut at the pond.  I would assume the couple moved here to  accommodate their lifestyle of competitive running, swimming, skiing, and speed skating.  Taisto and Laila proudly display their medals and trophies won within the year.  After the year is over, they store them away to make room for the new year's awards.  Taisto guided us on a 3k walk around the Olympic park, and was using what my mother-in-law likes to call 'dementia skis', nordic walking poles.  Nordic walking is a physical activity and sport popular here. 

Finnish suburbs are hardly what we know suburbs to be.  The neighbourhoods are tucked into forested areas with epic scenery, sometimes water (Finland has so much water), and always walking, biking, and cross country skiing trails.  Pretty idyllic.

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