Finland has it all...
“Finland, Finland, Finland. The country where I want to be.” is the start to the infamous Monthy Python song featuring quirky observations on some characteristic features of Finland. Click here to listen...
The reason for repeated awe for the tall tree tops is self-evident for anyone visiting Finland as indeed well over 60 % of the land area is forested. The scenery-defining woods consist mostly of pine, spruce and birch trees. Mentioning of Finland’s lofty mountains is, however, rather sarcastic as the highest peak of Finland, the Halti fjell in the farthest northwestern corner of the country (practically in Norway), reaches only a bit over 1300 meters above sea level.
Finland’s location on the world map is pointed out being close to Russia but rather arbitrarily far away from Cairo, Japan, or Vietnam. In addition to Russia Finland shares land borders with Norway and Sweden, has two official languages: Finnish and Swedish, a right-hand traffic system and around 3 million saunas. The total amount of people living in Finland is around 5.5 million of whom about half live in the southern part of Finland. Finland is the fifth-largest country in the EU by land area, only dwarfed by France, Spain, Sweden and Germany.
With only about 16 inhabitants per square kilometer and half of the population living in the southern part it can become rather lonely in the north. However, it still isn’t too crowded in the south either and anyone visiting Vierumäki can testify that it is possible to walk through the forests for hours without meeting another soul.
The capital of Finland is Helsinki that forms a metropolitan area together with the cities of Vantaa (where the airport is located) and Espoo. Although metropolitan area usually means lots of traffic, heavily built areas and general lack of open space such as parks, recreational areas, lawns, gardens and back yards, most of what you will see from the bus window when leaving the airport for Vierumäki is green or blue: trees, farm land, small rivers, and lakes. Finland has 188.000 lakes that together with the rivers account for almost 10 % of the surface area.
Finland has four well-defined seasons, although spring, summer and autumn are considered to have a smaller share when compared to winter. The August mean temperature is at around 17 °C with a maximum of 25 °C and a minimum of 9 °C, so bring a warm jumper or jacket because the evenings can get a bit nippy. The sun will rise between 5am and 6am in the morning and will set at around 9pm in the evening, which will leave 15 hours for potential sunshine, however August can be rather rainy with 15 days of rain in average and a rainfall of 75mm.
To sum it up, essential items to take a long for a trip to Finland in August are sunglasses, sun lotion, swim-suit, a warm jumper, a sleep-mask and an umbrella.
Stories and general information about Vierumäki in the next blog-entry.
5-word Finnish Dictionary:
Kiitos – Thank you
Hei – Hello
Kyllä – Yes
Ei – No
Anteeksi – Sorry/Excuse me!
For the enthusiast here’s a link to learn some more basic Finnish words.