Mid summer beauty

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Mid summer is always special time in Finland. Mid summer weekend is the time of the year when people either flock to the various music festivals Finland offers, or alternatively, head out to the summer cottages. I’ve always belong to the ones who head to summer cottage, and preferably to a one by a lake.. The mid summer weekends weren’t perhaps so peaceful as a teenager with friends, as nothing prevents you from crazy-partying there either with your own mini-festival, sauna and barbeque. But nowadays, I enjoy more the peace & quiet that Finnish nature can offer.

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This mid summer, we went to the lake with a rowing boat at midnight. The colors were really beautiful! Did you know, that in the northern part of Finland the sun doesn’t set for months this time of the year? It’s light all day and night long! In the southern part of Finland where we spend the mid summer, sun touches the horizon and creates beautiful sun set and almost immediately a sun rise with rich colors. Many of the neighbours had mid summer bonfires, but those were already fading when we went rowing.

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We spotted a couple of black scoters at the lake. They are quite rare in this part of Finland. Also we saw fish jumping and creating waves to the otherwise calm lake. There must be some big northern pikes living in that lake!

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If you have not tried a Finnish wood heated sauna and a swim in a cool lake, put that on your bucket list! It cannot get more Finnish than that, you’ll love it!

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How did a fox get a white tail?

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For the past weeks I’ve been mesmerized by red foxes.. It all started by the photographs taken by my buddy from photography school (we nowadays call him the fox whisperer because of his portfolio of fantastic fox photos). He has also other great nature photos, you can check them out in instagram.

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Then luckily an opportunity came to watch and photograph wild foxes. And I totally get it now why someone would wake up at 5am to find these beautiful animals. This beats any reality tv show, anytime 🙂 Luckily this family of five puppies weren’t shy or bothered by people.

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The cubs were eating rabbits, squirrels and birds, brought by their mom. And they were doing what all kids are doing: playing with their siblings!

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There is an old Finnish tale about the white tail of a fox. In short the story goes that a fox went to drink the cream from a churn inside a house, and got the white tail from the cream while escaping. True or not, I don’t know. But these two look like they could be up for such an adventure 🙂

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Ice, ice, baby!

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This winter the snow arrived late, but when it finally came we got plenty of it! It’s been around -15C – -25C (5 F to -13F) already for some weeks, so the lakes and the Baltic Sea have already frozen. It’s time to head to the ice and enjoy the sunlight reflecting from the pure white snow.

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We decided to go to Matinkylä beach, which during summer time is a popular beach for swimming, and turns into place of various winter activities as the weather gets colder. You can have a different experience of the shore by walking across the ice to the nearby islands for picnic. Many people also go there to do cross-country skiing, although in this case, cross-ice skiing.

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And if you’re feeling adventurous, why not try the ice swimming? Just pack your swimming gear with you together with a beanie and gloves, and take a refreshing dip in the ocean! I promise you that you don’t feel cold after coming out of the water, you just need to bear the cold when walking to the ice hole and have enough courage to get into the water.. Not for everyone, but there are Finns who do this daily and claim they never get sick because this boosts their immune system.

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The trick is that you have to get into the water up to your chin, if you only partly dip into the water you’ll feel cold afterwards. But don’t dive, keep your beanie on so that you don’t freeze your head.

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You’ll need the gloves unless you want your hands to be frozen to the railing! You can wear similar kind of shoes that are sold for snorkeling. Would you dare to try this without sauna?!

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Fatbikes are becoming popular in Finland, too. There’s a sport event called Rovaniemi150 which takes place in Rovaniemi city in Lapland, where people either run, ski or bicycle on fatbikes 150km. Mind you, it can be around -30C (-22F) cold there! Competitors have 2 days to complete the race. Perhaps it’s worth the challenge, if you get to see the northern lights while there. Personally, I’d choose the Kakslauttanen hotel instead, and check out the northern lights while warm and cozy in a glass igloo 🙂 That is definitely on my “to do”-list for homeland travels.

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Although the winters seem long and dark, during sunny winter days like today, you’ll actually need sunglasses. Fresh air, frost bites on your cheeks, snow reflecting the sunlight.. and a glass of warm juice from a café when it starts to get too cold. Life is good!

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