Finland – mad music and powercuts for breakfast


Why is it that, miles into a Finnish forest my phone had 4 bars of signal, 4G too whereas at home in south London it has nothing, nada, buggerall, zip? Are we rationed? Do the Finns have something we don’t? Maybe, I mused, as yet another email buzzed in my pocket, it’s the Nokia legacy. Not that we noticed much of that once huge company. Well, other than one of the two national sports being phone throwing, as long as it is a Nokia. Prescient really because I often wanted to toss my Nokia as far as I could.

(The other sport? Wife carrying.



a long, long drop….

We drove south from Kuppio and Eevantalo, intending to enjoy a couple of days near Mikkeli, on the shores of Lake Saimaa, the largest lake in Finland.


It was a decent drive, the roads aren’t bad – there’s little traffic in truth – though there isn’t a lot to see beyond water and trees.


But one thing stood out on our route – The Museo Mekaanisen musiikin (mechanical music museum) near Varkaus. Believe me I’ve done weird but this is up there.


Partly it is the exhibits, these extraordinary machines that produce mechanised music using normal instruments but mostly it was mine host, a cracked German expat with a deep antipathy for Germans, Brexit and anything politically correct.


We laughed – a bit – we cringed – a lot and we had a quite splendid two hours.


If you do wander into this part of the world then do visit.


Just make sure you take a thick skin with you.

It seemed wrong to leave, oddly disloyal but the eco lodge we had booked into called us so off we set.


The lodge we were allocated was perfect. Idyllic really. On the lake, with trails and bike paths everywhere it promised lots.


During our first day we took time out to drive to Suomenlinna which is a chocolate box of a castle that sits in a lake and once guarded the Swedish-Russian border.2016-08-27-12-39-40-1 It was worth the detour though, once again the fact we were out of season even in mid August threw us rather with a number of cafes and restaurants already shut.

2016-08-27-13-44-37-1 2016-08-27-13-33-05 2016-08-27-13-43-36

At least, we thought, we had the eco-lodge and the promised fine food.


the wall of the restaurant in the eco lodge: yep, plastic ducks as decoration – you need to be Finnish to understand.

Hmm, we hadn’t banked on a storm, nothing particularly wild, that took out our power. Goodness are we dependent on power. And how are we spoiled in the UK with the sanctity of our supplies. I can’t remember a power-cut longer than two or three hours. Here it lasted 27 hours and was still counting when we left.

On the upside the toilets flushed. On the down we had four meals by candle-light with an increasingly frazzled waitress. We lost the boat that was tied up to our private jetty before the storm hit. But we did take some lovely shots of the 6 of us as couples.

In the end, despite the lovely scenery and plentiful time to read, it was good to set off south again and hunt out some power to recharge phones and ipads. If I didn’t know it before I am now fully aware that on a self-reliance scale of ten I barely make first grade.


Still I do appreciate my good fortune. It was a lovely holiday, especially with the whole family and other halves in tow. Now they are all in their 20s that is something of a treat.


About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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37 Responses to Finland – mad music and powercuts for breakfast

  1. willowdot21 says:

    Love this blog, it’s great that you had the whole family together. Sounds like you all had good time. The Music museum sounds …. Interesting!
    And no sign of dickhead tours.
    Talking about power cuts and internet. We had no wi-fi at our last Gite even though it was advertised as having it. There was an Ethernetnet connection with was no good for tablets or phones. Mind you it was deadly slow! and failed on the last 3days completely. They owners had gone away to Paris , so when a storm of huge electric proportions hit Friday evening all power went. We had no one to ask , had been left with no contact or instructions as to where the fusebox might be! We searched high and low to no avail!Luckily we were leaving Saturday . But we had to wash and dress in candle on phone torch light and leave without even a coffee… Not best pleased! Hey ho the last stop on our hols was a lovely hotel with wi-fi and electricity!


  2. Ritu says:

    You truly had a wonderful time! ๐Ÿ˜Š

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Erika Kind says:

    Finnland must be beautiful too. I have only been to Sweden which I loved already. But I want to see Norway and Finnland too….. after I have been to Scotland again… lol! It is a real gift that the youngsters and even their company came along. That makes that vacation even more meaningful!


  4. Allie P. says:

    I love that first image of the water just out from the arch. It rather reminds me of a particularly catching book cover.. hmm… what was that book…. something about a square, I am sure of it unless it was a circle…

    I too score incredibly low on the self-reliance scale. Sounds like you had a memorable trip.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is uplifting, tranquil, sour (no power), picture perfect, trip-worthy and fun. I have a question, Geoff. What about the beer? ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Now my son and daughters boyfriend and my wife all rated it highly. Since I’m teetotal (my body is my temple – it is dome shaped) I can’t say for sure.


  6. jan says:

    Yeah, they’re a bit strange (I can say that because I have Finnish ancestors) but at least in the summer, never boring.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Somehow I can’t imagine my two kids wanting to spend a weekend, let alone a whole holiday with me. Maybe in time… and provided I foot the bill. Is that the trick, Geoff?
    As for the mobile signal, I remember being gobsmacked to find full signal in a remote mountain village (14 dwellings scattered across the whole mountain) in central Portugal. Ironically, their power supply came from a single (rather fragile looking) cable that stretched up the side of the mountain, and on each of the three occasions I’ve been there we had no interruption to service.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Rachel M says:

    Looks wonderful! Did you see Santa? He lives up there.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. How on earth is that ship balancing on that piano? I love the ducks on the wall. Did you find out if it was some kind of artwork? The singing man reminded me a little of Willy Wonka.
    Thanks for taking us with you, Geoff. Glad the family had a great time.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Sacha Black says:

    A couple of these photos remind me of your book covers GeoffLe! Sounds like a bizarre trip but full of story fodder ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  11. rogershipp says:

    Wow! That is a trip I would have enjoyed…. I do not say that very often!

    Liked by 1 person

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  13. stevetanham says:

    Wonderful! I love the chap dancing ng on the carpet. Something vaguely โ€˜Lord of the Ringsโ€™ about him… were there mushrooms, nearby?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Finland looks so pretty, I have always fancied going to the Scandinavian countries. That bloke in the museum looked like a bit of a mad professor type of person with his musical machines! As for the wife carrying. Mr Grump should be very grateful we don’t have that over here!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Darlene says:

    The pictures are fabulous. I love interesting trips like this. In Spain, we lost power for almost 24 hours, Christmas Eve!! OK, that kind of interesting I can do without.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I missed thgis first time round, so glad to see it now. Colourful, clever, bonkers – I’d love to go!!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. willowdot21 says:

    As I have said before …strange but interesting!!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Charli Mills says:

    Beautiful place! Did you know that Carrot Ranch is influenced by Finns? Currently located in Finlandia; our anthology book designer is Finnish; our book trailer musician is Finnish; our book trailer videographer is Finnish. I think this is because Finns like beautiful remote places and are artistic souls. Love the couples’ shots!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Sartenada says:

    Very nice that you visited mechanical music museum in Varkaus!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Pingback: Why Not Party Like It’s 2022 #finland #beingbonkers | TanGental

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