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