I was invited for a weekend in Finland. The idea was to do all kinds of traditional Finnish things. Since I am fond of Scandinavia (see my blogs about Denmark and Sweden), I accepted the invitation with both hands.
First of all I think of Iittala, when Finland is being mentioned. My kitchen is filled with it (or Arabia as part of their collection was called before the Swedish and Finnish companies merged). And at the hotel breakfast is being served on Arabia plates and cups in a greyish seventies colour! Good start.
A visit to a summer residence in the woods next to a huge lake is another typical Scandinavian thing to do. But in Finland this has to be completed with a local experience: the Finnish sauna. Male and female visitors go seperately. I’m still not sure if that was typical for this country or just for this occasion. But anyway, after sweating in your Adam’s costume it’s really great to have a swim in the clear water of the lake. I skipped the tradition of having a tar beer (!) in between sauna rounds. My love for Scandinavia has its limits, you know.
The best part of the weekend definitely was the crayfish dinner. I attended one once in Sweden at the Midsummer Night in August. I think lobster is a delicatesse and crayfish is basically a small fresh water lobster. It is eaten the same way and tastes about the same. The new part for me in Finland was the singing of traditional children’s, drinking and double entendre songs in between crayfish. After every song you take a sip (or gulp) of your schnapps! And the Finnish people are competitive, so every table does its best to outshine the other ones! I sang two Dutch songs: Tulpen uit Amsterdam and Het Kleine Café aan de Haven! It earned me respect from the Finnish people.
Great traditions, but some training beforehand is recommended: in singing, swimming and drinking! 🙂