The beginning of May has been absolutely fantastic this year, especially here on the South-West coast of Finland. It has been so great that even if hundreds of photos and stories from Iceland and New York are queueing for publishing, Finnish summer jumped ahead and became the priority.
As you might know, in Finland you’ll never know how long it lasts. Finnish summer is always unpredictable, often too short, but usually hot and sunny – even if some years it might last only for a day!
This year has been a bit different. The beginning of May has been so lovely that I was able to start kayaking season earlier than ever before.
Lovely Finnish summer, thank you for arriving this early!
Instead of my regular kayaking destination, Rauma archipelago, this year the kayaking season started at Lake Pyhäjärvi in my childhood home Eura. ‘Pyhäjärvi’ could translate in English as ‘a holy lake’, and it’s probably the most common name for a lake in Finland. As you have probably heard, Finland is often referred as the land of a thousand lakes, which is a huge underestimation; small country as we are, we have nearly 200 000 lakes instead of ‘a thousand’.
Approximately 40 of them are called ‘Pyhäjärvi’.
And this Pyhäjärvi is a really good one! It’s among the 30 biggest lakes in the whole of Finland, and it’s a perfect place for kayaking. Just imagine yourself on the lake when the surface of the water is sparkling in the evening sun, and you can barely see the shore. The lake goes on and on. It goes on for so long that you could really think you’re kayaking at the sea.
Except that the sea is hardly ever this calm. I feel like I’m alone in the world.
My foreign readers often ask me what is Finnish summer like and what is the best quality of it. Well, my answer is pretty simple and straight forward; this is it! Our thousands of lakes, our clean and green nature and our freedom to roam. Not all countries have that, and sometimes even us Finns tend to forget it. It’s the clean air and freedom we all should appreciate more, every single day.
May has only just started. Summer is only approaching. And yet at 7 pm the sun is shining and gently cuddling my white, Finnish skin. Before taking my kayak on the water, I feel a cold breeze on the shore, so I take a hoodie to keep me warm on the lake.
The hoodie isn’t even needed. It might be windy on the shore, but the lake is completely still. No sign of breeze, only sparkling sun. Nature will always take care of its’ friends.
So there I am, floating with my kayak in the middle of the Lake Pyhäjärvi, following a great crested grebe diving and playing around in the sun. Every time I manage to get the bird on the screen of my camera, he decides to dive under the surface. Every single time.
Even if the road isn’t too far away, I can’t hear a thing. Just those birds and the lapping of the water. And nothing, absolutely nothing that I have written down on my calendar a little earlier, exists. Because this is the moment when there’s absolutely nothing else in the world. Just me, my kayak, blue sky and the lake. And that silly great crested grebe that is still playing around, hiding from my camera. I feel he’s entertaining me on purpose.
If the world was a perfect place to live in, this is how every single May, and the whole Finnish summer, would be like. And this is how I would spend all my summer days. Just like this; floating on the lake, just me and my kayak.
Lovely Finnish summer, thank you for arriving this early.
Hey, did you know that Live now – dream later is also on Facebook! By following you’ll receive all my travel tips and stories also when there are no new posts on the blog. Once we started, why not to follow also on Twitter and Instagram, where you can find me as @saanajaakkola.