We hadn’t even reached the Russia-Finland border and I was already enjoying my first Karelian pie. Riding the train from Saint Petersburg to Helsinki, I was finally entering familiar territory and would soon be visiting family and friends after two months of travel.

My mom, Ritva, is Finnish, and even though I grew up in the UK and U.S. I still enjoyed lots of homemade Finnish food and trips there to visit family. And while I never learned to speak the language, just hearing the familiar sound of it over the intercom on our Allegro train was comforting.

It had been a tough couple of months by that point–for me at least–making our way through China and Russia. I hadn’t been getting the best sleep on most nights and simply couldn’t eat enough noodles to fuel all our activity. Weighing myself a week earlier on a scale in Vladimir, Russia, I discovered I’d lost 15 pounds since this trip started in May. For some that might be good news, but my whole life has been a battle just to put on and maintain weight.

Now in Finland I was surrounded by familiar and delicious food and shortly after arriving in Helsinki, I tucked into a second Karelian pie with egg-butter and some korvapuusti–a cinnamon pastry–with my coffee at the station. I’d been looking forward to this for some time, knowing that Finland would provide the rest and recovery I needed after two months on the go.

And thankfully my family in Tampere were happy to provide just that. For the next four days our itinerary went as such:

Time well spent visiting friends in Helsinki and family in Tampere, Finland. Lots of good food, fishing, boating, relaxing and sauna.Day 1: Shop for food, arrive at summer cottage, check crawfish traps on boat, dinner of sausage and beer, bed.

Time well spent visiting friends in Helsinki and family in Tampere, Finland. Lots of good food, fishing, boating, relaxing and sauna.Day 2: Wake early, swim in lake, breakfast/aspirin, boating/tubing, boat trip to restaurant for lunch, check crawfish traps, sauna/swim, smoked salmon dinner, bed.

Time well spent visiting friends in Helsinki and family in Tampere, Finland. Lots of good food, fishing, boating, relaxing and sauna.Day 3: Sleep in, breakfast, walk dog, lunch of pizza and homemade korvapuusti, boating/fishing, check crawfish traps, coffee and korvapuusti, nap, dinner of grilled pork and pepper sauce with boiled potatoes and grilled vegetables… and drinks.

Time well spent visiting friends in Helsinki and family in Tampere, Finland. Lots of good food, fishing, boating, relaxing and sauna.Day 4: Sleep in, breakfast, check crawfish traps, swim in lake, nap, late lunch of roasted pork with fresh picked blueberries for dessert, watch storm from the porch, pack to leave.

Time well spent visiting friends in Helsinki and family in Tampere, Finland. Lots of good food, fishing, boating, relaxing and sauna. Once we returned from the summer cottage, Britnee and I were still not done being pampered. Then came: famous coffee and doughnuts at the Pyynikki observation tower with Mikko, my cousin Sanna’s husband; dinner of smoked reindeer with goat cheese on flat bread with salad and sangria before sauna at my cousin Oskari and his wife Eeva-Liisa’s house; dinner with my aunt Arja and uncle Matti at Plevna where I attempted to eat a large order of curry sausage with fries, (which was, for the first time on this trip, too much for me to eat); free visit to Särkänniemi theme park thanks to Oskari and Eeva-Liisa where we rode the Tornado and I ate Mustamakkara wrapped in fry bread; then one last big barbecue at my cousin Sakari’s home with the entire family including one more trip to the sauna and traditional Finnish wooden hot tub.

Time well spent visiting friends in Helsinki and family in Tampere, Finland. Lots of good food, fishing, boating, relaxing and sauna. It was all as good as it sounds and even now I’m growing hungry just thinking about it. I can’t thank my family enough for taking such good care of Britnee and I during our stop in Finland on this year-long trip. To my aunt Arja, uncle Matti, cousin Oskari and his wife Eeva-Liisa, cousin Sanna and her husband Mikko and cousin Sakari, thank you all for being such generous hosts for two weary travelers.

On our last night in Tampere as we packed our bags at my aunt and uncle’s home, I decided to weigh myself again to find I’d gained six pounds in seven days. Thank you Finland!

About The Author

Traveler
Google+

Mark quit everything to travel the world for a year with his wife, Britnee. Along the way, he picked up a love for many other things, including illy coffee, Nepal, Bolivianos bills, and Thai beaches. Now happily home in Utah, Mark is a balding marketing professional with a mountain biking addiction.

One Response

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge