One of the benefits of pet sitting in Europe is that there is time to fit in a visit to old friends who live there. We were able to fly from Gatwick to Helsinki last week to spend a few days with our friends Virpi and Jukka. Virpi and I met when she was an exchange student our senior year in high school fifty years ago. We have stayed good friends ever since.
We got to see their home in Lohja and the next day Virpi drove us up to their summer cottage on a lovely, large lake where Jukka was waiting for us. Even the weeds in Finland are graceful .
Jukka does a lot of fishing on the lake and cooked a wonderful dinner for us from one of the white fish he had caught. The summer cottage has an old fashioned wood stove that they use to cook and heat the house during the winter. After dinner there was lots of laughing and catching up of family news; then Virpi and I went down to the lake for a wonderful wood sauna.
As we walked down to the water it was just beginning to be sunset over the lake. I did not have my camera but I will never forget the beautiful colors reflected on the still water. The sauna is by the lake so that you can go swimming afterwards.Virpi went right into the water to swim; but I only got half way in and splashed my body with the cold water. David and Jukka were then allowed to go down to sweat and wash.
The next day Jukka drove us down the Eastern side of Finland. We stopped at a 14th century stone castle , Olavinlinna. This is a three tower castle that is the northernmost medieval stone castle still standing. It is located in Savonlinna, Finand. It was built on an island between two lakes.
We stopped for lunch and walked around an outdoor farmer’s market . The summer fruit in Finland is marvelous. Here is a picture of Julius and his harvest.There are only five million Finns who live in the country so it is sparsely populated. Which leaves room for all the trees and lakes which dominate the environment. The country is beautiful.
We went to the city of Imatera to spend the night in a spa hotel. On the way we saw the historic hotel called the Imateran Valtionhotelli which was built in 1903.
We had a lovely walk around the lake and then a good night’s sleep. The next day we drove back to their home and had a fun light dinner of cheese, bread and wine and good conversation. The next day they dropped us off at the airport and we flew back to London.
We are now in Epsom taking care of two wonderful french bulldogs and a rabbit.