Hello from Finland! I took almost a month long sabbatical, but it was well worth it . I’m officially still a Cyprus resident, but on extended leave in Finland and I have to say I love every minute of it.
I arrived in Finland just in time for midsummer (more on that later), which is informally something like a summer Christmas – minus the gifts and snow. Celebrated across the country as one of the biggest weekends of the year, families flock to summer cottages all over the country to indulge in outdoor life, sauna and plenty of food. I joined the festivities and will share a few photos in the next post.
But first – Savonlinna.
It was love at first sight. The sun agreed too. I arrived here with my husband from Turku, after 6+ hours on the bus. Spent most of the time listening to an audio book (Laws of Human Nature – eye opening!!!), watching the lush green forests and the civilized way people get on and off the bus. We arrived to a place that looked like postcard – admittedly on one of the most gorgeous days of the week.
Savonlinna is located in South East of Finland, in area considered the lake district of Finland. Famous for its medieval castle and the Opera that takes place there each year. For us, it was more of a personal trip – we went there to attend a wedding of one of our dearest friends. The wedding took place on the castle and it was short of a fairy tale.
Savonlinna is a small city surrounded by lush nature, gorgeous lake complete with old wooden steamboats and an abundance of beautiful old wooden buildings converted to coziest hotels. We stayed in one of those, a short walk away from the castle and one of the coolest and friendliest places I’ve stayed – it’s called Saima Hotel & Restaurant (only six rooms and the cutest cafe).
As you walk by the lake you pass local ladies walking their dogs, telling them not the eat the seagull poo, young couples sitting on the beach and local tourists browsing through the main market. And there was me, the picture hungry tourist pestering every green bush to get a photo memory.
The most stunning parts are obviously around the castle and surrounding the lake area. To get the best view, book a trip with the steamboat – btw don’t worry about sunset setting, the sun goes down around 11pm so you won’t be able to see it from the boat.
We got the tour of the castle in the morning ahead of the wedding, it was full of interesting details about the history of the castle, but don’t expect too much from the inside. It was mainly dark empty rooms with small windows, with lovely views around but something I would have probably avoided next time and opted only for a boat ride around the castle.
Short walk away is also a modern church perched on a small hill, leading up to a bridge connecting it to the market area.
This was the first trip I did this summer and if the weather is as kind as it was, it will be a summer to remember!