Wednesday, 28 June 2023


Too hot, too crowded in France, Italy, Spain? Head north to Finland. The airport is a  perfect entree'. The new terminal, designed by ALA Architects* is a site for sore eyes and travel-weary bodies.  Beautiful, squeaky clean, easy to navigate. All the usual amenities, plus a super, supermarket to stock up before you head to your destination. Lots of transport to take you. Most Finns speak English.

Finland’s average summer temperature is around 20 - 25c. With approx. 6,000 islands and lake and sea-side cities, boats are the scenic way to get around. Ports along the way to stock up on provisions have a sauna and some land-life. Helsinki is a summer town. A walkable city center crammed with cultural sites, good restaurants, hotels, upscale shops, and world-class buildings designed by famous Finnish architects: for ex., Lars Sonck, Alar Aalto, Eliel Saarinen. Three distinct styles, Empire, National Romantic, and Modern make Helsinki a pilgrimage for architects from around the world.

But for a true taste of Finnish summer life, you have to go to the countryside. Islands are at the top of the list. Högsåra* is a perfect destination. Reached by ferry (with or without a car), or private boat. The Russian tsars knew a good thing: they made regular visits to Högsåra in their yachts. During the winter about 42 people live here. But in summer it buzzes. After finding a place to bed down (hotel, private house, Airbnb, a boat) the rest is easy. The whole island is walkable. A cafe’ serves lunch. Rumpanbar, on the Örnell family’s dock, has drinks, food, and music. You can reserve a sauna to have before you begin to party. The season officially begins with a celebration on the longest day of the year: Midsummer. And starts to shut down in August when Finns go back to work and the days get shorter and shorter, and……

*ALA  Architects designed Helsinki City Library, OODI, chosen “Library of the Year 2019” by the World Library congress.

**Eki and I made a doc on Högsåra: “El Gaucho de Hogsara” about a young guy from Argentina who lived with the Örnell family, fit right in, and learned how to sail.

Littlemargiedoc blog is on vacation till August

Note: Yea, Finland is a pretty neat place to be. In the summer. Right now, even down here in Helsinki, the sun barely sets. It never gets properly dark, we literally go straight from dusk to dawn.

Me, I like it. It's a reward for surviving those winter months when the sun barely rises.

But about the heat: hot summers are the new norm here too. There's a saying "The Finnish summer is short, but luckily there's not that much snow". It really has not aged well - climate change is inescapable. Right now, at 7.30 PM, it's still about +25°C outside. Dunno how many giraffes that is for those using the American scale instead of metric, but it's still too warm for my taste. I'm not going to even start with the shooting day we had today at a factory hall with a black roof.

Because we're up here in the "cold" north, air conditioning is not a given. Sure, the shopping centers are kept cool and inviting, but regular homes (and factories) often rely on just opening the windows.

Our home is no exception. I have a new beefy computer that does a great job at number crunching, as well as turning many hundreds of watts of computing power into heat. Usually one can add up to 10 degrees to the outside temperature here where I sit.


PS: Happy holidays folks, see you on the other side.


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