Introduction to Lake Saimaa, and the Finnish Lake Region
It is the penultimate day of August 2023, and I find myself in the heart of Finland’s Lake Region. Rain droplets, albeit few, glide on the large windows of the vehicle taking our small group to our next destination. The light blue-grayish hue of the sky, somewhat timid today, doesn’t interfere much with all the greenery around me. It softens the green somewhat but doesn’t rob any of its beauty from my eyes.
Nearby, I know, is the ever-bending Saimaa, Finland’s largest lake (and Europe’s 4th largest). I don’t see it now, but then I do, and then I don’t again, and then I do. Lake and forest play a soothing hide-and-seek game as our vehicle moves along winding, scenic, well-paved roads. Charming red cottages occasionally join the game, and I wonder about those living there. Who are they? What is it like to live here year-round?
The Serene Beauty of Lake Saimaa and its Surroundings
At times, Lake Saimaa works a clearing, shows its face for a longer minute, and smiles, making us smile, too. It’s really beautiful here.
The forest is, as expected, northern in nature. Pun… intended? I think of Christmas. Tall, lean trees that stand elegantly well-spaced. It’s an orderly forest, almost. Lots of birch-white trunks soften all the green even more. They soften the eyes, too. It is as if everything here was designed to be relaxing and calming. It is all very humbly Finnish but equally full of presence.
Finns are notorious for being humble and trustworthy. “We suck at marketing!” our hosts tell us repeatedly, confessing to one virtue and offering evidence of the other. I think to myself: “What’s wrong with that?” From my optics, they are great people: quiet, hardworking, modest. Their passion for their homeland is deep, yet without exaggeration. It is… sincere. They exhibit gratitude subtly yet constantly. They believe quality is a necessity for everything they produce or consume, not a bonus. They communicate through actions and work more than through words, I think. I like that. I like it a lot.
Finland – the Happiest Nation in the World
Their nation gets voted, year after year, as the happiest one in the world. You can’t get them to boast about that if you try, but to me, the real magic of it all is that their happiness, their notion of if, seems a bit happier than most. It is the happiness of peace, the happiness of hard work completed successfully after much sweat and discomfort. It’s the happiness that lets you breathe and sleep better. As I look up from the screen, I notice the droplets are gone. I also observe all that serene happiness in nature’s calm spectacle around me. Ah, there is that Saimaa again, smiling at us!
So, happy. Humble. All great, but you are not convinced just yet. You are asking yourself: why should I vacation in Finland’s Lake region? The answer lies in many places. It lies in your small cup of coffee in the morning, which you sip from your cottage’s private balcony facing the gentle stillness of the lake. It is also in the uniqueness of your tea-paring experience at Tea House of Wehmais, where every dish is accompanied by its ideal cup – or glass, or bowl – of tea. It is in the profound relaxation that embraces you as you sit in your private sauna, which is serious business in Finland. Once here, you will learn all about dry-, steam-, smoke- and other types of sauna and its rituals, given that it is an integral part of Finnish culture. Perhaps the most integral of parts. The answer to your question is also in walks through forests where you can pick your own mushrooms and berries, exercising the country’s “freedom to roam.” It is also in countless delicacies you will taste in the region’s restaurants and cafes. Fine dining has been a constant on the tables of every eatery we experienced while traveling the region, with dishes that combine creativity, fresh local ingredients, and a refined craftsmanship of flavor. Finns know their food.
It’s Time to Experience Finland’s Unforgettable Lake Region
Think of the time spent in Finland’s Lakeland Region as a time-reversal vacation, where you leave younger than when you arrived. More youthful, lighter, and detached from your assailing worries and the chiming masters of your heavily-divided attention. Think of it as a vacation in its purest form, where the intent to auto-reset materializes effortlessly. Relaxing is inevitable, unwinding is inevitable, enjoying it is inevitable, and connecting to what really matters is inevitable. It’s a time for reflection: be it self-reflection, where you find the gratitude you deserve to feel for all that’s wonderful in your life, or the reflection of your happy self, enjoying the moment to the fullest, on the waters of the Saimaa.
Finland, humbly, welcomes you.