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Finnish Big-Boob Sensation

West Finland is an insider's tip for Scandinavia fans. At the Bottnic Gulf with its picturesque tiny island Swedish is spoken.

On the islands in front of the Finnish small town Vaasa there is no midnight sun set in summer
Picture by T. Micke

The many times cited Finnish air force has apparently somewhere else a mission on this lovely evening in a fish restaurant on a tiny island in front of Vaasa. Far and wide no mosquito squadron preying upon every naked skin. The reason may be, that now at the end of July, sun doesn't seem to set in that lines of altitude and Scandinavia's notorious fighting mosquitoes are therefore lacking command until late night hours. Or perhaps it could also be the rumor so often said about Finland is simply not true: Land of a thousand lakes, millions of saunas and billions of mosquitoes.

Summers are short here in the North, but intense. Mushrooms are growing like weeds in the forests, strawberries - this is what Finns are especially proud of, are truly strong in taste. And in the same way like nature is trying to approach in a few hot weeks for what here in central Europe there is a couple of months time, Finns also live in July and August: intense and in fast motion.

Salmon barbecue in a traditional Finnish Lapland tent
Picture by T. Micke

Although the bigger part of the many-islands coastal strips on the Bottnic Gulf is frozen, because of the low-salt Baltic sea, nearly everybody affords himself a boat. Solely in Vaasa with its 57.000 inhabitants there are more than 5000 pieces, getaway and tourists boats for rent not included. Only like that (and in winter with the Skidoo) the most idyllic islands between Finland and the just 100 kilometers distant neighbor Sweden are reachable. And on nearly each of it shines a half dozen of the traditional red and yellow painted sauna houses in-between birch copse, where locals party until late day-light nighttime.

Why are the cottages in Scandinavia red respectively yellow? There are many theories about that. The most believable: This special red paint is made of iron, rye and oil, mixed together by their selves and therefore cheap to afford. Whoever was able to afford a yellow paint, signalized wealthiness.

Towns along this coast have become big and rich through tar baking. Traditionally deal was dehumidified for half a year and then burned slowly in a mine. In this vein a hundred thousand tons of tar was produced, which was exported into all European cities bringing wealth.

Here the strange Finnish big-boob sensation is taking place, about which especially geologists are falling for and male tourists are disappointed fast: The region around the Bottnic Gulf slowly singles out from the Baltic sea, in the last 9000 years anyway about 250 meters. That much, that Finland is enlarging into 1000 hectares every year. The harbor of Vaasa had to be relocated and rebuilt for four times.

Finnish currant wine experts Sisko and Jorma Keijonen in Alajärvi
Picture by T. Micke

The region has many small endearing highlights to offer. For example the knife village Kauhava, where in the 19th century circa 40 craftsmen with a lot of expertise produced not oxidizing knives. Somewhat outside of Kauhava, in Alajärvi, we discover the for continental Europeans unorthodox vineyard of Jorma and Sisko Keijonen. They recently started to run a real small wine tavern, which was prohibited a few years ago, because of the strict prohibition here. There is an offer of red- and white wine made of currants, should be not very surprising so far, if the white wine would not taste like a good, dry grape wine. An exotic souvenir which is supposed to be a nice trick to be presented to wine connoisseurs. Also available is a currant, straw- and blueberry "Cuvee and currant -"Grappa". But only on the table and in jiggers – because of the prohibition.

Disco-Fox at the Tango-Festival in Seinäjoki, West Finland
Picture by T. Micke

Whoever still feels spontaneous for an undertaking during this summer, best from Helsinki, a rent-a-car tour to this typical Finnish region with its caldera lake Lappajärvi, should keep in mind: 1. You did not get lost if they try to speak Swedish to you. West Bottnia is actually really bilingual from the time when Finland still belonged to Sweden. 2. As already said: It's not about Finnish grape juice, if you are offered to taste local white wine. It may taste astonishing deceitfully like grapes, but is produced from white currents. 3. You did not drink too much berry wine, if you make an encounter with hundreds of hot-blooded blond North Europeans in Seinäjoki. Annually the Finnish Tango Festival with vocal- and dance competitions is taking place here in June. Unfortunately the tourist bureau and the local press are selling the festival as a wannabe cultural event. In practice everybody who likes parish fairs and appreciates exotic crooner competitions accompanied by Tango rhythms, with a crowned king and a queen at the end, inspired by a little dance beside, but admittedly more Disco Fox and back and fourth jumping as real Tango – is in good hands here indeed.

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© A report by Tobias Micke (31-07-05) – Contact