This Place is Kinda Like Home

Trip Start Apr 01, 2011
Trip End Apr 27, 2011

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Where I stayed
My aunties place

Flag of Finland  , Eastern Finland,
Monday, April 18, 2011

Oh how I missed having internet!

But.. according to my lonely planet guide.. the town library had free internet terminals. It was the first place we headed. On arrival though.. we discovered it was closed until 10am. So to kill time.. we went to the local supermarket.

Aunt Saara bought all manner of foods for us to eat. Again I tried to pay.. and again she insisted she pay. This time though she had insufficient funds.. so I go my way. Well.. that was until she made her grandson.. Jere.. give me money when he came over to meet me! This was the first relative I had never met before.. so it was a pleasant experience. He spoke some English too which was great. I explained to him that he did not need to give me any money.. but he said, “What’s done is done”. Unreal.

He did not have long for he needed to go to work.. but we spoke about our lives and where Andrew and I had been so far. Jere told us of his wish to travel someday and I of course offered a place for him to stay should he decide to make to epic voyage to Australia.

After eating some lunch.. we went to visit some people who know my mother and brother. There.. we ate more. The Finns love to be hospitable. They won’t even ask if you want something to drink.. they will insist you sit at their table already filled with assortments of cakes and biscuits. I don’t drink coffee (which is very popular in Finland) but I have learnt to drink tea. We were only staying a short while.. but a short while turned into a long while and before you knew it.. the day was getting on. We needed to be on our way!

We went for a drive to the Russian border (accidently crossing over briefly! Well.. at least I can say I've been to Russia ;D) and then back into town to a place called Imatrankoski.. where the only tourist attaction is.. the Rapids! The rapids are only active in Summer.. but it was still a nice sight to see. I remember my mother telling me about when I was 6 years old (the last time I was there).. I went on the wrong side of the railing and scared the wits out of her! Even then I was pushing boundaries it seems..

Across the road is an old hotel.. the Imatran Valtionhotelli. It’s a very grand looking place.. looks a bit like a castle. Apparently there is a restaurant there with exceptionally good food.. but we did not go there. Instead we were off to visit another one of my relatives.. Sami and his wife Anu.

Aunt Saara had only been to visit Sammi once before.. so we got lost trying to find his house. It was one of the most scary times of my life. It was apparent that my aunt was getting distressed and she was compensating for being late by driving even more quickly. The problem was.. we were driving on loose gravel roads! It was like being in a rally car.. sliding around corners. If I was driving.. I would have been having a fun time.. but sitting in the passenger seat with my 72 year old aunt driving was completely out of my comfort zone!

We eventually stopped another motorist and ask him if he knew where Sami lived. Guess what? He did.. and he drove pilot until we reached his house.

Sami and Anu are nice people! Once again.. we ate cakes and biscuits and rye bread.. and I had some more tea. We even had a beer. They were really nice folk and I would love to meet them again some day. Their property is beautiful. They live right on a huge lake.. which was completely frozen! If I were a rich man.. this is the kind of holiday house I would love to enjoy in a Finnish summer.

We left there after a while and headed back to Aunt Saara’s place. She asked if we wanted dinner.. but we were both totally stuffed from breakfast.. lunch.. and the morning and afternoon teas we had already had.

I thought I would go into a food coma.. but I found it really hard to get to sleep. I'd like to say it was a combination of the excitement of travelling to our next destination.. Tampere.. and knowing it was our last night in Imatra.

But in all honesty.. as much as I am loving this strange adventure.. the real reason was I am utterly homesick!!
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