Once upon a time, there was a king. His name was King Gustav III of Sweden. Many moons ago, he declared Hartola, a small municipality in Päijänne Tavastia region, a sovereign parish. He named it after his son Gustav Adolf, and that’s why locals called it “Kustavus”. After many long years, Hartola became part of Finland and experienced its royal revival when they proclaimed it an official Royal Parish in 1987, the only one in the republic of Finland.
“Lööyylyy!!!”, shouted Gianni whilst pouring water on a large hot stove in a smoke sauna in Vierumäki, Finland. To have an authentic Finnish sauna experience, you’ll need to follow a few traditions and shouting out “löyly” (Finnish for ‘steam’ in the context of a sauna), is one of them.
While enjoying eco-adventures in Finland, we spent a lot of time outdoors so experiencing a proper Finnish sauna every day after staying for hours in the “sunny-rainy-windy-sunny-rainy-windy” autumn weather was a euphoric adventure.
We stopped walking to listen to pure nothing. To listen to the serene silence in Finland. Walking through forests in Finland was mesmerizing from the very first moment. No sounds of cars in the distance, no birds chirping or wind whistling through the high trees near the calm lakes. Only us, the stillness and our breaths that stopped for a while in awe. That’s the silence in Finland.
Silence here is considered a common part of communication, and from our short time observing, Finns don’t speak fast, even in their own language. Generally, they are better at listening rather than speaking and interrupting during conversation is considered quite impolite.
Inhale. Exhale. Your art therapy session begins.
You pay the tuk-tuk driver who has brought you to Phare, The Cambodian Circus in Siem Reap, you walk through the main gate to buy a ticket as colourful lamps swing above your head. You see the welcoming smiles of the circus staff around you and get a warm and fuzzy feeling inside.
You pass the Phare Boutique and stop by the Phare Cafe to wait for a show. The atmosphere is peaceful and you watch as the sky changes above a big, red-topped tent with reflections of the lamps everywhere. You’re not in a rush.Continue Reading
“Well, no, we are not actually going back. We’re going to see our families and friends and then we’ll move on.” This is how we’ve been explaining our ‘European comeback’ to our friends and followers. We’ve pretty much followed our plan that we plotted in Ko Lanta in Thailand.
We flew to the beautiful Philippines, we had a wonderful time while on some outdoor eco-adventures in Malaysia and tasted some great food in Indonesia after that. We also added Cambodia to our itinerary instead of staying three weeks in Bangkok, then flew to London from there.