Finland – The Summer House

Our summer house was built in the 1950s and Jouko’s parents bought it in the mid 1960s.  It is a simple cabin with no electricity and no plumbing.  Built on a huge granite rock, it juts into lake Konnivesi, and has beautiful views over the water from 3 sides.



The cabin is just outside the sleepy town of Heinola, which is about 80 miles/ 139 kms from Helsinki.  It is also where Jouko’s sister, Aila, Heikki and their son Jussi live. We had planned to spend 1 night with them and then move to the summer house.


However, the rain continued to pour down and we knew that we would not be comfortable there under such circumstances.  They kindly put up with us for 4 more nights until Nick arrived from the US. It was so good to see him.


We cannot drive right up to the house.  Rather, we park the car about 200 yds/meters away in the woods,


……… then one has to go the rest of the way on foot, carrying supplies, water and any luggage.


This is the first view of the lake we get as we climb up onto the granite rock.


The first order of business is to get the cabin warm.  By lighting the wood burning, wrought iron stove in the small kitchen, the rest of the cabin warms up quickly.  At the same time we put some water on the top of the stove for a hot drink before bedtime…..dsc_2521

Soon we were cozy and warm and we chatted way into the night, catching up with Nick’s news and reminiscing. We had not seen him in 4 months.dsc_2524

The next morning it was till drizzling and cold, but we needed to get “set up”.  Another way to keep the cabin warm is to heat up the sauna, which is part of the cabin.  Attached to the sauna heater is a tank for water which heats up at the same time, providing warm water for bathing, etc.  The water is hauled in buckets from the lake.


Unfortunately I did not take any pictures of the cabin, thinking that I already have so many.  My focus was more on the changing colors and mood of the water.


For the first couple of days, it continued to be damp and rainy.


But that did not dampen Nick’s spirits one bit – this is probably his favorite place in the world – he has so many good memories going back to infancy.dsc_2715

Meanwhile, across the lake, our nearest neighbors were firing up their sauna.


There was a momma and her chicks that kept us entertained……



..what is it they say about getting one’s ducks all in a row?  But there is always that “one”!


Finally it looked as though the weather had taken a turn for the better.


This is the view that all of us who have spent time at the summer house know so well.  Standing on the deck, this is what we look out on.img_8700

Finally the cousins could enjoy a good swim.


(It was too cold for me, though.)


And afterwards the barbecue tasted so good!


Looking in this direction, one sees the heavy cloud cover that is stubbornly hanging around.


But in the other direction… looks clearer and the sun is setting – briefly. This was taken about 11pm. We will be left with twilight and the sun will be rising again in an hour or two.


When our stocks run low, we have to go into town and Aila shows us this delightful café, an old Russian Villa, built in 1890


Their specialty is waffles; with a savory topping or covered with ice-cream and topped with chocolate or strawberries.


I have to show Aila how much I love her and thank her for showing us this place.dsc_2666

Then it is back to the woods…..img_8726

The motor boat is here – that means that Jussi has come for sauna again.


And as the sun goes down, we see the Duck family off in the distance.


Our final day Nick takes the row boat to fish……




On his way back he pauses to capture the moment.  Hope there is something for supper!


The end to another beautiful day.

This past summer we had the roof replaced and the deck extended.  The exterior was also painted.  Next summer we need to replace all the windows – we may go back to Finland during that time.  We will also need to do some soul searching about how we are going to continue to maintain the place……..


I find it a place of contrasts.  There is no doubt it is a challenge to stay there.  Everything one takes for granted at home; switching this on or turning that on – is non-existent.  Let alone having to use an outside loo! But those very challenges can be therapeutic and cathartic.  Definitely the simple life. And of course there is no Wifi – horror of horrors!


Dedicated to Niklas because I know how dear this place is to your heart.


Next:  Finland – Turku


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