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Finnish passion

On my last entire day in Finland, I am trying to solve one question that has gradually been building up during the past few days. If Finns are always organised and honest, not very fond of giving or compliments, used to seeing people naked, then how do they think about love and passion?

Posted by Bruno

Finnish for beginners

Finnish language doesn`t only look like one big mystery to outsiders, it actually is a maze of complicated constructions. Words can take 16 different endings, depending on their location in the sentence and the preposition that would have preceded them in English. `House` translates as `Talo`, ‘in the house’ makes `Talossa`, `(away) from the house` becomes `Talosta`, and 13 more of those. I am on a mission today to find out some more features of the Finnish language.

Posted by Bruno

Personal reflections (2)

I`ve been on the road for about two months now. On the first monthiversary of the Us European trip, I chose to write about regional and international conflicts and how each country seems to have its own problem between different layers of the population, whether the reason be in language, religion, ideology, history, nationality or something else. These conflicts seem to have a significant influence on the way people organise their lives. During my stay in Estonia and Finland, I came across another element that seems to be decisive in the mentality of people wherever they live: nature.

Posted by Bruno

If you have had enough of everybody around you, try Finnish Lappland. You will meet some people during the day, I would estimate as many in a day as you see in the main street of Helsinki in half a minute. Feeling like there is no-one else around has certain advantages, but it doesn`t make it easier to stick to my self-imposed deadline of writing an article every day and trying to speak to a few people to collect their views. As an alternative, I am interviewing Philippe today since he`s the one to blame for the fact that I even got here in the first place. He invited two other Couch Surfers to his house near Sodankylä (Lappland) and introduced us to the Finnish forest and its free hospitality cabins: fires, sausages and wood chopping included.

Posted by Bruno

Stick to the rules

If there is one thing that makes Finland stand out from its Central European siblings, it`s their tendency to always stick to the rules. It has helped Finland the least corrupted country in the world, while neighbouring some countries where corruption is more of a norm than an exception. I am trying to learn more about this whole rule-idea today, finding out where it could possibly have come from and which rules are more important than others.

Posted by Bruno

Sharing the country

Nature-loving Finns say that Rovaniemi, the city I am currently visiting, is only a transition area towards the `real Lappland`. Although Rovaniemi is the capital of the administrative region of Lappland, their ideas about Lappland are quite different from the city of Rovaniemi. Who only gets to visit Rovaniemi misses out on Finland`s northernmost forests, tundras, waterfalls and the homeland of the indigenous population: the Saami. Ever since its independence, Finland has shared its territory with the Saami in the North, the Swedish in the South-west, Russians in the East and religious communities spread over the country. Here`s a short overview of the positions they currently hold in the Finnish society.

Posted by Bruno

TV Classics and Media

It may have been a coincidence but hardly any of the people I met in Finland so far are fanatic TV-watchers. That hasn`t kept me from trying to find out which programs are popular, and what kind of TV programs people used to watch as a child, or what other media they have access to.

Posted by Bruno

Things natural

While moving along the Eastern border of the EU, environmental awareness increases as you go north. Finland serves as a good example for its southern neighbours. Estonia is the best pupil in class so far. Latvia and Lithuania are slowly beginning to implement environmentally friendly measures, oftentimes with Finnish support.

Posted by Bruno

When talking about gastronomy, Finland is not the first country that comes to mind. They may not have the most distinctive kitchen culture of all of Europe, but they do have dishes that you will not easily find in other European countries. Most of what is cooked is linked to locally grown crops, although foreign influences are gaining ground. What does the Finnish diet look like and how do they think about food?

Posted by Bruno

Coming to Finland

Since World War II, Finland has been able to develop itself into a stable country with equal opportunities for everybody. The welfare system is well-developed, barriers to enter higher educations are virtually inexistant and charity organisations can count on broad support and generosity. It would make perfect sense for people from more troubled countries to all set course to Finland. However, you will only find very few recognisable foreigners in the streets of Finnish cities. I am on a mission today to find some and ask them how they ended up in Finland.

Posted by Bruno