In the Middle of Somewhere

So I had been quite incredibly lucky: having been picked up by two such friendly people and invited to stay with them for a while. I remember I took my first real sauna in Finland the first night, and we talked at the fireplace, sitting between elk antlers and an old guitar. Rosanna is a very good vegan cook, and I never knew a meal without animal products could taste that good. We had a vegetable soup I really found delicious, and I went to bed very, very satisfied.
The next day we woke up late, and Sandom, a young boxer dog, showed me a few of his tricks. He can open the fridge and get a can out of it. He also closes the fridge with a firm slam. When Sandom practiced to get something hidden underneath the carpet, he had to bark several times to notify that he had succeeded. It were my reflexes that commanded me to say “ssst” after the first bark, which was not helping the training of course. The dog really seemed smarter than me after I caught myself trying to silence the dog twice. That day I wrote well, and finally repaired my shoes with textile glue I bought in the local shop using pretty much all of my Finnish. We made some music, and in the evening we had delicious Chapati bread, filled with lentils and rice. We listened to the funny English series “A hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy”, of which my blog hopefully becomes a worthy addendum.


The next day I saw the first snow this year. The backyard was covered with a thick layer, and everything looked so different. I made a short morning walk, and started writing. Later, we walked in the woods with the three dogs, letting Sandom climb several rocks, and enjoying the late autumn colors. At night we had a real wood sauna, in a seperate sauna building, and it was awesome. We threw water with birch essence onto the coals, saying “loylya perkele” (steam up!) and it felt hot but healthy. The body manages not to get cold for a couple of minutes after getting out of that brutally hot sauna, which is the time we spent rolling in the snow naked.

The day after that Rosanna let me help her train Sandom. We went to a place in the forest nearby and she explained me what I had to do. Hide between the trees, taking a different route because the dog should pick up the smell from the air and not from the ground, kneeling down covering myself with a blanket and wait until the dog has found me and barked several times (as I already knew). Then I should jump up wildly and keep giving him food and attention, in order to give him a good experience with finding (a task which he accomplishes quite easily, what we were traing was his motivation of course). And after a few tries, Sandom did find me and I did dance around him, speak to him, and give him his reward. It was a very rewarding experience to me, too.

We also did some equipment searching, hiding four objects in a small area, which we covered with our traces by zigzagging it. The dog had to pick the smell from the air and not from the ground again. He was not yet very good at this, probably also because this was his first snow. But he eventually managed to find one object. The last accomplishment of the training should be rewarded more, to make the dog feel good. And he did indeed, wagging his tail and walking proudly in front of us on our way back to the house.

In the evening, we went to the local bar, where we had a beer together and made the juke-box play Elvis and Finnish songs for us.

Then it was sunday again. A good day for writing, which I enjoyed very much. In the evening we had an excellent meal again. Noodles, almonds, lentils, dried tomatoes, a sauce made from oat. And we saw a Finnish program called “madventures”, about two guys who traveled to a lot of destinations in Africa and Indochina. They filmed it together, and had it all assembled to a really good documentary film in a studio. I liked the way they combined teenager daunting and daring bungee-jumping, rat-eating and canyon-diving with a very serious message to the viewers.

I stayed there for six nights, and I had a great time.

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In the Middle of Somewhere

So I had been quite incredibly lucky: having been picked up by two such friendly people and invited to stay with them for a while. I remember I took my first real sauna in Finland the first night, and we talked at the fireplace, sitting between elk antlers and an old guitar. Rosanna is a very good vegan cook, and I never knew a meal without animal products could taste that good. We had a vegetable soup I really found delicious, and I went to bed very, very satisfied.
The next day we woke up late, and Sandom, a young boxer dog, showed me a few of his tricks. He can open the fridge and get a can out of it. He also closes the fridge with a firm slam. When Sandom practiced to get something hidden underneath the carpet, he had to bark several times to notify that he had succeeded. It were my reflexes that commanded me to say “ssst” after the first bark, which was not helping the training of course. The dog really seemed smarter than me after I caught myself trying to silence the dog twice. That day I wrote well, and finally repaired my shoes with textile glue I bought in the local shop using pretty much all of my Finnish. We made some music, and in the evening we had delicious Chapati bread, filled with lentils and rice. We listened to the funny English series “A hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy”, of which my blog hopefully becomes a worthy addendum.


The next day I saw the first snow this year. The backyard was covered with a thick layer, and everything looked so different. I made a short morning walk, and started writing. Later, we walked in the woods with the three dogs, letting Sandom climb several rocks, and enjoying the late autumn colors. At night we had a real wood sauna, in a seperate sauna building, and it was awesome. We threw water with birch essence onto the coals, saying “loylya perkele” (steam up!) and it felt hot but healthy. The body manages not to get cold for a couple of minutes after getting out of that brutally hot sauna, which is the time we spent rolling in the snow naked.

The day after that Rosanna let me help her train Sandom. We went to a place in the forest nearby and she explained me what I had to do. Hide between the trees, taking a different route because the dog should pick up the smell from the air and not from the ground, kneeling down covering myself with a blanket and wait until the dog has found me and barked several times (as I already knew). Then I should jump up wildly and keep giving him food and attention, in order to give him a good experience with finding (a task which he accomplishes quite easily, what we were traing was his motivation of course). And after a few tries, Sandom did find me and I did dance around him, speak to him, and give him his reward. It was a very rewarding experience to me, too.

We also did some equipment searching, hiding four objects in a small area, which we covered with our traces by zigzagging it. The dog had to pick the smell from the air and not from the ground again. He was not yet very good at this, probably also because this was his first snow. But he eventually managed to find one object. The last accomplishment of the training should be rewarded more, to make the dog feel good. And he did indeed, wagging his tail and walking proudly in front of us on our way back to the house.

In the evening, we went to the local bar, where we had a beer together and made the juke-box play Elvis and Finnish songs for us.

Then it was sunday again. A good day for writing, which I enjoyed very much. In the evening we had an excellent meal again. Noodles, almonds, lentils, dried tomatoes, a sauce made from oat. And we saw a Finnish program called “madventures”, about two guys who traveled to a lot of destinations in Africa and Indochina. They filmed it together, and had it all assembled to a really good documentary film in a studio. I liked the way they combined teenager daunting and daring bungee-jumping, rat-eating and canyon-diving with a very serious message to the viewers.

I stayed there for six nights, and I had a great time.

In the Middle of Somewhere

So I had been quite incredibly lucky: having been picked up by two such friendly people and invited to stay with them for a while. I remember I took my first real sauna in Finland the first night, and we talked at the fireplace, sitting between elk antlers and an old guitar. Rosanna is a very good vegan cook, and I never knew a meal without animal products could taste that good. We had a vegetable soup I really found delicious, and I went to bed very, very satisfied.
The next day we woke up late, and Sandom, a young boxer dog, showed me a few of his tricks. He can open the fridge and get a can out of it. He also closes the fridge with a firm slam. When Sandom practiced to get something hidden underneath the carpet, he had to bark several times to notify that he had succeeded. It were my reflexes that commanded me to say “ssst” after the first bark, which was not helping the training of course. The dog really seemed smarter than me after I caught myself trying to silence the dog twice. That day I wrote well, and finally repaired my shoes with textile glue I bought in the local shop using pretty much all of my Finnish. We made some music, and in the evening we had delicious Chapati bread, filled with lentils and rice. We listened to the funny English series “A hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy”, of which my blog hopefully becomes a worthy addendum.


The next day I saw the first snow this year. The backyard was covered with a thick layer, and everything looked so different. I made a short morning walk, and started writing. Later, we walked in the woods with the three dogs, letting Sandom climb several rocks, and enjoying the late autumn colors. At night we had a real wood sauna, in a seperate sauna building, and it was awesome. We threw water with birch essence onto the coals, saying “loylya perkele” (steam up!) and it felt hot but healthy. The body manages not to get cold for a couple of minutes after getting out of that brutally hot sauna, which is the time we spent rolling in the snow naked.

The day after that Rosanna let me help her train Sandom. We went to a place in the forest nearby and she explained me what I had to do. Hide between the trees, taking a different route because the dog should pick up the smell from the air and not from the ground, kneeling down covering myself with a blanket and wait until the dog has found me and barked several times (as I already knew). Then I should jump up wildly and keep giving him food and attention, in order to give him a good experience with finding (a task which he accomplishes quite easily, what we were traing was his motivation of course). And after a few tries, Sandom did find me and I did dance around him, speak to him, and give him his reward. It was a very rewarding experience to me, too.

We also did some equipment searching, hiding four objects in a small area, which we covered with our traces by zigzagging it. The dog had to pick the smell from the air and not from the ground again. He was not yet very good at this, probably also because this was his first snow. But he eventually managed to find one object. The last accomplishment of the training should be rewarded more, to make the dog feel good. And he did indeed, wagging his tail and walking proudly in front of us on our way back to the house.

In the evening, we went to the local bar, where we had a beer together and made the juke-box play Elvis and Finnish songs for us.

Then it was sunday again. A good day for writing, which I enjoyed very much. In the evening we had an excellent meal again. Noodles, almonds, lentils, dried tomatoes, a sauce made from oat. And we saw a Finnish program called “madventures”, about two guys who traveled to a lot of destinations in Africa and Indochina. They filmed it together, and had it all assembled to a really good documentary film in a studio. I liked the way they combined teenager daunting and daring bungee-jumping, rat-eating and canyon-diving with a very serious message to the viewers.

I stayed there for six nights, and I had a great time.

Heading North…

The next day I felt my time had come to finally go to Lapland. So I said goodbye to Anna-Sofia and went to the train station. The personnel told me student rebate was not available for foreign students, which was a good excuse for me to go hitchhiking. It was raining outside and I should have felt bad. Instead, I hummed some invented melodies on my way to the freight terminal. I had to wait only about 20 minutes before a truck driver took me halfway to Tampere, a bigger town 200 km north of Helsinki. Since he was younger he spoke some English, but our conversation didn’t really go beyond occasional remarks about the good roads here and the bumpy once in Poland. He brought me to a gas station, where I immediately got a ride from an Estonian architect. Now this one was interesting. He drove to Tampere, where he actually showed me a larger building he had designed. It looked good, and gave me the feeling the world is not that big after all.

I didn’t want to stay in Tampere though, and posted myself alongside the road to Vaasa with my ultimate direction drawn on a piece of paper a man at the gas station kindly gave me. Again, it didn’t take more than ten minutes to get a ride, this time from a nice older truck driver from Vaasa, who took me all the 230 kilometers to his town.

Hitchhiking romantics has been described in many ways, and there are probably as many words about it as there are kilometers on the road. I felt like I should contribute something of my own. We sat silently next to each other and listened to the pop songs played by the local radio channel. It was so peaceful, and I felt so lively. Before darkness I reflected about the truck mirrors, which were plenty but never enough to completely overcome the blind spot. I liked the metaphore with the reflecting mirrors, and decided to do some self-reflection tomorrow. I also saw something that could really be a good candidate for the primordial hitchhiking experience. What did I see? I saw a rainbow in the exhaust vapor of the truck driving in front of us.

It got dark and I stood in the center of Vaasa. A woman told me that I was on the road directly to Oulu, which was not on the signs yet because it was too far away. I walked that road, holding up my sign, and got lucky again. First a man working for an international technical documentation company brought me to a 24 hour roadside restaurant, after a coffee there an security guard took me to a crossing, and from there, two incredibly friendly Husky-people took me and offered me a place to sleep. Their car was packed with three big friendly dogs and a laundromat, but still they could fit me in. We drove to their home in Eskola, a small town of 300, in the middle of the country. That night, I also got my first sauna experience in Finland. My new friends prepared a bed in the kitchen, where I slept really well.

Heading North…

The next day I felt my time had come to finally go to Lapland. So I said goodbye to Anna-Sofia and went to the train station. The personnel told me student rebate was not available for foreign students, which was a good excuse for me to go hitchhiking. It was raining outside and I should have felt bad. Instead, I hummed some invented melodies on my way to the freight terminal. I had to wait only about 20 minutes before a truck driver took me halfway to Tampere, a bigger town 200 km north of Helsinki. Since he was younger he spoke some English, but our conversation didn’t really go beyond occasional remarks about the good roads here and the bumpy once in Poland. He brought me to a gas station, where I immediately got a ride from an Estonian architect. Now this one was interesting. He drove to Tampere, where he actually showed me a larger building he had designed. It looked good, and gave me the feeling the world is not that big after all.

I didn’t want to stay in Tampere though, and posted myself alongside the road to Vaasa with my ultimate direction drawn on a piece of paper a man at the gas station kindly gave me. Again, it didn’t take more than ten minutes to get a ride, this time from a nice older truck driver from Vaasa, who took me all the 230 kilometers to his town.

Hitchhiking romantics has been described in many ways, and there are probably as many words about it as there are kilometers on the road. I felt like I should contribute something of my own. We sat silently next to each other and listened to the pop songs played by the local radio channel. It was so peaceful, and I felt so lively. Before darkness I reflected about the truck mirrors, which were plenty but never enough to completely overcome the blind spot. I liked the metaphore with the reflecting mirrors, and decided to do some self-reflection tomorrow. I also saw something that could really be a good candidate for the primordial hitchhiking experience. What did I see? I saw a rainbow in the exhaust vapor of the truck driving in front of us.

It got dark and I stood in the center of Vaasa. A woman told me that I was on the road directly to Oulu, which was not on the signs yet because it was too far away. I walked that road, holding up my sign, and got lucky again. First a man working for an international technical documentation company brought me to a 24 hour roadside restaurant, after a coffee there an security guard took me to a crossing, and from there, two incredibly friendly Husky-people took me and offered me a place to sleep. Their car was packed with three big friendly dogs and a laundromat, but still they could fit me in. We drove to their home in Eskola, a small town of 300, in the middle of the country. That night, I also got my first sauna experience in Finland. My new friends prepared a bed in the kitchen, where I slept really well.

Heading North…

The next day I felt my time had come to finally go to Lapland. So I said goodbye to Anna-Sofia and went to the train station. The personnel told me student rebate was not available for foreign students, which was a good excuse for me to go hitchhiking. It was raining outside and I should have felt bad. Instead, I hummed some invented melodies on my way to the freight terminal. I had to wait only about 20 minutes before a truck driver took me halfway to Tampere, a bigger town 200 km north of Helsinki. Since he was younger he spoke some English, but our conversation didn’t really go beyond occasional remarks about the good roads here and the bumpy once in Poland. He brought me to a gas station, where I immediately got a ride from an Estonian architect. Now this one was interesting. He drove to Tampere, where he actually showed me a larger building he had designed. It looked good, and gave me the feeling the world is not that big after all.

I didn’t want to stay in Tampere though, and posted myself alongside the road to Vaasa with my ultimate direction drawn on a piece of paper a man at the gas station kindly gave me. Again, it didn’t take more than ten minutes to get a ride, this time from a nice older truck driver from Vaasa, who took me all the 230 kilometers to his town.

Hitchhiking romantics has been described in many ways, and there are probably as many words about it as there are kilometers on the road. I felt like I should contribute something of my own. We sat silently next to each other and listened to the pop songs played by the local radio channel. It was so peaceful, and I felt so lively. Before darkness I reflected about the truck mirrors, which were plenty but never enough to completely overcome the blind spot. I liked the metaphore with the reflecting mirrors, and decided to do some self-reflection tomorrow. I also saw something that could really be a good candidate for the primordial hitchhiking experience. What did I see? I saw a rainbow in the exhaust vapor of the truck driving in front of us.

It got dark and I stood in the center of Vaasa. A woman told me that I was on the road directly to Oulu, which was not on the signs yet because it was too far away. I walked that road, holding up my sign, and got lucky again. First a man working for an international technical documentation company brought me to a 24 hour roadside restaurant, after a coffee there an security guard took me to a crossing, and from there, two incredibly friendly Husky-people took me and offered me a place to sleep. Their car was packed with three big friendly dogs and a laundromat, but still they could fit me in. We drove to their home in Eskola, a small town of 300, in the middle of the country. That night, I also got my first sauna experience in Finland. My new friends prepared a bed in the kitchen, where I slept really well.

Helsinki #8. Writing at the kitchen table.

The title of this post contains pretty much all there is to say about this day. It was rainy outside so I decided not to leave to Lapland yet. Anna-Sofia left me with all conveniences, which I really appreciated. Fortunately I was able to express my gratitude by going to the supermarket, where I found some German chocolate as a symbolic gift and tomatoes from Spain and Finland. I had to make a picture of those, because the make an interesting comparison. The Spanish ones were 1.90€ a kilo, the Finnish 3.40€. Later I learned the energy involved in glasshouse farming in Finland is even more than a truck ride from the far south of the continent requires.

I also tuned the guitar, first according to my own stubborn idea that all strings hat to be a quart apart, resulting in an E-A-D-G-C-F tuning which exists but is quite uncommon. After a glance in the Magic Box we call computer I got it and tuned a proper E-A-D-G-B-E. Unfortunately I had rehearsed my ‘happy birthday’ in the other tuning, and couldn’t really make the transformation. By the way, Anna-Sofia just got 28.

I produced a few pages for my novel at the kitchen table, and was really content in the evening. I was happy I was able to spend another night with my incredibly friendly host.