Saturday, June 30, 2012

Summer Cottages--Part 1

Summer cottages are an important part of Finnish life. Summer is short so you need to enjoy it while you can!

I was once told by a Finn that while the American dream is to have a summer cottage close to other people and lots of activity, the Finnish dream is to have a summer cottage where you can see water, but not your neighbors!

I don't know if that is true or not, but we have been fortunate to visit a couple of summer cottages with Finnish friends and the neighbors (and water) were definitely in view!

Our first trip was to the island of Satamasaari--about an hour boat ride from the center of Helsinki. The only way on and off the island is this boat.  There is one in the morning and one in the evening--that's all folks!

taxi boat

There are no cars on the island. In fact, there aren't even any bikes because you can walk around this island in about 10 - 15 minutes (or row around it in 20)!

island from afar

There are a total of 100 tiny little cottages on the island--and when I say tiny, I mean T-I-N-Y!

Satamasaari cottage green


Our destination for the day...

Sirkkus cottage

...isn't it cute?!

Here is Sirkku (the owner and Rob's colleague at the University). Make sure to take note of the sky blue chair in the foreground and the wineglasses. The wineglasses are on the table.

Sirkku and cottage

And here is the view from the couch! (Notice that sky blue chair?)

Sirkkus cottage inside

But just look at that view!

view from cottage

Obviously, there are no bathroom facilities in a one-room cottage, so everyone on the island shares the latrines.


They are composting toilets so there's no smell.  

Wash your hands before you go.

handwashing station

And, since there isn't any plumbing (or electricity), the kitchen is modest and run on solar power and gas.


Dishes are washed up in this outdoor sink with water that is hauled over from the communal well and stored in the white buckets.

outside sink

Sirkku cooked our dinner on this tiny little grill.  I should have included something in the photo to give a bit of perspective, but it's about the size of a sand bucket. 


Joey, Lily and Rob finished off the evening with a quick boat ride around the island.

boat ride

There is also a kids' area on the island with playground equipment and a trampoline.  I can't imagine hauling a trampoline to the island on that little boat.  The kids were having so much fun on the trampoline that we missed the shop boat!  It arrives every other day and sells almost anything you might need while at your cottage (milk, matches, bread, charcoal...).

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