Winter Wonderland

So here I am. In the middle of Finland, in the Eastern part of the country, close to the Russian border, in Joensuu. The winter here is absolutely astounding. The landscape is all snow-covered, wherever you turn you see snow, snow and more snow, and in the blue morning light everything looks silvery.

The first Sunday morning when I went out for a walk, it seemed quite eerie that there were no people, no cars, no nothing around. After about ten minutes I caught sight of a person riding a bicycle, then two cars appeared around the corner, and so I got a confirmation that I was not living some ‘day after’ weirdness. It was a long holiday weekend so people had evaporated from the city, some had gone on vacation, students to join their parents, and others were simply sleeping in.Among the things that really took me by surprise was to realize how popular it is to ride the bicycle here even during these winter months when a thick coat of snow covers the ground. Those who prefer to walk, park their bicycles on the sidewalks of downtown Joensuu. Luckily the weather has been nice, and temperatures vacillating between 0 and -5 Celsius. Not bad at all. Since the air is quite dry here, even when temperatures drop below zero it doesn’t feel too cold. Unlike the cold weather combined with humidity, which you find in Helsinki that hits you through to your bones.

What I like most here is the silence and serenity, which is quite unique. The lack of traffic, noise and chaos, clean air you breathe, the silence and serenity are all such a welcome change from the urban commotion that used to be part of my daily life. My daily meals consist mainly of rice, salad and fish. It is like having a chance to be purified, physically and emotionally.

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