26 Jun 2012

Midsummer Night's Dream

Hola! I'm back from the mökki!


The whole family gathered to celebrate the summer solstice, in a Finnish-Swedish way, which means: great food, a bunch of snaps (vodka shots) and quite a bit of singing!

Midsummer dinner usually consists of smoked salmon, silakka marinated in all imaginable ways, rye bread with a handful of butter and of course the queen of every decent Finnish dinner: the potato.


There is also a lot of drinking, like in any other celebration around the world, however, the way they drink in here deserves a special mention:

The Swedish community have this thing called snaps.
It is a very old tradition - pretty funny to look at - where the whole family drinks vodka shots while they eat (how cute is that!?). But, since Scandinavian people are very organized, they don't drink the snaps randomly, they follow a very important rule: the shots must be taken only after a snapsvisa (drinking song) is sung.

The songs are pretty bizarre and most of them impossible to translate, just for you to get an idea here is one that still makes a bit of sense in English:

En liten tall
Fordom odla man en vindruvsranka
av vars saft man gjorde ädelt vin.
Nu man pressar saften ur en planka
doftande av äkta terpentin.
Höjen bägarna, o broder och syster,
låt den sista skogen rinna kall
ned i strupen, och om du är dyster
låt oss dricka opp en liten tall.
Skål!

A little pine
Formerly one cultivated the grape
of whose juice one made noble wine.
Now one presses the juice out of a plank
smelling of pure turpentine.
Raise your glasses, O Brother and Sister,
let the last forest run cold
down the throat, and if you are down
let’s drink up a small pine tree.
Cheers!

We had 10 pages full of these snap songs, so you can imagine how happy you are by the time the dessert is served.


Fortunately, I am not able to sing in Swedish (or any other language), so I am not entitled to drink the vodka shots... thanks God. 


Aside from eating and drinking shots, we had sauna and went swimming in the frozen waters of the Baltic Sea.


Looks like summer, but it is not: water temperature 14ºC / Air temperature 18ºC
You cannot see it very well, but in here I have my "fuck! is cold" face. 


There was also time to go for a walk on the fields around the mökki (to burn some calories after dinner).


And to play around with the girls...


... we even had time to make sand pancakes!!


A bit after 12 we gathered around a Juhannuskokko (traditional Midsummer bonfire) and watched the midnight sun.


That is one of the main characteristics of midsummer, the sun doesn't go down at all, and no matter how big problems I have to sleep, I still love it!

("Midnight sun" for me means to wake up every morning by the sound of the little birds singing and the sunlight entering from the window. Feeling ready to start the day. Then I look at the clock and realize that it is 4:20 am... I curse a little bit in Spanish and get back to bed. That goes on for a whole month...)





The mökki is located somewhere around here. The nearest trace of civilization is 15 km away, a "village" called Taivassalo that has one supermarket, a church, one grillikioski and no more than 1600 inhabitants.

Now you understand why this is must be one of the quietest places on Earth! During the summer you can only hear the sea breeze, the seagulls... and my nieces screaming (during the winter you can only hear my nieces because the seagulls froze to death).


All in all, it was a nice and relaxing weekend, even if the weather didn't cooperate a lot: it rained 3 out of 4 days.
But the water did not stop us from ending the weekend with a good game of Mölkky, the ultimate Finnish summer entertainment (it took me 10 min. to learn to play it and 2 years to learn to pronounce it).


I do not remember who won (not me for sure), but it was kind of fun when you were concentrated enough to not think about the rain.

1 comment:

  1. ...I didn't have the bonfire... :( shame on Markus! jijjjijii :P

    This is a great post Alba! As always! :D

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