Boats and trip on the lake
Today we decided to try a boats next to the sauna. There were four of us and we did not know if we can get into one boat. There were one canoe and big rowboat, where we thankfully all squished. The first snag has been on the shore. How to get a boat into the water without getting wet? For some reason unknown to me (maybe because in the ship is always water), I took a waterproof shoes. So I stood in water and pushed the boat away from the shore. Then I quickly jumped into the boat. With all our power we sailed. One helped with the paddle (good we took it) and I used my hand (pushed away from the bottom). The water was cold but not extreme in any way; maybe it was warmer than I thought.
So we sailed with our astern (is it really back of the ship?) first. The girls tried to row a bit, but we realized taking a paddle was a really good idea. Each had one oar and each had a different strength in her arms and a different rhythm. We were not able to sail straight ahead, a few times we even did a turn. And even though I tried to steer (I figured out very quickly how), but it was very physically demanding. Eventually we achieved a synchronization and drifted sometimes straight.
After about half a kilometer journey, I’ve noticed more water in the ship, than it should be. We therefore started looking for a place to land. Along the shore there were lot wharves. Finally, we decided to try go to the bank, because landing to someone’s wharf seemed a little bit odd to us. We sailed through Nuphar lutea (it is such a flower in the water, what look like a water lily, but it is not a water lily and blooms yellow). It was obvious (to me) that there will be shallow, because this plant doesn’t grow in great depths (50-200 cm), but we had only a small draft. We sailed into the trouble; when we suddenly heard the stones scratching our boat. We cruised to the rocks! And we were about 30 meters from the coast. Nearby sitting gull flew away, exposing a huge boulder to us sticking out of the water. When we closely looked around, the boulder was not alone. We quickly pushed away from the bottom and sailed back to the middle of the river/bay.
So we decided to land at someone’s wharf. We started an operation “don’t fall off the boat”. Fortunately, we did this. We managed how to pull the boat along the pier (lot of stones) to shore to pour the water out. We landed at someone’s cottage. Fortunately, we had not encountered anyone so we headed somewhere on the land.
Here we had problem a bit, because all around were detached houses and was no way into the woods, which are actually not there.
About two kilometers away – somewhere, we discovered grove … with no way. So we plunged into the dense undergrowth. Sometimes we were attacked by hungry mosquitoes or deer ked. The problem was not absence of the way, but rather the fact that we have our way almost through the wilderness. On the ground, the were a lot of fallen trees overgrown with vegetation. All around shrubs and young trees. Worse, on the ground was a lot of peat moss and cotton-grass (or so the grass looked like it). All this indicated a very wet habitat and I began to little worry about where we come and where we descend into the water and mud.
Of course, before us appeared a little bit of open water. All of us calmly walked across a fallen tree. I was afraid of falling (I’m not used to a 3 cm rigid sole, high and laced ankle, it’s like walking in ski boots), so I preferred stepping into the water. Whoa. I shouldn’t do it because my foot disappeared somewhere in the mud. When I tried to pull it out, I lost my balance and almost sat on my ass. I had to catch logs to pull off my leg. Fortunately, mud released my foot with a loud noise and were able to continue. You really shouldn’t step into the peat, if you do not know if there is firm bottom just beneath it – it always has a solid bottom, but sometimes you never achieve it alive.
Man with bottle of wine
Fortunately, we very soon hit the road that led us to a small meadow. Some of us started to look for mushrooms in a rush – sorry, not trying to find it, but trying not to squelch them. Two of us went to look at the sign, to identify where we are. The problem was, the sign was completely in Finnish and there was no point like “You are here” on the map. Articles about fishing and how to behave in the woods (only guessing from the pictures), we let go and returned to help with the searching mushrooms.
Moments later we heard loud “Hyvä päivää!” behind the trees, and something else (my knowledge of the Finnish language is still very small, but I’m stubborn and I am still learning). For a moment we stared at him and then we announced that he must speak in English. He took a short pause, but then started. With very poor English with an extremely poor pronunciation (I never heard the word “mushrooms” pronounced like “muscles”), but we always understood what he is trying to say (or so we thought at least).
Most of us were quite skeptical. We just met slightly inebriated elderly guy (around 60+ – he wasn’t able to decide how old he is) in a jogging suit with a plastic bag going alone somewhere in the woods … it was weird. For some unknown reason we have started to talk with him. I do not know, but the girls were more gullible. Additionally, he was incredibly talkative and quite affectionate.
He pointed to a nest of wild bees in the ground. I would never think that I will pay attention to the pile of sand with hints. I was very curious, but I preferred going away from it and even from all the piles of this type. Also helped us identify orange birch bolete, where we were about 95% certain that it is the right bolete (it would be a pity to leave so many huge and beautiful mushrooms there).
He crowned it in the moment when he pulled out of a plastic bag a bottle of white wine, he opened it (it was still closed, full) and allowed us to drink. We tried. Surprisingly, it was a good wine, semi-sweet, that kind you could probably drink on large quantities. During the afternoon he passed it several times, most of it he drank by himself.
After it he made us really follow him, just by saying simple sentence; “Follow me”. We were all quite fascinated, but he claimed he know a good place to pick mushrooms. Perhaps we felt better because we were four and he was only drunk older man. Throughout, we followed him and helped us gather a few mushrooms, persistently showed us which are poisonous ones.
Fishing camp – party, booze and sauna
We came back to the coast (the coast was all around, we were on a small peninsula) and there we divided. He’s been telling us something and then left. When we returned, we caught him sitting by the fireplace in the “camp”. We sit to him. He started again with telling stories. A lot thing, about his life; he was saying he is Nobody so his friends named him after a fish. The fact he had heart surgery (also pointing scar – scary). He broke when he started talking about his family, his wife. Then he could not continue for a while. Two years ago, she had been widowed, and obviously it’s still in him.
At the end he started talking about fishing camp, and if we want we can go with him to see it. He said, it’s really near, and he will lead us there. Two of us were excited and agreed. Two of us (including me) were a little nervous and a little wary, but we nodded. After all, he did not force us to go to his home. Neither he didn’t force us to go after him.
We went and it was a very good decision. People from the camp welcomed us very warmly and immediately wanted to talk. One very old man was constantly smiling on us with his almost toothless smile and looked like heartiness itself. He spoke just a few words in English, but it didn’t stop him from talking to us constantly. Sometimes even in Finnish. His name is Kari (yes, for the Czech people, they usually have totally different names).
Mrs. Susanna took care about us, because she was able to speak very good English (only one). They guided us through the whole camp and a lot of questions, and we were asking too. They guided us through the whole camp, and showed us where the sauna is. Even a place to sleep, if we wanted to sleep there.
We were seated at a table and were given coffee, smoked fish (by the way it was excellent), and something like a fish burger (it was excellent and I wasn’t able to taste the onions, despite I saw it there – I hate onions). Finally, we were also given a beer and again heard a note that the Finnish beer sucks (yes in the store was a big part of beer imported). We even got more fish burger with mushrooms, which we brought. Local “cook” prepared them for us. They said, he’s been cooking his whole life so is really good at it (yes, he is really good cook).
Fishing and return
As a cherry to the end, it was suggested to us we can go with Susanne and her friend fishing. Why not, I’ve never been fishing, so I thought it will be quite a good experience. It showed I was very far-sighted when I was wearing waterproof and windproof jacket; and one spare termo-shirt in my pocket (when I wanted to wore it beneath all those layers, I was asked if I feel so hot I am taking my clothes off – on arrival at the camp I had only short sleeve).
Fishing was really boring; we only cruised on the huge lake. But, lake views were amazing, and we talked the whole time and asked. We’ve been asking for information to each other that we were interested in. We were asking her, she asked us. Very warm woman – and so far, I had an opportunity to see and hear – for Finnish conditions loud. They were hospitable and kind a lot. When I imagine that some foreigners will come to some of our gardening settlements; I think they will all look weird or contempt to them. And half of the people (back home) would send them to the hell.
At the lake we spent some time, but we catched only one small fish in total, so we let it back into the water and began to return to shore. After all, we needed to find our own boat and sail back.
With enthusiasm, we said goodbye and left (we’ve got invitation to a dinner party which most of us did not refuse and rest of the foreign students came). Fortunately, we found the boat quite quickly (it was only about 1 kilometer far). We were able get it more skillfully in the water, as well as to embark. On our way back, we have been much better. Rowing was already much more regularly (rhytm) and more quick as well, but we had a problem with keeping the direction. Two of us sat on the front so I wasn’t able to keep the direction. So we made a change – on the front was one person, the back was one person, and in the middle were two passengers. I turned to the direction of travel and somehow folded my legs on the bench (oars were originally even on the front). Now I was able to see where we are heading and able to better adjust direction. Less than one kilometer across the water we then managed in less than half the time.
We landed, much more elegant and nicely then before and headed back to our temporary home.