Summer sees unusual holiday-making this year
People are enjoying the summer holidays in Finland in a different way since the coronavirus situation has brought significant changes to the normal lifestyle.
Although the government has lifted travel restrictions imposed on six Nordic and Baltic countries, except Sweden, and is considering lifting travel restrictions imposed on 12 more countries from 13 July, Finns are still preferring to make summer holidays inside the country.
The changed situation, financial insolvency, and coronavirus fear have forced people to avoid trips abroad this time.
A significant number of people are seen to make their holiday tours to Lapland to enjoy the midsummer night, when sun can be seen round the clock.
They enjoy the Lappish lifestyle in the summer and people’s activities in Rovaniemi, known as the hometown of Santa Clause.
The Daily Finland talked to some people to gather their impression of how summer goes in the north of this Nordic country.
Summer is the time for Finns to sit by rivers and lakes, line-up to buy famous Finnish ice cream, sunbath, occupy chairs in the outdoor space of restaurants, and enjoy cold drinks.
Eija Rikka, a student, said due to COVID-19, she could not make some of her ordinary plans like in the previous summers. Not only she wanted to work in a restaurant but also she considered participating as a volunteer at the International Military Music Festival in Hamina. Both the plan had to be dropped. The International Military Music Festival has been cancelled, as well as the Maritime Festival, concerts, and other events in Kotka, which is her home city. Despite that, she tried to keep her social networks going and be in touch with her friends in summer. Hanging out with them and enjoying the warmth of the sun are activities that keep her energetic. Moreover, Eija plans to engage in the shooting competition, visiting her home city, and do gardening there. She said “summer is the magical season in Finland, as that we can see the green side of the country.”
Isa Borgogni, an Italian-Hungarian tourism student at the University of Applied Sciences, believes that she was lucky to spend the chaotic time of the COVID-19 crisis in Rovaniemi. Although her plan for the summer has completely changed and she could not catch a flight to visit her family in Italy and Hungary, she is trying to enjoy moments of being in a peaceful place. If nothing changes, Isa will be in Hungary by the end of July, but until then she is working on her thesis under the constant sun. She said “the sunlight does not burn here, in contrast to the south of Europe and because of that I can come out every day, reading my books and grab a cold drink.
Families with small kids are also having different times: playgrounds are always crowded– laughter and the sounds of children playing can be heard all the time. However, this beautiful image is only one side of the story. One family described this summer as more difficult than the previous one, because they have to stay here for their holidays and it is not always easy to find a way for entertaining their kids in one place. Indeed, many families could not travel because of the coronavirus situation and that has led to some complications.
Antii and Anna Leinonen’s family of five has stayed at home most of the spring and now with the arrival of summer, they are spending most of their time in the yard and cycling with their three kids who are seven, five and two years old. They have tried to be around elderly members of the family and visited the children’s grandma in the middle of June. Same as many Finnish families, spending one week in the summer cottage of Antii’s grandma will be one of the plans for the rest of summer and then visiting some relatives as well. Although Antii said, in the normal situation they usually take a longer trip to southern parts of Finland and also have some summer events, but that have already been cancelled.
It can be seen that COVID-19 has affected the summer plans of both families and singles; however, Rovaniemi, with an incredible midnight sun, is still a place to live every single moment of life, breathe fresh air, close eyes and at least forget what is going on all around the world for a second.