Surviving Finland: Music

One of the Finnish stereotypes is heavy music. I mean it is kind of true. We have heavy metal bands more towards person than anywhere in the world. We won Eurovision with hard music and Lordi. It’s normal to see people in band shirts and men with long hair.

Even if the stereotype is kind of true Finnish music is a lot more. Not everyone likes metal, rock or even music at all. Currently rap has taken over Finland and a sad music is always fitting to listen in our dark country. We have many kind of music here and today I am going to introduce some genres for you with sample songs!

 

Let’s sing melancholichally and cry together girls

This used to be one of Finland’s biggest music genres but rap has taken over. Don’t get me wrong we still have many beautiful sad songs singed by desperate women but now we have at least as many rapping strong females.

The example is older song from well-known Finnish artist Jenni Vartiainen. The song literally tells about her ex putting their sex tapes to the internet. Sometimes Finnish hit songs have quite special lyrics but it doesn’t mean it can’t be a sad and melancholic. Vartiainen is perfect example for this music genre.

 

The strong independent girls

Don’t let the tender female voices lead you on because in Finland we have some power ladies. And I say some I mean a whole lot of amazing powerful singers/rappers. The video I recommend you to watch is from Sini Sabotage and presents perfectly the powerful women of Finland.

Just as extra mention this is the song I listen when feeling home sick. When I am trying to sleep on the other side of the world this definitely makes me feel better. This is from far the songs you would except from Finland put this was a huge when it was released. Rhythmic and strong.

 

Rapping about money, girls and odd hairstyles (???)

Rap has always been on Finland but recently rap artists are grown one of our biggest celebrities. When I was young one of the popular artists was rapper Pikku G (nowadays disappeared, probably somewhere not so luxurious…) and teen were totally in love with him. There is list of current rappers: JVG, Nikke Ankara, Prinssi Jusuf and Elastinen.

The one I am going to put as example is Cheek. He is the most popular rapper (and maybe person) in Finland. Our first artist to have Olympia stadium concert and loved by everyone. This video (even if Cheek’s) has other important and famous Finnish artists.

 

The old Idols stars

Our music scene is quite small so same artistes come and go. We had idols contests in years 2003-2013 and many singers have gotten known by it. The music video is from Antti Tuisku, who came to third in our first ever Idols, was forgotten for a long time. Last year he made huge comeback with different style and has charmed out whole gray land with the happy go go songs.

 

The “I don’t even know what our children listen” genre

This first band above is called Hevisaurus (means something like heavy metal dinosaur) and has been quite popular for sometime. Yes our children listen heavy too. Do you have problems with it?

The second children’s song is from Titinalle. This bear has been known for forever. I can sing sll the older songs (I know because I just singed along while trying to find the video to show you). The video looks old because it is old (like it was once VHS old…) This used to be my favorite song so don’t even think of dissing it! (Who can guess about what this song is?)

The third children’s artists I want to mention are called Ella and Aleksi (in Finnish Ella ja Aleksi). This duo has song called Kakkaa Lumella (meaning poo on the snow) and the song tells just about the thing its name is about…Ella and Aleksi is older music and is something I listened when I was child.

 

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Surviving finland heavy metal music

There would be a lot more music genres to explain and introduce but I’m fearing all these videos will slow my blog down. Tell me if you want to get more Finnish music recommendations! If someone wants I will come up way of linking the videos without slowing my blog. (Google please help me…)

I hope you learned something new today about Finnish music and maybe even enjoyed some of the songs (???). I’m sorry you can’t understand the lyrics but to tell you the truth many of our songs have the most absurd lyrics.

For those who have followed me after my last Surviving Finland post. Firstly thank you for reading my blog! I would have never guessed so many people decide to read what I have to say and where I am traveling. Secondly this post is part of my series telling about my home country Finland. Don’t take anything too seriously!

More Surviving Finland posts you can find from HERE.

With pride for her home,

Viivi Severina

The Dilemma of Free Flights…

Couple of days ago I checked out how much Finnair points I have and almost fainted. Apparently I have flown more than I would have ever guessed. My points are enough to get round-trip tickets to any European country or Dubai! Now there is one big question left…

Where should I travel?

As cheap person I have to travel somewhere usually expensive. It’s hard to decide so below I have listed some of my options. Where should I go?

 

Dubai

dubai

Dubai sounds like dream but my mum said straight away she hopes I don’t go there alone. -My sister said how cool would it be to visit Dubai and I agree with her…- So should I listen my mum or take the “risk” and go. What I read about blogs, Dubai isn’t as dangerous and scary as it’s in our heads. So solo travel to Dubai… Dream or reality?

Dubai isn’t on my bucket list but that’s mainly because it seems so far away and too fancy for me. I didn’t know a lot about it before doing some research today. It’s quite expensive (or did I understand wrongly?) but I have got used to expensive in Finland…

 

Barcelona

barcelona

I have visited charming Barcelona two or three times (I’m bad person and can’t recall which one) and this city has made me feel like home in its small labyrinth alleys. Of course there would be other cities to visit in Spain like the capital Madrid but I just don’t believe those would delight me like Barcelona.

The beaches are calling for me (and the warmth! Because in Finland we only have the cold…) The flights to Barcelona are usually quite cheap and that is the only reason keeping me away from the free flights to Barcelona.

 

Amsterdam

Amsterdam

I’m blaming all the bloggers currently writing about their trips to the Netherlands for adding this one on my list. Photogenic city with a lot of see and do. I would spend time just walking around admiring all the streets and buildings. And the Van Goh museum is place I would love to visit!

 

London

london

I have been three times in London but there is so much to see that it would be nice to go again. Last time was a couple of years ago and I didn’t see a lot because we only went to concert. The times before that I was so young (and with my family) so I couldn’t appreciate the city. Now when I have grown up going again would be interesting experience.

 

Italy

italy

I have never been to Italy but it seems my kind of country. I haven’t decided with city would be best for me. Rome or Venice? I like the culture and architecture of Southern European countries. Many of my friends have visited Italy and everyone comes back with good experience.

 

Iceland

iceland

First time I added Iceland to my bucket list was at primary school when we learned about it in school. (Of course at that time I hadn’t even heard about bucket lists but I knew that was place I wanted to visit at least once in my life time.)

But is there enough things to do if I want to spend longer time? And I don’t know if I want to go there and suffer from the cold.

 

 

This is going to be hard decision… There is so many places I would like to visit and choosing just one is impossible. I accept all suggestions and help so where should I visit? Which country would you like to see me writing about in this blog?

With mind full of wanderlust,

Viivi Severina

Surviving Finland: The Cold

Hello there! Today I’m back with new post of my Surviving Finland series.

Twelve months of cold weather in year makes Finns experts at surviving extreme weather conditions. For foreigner coming to here in the cold months (read when ever you decide to come…) may be challenging. The next advice will prepare anyone to come and travel around Finland even if the temperature would turn out to be nightmare.

(In this post when we talk about cold it means under zero Celsius. The “cold” that is over zero Celsius is subject on its own.)

 

Check the Temperature

I can not emphasize this part enough. Before coming to Finland check the temperature and what kind of weather it usually is at that time of year! If you don’t, there will be trouble coming to your way. Taking right clothes is important and knowing how much snow you had to encounter when going outside.

 

What to do when going out to cold?

  1. Don’t go outside if not necessary. Only exemptions are skiing, skating and sled hill.
  2. Prepare yourself mentally. Whatever you do it’s going to be freezing.
  3. Check the temperature. Knowing it will not help you but at least you can complain about the weather like locals.
  4. It’s time to dress the under layers. Some long pats or tights, socks and long sleeved shirt. Even better if you have special wear for cold weather. It’s made of material that keeps the warm in.
  5. Then put on more clothes. Another shirt, more socks and as much clothes as the weather requires.
  6. Wool socks. Don’t forget this important accessory.
  7. Then the last clothes you will need. Outdoor clothes. Some warm water proof winter pants, jacket and boots. Your boots should have spikes on bottom to survive the ice on road.
  8. Then scarf, hat, gloves and mittens. If you have done them by yourself, don’t forget to mention it to everyone you see. Knitting is like Finnish national pride. We even learn it in school. (And still only a few can do it…)
  9. It’s time to leave. If you are using car don’t forget to leave at least half hour before normally. Your car is going to be buried under snow. If using public transport, leave at least half hour after your bus is meant to come. The drivers never learn and will be late because of the snow and slippery roads.

 

Ways to survive while outside

If you are feeling brave and have decided to threaten the mother nature by going out, here is some tips to keeping warm. Follow the points above before leaving outside and you have at least small possibility to live through your Finnish experience.

Other than dressing warmly there is six major ways to keep warm:

  1. Share body heat. Finns have a big personal base but when it’s about being warm we can get close to people we already know. Hug your friends and share some heat. Don’t however surprise unaware Finns because they may not appreciate you coming on them.
  2. Rub your hands together. This is one of the best ways of warming your frozen hands. Friction makes heat.
  3. Move your toes and fingers. I don’t know if there is any scientific evidence for this but moving your toes up and down should keep you warm.
  4. Blow hot air to your fingers.
  5. Don’t stay still! Moving in cold weather is important.
  6. Drink something hot. Go to have cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate.

 

The first aid after returning inside

Finns have many ways to get warm after coming back to home (no I don’t mean intimacy even if that may work…) Next we have list of the best ways to melt the ice freezing you from inside.

  • Water: Widely known secret to save your hands after cold is put them under hot water.
  • Sauna: I already did write about surviving sauna HERE. But this hot room plays important part of surviving Finland and the icy temperatures. After you have froze yourself to the dead going to sauna will melt you.
  • Hot Chocolate: (or coffee, tea) Your motto should be “Warm yourself inside to get warm outside” (I know I’m not good at making mottoes…) But the idea is more important than motto! When you drink something hot, it will warm you starting from inside and spreading to outside.

 

Finns and Cold

You shouldn’t ask Finn if she/he is cold because there is big probability after that she/he has to play brave and pretend it’s not freezing at all. This also occurs between native Finns. It’s not unusual to see someone walking in t-shirt when temperatures are closing zero Celsius. (Usually those crazy people are teen boys showing off…)

Finns love complaining about the cold but get exited every year when it starts snowing. So best advice how to talk for Finns about cold is complain a lot (but never claim that other countries have more cold problems than Finland), don’t play you know anything about cold weather -because you don’t- and never insult our snow!

 

When to visit Finland? (AKA when it is not cold?)

Our summer is in June, July or August (or like this year right now in May). You can’t predict the cold and usually the Mother Nature can be quite evil. Last two summers have been like hell or well better said opposite of the hell, sweater weather. No using tops and shorts for Finns…

Basically this question doesn’t have answer. Couple of weeks ago it was snowing and cold but after one week it turned out to be first summer heat (over 20 Celsius). This is just one example of the hard ships we have with the changing conditions. Should or should I not buy new summer clothes for this year? This is the hard question we have to try predict every year…

So come Finland when ever you want! We have always cold and if you are lucky you may even see snow. (Well luck hasn’t anything to do with that… We have more snow than warm months.) Just remember to take warm clothes with you and -I will not promise but- I hope you will be okay.

 

 

There was everything I can teach you about the cold and just as reminder: don’t take too seriously anything I say (expect the cold! It’s very real concern here…). Don’t forget to comment below about what subject I should do my next Surviving Finland post. And thanks for Joyce Belfort because she gave me the idea for today’s topic.

Read more Surviving Finland posts from here.

See you next time and welcome to Finland!

Viivi Severina

 

 

Surviving Finland: Sauna

Sauna is sacred place for Finns. Whatever disorder, trouble or sickness you have sauna will cure you. If you don’t visit sauna while in Finland, we will not let you exit our small but determined country. So you just better give in, get naked and be prepared to get spanked or drown to lake. (Yes that’s literally what we do in sauna…)

 

So What Is Sauna?

Small warm room where people torture themselves in the heat. Usually over 100 Celsius (about 212 F for my USA followers). People sit on wood stairs that fill the whole small room and throw water to heated metal box full of rocks. The water transforms to steam.

 

Anatomy of Sauna

Like I already said there is wood stairs for sitting (called laude in Finnish). When you are first timer in sauna I recommend sitting on the lowest stair where it is not so hot.

The most important part of sauna is the heater (called kiuas in Finnish). It’s usually made of metal and has rocks in it. Kiuas either works with electricity or by burning wood.

Then there is metal bucket full of water and scoop in it. (Scoop is called löylykauha and bucket kiulu.) You use these to throw the water to the kiuas and that will cause steam (called löyly).

Pefletti is sheet of paper, fabric or other material and you sit on it in sauna.

 

How to use Sauna?

  1. You probably get asked to come someone’s sauna or you will visit public sauna so you don’t need to wonder how to start it. Let’s just skip this part.
  2. Take towel, swimming suit, pefletti, clean clothes and soap/shampoo with you. If you are visiting someone’s sauna they probably have pefletti and soap/shampoo for you (sometimes even towel, you should ask what to take with you). In public sauna they may have pefletti for you but if they don’t you can use your towel.
  3. When arriving at sauna first thing to do is get naked. Usually it’s men’s and women’s saunas in different time or place but sometimes it will be mixed sauna. If you feel uncomfortable feel free to use swimsuit.
  4. After getting naked you can use the shower. Some people don’t shower before sauna and some do so feel free to decide.
  5. Go inside of the sauna. Sit where ever you want but be sure to not be in anyone’s way. (Finns are shy and may not be able to ask you move when they want to leave.) If the sauna is full of Finns I recommend sitting on the bottom seat. It’s going to get hot.
  6. Someone will throw water to the kiuas(heater). If you are alone, throw water from the bucket to the metal box full of rocks. There will be steam and it’s going to be hot. You can leave anytime you want. Don’t feel embarrassed.
  7. At winter time you can go out and swim in frozen lake or play in the snow (after that come back to sauna to get warm). At summer you can beat yourself gently with branches or swim in lake (the water is still cold so run quickly back to sauna).
  8. After exiting sauna go to shower, dress up and feel freshened.

 

How to survive Sauna with Finns?

  1. If you feel uncomfortable, just say it out loud. Sometimes Finns don’t remember everyone haven’t got used to being in sauna.
  2. Don’t be scared of being naked. It’s traditional thing and everyone does it. However it’s okay to use swimming suit or towel if you feel shy (expect in some swimming halls’ saunas swimsuits are banned.)
  3. If you want to make Finn open up for you, sauna is good place to make friends.
  4. Do Finns have sex in the sauna? Well I can’t answer that… It’s national secret.
  5. Don’t forget to use pefletti. (It’s sheet of paper, fabric or other material and you sit on it.) Never sit on the sauna’s food stairs without pefletti.
  6. If you don’t know what to talk about, speaking about weather is good bet. Usually saunas’ have window so you can even check if it’s snowing or raining.
  7. My last advice is what happens in sauna also stays in sauna

 

Sauna Traditions

When visiting Finnish sauna at summer time you may get shocked. When Finn starts to beat you up with birch boughs (usually called vihta or vasta) he/she isn’t angry at you neither does he/she want to murder you or hurt you. It’s traditions that we do in sauna. Gently beat yourself or the others with it. However almost every time Finns will explain this to you and not try to scare you away beating you up out of nowhere.

Winter isn’t any calmer time for Finns being at sauna. It’s totally normal to go out and roll in snow or swim in hole made to frozen lake (the hole in lake is called avanto). Don’t however expect all Finns to swim in frozen lakes. There is many people (like me) who have never tried it. You however can find public sauna with avanto almost anywhere in Finland.

 

Mixed Sauna (aka let’s be naked together)

Every time I end up talking with someone about Finnish culture and sauna they get shocked when I tell them that yes I have been in sauna with twenty people all naked. I get afraid that they will faint that I continue quietly that there were men and women.

For someone abroad it may be hard to distinguish when it’s appropriate for men and women go to sauna together. It’s even hard for me to explain that. You should just ask from someone if you should be naked or dressed they will not judge you (probably).

Mixed saunas may be naked or not naked happenings. Usually young adults, university students, friends, families etc. may go to sauna naked. Even then there may be some Finns in swimsuits. My advice is go with the flow and spy what the locals are doing.

You shouldn’t tress too much. Sauna is meant to be relaxing place and whatever you do Finns will probably forgive you. So enjoy and welcome to Finland!

 

This is my new blog post series of my home country Finland and how to survive visiting here. Feel free to ask anything and tell me about what I should write my Surviving Finland posts. Follow me for more info of Finland and my travel stories! (And don’t take too seriously anything I write.)

Next time the subject is surviving cold weather and I have a lot of things to tell you about that. You can find more Surviving Finland (guide by Finn) HERE

 

With love and Finnish spirit,

Viivi Severina

PS. Fun fact, the image of sauna is from small flat. We have saunas everywhere (even in student dormitories).

Travel Diary: Montpellier & Paris pt.4

 

Day 11: The art of canceling plans

We meant to do a lot. Only two days left and there’s still much to see. We ate breakfast and just decided to not do anything. Unexpected decision right?

My opinion is that even when traveling the most important thing is to know yourself. When you are tired and need free time from tourist life just take it. Cancel all of your plans and just be. This is what happened to us. We had seen and done too much and it was time to rest.

 

Day 12: Art, shopping and bye Montpellier!

Our last day in Montpellier had dedicated to visiting museum Fabre. People told us it takes whole day to explore this museum and let me tell you that it’s not joke. The place is huge. Even one day isn’t enough if you want to see everything carefully.<

 

fabre

 

There is a lot of old art pieces. Some from famous painter and some from unknown ones.<

 

fabremuseum

 

And then there is modern paintings and everything between. Also statues and changing special exhibitions.

At the end of our museum visit we started to be too tired to even properly admire the art. However the museum was amazing and I recommend it to everyone! Well you get lost easily but the staff are nice and always ready to help.

After this we did last souvenir shopping and then went back to our apartment. Our last night at Montpellier and I knew I would miss this city too.

Day 13: Hi Paris! And we got sick…

We left Montpellier before the sunrise and said our goodbyes to the sleeping city. We sat quietly in train both tired and at least I already missing the place I had called home the last two weeks.

 

montpellier4
When we finally arrived at Paris bad weather welcomed us. It started to rain when walked towards our hotel. Both of us were feeling a little bit sick and the recipe for disaster was almost ready. Our time in Paris would soon turn o nightmare…

.paris

After taking nap in our hotel we decided to start the day. It was only a couple of kilometers to the Picasso museum. Well it was two kilometers too much. I was feeling sick but I have got used to doing things even when feeling bad. But when we were in the museum my sister started to look really pale and almost fainted.

I took her to the cafe in museum (very expensive and not even good food…) After that I took her to the closest metro station and send her back to the hotel. Well at least we didn’t pay for the museums because under 26 years old Europeans get in free.

parismetro
I have always loved metros and Paris’ metro isn’t exception. There is so many lines and ways to go. It took a while for me to understand the map because it’s already been over half year from the last time I used metro. In the end I found Les Halles shopping mall without problems.

The last time I visited Les Halles was year ago and before the horrible Paris’ attacks. I knew there would be more security than the last time but the guards and security measures still surprised me. There was security people in every door with their metal detectors and other security things.

muji

My visit was still pleasant. I got flash back to Japan when visiting Muji and spend too much time in Forever 21. My trip did stop when I got really sick… I didn’t visit even half of the shops before I had to go back to the hotel.

Rest of the day we just sat on the hotel room and rested. Fun trip to Paris… right?

 

Day 14: Goodbye France!

Guess how it feels to be in Paris one day and be so sick you just decide to go airport and pass the opportunity to see the capital of romance. With heads down we left our hotel and took the long train journey towards airport.

After waiting spending six hours in airport we flew away from lovely France and headed towards home.

parisairport
I hope I see you soon Paris!

Because I didn’t have any interesting stories in this post there’s some more photos for you:

roadtrip
My favorite thing from France was the road trip we did

 

sete3
In the future I will visit Sète for longer time…

 

oldmontpellier
…and go see the charming Montpellier again!

 

arcdetriomphe
Arc De Triomphe in Montpellier

 

Montpellier6

 

beachpalavas

 

palavasbeach

 

montpellier5

 

fabremuseum2
Modern art in Musée Fabre
airportparis
Paris Charles De Gaulle airport
airplane
The last sighs of France

Thank you for reading and I will write soon!

Sincerely,
Neidotta