Midsummer Picnic by the Sea
Midsummer is widely celebrated in the Nordic Countries. This year, I decided to stick to the essentials and kept things simple.
First thing you need is a place by the water. I do live at the bay, but since I don’t have a summer cabin itself, I thought the best place to spend the Midsummer Evening is Skatanniemi. Yes, I have written about this peninsula before. It’s one of my favorite spots in Helsinki. Quiet, Remote and by the Sea. There we had a nice picnic with some homemade leek-potato soup and roasted bread. The sun still was up high, when we were watching the open sea and the few boats passing by.
Second and most importantly: Sauna. Which, let’s face it, should be always Number 1 on your Finland To-Do list. But Juhannus Sauna is not like any other sauna. What you want is birch whisk. So the day before, I went to Porvoo and got a fresh bundle of twigs from the market. Those whisks are called either vihta (west) or vasta (east), depending where in Finland you are. They are used to gently whip yourself or your sauna companion. Though you can also find them dried in the stores all year around, fresh is always better. Not only will you get all the nutrients from the young twigs, it also won’t leave a mess behind, since the younger leaves are sturdier attached. If you never tried it, you can’t imagine the aroma that fills the air. Therefore I was really excited to get home, heat up the sauna and start whipping.