Mittwoch, 15. Januar 2014

A Finland story...

Tallinn, -9 sunny
Once upon the time a little, ignorant girl, the unknowingness in in her luggage, went.....Well, where did she go actually? She didn't know...a journey into the unknown !?

I have to admit that I don't really know anything about my destination, but the shaming truth is: Finland is not the country people know a lot about usually. So let's see if marvelous google can help us out. Here comes what might have been unavoidable anyway; my collection of  remarkable facts about Finland :

Finland is called the country of the thousand lakes, due to more than 180.000 lakes (and these are just the bigger ones) located on the territory of Finland. That might be no new information, but what propably the most people might not know is related to two other famous Finnish clichés: sauna and the phone manufacturer Nokia.
The origin of the sauna tradition is hotly contested between Finns and Swedes. But even if this issue has never been fully clarified, for sure the Finns love their sauna: there are 2,2 mio. saunas in Finland, more than cars! 
The amount of cell phones is even more impressing: there are over 5 mio. cell phones in Finland, but just 5,4 mio. Finns. That might be the reason why you won't hardly find a public phone in Finland. Actually there is no need for, because everyone has already a cell phone. 
By the way Nokia is one of the rare brands with an internationally known acoustic logo, which was not carefully worked out by a team of marketing specialist, but taken from Gran Vals, composed by the spanish guitarist Francisco Tàrrega in 1902. (Have a try! I'm sure you will recognize it!)

Finland holds the world record for hosting world championships; bizarre competitions for wife carrying, mobil phone throwing (that might be the origin of the mystical reputation of being indestructible firmly linked to Nokia cell phones), mosquito catching, rubber boots throwing, air guitar, (once again) sauna, swamp soccer etc..
photo: dpa

But that's not enough! Since Finland is pretty up-North it might be no big surprise that the Finns hold also the world record for having the most northern McDonalds located in Rovaniemi/Lapland/North Finland, which is situated next to the home town of Santa Clause.

Yess, Santa is not living at the North pole (albeit at least at the arctic circle). That would be actually a slightly  tricky matter, even for good old Santa: beneath the North pole is no land (unlike the South pole which lies over the continent antarctica). The North pole is covered with a floating sheet of ice varying in the size depending on the season.To be more precise there are two different definitions for 'North pole':
1) The North magnetic pole is actually a magnetic phenomenon, which changes daily according to alterations under the Earth's crust.
2) The North terrestrial pole is a fix point, a set reference marking the 'top' of the planet.

About the Finns themselves circulate a lot of stereotypes. Accordingly Finns might be surprisingly friendly and helpful measured by the frostiness surrounding them. But a true Finn certainly would never admit that he/she feels the cold. One of the most widespread stereotypes I could find was about an unbridled consumption of alcoholic beverages.But statistically the actual annual per capita consumption is well below the European average (WHO). Furthermore you can read that Finns have a high risk to commit suicide, because of the long darkness period and solitude. According to the WHO even this seems to be further from the truth than expected.
What everybody who has taken once the ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki will confirm is that Finns love Karaoke. That seems to be a national pastime. Finland holds the world record for the longest Karaoke session (446 hours) and the highest Karaoke participation per capita.
And last but not least at the "World Countries Award 2013" the Finns won prices for the funniest, most intelligent and gentle nation and -who would have though?- the award for the most charming men was given to Finland, too. ... quod sit demonstrandum!

Knowledge of the day: Reindeers are the only mammals that can see ultra-violet light and statistically nobody lives in an igloo in Finland. But just in case you will ever need to build one...

 Douglas Wilkinson (1949) Arctic Notebook No.1 : How to build an igloo
*Be aware that the video is quite old and might contain comments, that are considered
   inapropriate or politically incorrect nowadays*

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