On the 25th of August, I arrived in Helsinki in the evening after almost missing my flight, because I got to the airport too late due to a delay of the train. I left my suitcase at the door of the hotel room and jumped on the bed right away. Tiina had picked me up from the railway station and we walked to the hotel together, while I felt like a ghost walking through the streets where I once lived. The hectic of the day and all the feelings felt pretty overwhelming that first night back in Helsinki. Therefore we spent the rest of the day in bed, talking and updating, and falling asleep soon after.
The next day we woke up early to get ready to get picked up in front of the hotel for our trip to the Nuuksio Nationalpark. Part of the price by VisitFinland was planting our own tree in Nuuksio, and so Tiina and I, and the two other winners plus their company made our way to Haltia, where we were supposed to meet our nature guides. That Saturday, the 26th of August, has been the National Finnish Nature and also Flag Day, so many people came together at the Haltia Nature center to watch the celebrations. First, we had some lunch with national Finnish delicacies and a beautiful view over the forest, then we watched a group of singers presenting the flag song before we made our way up to Kattila to plant our trees. I still can’t get over the most beautiful lunch in the Nature Center, the view from the window was amazing while we enjoyed the food!
A photographer wanted to take a photo of the three winners so we posed in front of the Nature Center.
Up in Kattila, which is one of the main entrances to Nuuksio, we stopped by some fields in front of the forest to plant the trees. Each of us got a shovel, a little oak tree and a sign with our names on it. I’ve got so happy when I saw my name on that cupper plate and watched the two other digging their holes and placing their trees before it was my turn. This short planting ceremony and giving my baby tree to the earth caused such a rush of endorphins in my body that I couldn’t stop smiling while digging a hole and placing the sign. I feel so proud to be a tree-mother now and to call an oak tree my own. A part of me will live in this national park forever, even if my soul will leave this earth one day. I called my little baby tree “Little Puu” which is the Finnish word for tree. I hope it will grow big and wise into the sky and get very very old! Before I returned to Germany, I went to see my tree another time and it already grew some leaves – I am so excited to see how it will look like in a few years. My heart is jumping of joy!
After planting the trees and taking some photos with them, we made our way back to Haukkalampi (the entrance of the park where I usually went to) through the forest. The sun was still shining for a little while before it started raining shortly after and we continued our walk in the cold for what felt like forever. But we picked some last blueberries of the season which made it a little better.
Back in Haukkalampi were waiting for a concert in the woods by a Finnish choir. Tiina and I spent some time sitting at the water watching the trees and resting for a while before we also made our way to the spot where the concert should take place. The choir was sitting on some upper rocks and the sounds echoed into far distances. It was so magical to listen! After some time we left the crowd and sat down on a rock a little further away looking at the forest and water while listening to the songs in the background. It started raining again after a while and so we decided to walk back to the car which brought us back to Helsinki then. When we arrived back at the hotel, I took a shower and went to bed, exhausted but very happy. That day has been so exciting and will definitely stay in my mind for a very long time! I am still very grateful that I’ve got that great opportunity to come back to Finland and to plant my own little oak tree!
After this I stayed two more weeks in Helsinki to spend time with my friends but I will share some more photos soon! Take care of yourself and have a wonderful Sunday! Lots of love to you! Hej da!
Photos by Antti Huttunen, Roland Degiampietro and myself