Luís Simões, travel sketcher around the world
Finland – July to August 2012
I went to Finland from Lapland. The first impression wasn’t so good because I was almost eaten by mosquitos!! Then I crossed the Santa’s house and there I wrote a letter for the next Christmas wishes. Yes, I know its July but once there …I had to do it! Meanwhile, I got a lesson about all kind of berries that are popular in the country and you also can grab them in the forests. In Kemi city, and a bit everywhere, I saw a lot of cemeteries memorials of the dead militaries, who were fighting in the second world war, some of them didn’t have 18 years old…
The first big city in Finland was Oulu. After many miles driving, I finally had my first long stop. When I arrived, near the beach, I was blessed by a wonderful sunset till midnight. Lovely. The city is embraced by the canal lake and they keep the old wood houses like it was from the past, but now with cafes and restaurants. Near to one of these cafes called «Avoinna II-21», when I was sketching, an old man around the 80’s, watch my draw almost finished, smiled and said to me: «That’s very good! You are a specialist!!” …no artist, no architect but simply specialist! Love it!
In the market I let me go by the smell of the food. My nose is my travel guide and my eyes follow the vivid fruit colors. Here I was surprised by a man selling fried fish: «you look like you want to eat, young boy!? Do you want some of these fishes?!» He said smiling. «No thank you, I’m just passing here to see and sketch» I said. He didn’t understand the sketching part, only when he saw me standing right next to him drawing, realize that I was doing something. At the end, he tried to give me for free a plate of cooked small fishes… but again, I had lunch before and said no. The lesson of the day, go sketch to local markets before eat, you never know what can happen! 🙂
Tampere, Turko, and Helsinki
Next was Tampere, Turku and finally Helsinki. Here, all my perception of human kindness was completely transformed. I’ve never got such a feeling of pure friendship, honest and humble people. This person trust so much in others that you will feel at the first time that you want to share all your love and experiences with them. Besides that, they have style, everybody dresses in their own way without show off, the language is impossible to understand but is super soundable and irresistible.
If you want a country where people respect each other with a smile in the face and instead of complaining about their lives, they enjoy what they have, you should give a shot in Finland for sure! People are absolutely the treasure of all country with a huge nature environment, where you will find always big gardens in the cities, small lakes, and a good lifestyle feeling. Unfortunately, they have some problems with alcohol and you will see some drunk people, but even drunk… they will respect the green traffic light! Also, never mix up cold people with shy people, because once you start talking with locals you will find a big heart on them.