Friday Weekend Escape to South-Eastern Finland with Marion Ueckermann


by Marion Ueckermann

Narelle, it’s so good to be back on your blog again and I’m excited to whisk your readers away for the weekend (and on my subsequent two blogs) to the southern part of Finland, not that far from the Russian border.

My husband, Noel, and I were privileged to take kesämökki (vacation at summer home) after my son, Kyle’s wedding in Finland in 2012. While Kyle, and his bride, Tiia, were on honeymoon, we spent ten days with new friends at their summer cottage beside a lake. Joining us were eleven of the bride and groom’s friends from missionary training who had come from all over the world—South Africa, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, France, England, Canada and the USA—to Finland for the wedding.

Noel loves to go fishing and had a great time on the lake catching Pike. Once he knew that the smaller fish were a Finnish delicacy, he had an excuse for catching them. Mimi from France insisted on ‘olding the Pike (she couldn’t pronounce her H’s which we thought was really cute), while fellow South African, Christo, thought the little fish were really fun.

Summer cottage fishing

Being about a twenty or thirty kilometer drive to the nearest town, Savonlinna, the summer cottage felt like it was situated in the middle of nowhere. We came to discover Savonlinna to be a quaint and interesting town, having visited the hotel for internet, shops, the castle, church (run by a British pastor and his Finnish wife), and the hospital (yes, we got to try out Finnish medical care when one of the girls fell and badly sprained her ankle.)

We have so many fond memories:

  • the summer cottage the youth stayed in and where we had all our meals down by the lake
  • the sauna hidden in the trees that we all crammed into before running our heated bodies down the hill and into the cold lake
  • the deck where we fished, read books, had quiet times, and breakfasted together
  • and the cottage Noel and I stayed in, about a hundred meter walk through the forest or a five minute row on the lake to get to it (and on which I modelled the cottage in my novelette, Helsinki Sunrise).

Summer Cottage collage

The drive into Savonlinna was on long tree-lined roads (just like everywhere else in Finland).

Finnish Roads1

On one such road, we found this crazy bus stop. It tickled us no end, and Noel just had to try it out. I can imagine that some old man or lady who got tired of standing while waiting for the bus and so placed the chair there for their comfort.

Savonlinna bus stops

Another part of Finnish life and culture are the Kirpputori, or Kirpes for short. We’d know them as second-hand shops. We spent hours hopping from one to the next, finding the most amazing bargains. They carry mostly clothing, but also household knick-knacks, too. I bought myself a long woolen coat, made in England, for 5 Euro. I doubt it had been worn more than half a dozen times, if that, and I’d estimate it would be worth around 200 Euro. Don’t you just love it when you find a bargain? It certainly is going to be very useful when we go to Finland and Hungary in December.


These were the midnight sunsets that bade us goodnight during our Finnish summer cottage vacation. I do miss them and hope I get to experience them again one day.


On November 21st I’ll take your readers to explore the town of Savonlinna, the Ovanlinna castle and the annual Opera festival. It was all so fascinating.

HelsinkiSunrise_w11668_300 (2)

He needed the island to himself. So did she.

Three weeks alone at a friend’s summer cottage on a Finnish lake to fast and pray. That was Adam Carter’s plan. But sometimes plans go awry.

On an impromptu trip to her family’s secluded summer cottage, the last thing Eveliina Mikkola expected to find was a missionary from the other side of the world—in her sauna.

Determined to stay, Eveliina will do whatever it takes—from shortcrust pastry to shorts—to send the man of God packing. This island’s too small for them both.

Adam Carter, however, is not about to leave.

Will he be able to resist her temptations?

Can she withstand his prayers?


Helsinki Sunrise is available to purchase from Pelican Book Group,, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble

Watch the Helsinki Sunrise book trailer on YouTube.

Watch the Passport to Romance book trailer on YouTube.

Marion Ueckermann1 - SMALLER

Marion Ueckermann’s passion for writing was sparked in 2001 when she moved to Ireland with her husband and two sons. Since then she has published devotional articles and stories in Winners, The One Year Devotional of Joy and Laughter (Tyndale House Publishers), Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miraculous Messages from Heaven, and her debut novelette, Helsinki Sunrise (White Rose Publishing, a Pelican Book Group imprint, Passport to Romance series). Her second Passport to Romance, Oslo Overtures, will be published in 2015.

Marion blogs for International Christian Fiction Writers and Beauty for Ashes. She belongs to Christian Writers of South Africa and American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives in Pretoria East, South Africa in an empty nest with her husband and their crazy black Scottie, Wally.

Connect with Marion Ueckermann:

Website / Amazon / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest

Blogs: A Pebble in my Pocket / Foreign Affaire

Permission to use images obtained.

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  1. Mariion, you did such a good job of portraying place in Helsinki Sunrise. Fun to read here about your own experiences. I love the sunrise picture especially.

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