After missing a year due to scheduling issues, Minnesotan Suomi-koulu returned to Salolampi, Concordia Language Village's Finnish village, for a relaxing family weekend!
Last time we visited, which was two years ago, there was tons of snow on the ground. This year, the weather was more cooperative - it was in the 60s and sunny during the day, and not too cold even at night. It was perfect!
We arrived on Friday evening and got situated in our cabin, Savo.
Maisie was excited that this was where we'd be staying, because it was one of the boys' cabins last summer when she was a Salolampi camper!
She was also excited in general to be returning. She took a lot of pride in showing us around - this was my cabin, this was where we hung up our swimsuits to dry, this is where I had class. It was great to see how excited she was about Salolampi!
Friday night was pretty laid back - we just hung out and played games in the main dining hall as we waited for the families to arrive. There was fresh-baked pulla and lots of coffee and tea, so the adults chatted and snacked, and the kids played outside.
Saturday morning was sunny and warm! After breakfast, some of us decided to check out the hiking trails.
The trails are well-maintained, nice and flat, and made for a beautiful walk through the woods - even for little legs! Ella and I were joined on our hike by her B.F.F. Lillian, Lillian's little brother Oliver, their mom and dad Tonya and Reid, and Reid's mom Roxy.
Roxy is a member of the Minnesota Mycological society, and a naturalist, so she knew a lot about all the different things we were seeing in the woods! Ella especially enjoyed learning about some of the different kinds of mushrooms that were growing out there.
Roxy found a lot of a kind called "chaga" that grows on birch trees. It looks like it's charred on the outside, but when you break it off it's orangey-yellow. She said you use it to make a very healthful tea - just pour hot water over it. We all learned a lot from her!
There was time for a few photo ops...
And then we were back at camp. Time for some Finnish schoolyard games!
Maisie, it turns out, is aces at kyykkä!
Check out the arm on her!
While Maisie and I played, Ella and her friends (with parental guidance) went down to the beach.
They found all kinds of cool shells, and generally had a good time until someone threw a rock at someone else, which put an end to the beachy fun. Lunch, naps, and sauna followed.
Later in the evening, Maisie and I headed down to the beach with some of the older kids.
We found shells, driftwood, and even some bleached bones that we thought might be from a deer. When it started to get dark, we headed back up to the main dining hall for dessert, tea, and silly selfies.
Soon the little ones went to bed, while the older kids stayed up and watched movies.
Sunday morning it was time to hit the road and head back to real life. Sad! We had a wonderful, relaxing weekend at Salolampi. Maisie's more excited than ever for her next summer session (two weeks!) and Ella wants to go now, too!
We can't wait to go back!