Snow is a fascination to me, aside from one day as a young child visiting relatives in Tasmania, I've never experienced it. So one of the great things about visiting Finland at this time of year is that there's snow everywhere. Walking in the street is a wonderful new experience, initially I was treading in snow just to see the tracks. I walked on different levels of snow, on compressed snow, on icy parts, all just to feel the difference under my shoe. I've even tried jogging to see how it would go.
The way that snow sits on trees fascinates me, the way that lakes or bodies of water freeze fascinates me, the way that birds like ducks account for that extreme coldness fascinates me. One thing I've constantly taken pictures of is the frozen ice on top of cars - everything has been a new wonder for me. Last week I took a walk around a partly frozen lake, so to test out just how frozen it was I made snowballs to throw at it. Obviously the force of the snowballs wasn't enough to break the ice, so I still had no idea whether the ice was strong enough for me to walk on, but I didn't want to take that risk.
Last weekend I took a cruise to Stockholm, on the way back the sea was partly frozen around the Helsinki area. I took dozens of photos of the sea; of the ice up to islands, of the way the ice cracked as the cruise liner went through it, it was beautiful to see. It was really a fascination with an unknown quantity, something I had only experienced vicariously through television was something I could see right before my eyes.
I've been told to come back and see the country in the summer, that then the country is far more beautiful. But I don't know how that's possible. I see a non-snow environment 365 days a year in Australia, though while the landscape and vegetation may differ the same basic principle applies. Hopefully I can do a proper tour of the country at a time when the sun doesn't really go down, again that would also be something wonderful. It may give me the chance to see some stars too. The one drawback of this time of year is that the perpetual overcast skies prevent me from looking at the wonders of the universe from a northern perspective. But aside from that, and the dirty colour old snow turns after a few days, I can't imagine this country being more beautiful than it is now.