Should everyone want their own beach?

One of the things about Finland is that most families have a summer house on or near a lake or by the sea. Hearing the sound of rippling of water with dappled sunlight in summer or the sight of white snow-covered thick ice in winter is a reality or a dream for most Finns. We have plenty of room and an endless supply of lakeside and seaside places to park your summer house or even a round-the-year house.

Yet still one should ask why do people want their own beach? Why not encourage planning that reserves waterside areas as public spaces that must be at least 20 or 30 meters from the water’s edge? Perhaps that is too idealistic for most folks…

In the most parts of Europe, the best lake and seaside plots of land have all be reserved and you can only get one by paying ludicrous amounts money. The fences are high and the “PRIVATE PROPERTY” signs are displayed at every corner…

However, in many big cities and towns there are paths by the water have been dedicated to the public – there are broad waterside boulevards where people can sit and enjoy the light and openness  that the view over water brings. 

Such places have a calming effect that you can all experience on large open expanses of long empty sanding beaches – think about the Gold Coast in Australia or the long sandy beaches in Ireland and in Devon in the UK. Even Finland, Denmark and Sweden have them too. Many other fine beaches are found elsewhere in Europe and Asia but crowds of sun worshipers occupy every square inch in summer and in winter they are deserted and windy…

The Finnish summer house, set in the forests beside a lake or the sea – with easy access to fishing for perch, pikeperch, sprat, trout and pike with the opportunity to pick wild blueberries, cranberries, chanterelles, porcinis, and many other wild mushrooms provide a wholesome way to enjoy spring, summer and autumn. In winter ice fishing and log fires… and somebody must cut down the odd tree or trees and cut logs for the sauna with the birch switch – a collection of freshly cut thin birch branches tied together as in this photo:

You gently swish this switch against your legs and back in a hot steamy sauna to ease the aches and pains of work (cutting logs or grass) or of old age! They give off a delicious scent and revitalise your body before you pop own to the water for a swim…

Ah…Summer… what a life…

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