Towards the horizon

Ylä-Karjalassa harjoittelijana oleva Matthias Bellgardt kertoo arjestaan Suomessa. Matthias on Suomessa pääsiäiseen saakka Hyvärilän Horisontti-hankkeen kautta.

Leisure Time


When I came here, I of course wanted to do some typical Finnish leisure activities. Sauna was a top priority on my list and maybe some other winter activities. I couldn’t do everything I wanted, but I did at least some of them.

First things first: Sauna. I met some Finns in my first week here, who invited me to my first sauna experience. After that I regularly visited the common sauna in Hyvärilä. I also was in the spa at Bomba. There was this Karelian sauna, which was really hot. A colleague of mine could not stop to pour water on it. Even the air burned in my mouth. We could not stand it long in there and stormed out.

One of the winter activities I did was hiking with snowshoes. I am a bit heavy to put it politely, so every time I walk on deep snow, I’ll sink in. Snowshoes help a lot. After a small hike around Hyvärillä, to get a feeling for the snowshoes, we did a trip to Koli national park. Our guide took us to some beautiful scenic places. The view was amazing.

I played paintball once with my group. I looked really forward to it, but the circumstances were not ideal. The play area was in the woods with deep snow. I sank right up to my hips with every step I took in the snow. Walking in this condition was so exhausting, that I last only one round. I could not see anything, cause my mask got steamed up and I tried not to fall down. After that I was done. I played paintball before in a hall and it was a way much better experience.

Unfortunately, I missed some winter activities I wanted to do, like ice-fishing, snowmobile driving and skiing.

In the weekends I occasionally tried the nightlife of Nurmes or in short, the disco. I am not a big fan of disco. I often don’t like the music, I don’t like to dance so much and it’s too loud to talk with each other. On the other hand, weekends can be boring. With the right people, it can be a good night. I also wanted to meet some Finns and look how they party. It was funny to see how at first all the men sit there like chickens on pole, while the women were on the dancefloor. I got the chance to talk with some of the locals and had some fun conversations. Finns can be really outgoing at night. At 4pm the disco is closing. In Germany there is normally no closing time for bars and discos. After the disco it often goes to the next pizza place for a snack and then back to our house.

Other things I do in my free time here are basically some of my hobbies. I like to play video games, so I brought my Laptop with me, even if it’s running like a potato.

I am also an avid pen&paper role-player. I play games like Dungeons & Dragons and Shadowrun at home. I love this kind of games. Besides the rules, the only restriction is your imagination. You have absolute freedom of choice, unlike in video games. It would be too much to explain it here how it works, so here are some links:öytäroolipeli

I played some rounds with my group here. The game is called Call of Cthulhu. It is based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft. It plays in our world in the 1920s and is about indescribable and cosmic horror, which the player characters must confront without completely losing their mind or die trying. I was the game master and the others were players. It was fun and I like to introduce new players to these games. I could write on and on about this topic, but I have to keep it short.

Last but not least, I even began to make sport again. I’m more of a couch potato, but it feels good to get some exercise every so often. If I’m lucky, I’ll lose some weight here.



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