- Last autumn, 22-year-old Anas Zahnoune from Morocco spent two weeks in Finland, mostly in Uusikaupunki. He travelled to Uusikaupunki to spend time with his brother, who had moved to Finland six years earlier to study.
Anas arrived in Uusikaupunki on a pitch-black evening, but fell in love with the idyll of the small seaside city at first sight. His attention was particularly drawn to the beautifully lit Kaupunginlahti and the cold autumn sea breeze. “Uusikaupunki is small but just perfect. I imagine this place is suitable for people who are looking for peace and a laid-back life,” Anas says. During a tour around the city, the large old boats piqued his interest. Anas likes old sea shanties and already pictured himself sailing the Uusikaupunki archipelago on old sailing boats.
In his home town, Rabat, Anas is studying to be a doctor. He is also interested in cars, especially elegant and pimped-up ones. Uusikaupunki with its car factories therefore suited him perfectly. In addition to Mercs, Anas managed to spot a couple of pimped-up cars in the city. He even became friends with a few other car enthusiasts. “I agree with many others who say that Finns appear very serious and difficult to approach at first glance but open up very quickly when you get to know them a bit better. In Morocco, I’m used to joking with even total strangers right away,” Anas says.
Anas’s holiday in Uusikaupunki included a bike trip around the city, a dinner at a local family’s place, a visit to a stable and a night at a restaurant getting acquainted with locals. “It was interesting to learn about Finnish leisure activities.
It was great to get to taste the dishes conjured up by the mother and grandmother of a local family. I fell in love with blueberry quark and salmon pie. I don’t really understand the Finnish sauna and Finns’ inclination to get naked, even though going to the sauna with my trunks on was a great experience. Sauna reminds me of the Moroccan hammam, which is a sort of steam room. The heat wasn’t so much of a shock to me. In Morocco, it feels like the sun is five metres away, so I’d say I’m somewhat used to heat,” he says with a laugh.
Anas thought the journey was a success in all respects, and the best part was, of course, the people. “I got to know my brother’s girlfriend and her family and the authentic local way of life here in Uusikaupunki.” He hopes he will be able to experience Uusikaupunki and Finland again. “Now I’m dreaming of a summer in Uusikaupunki and snowy Lapland. I haven’t yet seen Santa Claus, you see,” Anas says, smiling.