Walking

Us Finns, we’re all country people at heart. And we’re built like country folk. So more often than not, we rely on our own two feet to get us from place A to B.

Not everybody would walk from Hanko to Nuorgam but if a Finn a says “It’s just a short walk from here” – be prepared.

I was in Doha a few weeks back with a Finnish friend. Our local friends drove us everywhere, often you didn’t even need to walk from the parking lot since there was valet parking everywhere.

But one day we decided to walk by ourselves the short distance from our hotel to a cafe. Already at the reception we had to lie to the reception desk who worriedly enquired whether we had a ride. Once on the street we realised the seemingly short distance was made slightly more challenging by the absence of sidewalks and pedestrian crossings. The quizzing looks we got on our way was explained by the simple fact that nobody walks anywhere in Qatar.

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These shoes were made for walking. And the feet as well.

A short walk to a Finn is also very different than what it is for an Italian. A 30-minute walk for a Finn already means a considerable distance as we move… briskly.

My former Italian colleague explained the difference perfectly: Mediterranean people are used to a more leisurely pace as it’s always hot there whereas Finns are always eager to get out of the cold.

My own family is the perfect example. A relative of mine was told by the doctor to avoid any strenuous exercise. She then walked to town, and had a short stroll in the afternoon, covering close to 10km. But walking doesn’t count, does it?

My grandma goes against the grain though. She’s been instructed to exercise half an hour every day. So she went for a 30-minute walk. She’d already been (cross-country) skiing for a few hours but surely that doesn’t count?

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