Saija (pronounced "sigh-ah") loosely translates as "The Quiet Place" and few places can be more appropriately named. Seriously, if it's bright neon lights, bars, clubs and really wild things you are looking forward to then this is very definitely not the place for you!
On the other hand, if peace, nature and tranquillity are on your wish list then you need to look no further because staying at Saija is rather like stepping back in time to a far simpler time and place. Accommodation is in apartments, which are just a very short walk from the main lodge (where you have your meals). Naturally, all the buildings are constructed from wood which perfectly complements the surrounding forest and lake scenery.
It may feel like you are living in the past here at Saija but, fortunately, a few modern-day home comforts ensure that your stay will be an extremely comfortable one (including, if you really have to – free Wi-Fi in the main building).
The Finnish author Kalle Päätalo was born very close to Saija and his writings in "Our Daily Bread" vividly describe life in the municipality during the Depression of the 1930s. His work makes stark reading and will leave you thinking "Thank Heaven for central heating and a good meal every night." We would strongly recommend reading "Our Daily Bread" (preferably a version translated from the Finnish original) before visiting or even while staying at Saija. Doing so will give you a completely different and fascinating perspective on just how tough the privations of the 1930s Depression were in comparison to modern-day Saija, which still retains some of its older traditions and charm.
As you glide through a snowy forest with your dog team or drive a snowmobile across one of the stunning frozen lakes, spare a thought for those who may have endured past hardship. We are extremely fortunate.
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