Deep in the forest of Finnish Lapland I am arriving in front of the impressive timber cottage of Markus Killi which is guarded by a number of thickly fured dogs.
“Do you like Chilli con Carne?” Markus, a man build like a tree himself, asks as I am getting out of the car.
Of course I do…….
Markus, a veterinary entrepreneur, used to own some large veterinary clinics in the South of Finland, before selling them all and moving up North, pursuing one of his other great passions in life : high end photography.
His depictions of the Aurora Borealis and of Finnish wildlife have featured in National Geographics and some images that he took in Lapland are decorating living rooms all over the world.
While admiring his house, Markus tells me that the purchase was one of the best deals of his life. Not only because he loves living here, but also because he later found out that the timber that was used to build the house is no longer obtainable in this size in the whole of Finland. Just the cost of the trunks exceeded double the purchase price of the whole real estate.
It turns out that Markus is not only a great vet and businessmen, but also an excellent cook and while sitting in his kitchen enjoying the warm dish, we are philosophing about the benefits of a life at the Northern fringe of Europe.
After the meal Markus shows me a small treatment room in the basement of his house. It is far removed from the space and from the facilities his clinics in the South used to offer, but even with his limited means Markus is providing up here a very vital service to the local community and many pet lifes were saved in this room when an hour long transport to larger clinics wouldn’t have been an option.
When the time has come to say goodbye to Markus and his dogs, I am once again confronted with the complexity of the Finnish language and I am wondering how long it might take to type the Finnish word for “veterinary practice” on an English keyboard….