Working in the field of international youth work brought me to cooperation with Youth Center Villa Elba 20 years ago. Even before my first visit in Kokkola, the name of the Youth Center created a beautiful imagination in my fantasy: I like Villa’s. I spent some really nice time on the Italian island of Elba. And I love sauna. Perfect pre-conditions for a love story.
Thanks to international youth work, I got a lot of possibilities to visit Villa Elba: as a participant in seminars, as a youth leader in youth exchange programs or as a participant in network meetings. And as many other people – I guess – I fell in love to this magical place the first time entering the center. The location in this idyllic, quiet bay of the Baltic Sea in the middle of nature holds something fascinating, a perfect place for so many activities. But it’s more than just that beautiful place and the opportunities it offers.
From my experience, this unique fascination is based on a wonderful team of open-minded, friendly and clever people. Offering so many activities and sharing this beautiful place for and with people from all over Europe makes it special. Whenever travelling somewhere in Europe in the context of international youth work, you will meet someone, who knows Villa Elba and who shares the fascination for this place. But even on private travels I met people from the very West of Europe in Porto and in the fare East in Turkey randomly who have been in Villa Elba. You created a magical place. Thank you!
This magical place now formed the basis for my love story. The first time I had the chance to visit Kokkola in winter, I experienced my own personal magic: I saw the famous northern lights for the first time on the picturesque jetty that protrudes over the shore into the sea at Villa Elba. And at that very moment I met my great love for the first time. Exactly 18 months later, I returned with her to this exact place on a long and romantic summer night to ask her to marry me. My wife, who grew up just a few kilometers from my hometown (in Germany) in Luxembourg, and I had to travel to the far north of Europe to find our happiness. This emotional story of course burned Villa Elba in our memories forever. With good reason we named our firstborn son ”Finn”. And of course such romantic story is only possible with a lot of support and help from open-minded, friendly and clever people. Kiitos paljjon, Ritva!
There have been a lot of reasons why I haven’t been in Villa Elba for several years now: job, family and kids, Corona… But we are looking forward to our next stay, already foreseen. It will be wonderful to show our kids, where we met and where our family started 8 years ago.
With love, we send a big hug to everyone over there in Sannanrannantie. Hope to see you soon.
Stéphanie & Ralf from Luxembourg