Finnish People

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Hidden away high in the heart of Europe lies a country not like any other, it’s home to the Finnish people, who have one of the quirkiest and unique cultures you’ll ever come across. From their obscure sports, innovative pizza toppings, to their love of all things sex, and at the heart of it all lies the most genuine, warm people on the planet.  

They fit perfectly into their country’s long winters lasting nine months. However, luckily for them, the endless summer nights bring the best out of these people, and their loving and outgoing natures are on full display. Sure, they’re wired and awake thanks to their “American” like consumption of coffee, but a visit to this enchanting land will surely show you that everything you thought you know about Finland was horribly wrong. I’ll prove it to you, and by the end, if you’re not convinced to get here and see for yourself, then read it over and over until it does.

Finnish People

There’s only one word the springs to mind when trying to sum up the Finnish people, and that’s calm—the Finns are very private individuals who take the value of words extremely seriously. They believe their word is their honor, and every word holds weight, which explains their care with speaking and why they’re much better listeners than talkers. Although the Finns learn English throughout their educational career, they choose to speak as few words of it as possible, mainly because their education of English was more grammatical than vocal.

However, don’t let that fool you, the Finnish people love to tell jokes that show off their self-deprecating humor and share one of their iconic tall tale stories that get increasingly far-fetched as it goes. You’re a lucky one for sure if you get to hear their slightly awkward jokes or their embellished tales because the Finns do not extend the conversation to strangers very often. In fact, very often you may get an “I don’t speak English” in flawless English but don’t worry, in the time of need the Finns will go out of their way to help you any way they can. It could be as simple as giving you directions or extending their generous hospitality. They may be quiet at times and little shy, but few come as genuine as the Finns.

Nature & Geography of Finland

It’s important to know that Finland has four main parts: Lapland, Lakeland, Coast and Archipelago, and Helsinki. Each region comes with its own unique landscape and geography that create a land full of contrasting beauty.

High in north lies the Lapland, full of barren fells, rugged mountains, extended bogs, and large rivers. Down into the interior, within the Lakeland and Helsinki, lie the flats and rolling hills, peat bogs, lush forests, and thousands of lakes. Finland is known as The Land of a Thousand Lakes, having more than 187,000 crystal blue lakes spread throughout its varying landscapes.

Ever wonder if Santa Claus is real? Not to worry, Joulupukki or the “Yule Goat” really does live in Finland, near the town of Rovaniemi to be more exact, far up north in the Lapland (Santa Claus Village, FIN-96930 Arctic Circle is his address).

Finland’s Culture

The greatest thrill and experience one makes while abroad traveling is taking in another country’s unique culture. In the end, that’s what makes traveling so amazing. In Finland, it’s no different. In fact, it may be quite the opposite.

First, you can never be at one with the Finnish people if you don’t head to the sauna once a day. No joke, the Finns invented the sauna out of the necessity of their brutally frigid winters and ever since saunas are a staple in their everyday life. They’ve even gone as far as reaching for extremes, starting with a swim in the below-freezing waters then scurrying to the sauna to sit in the 200-degree steam. Oh, no clothes or toweled needed here, nudity is just as part of the experience.

Next, you must learn the kind of lifestyles the Finns live. These unique and exciting people love nature and the woods.  Over 60% of Finns have a cottage in the wilderness where they frequent to cleanse their heads and escape the stresses of life. How do they get there, you may ask? They get there fast. The Finnish people love to drive fast, and their record 14 Driving Champions from Formula 1 and Rally Circuits should tell you they’re quite good at it (yearly income decides the speeding ticket fine). However, going fast just isn’t the only thing these peddle to the metal people love. They also love their coffee, their country (United), sex (having it, watching it, recording it, etc.), food (juustoleipa, anything pickled, and milk) especially smoked reindeer which is delicious, and they love their oddities like Sleepyhead Day (last one awake in the house gets thrown into water).

Lastly, these kind, warm people are at the front lines of gender equally, ranking in the top five in the world. Women often are in leading and prominent power positions and men show no signs of intimidation by that one bit. They see nothing but an equal when it comes to the workplace and life. Nothing is more event as the fact that Finland’s former President was female, Tarja Halonen.

Fun and Activities in Finland

Any journey to Finland is a rewarding one, full of delicious food like the smoked reindeer, rocking out with one of the many Metal Bands (more Metal bands in Finland than anywhere else), or letting yourself go wild at Burger King and eating inside a sauna. Yes, some BK’s in Finland have saunas instead of ball pits. However, this is just the beginning.

The country has employed Freedom to Roam laws that allow any person to eat, sleep, or travel anywhere they like without penalty. You’ll save a fortune of lodgings by just bringing a tent and some bear spray. Apart from that, Finland is full of exciting and fun activities to fill every day you’re there, like sailing, swimming, hiking, horseback riding, sleighing with reindeer (you must do it), rafting, kayaking, skiing, ice-skating (which the Finns invented), and cycling. Also, Juhannus (Midsummer solstice), it’s a summer food festival that celebrates John the Baptist with cuisine like the heavenly perunapiirakka, a delicious potato pastry that will change your life.

If you’ find yourself in a search for something that you will never see anywhere else, you ventured to the right place. Finland has unusual, awesomely obscure sporting events like the Wife Carrying World Championships, mobile phone throwing championships, world championship mosquito hunting, rubber boot throwing championships, swamp football championships, and the Air Guitar World Championship.

Finland’s Travel and Cities

From the exceedingly long winters to the long days of summer, Finland offers all people with beautiful views and sights that to see it is an honor all on its own. Journey to the Lapland in winter is a cannot miss event. There are even hotels there made of glass igloos that allow you to take in the breathtaking Northern Lights. Or battle the darkness of the hand carved Paijanne Water Tunnel, the second longest in the world. And wind up to the enchanting South, home of the capital Helsinki, and west the Coast and Archipelago.

From my experience, there are a few must-see places and cities that if you leave off your list, you will cry. Helsinki, Turku, Lake Saimaa, Åland Islands, Helvetinjärvi National Park and Kauhameva-Puhjankangas (perfect for hiking, picnics, camping, and photography).

Travel Finland
Travel Finland

Helsinki is perfect for experiencing a little bit of everything. Shopping, sightseeing, sailing, or hiking. The markets at Kauppatori Square are crowd pleasers for their delicious food (try the open-faced sandwich) and beautiful views from the Sea walk (like a boardwalk) of the Finland coastline and surrounding islands (get to by ferry) like Sumonlinna (sea fortress).

Although, if you ask me, Turku and Lake Saimaa are some of the most amazing places I’ve ever seen. Lake Saimaa is home to seals and ospreys, and the seals have this wonderful pattern to them, and they're quite goofy looking (like a snack-sized seal). The views high on top of the cliffs are worth every second of the long hike to the top. You’ll see for miles and nothing but endless beauty. Turku is middle ages city wrapped in a 21st-century coating. It’s the oldest town in Finland and it home to a massive cathedral, royal castle, a riverfront of houses and ships, and the River Aura. There’s no sight as amazing!

Finland, what else do you want?

You got to the end, congratulations! If you’re anything like me you’re on Google searching cheap flights right about now and rightly so. I’ve been there, and I hope to go back soon. I loved it the first time around and especially the Finnish people. They are unique for sure, but inside they are genuine and outgoing once they open up or get drunk. I’m telling you, you’ll get your money’s worth and then some. There are a lot of beautiful places in the world, but there’s only one Finland and only one set of Finnish people. So, is Finland next up on your travel list or what?

 

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