If you’re craving solitude, silence and relaxation, this could be the place for you.
During the early summer months at the end of May to September average temperatures are a comfortable 25°C.
My suggestion would be to rent a cabin by one of the 187,888 lakes while you traipse naked from a soothing, fragrant sauna to enjoy the Finnish custom of taking a steamy, cold dip in the lake right by your front door.
First stop was a friend’s holiday house by a pristine, reflective lake somewhere near Lappeenranta.
Rowing up and down the lake allows one to understand that there are neighbours, despite the feeling of being alone.
Sailing down the lake I spot two cabins almost hidden from view, both with private jetty’s and row boats and surrounded by the beauty of native trees.
It felt like we were at a health retreat and the enormous amount of space reminded me of outback Australia.
The days consist of picking wild berries, assorted forest mushrooms surrounded by vibrant green forest of pine and birch, wild-flowers and silence.
The only drinking water is from a small well which provided ice-cold spring water, free and without the plastic.
A gentle breeze through the colourful autumn forest is almost haunting and yet meditative at the same time.
Small yellow leaves sparkle like golden coins in the sunlight and fall like confetti as I soak up the last rays of summer – the soft, auric sun a prelude to winter.
At dusk, the reflective lake shimmers with trout that feast on small winged bugs under a brilliant sunset of pink-orange cloud that sweeps across the darkening sky like cotton-candy.
Besides the small threat of bears and wolves, most forests are safe to enjoy.
Hikers will be pleased to come across cosy cabins equipped with fireplace and cooking facilities.
Nokia’s forest reminds me of a scene from Lord of the Rings. The scent of refreshing pine fills the air and is energising.
It is a great pleasure to walk among the green mossy ground-cover littered with red and white toadstools without the thought of being attacked by snakes and spiders.
Helsinki could be mistaken for a ghost-town because a lot of the main shops are hidden underground below the Central Rail Station making it difficult for a tourist to find a supermarket. S-Market has one of the best variety of foods.
We were fortunate to visit the famous Hakaniemi Markets where the faint melodies from the local accordion player flowed through an almost silent crowd browsing the colourful stalls.
A wood fire and lightly cooked salmon fill the air as people line up to place orders.
Large salmon pieces were pinned on wooden slabs in the traditional way and slowly cooked over a small fire made with birch wood.
The exceptional smokey flavour tasted similar to japanese teriyaki style salmon.
Everywhere we went there was the offer of the strong and bitter, Juhla Mokka coffee, and once again it was available at the open-air cafe. Many stalls provided an abundance of forest berries, mushrooms, vegetables and reindeer meat in all its forms.
Fur coats hung in the sea breeze and there were many kinds of reindeer souvenirs including bottle openers and stuffed toys.
Fishing boat cafe’s were lined up all along the market and offered a variety of basic foods and alcohol.
We tried a nip of Finnish Koskenkorva vodka which helped to take that slight chill out of late autumn air which at time, for us Aussies was brutal when caught in a wind-tunnel.
Salty herrings in cream sauce complimented the vodka and we got a glimpse of what it would be like to live on a boat like most of the fishermen do.
There are so many amazing experiences to be had in Finland, and it would have been a thrill to try ice-fishing or see the northern lights.
I am really looking forward to spending more time exploring this unique and magical land in the future. Until then, Kippis!