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> What to do in Finland, Opinion
post Aug 26 2008, 04:22 AM
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Hmmm...Finland is a bit different tourist destination. I'm a Finn living in Helsinki and of course it is always difficult to see your country as a tourist attraction. But I could try.

When I travel I enjoy most experiencing things and not just going from one museum or statue to another. I actually know nothing about any museums in Finland. In even if it may make me sound uncultured I would guess that none of the museums are worth the visit unless you REALLY love all museums.

Here are some things to experience in Finland in no particular order:

- Go to a sauna and swimming. Sauna is a very big part of Finnish lives and there is nothing better than coming out of sauna naked on a balmy summer evening. Walk leisurly the pier to the water edge and dive to the calm lake. There is silense and nobody around. The same is true in Winter with additional exercise of first making a hole in the ice. The feeling you have after getting out from the icy water and standing on the pier is incredible. You tingle all ower and feel really energized.

- Picnic at Suomenlinna island just outside of Helsinki. It is really easy to get to the island with ferrys going every so often the whole summer. Your public transport card is valid for those ferrys also.

- Drive to Naantali, just some 200 kilometers from Helsinki and go to the Moomin world. It is an attraction for children mainly, but for people who like Moomins it's a must see. The best way is to drive/take a train to Turku and catch the steamboat Ukkopekka to Naantali. You dine while enjoying the most beautifull archipelago in the world, have several hours in Naantali and on the way back you have a dance on the pier.

- Go dancing! This is very popular in Finland especially in summer when there are a summer dance every saturday all over Finland. Dancing is usually in a big open room and girls make a row on the other cide of the room and the boys make a row opposite of the girls. And then the boys go to the girl, bow nicely and ask if they can have this dance. If the girl accepts they dance 2 dances and then boy takes the girl back. Several times during the night there is also girl's turn to pick up a partner. This is how I found my boyfriend hug.gif

- If you have more time go to Lappland and make one of the several hikes awailable. Also rent a cabin and just enjoy the peace an quiet. If you have a chance you could see rhe Ruska. It is when in Autumn the ground and trees glow in a caleidoscope of colours ranging from red to yellow to green. The weather is crisp but not freezing and all the mosqitoes are probably gone already.

- Visit Eastern-Finland with all its thousand lakes. Rent a car to drive around and walk once in a while.

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post Aug 26 2008, 10:26 AM
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Rolling Stone

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Those are some great tips. I would love to one day experience an authentic sauna (pronounced .... SOWnah? My Finnish friend tried to teach me how to say it once, haha)

How often do you go to the sauna?

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post Aug 27 2008, 12:54 AM
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Well, mostly sauna is just an everyday/weekly thing you do. As is taking shower and washing your hear. If you just go to the sauna in your apartment it's just a means to relax and get warm. Sauna experience is totally different if you do it in a summer cottage or anywhere near the water. When you go to sauna/swim/sauna/swim...several times and sometimes you continue iot for the whole day, just having a barbeque in your swimsuit when hungry and then going right back to sauna/swim.

In Finland most apartments have their own sauna and even if the apartment has no sauna, then there is a house sauna, whish all inhabitants can use every week for a very modest fee. We have our own sauna and I tend to go once a week in summer and several times a week in winter, depending on how cold it is. But my boyfriend goes to sauna almoust every day.

I actually just went to Siberia, Russia (the Altai region) and the Russian Banja is pretty much similar to sauna, just a bit more humid. We felt very much at home there :=)
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