I spent 5 days in Finland as a part of my 6 weeks in Europe, and I have to say Finnish people are slightly odd :D
Not in a bad way though. Before I say more, watch this behind the scenes video of Jimmy Kimmel’s show:
That’s what Finnish people are stereotyped to be: quiet, reserved, unexcited.
The only time Finnish people talk are when they have had alcohol or are half naked in the sauna :-)
Finnish people love their saunas. Everyone has access to at least one either close by, or in their homes, or a common one at the apartments. It’s very central to Finnish culture and if you talk to any Finnish person for some amount of time you will hear the word sauna come up. It’s how they live and how they survive the winters and it’s equally fun in summers because summers are just pleasant 15 celsius.
I was in Oulu for majority of my time in Finland, and this is the sauna that I tried out (the hut):
I went here twice. Once during the afternoon, where I found 2-3 people. Other time past midnight, since it was my last day here, and it was full! And since everyone had alcohol in their system at night, they were so talkative! I had at least 4-5 people who were curious about me being there.
The place is run by volunteers and is open to everyone. The cabin, had a place inside to burn wood, over which there were stones. There were two buckets of water in the room and you throw water on hot stones to generate steam.
You stay inside the room till you’re comfortable. After some time you get quite hot, and it’s impossible to stay in longer. At this point, you come out and jump into the river. The river which would feel cold otherwise, feels refreshing after coming out of the sauna. I would dive in multiple times, before I repeated the same process again.
You do the sauna + dip, on loop, till the point you are content.
It’s very relaxing, and highly recommended if you ever go to Finland. Sure you have sauna rooms in gyms but they are not the same.
The sauna pic is taken at 1 am.It was never dark in Oulu during this period. The sun wasn’t there at midnight, but it was bright. I believe they call this “white nights”.
Oulu was very safe. I was out late at night on most days and even out till 5 am on the one that I went to sauna. I didn’t see any homeless people. Surely there must be some in cities like Helsinki, but I couldn’t see any here. The country is highly socialist. Basically, you have to be an idiot to be on the streets. There’s free healthcare, free education, social security if you’re unemployed where you get a place to stay and money to survive. Students get money while studying in colleges!
Finland was also the only place where my hitchhiking attempts did not work. 5 hours at a busy highway and not a single ride. I didn’t take it to heart though, they are just from a different culture.
I did meet wonderful Finnish people when I was there. Friendly and warm couchsurfers, plus a couple of friends that I made at the music festival that I attended. By the way, Finland has amongst the best metal music in the world. If you didn’t know it’s amongst the highest metal bands per capita regions. Look at the bright red in this graph below:
I saw the bands Kalmah, Swallow the Sun, and Moonsorrow, and a few others, who were the main reasons for me to attend Jalometalli. The 3 that I mentioned are bloody amazing bands <3 Some pictures:
The country is perfect, except for the fact that it’s pretty much flat and hence no opportunities for hiking. It has tons of lakes though, more than 150k, which is a lot if you consider that there are just 5 million people.
The featured image of this post is again a picture that I took past midnight, at a place called Hetta. Very hypnotising view!