“Finland is boring when there isn’t snow on the ground,” a Facebook friend warned me upon my jubilant check-in at Rovaniemi, the main airport serving the Finland’s northern Lapland region. “Autumn is a boring time of year in Finland.”
His statement annoyed me, mainly because a cardinal travel rule of mine is never to rain on anyone else’s parade, even if they’re traveling in your least favorite place in the world. Moreover, as my friend Antti and I made our way through the Lappish forest toward a village that proudly describes itself as the “middle of nowhere,” I could see with my own eyes that my well-meaning friend was full of shit – the forest was literally on fire! OK, not literally.
Anyway, my entire experience in Lapland was like something out of a fairytale: Building a fire and camping on my own land; hiking through and spending a night on a reindeer preserve; and exploring a remote landscape near the Russian border that seemed like Narnia, but on the moon. When I add my time in the impossibly charming Finnish capital of Helsinki – and a boat trip through an adjacent archipelago with two long-lost travel friends – to the mix, Finland in autumn may very well go down as my favorite travel experience of all time.
Boring? I’ll have to ask my friend which planet he calls home.