So, I spent my autumn holiday in Finland to be with some of my favourite people. Autumn is my favourite season and well.. spring and summer in Finland have been amazing so far, so with all those trees, autumn must be spectacular right? Well, it was!! So. Many. Colours.
I’ve always been a bit of a forest dweller. My opa ( the name we Dutchies have for grandpa) was born and raised in the forest and he always took my mom and my uncle to the forest to go on adventures as well! Growing up I spent a lot of my holidays and weekends playing in the forest with my opa, mom and sister, so I guess you could say that it’s a part of my roots.. Ha-ha get it? 😉 But being raised with this love for nature, fresh air, swimming in lakes and then moving to a city in Denmark, really made me miss being close to nature. Now don’t get me wrong, Denmark is a stunning country, if you go to the right places and the same goes for the Netherlands. Both are relatively small countries with a bunch of people. Denmark only has about 5,5 million people, but the Netherlands is roughly the same size with about 17,5!!!!! million people. I live close to the capital here in Denmark, which means more people and with that, less nature. My mom always used to tell me that the trees tell stories and up till this day, the sound of leaves rustling in the wind make me feel warm inside.
I needed me some Finland, so the autumn holiday couldn’t start soon enough. I just needed to get away from all the hustle and bustle for a while. So when October 13th came around I was hyped! I was stoked to see my boyfriend and his family and getting to be amongst the vast nature and the trees again.
My boyfriend was wondering if I would liked to walk the hiking trail in the nature reserve in Punkaharju and I obviously did not decline that offer. I’ve heard a lot about Punkaharju and its beauty, so naturally I wanted to go and check it out.
It was absolutely stunning. I honestly had no idea what to expect, because despite the things people share on social media, you never really know what it looks like in real life! The tranquility the area holds is so good for the soul. The way the lakes shimmered in between the pine trees made me feel at ease.
We spent quite a bit of time at the Punkaharju Esker Ridge and I’ll definitely be back. It’s a relatively small area, but it’s such a nice place to be at.
I could honestly write a book about how amazing and beautiful Punkaharju is, but I did some other things too! Finding food in nature has always been something I loved doing as a kid. I’d often spend afternoons foraging chestnuts and blueberries with opa and I hadn’t done anything like it for years! I wonder why that is.. It’s not like the chestnut trees and berry bushes just disappeared, but I guess it just kind of happens when you grow up? My love and I ended up talking about finding mushrooms and I told him I had never eaten chanterelles before, since they’re expensive and not that easy to find over here. So we ended up on the hunt for some of those nice, nice shrooms.
Looking for those mushrooms made me feel like a child again, but most importantly, it made me realise how much food can still be found out in nature if we’re just willing to go out looking for it a little. That is definitely something I’d want to get into more, once my situation will allow me to do so. But it was a lot of fun! It’s something I look back to with a smile on my face as I’m writing this.
I also spent a lot of time indoors, when the weather wasn’t too great. I don’t mind rain at all and the smell of petrichor is something I am absolutely in love with. But autumn for me has always been the season to cuddle up with family and friends, watching movies, lighting candles and bake things! In the Netherlands we call it ”gezelligheid” and here in Denmark it’s called ”hygge”. Those are the words I live by and well, this holiday was the definition of it. We spent a lot of time cooking, laughing and baking too!
As soon as the weather allowed it, we decided to go to Koli National Park. The past months I’ve just been talking about it non stop and I think my boyfriend, at times, may have even gotten tired of me mentioning it! But he took me there and WOW!!! It was magnificent in ways I can’t even explain.
It was like nothing I had ever seen before. Trees and lakes as far as the eye could see and rock formations created in the ice age made me really think about how ancient this land is. When you grow up in and around modern buildings, with most of the forests being man made or just removed, you kind of lose touch.
It was bizarre to walk around in the pictures I had been looking at for so long. But what made it even more special is the fact that I got to experience it with someone I really love. The way he shows me his country is so cool and to see it through his eyes is amazing to me.
We hiked for quite a bit and even though my body was exhausted, my mind wasn’t. My mind felt at peace. I could’ve stayed there forever.
All in all that was an awesome day to me, but it’s about to get a little crazy. The day I arrived, hunting season on moose started in Finland and my boyfriend’s dad has basically been hunting every day I was there. I told him that I had never seen a moose before, to their shock, and he told me that he’d let us know if they caught one. Well, that happened. I was exhausted after our hike at Koli, but love said it was close by, so we decided to check it out. Upon arriving at the site they told us to go, some other hunters arrived with a pick up truck, a quad and a trailer. They got the quad off the trailer, attached the trailer to the quad and told us to hop in the trailer. Uhhhh… okay? We hopped in and drove into the forest and it was a bumpy ride to say the least. After that bumpy ride it was still about a 100 metres into the forest by foot, because the quad couldn’t get there. It was rougher terrain and we had to jump over two creeks. My shoes completely ruined by this point, but whatever I guess! We got to where we needed to be et voila! I saw my first moose. Dead. But okay, a moose nevertheless. Then we had to go the same route back and at this point I was frustrated, it was getting dark, I was wet, shoes destroyed and twisted my ankle. My boyfriend felt bad for me and wanted to make it up to me, even offered to but me new shoes, but I definitely didn’t want him to do any of that. I was just happy to get home after a busy day and honestly, it was very comical. I’m laughing as I’m writing this, because it just was that silly! The two days after love spoiled me rotten, despite me telling him not to, but if he insists, I won’t fight it.. 😉
And just like that, the trip came to an end. Time flew by, but so many amazing memories were made and I honestly didn’t even have everything included, but that’ll be some other time maybe.
How did you guys spend your autumn holiday?
I’d love to hear about it!