Solitude in Finland in 2021
Exactly one year after my first post-COVID trip, to the Balkans, I found myself in Helsinki on a beautiful autumn day.
I wandered the city without a fixed destination. Dazed and confused from a long journey over the Atlantic, Helsinki’s welcoming aura was a comfort.
Little paths wound through the small city. Trees almost outnumbered buildings.
It was a Sunday. Many people were out, but everything was quiet. The sun shone on families taking photos in piles of fallen leaves, children running around in playgrounds, and couples walking along Toloviken Lake.
I could have gotten lost in laziness at my cottage, so I decided to take a drive one day.
There was a sign on the road for Orkani Art about an hour from where I was staying, right outside of Pello.
I pulled off and hiked along a trail littered with art projects. It was eerie to be out there by myself. I never knew what I was going to come across around the next bend.
These are the kind of strange things I love to find when exploring a new region.
I didn’t see a single person, and I hadn’t spoken to anyone for days, so it was a little scary when I came across the little plaster girl.
It was damp and misty, and the only sounds were the dripping moisture from the trees.
I spread some of my dad’s ashes with the girl, so they could look after each other, before heading back to the car.
I kept to myself while in Lapland. There weren’t any restaurants near my cottage, so I ate frozen meals from the store like a bachelor.
When I arrived back in Helsinki after my journey through the former Soviet States, I went to a traditional Lapland restaurant in the city.
I had reindeer filet with a locally brewed beer. It was amazing. Not gamey like venison. Expensive though. Especially after coming from Georgia where everything was so cheap.