You might not know this, but September is a very fine month to be in Finland. It’s a special time of the year, which the Finns call Ruska.
Ruska refers to the colours of autumn, when the leaves on the trees turn to shades of yellow, red and gold. Most of Finland is covered in woodland and throughout the land the countryside is lit up by this vibrant Ruska display.
Ruska is nature’s way of softening bad news. It’s saying, “Your summer’s over guys, but hey, look at all this colour – things aren’t so bad!” Actually, the autumn’s a great time of year to go hiking, take a fishing trip, or just get out and breathe the fresh air. The weather’s cooler than summer of course, but in September, the nose-numbing winter chill is not yet upon us.
Finns love to get out in the autumn countryside. It’s a popular time to wander the paths of the national parks, enjoying serene views of lakes, rivers and trees, but without the need to drench yourself in mosquito repellent. Those pesky little summer insects are long gone by September, so you can hike deep into the lush green forest and nothing will bite you all day, unless of course you disturb a grumpy bear – but that’s very unlikely.
While you’re out enjoying the countryside, you might come across a laavu; a wooden lean-to shelter where anyone can light a campfire to make coffee or cook sausages. It’s a time-honoured part of Finnish outdoor culture. Be aware, however, that Finns might not want to grill sausage with a stranger. They may feel uncomfortable if you decide to sit down uninvited and start some friendly chit-chat. If a laavu is occupied, it’s polite to move on to the next one.
Come and see Finland in stunning September. Ruska is like a gift from nature; a cheery burst of colour before the bright white blanket of winter settles on the land.