.. without doing some idiotic thing that few people other than tourists ever do. This seems to be the case if you read and believe some travel brochures & sites. Whether it’s riding a stupid mock train, climbing a dumb tower, eating some disgusting thing, visiting an obscure museum or some other stupid thing, travel brochures love to dwell on strange little things of any place and call them ‘essential’.
One of the favorite things people say about Finland is that one must go to a sauna. And try staying in Finland for any length of time and you’ll likely be pushed to not only go to sauna but to also jump in a lake (be it frozen or not) afterwards and semi-forced to eat salmiakki, koskenkorva, salmiakkikoskenkorva, mustamakkara and mämmi. At this point it’s worth mentioning that not all Finns enjoy the beforementioned, umm, “delicacies” either.
Finns’ relative comfort with nudity is also apparently a fun thing to tease foreigners with. Recently I bumped into what Timeout.com is saying about Helsinki:
Finally, no visit to Helsinki is complete without stripping off at the Yrjönkadun Uimahalli. This beautiful art deco swimming hall, recently restored, is home to the best sauna and swimming experience in all of Finland. There are separate times for men and women and swimming costumes are not allowed.
Yeah right. Not only are the facts wrong (swimsuits are optional), it’s hardly a thing that one must do for a trip to be complete.
It sucks that people or agencies or whoever even tries to define when you’ve really experienced some place or not. It’s easy to say that “Oh you haven’t really experienced XXX before you’ve seen/done/eaten/drinken YYY” and to dismiss someone else’s experiences of a place or a country by stating “Oh but you MUST do ZZZ!”, but the thing is different things matter to different people. To each person, each country, city or even one area is different, so to heck with all the must-see-this-and-must-do-this-lists.