Jan 11, 2007
Jan 15, 2010
We also had an unusual encounter with a guy at a local cafe. Johann was in his 50's I guess, and might have had some mild mental problems but was enjoying a coffee as we sat down for a snack. Johann told us his entire life story, how his father was German, and that the cafe was basically his "living room." He spoke excellent English and told us about his previous job at a large hotel in town
. When Johann found out we were originally from Tennessee, the home of Elvis Presley, it was a sign from God that we were meant to be life-long friends. Johann spent the next hour telling us every trivia fact about the life of Elvis that you could ever want to know. Johann has been trying to get to America & to Graceland for several years and multiple challenges have prevented him from making the trip. At this moment, Johann is probably still near the port in Helsinki, and he has our names and the word "Tennessee" on a piece of paper. My heart went out to Johann and if I had been carrying anything with word "Tennessee" on it or old TN drivers license, I probably would have given it to Johann as a present. Mom & Dad, if Johann ever makes it to Tennessee and shows up on the doorstep asking for me or Scott, this is how he got our names. Sorry 'bout that...
We had a short visit to Helsinki, only 6 hours or so. It was an interesting place to see because the architecture, the food, and the churches in the city seemed to reflect its physical location. The city is part of Europe yet sits only 80 km from St. Petersburg, Russia. We could see and feel the influence of many cultures as we walked around and toured the city by tram and bus. The Russian influence is clearly evident, and as we continued our eastern trek towards Russia, you could see the buildings taking on a more distict appearance.