Walking the Streets with Steed & Mrs Peel

Trip Start Jan 31, 1996
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Finland  , Southern Finland,
Thursday, May 19, 2011

Helsinki isn't pretty and she never really smiles. She's nice enough though, and so are her people. She's also efficient, and clean; the kind of city that you could wrap your arms around and hold tight. But not for long. Soon, you'd find yourself wanting to leave her. I'm not sure that a real urban boy could ever truly love Helsinki. I can't explain her much better, other than to say that if you actually did fall in love with Helsinki you'd have to earn about a $100,000 a month to be a able to provide her with the standard of living that she has become accustomed to.

Helsinki airport is around 20 kilometres from town. For almost the entire distance you drive past Parry Sound-like rock and forest. Jim, a man of geology, says it's the Baltic shield, similar to the Canadian shield. When he explains these types of things I smile and nod.

The flying time from Barcelona to Helsinki is about four-and-a half hours. We went into our hotel restaurant about eight minutes after the kitchen closed and that was probably good. When the waiter showed me the drinks-only menu I took out my euros to dollars calculator and determined that the journey from Spain cost less than four pints of beer. I went to bed both hungry and thirsty.

This morning we did one of our usual urban hikes. Mary and Ellen were walking ahead when Jim said that the walk made him feel as though he was in an episode from the old Patrick MacNee, Avengers series. I almost messed my trousers. I'd been feeling the exact same way. We were walking through the streets of an immense old city and it was almost devoid of humans. That's the way it always was in The Avengers. All we needed was some of that 60's beatnik music - as John Steed and Emma Peel sleuthed, or perhaps helped rid the world of Communists - and we'd have been totally lost in an east of Scandinavia time warp.

I found after just one day in Helsinki that there are far too many blondes. This morning I fired off a proposal to the Department of Immigration, offering my services as an immigration consultant. I stated in my plan to the Immigration Minister that within five short years I could populate Finland with an equal number of brown, black and red haired people. It's been better than a week now and I've not yet received a response. Perhaps I should follow up with a telephone call.
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