Finding Finland

Trip Start May 11, 2013
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Finland  , Southern Finland,
Monday, August 5, 2013

Hi All
Well my last full day in Helsinki - not quite, I leave tomorrow evening for Oslo (Norway) but I'll be packing and organising some more travel tomorrow!

Currently sitting on the enclosed balcony - well atm the sliding foldaway glass panels are sliden away - Scandinavian efficiency! Enjoying some Lingonberrie juice with Finland's official vodka called Koskenkorva (not Finlandia as some would believe). I even found at 60% proof 200ml bottle so I will be anyone's soon... anyone... where are you... anyone???

Went into the city on Friday - about 25mins on tram/train and €2.20 (AUS$3.50 approx) for a 70 min ticket. As per normal I had hightlighted a map with all the touristy sights I wanted to see when I looked them up while I was in Warsaw - yes, by now you should all know I'm anally organised!

First stop was The Helsinki Cathedral. Again, only wanted to see the outside - and that's where all the tourists are! Japanese, other Scandinavians, Italians, etc etc.

Then walked around to Uspenski Cathedral (crossing over -another- "love bridge" - wonder if they got the idea from Paris???).

Then on the way to the Havis Amanda Statue walked through a market with EVEN MORE tourists, some food stalls, a silversmith (unfortunately no goldsmith), some furriers (nearly caved getting ready for the Ice Hotel with Judy in January 2014 - but I can always come back as it's all SO VERY CLOSE!!!).

Past the Havis Amanda Statue and sent cousin Amanda a pic of the nearby "Amanda Bar".

Found the Stockmann department store - bypassing all the "other stuff" and headed straight to the deli, food, groceries, etc etc floor - come on, I thought you knew me! OMG OMG, lots and lots and lots - reminded me of DJ's food hall - especially the meat and seafood section. There was a crowd of locals there, then I realised it was because it was Friday! Stocking (pun intended) up for the weekend. The meats were deliciously appetising and gorgeous - but VERY EXPENSIVE, more than the regular supermarkets here and just like DJs.

Oh and Yay! There as an, "Alko" downstairs which sold wine, liquor, etc - more than 5% vol. Yes, there's some law in Finland where the local retailers can't sell anything more than 5% alc vol, and everyone can't advertise anything more than that either! Ok, heaven take two! 

Well that was enough for one day - yes, I'm here for a long and relaxing time, not to be rushing around, and headed home to plan some more travel. Confirmed today - a best buddy of mine's daughter, Erica, will be meeting me in Prague and we will be doing Prague and Budapest for a week each, then I meet with cousin David in Vienna for our month of travel together.

Today I went into the city again and filled in a few other sights I wanted to see. Mainly the "Rock Church" - no a fan of religion but this was quite wonderful.

Then to the "National Museum of Finland" which was under renos. Cute bear though.

Then to Stockmann's again - where I found the vodka I was referring to earlier, and I also changed some Kroner for Norway, Kronor for Sweden and Kroner for Denmark; at their Forex outlet. Now I can sort of rest easy when I get to the next stop(s) and don't have to worry finding an ATM!

So - now back "home", on the balcony, half packed and ready to book my next legs.

Hope you are all well - not too chilly for some, but I'm sweating here - but I thought you'd know me by now! ;-p 
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