Helsinki and Tallinn

Trip Start May 20, 2009
Trip End Oct 15, 2009

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Where I stayed
Nicole and Veli's house

Flag of Finland  , Southern Finland,
Sunday, July 19, 2009

I left Norway on July 13th, and had a 6 hour layover in Copenhavn, where my friend, Pauline came by and visited with me for a  few hours. I had a Mexican lunch served by a Japanese waitress with my Dutch friend in Denmark. Pauline did become a Danish citizen recently tho, because she felt it was important to vote locally and the left (politically) of Denmark really needs some help right now.

I arrived in Helsinki to see the sun set by airplane and Nicole ( Swiss innisfree friend) met me downtown to lead me to their home. I have been living with her and her Finnish husband Veli and their son, Moritz. It is very nice here and we talk, eat and yes, we are playing many games together. At 7, Moritz can understand and speak Finnish, Swiss German and English.. I am very impressed. He's a very nice boy too and fun to play games with. We have taken a trip to the island of Seurasaari where we had a picnic, went to the open air museum and heard a cello concert in an old church. We also heard a concert in a beautiful church built under rock right in Helsinki. We are impressed with oursleves - 2 churches and 2 concerts in  2 days... so cultured.

My hip was getting more and more painful and I was thinking of ending the trip early. I had taken glucosomine chondroitin for about 2 years and decided the pills were too big and too expensive to continue while traveling. I also had no idea if they even do anything. So, before I give up, Nicole helped me find some in the pharmacy. Well, I know now that they make a big difference and it was improved in the first 24 hours. I think the show can go on now and sorry to bore you with problems of getting old.

I met a couchsurfing woman in town and we went to the National Museum to see some social history of Finland in the last couple centuries. Helsinki has quite a large harbor and a very good public transportation system. It is disconcerting not to be able to understand anything of the language, however, written or verbal. I experienced this before in Russia and Greece and one feels rather helpless. Finnish people generally speak English very well so talking is not a problem. They were occupied by Sweden for about 600 years, so the second language is Swedish. I can recognize some of the written Swedish because of its similarity to Norwegian.

I decided to try to see something completely new for me, so took a ferry over to Tallin, Estonia yesterday. The ferry took 3 hours each way, had 7 stories and looked to hold hundreds of people. I took a tour of Tallinn and then walked around the old town for an hour or so and enjoyed a salad of herring and beets. They have recently joined the EU but still use Estonian krooni for money. That was a good adventure. Oh yea, Madonna is performing in Tallinn in a few weeks, just in case you are interested.

I have another week to explore Helsinki and will meet Anne, also from Innisfree, soon. I guess I should find a sauna at some point too, just because.... Many thanks to Nicole, Veli and Moritz for sharing their home so generously with me.
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