A gentle stroll

Trip Start Aug 23, 2009
Trip End Sep 02, 2009

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Our apartment

Flag of Finland  , Southern Finland,
Monday, August 24, 2009


Before we kick off, last night's food. We discovered that last night's tea was reindeer sausage and reindeer meatballs. Thought I would share.

Today we started off with a plan. It was a good plan. But it didn't quite pan out as we intended, not that that was a bad thing. We were going to have a gentle stroll before lunch to the food market, buy some fruit and veg and stuff, then return to the apartment for lunch before having an explore this afternoon. As it was we went for a rather longer stroll than intended and returned to the flat without food after having a scrummy dinner in town. Details in a mo.

So, the apartment. It's fab. It's small. And it's in a lovely location. We're on Katajanokka island which is just to east of the main city, about 15 mins walk away from the centre. It's a studio apartment, and has a kitchen with breakfast bar, sitting area, and stairs to a sleeping loft, which feels a bit like your sleeping in a tent (except that it's indoors) as the ceiling is about waist height (on us). It's a ground floor apartment (hurrah no stairs with the heavy case!) and our windows look out onto the street. At the top of the road, which is at the end of our building, are steps down to the harbour, and it's lovely. We've settled in well, and have found homes for all the essentials - football shirts, flags, cameras and the laptop. Oh, there's a wet room and wardrobes in the apartment. All you need, really.

So back to our gentle stroll of the day. We found one of the official Moomin shops (there's Moomin merchandise everywhere), official Euro 09 merchandise (silk scarves!), and Baabapapa merchandise. So we've got more than enough to occupy us, and to spend our money on! Helsinki itself is beautiful. It's not as large as we thought it was going to be (well, the central part, it goes more north than we are going) and everything is in easy walking distance, as we discovered during the course of the day. There are a lot of parks throughout the city, pretty much everytime you turn a corner there's a stretch of greenery in the southern part of the city. All of which have gravel paths, which sounds great but doesn't half get in your crocs. And there are loads of dogs, mainly small ones, but we've spotted a few labs and a husky or two as we've wandered around.
We've walked the southern coastline and have admired the yachts and sailing boats, as well as looking up at the incredibly tall buildings, some of which are really old and some of which are really modern.

We had lunch in the food market, a lovely sugary cake, which was a bit like a flat doughnut and had jam in the middle (could have been a munkki), and a savoury roll (but much bigger, kind of like a steamed bun, only fried) which had meat and rice and stuff in the middle. All washed down with a cup of coffee. Oh my god the coffe is strong here. One cup kept us going for the next 8 hours or so, and we both had a caffeine rush, which neither of us had experienced for a very long time! Don't think there'll be a lot of coffee drinking going on, so we'll have to have water with cakes I think! Naturally since the sun was shining we had ice cream - yummy stuff, Finnish ice cream! And blimey was it hot! Apparently it was 20degrees C in the shade, but it must be a hotter 20degrees than at home!

On our stroll we came across what looked like a large paddling pool on the harbour. It would have been wrong for us not to have a little paddle, the water was really cold on foot entry, but it felt fab after walking for a few hours. Naturally that also meant we had to sit in the sun waiting for our feet to dry before we could carry on with the walk. It's a hard life sometimes.

Okay, I know what your asking: what was for tea? (Yes I really am obsessed with food, sorry!) Well we decided to eat out (something to do with not having a lot of food in the fridge helped that decision!) and went to Kappeli which is at the foot of the Esplanade Park (in the middle of Design District - the shopping area). It's  glass palace which has a large terrace and a bandstand - it's a swanky park of town. Lisa had Spinach Ravioli, and I had Elk. It was delicious! No really, it was. The food was amazing and not outrageously expensive, which is saying something because of its location.

After tea, we had a gentle stroll back to our apartment and round the island (which looks fab on the harbour paths at night, must remember to take the cameras out with us next time). Which brings us back to here and now and me typing this blog.

So tomorrow is the real start of the Euros. England v Italy at the Lahti stadium (catch it live on Eurosport 1). Kick off is at 5.30pm Finnish time. We're walking up to meet the rest of the gang at the hotel near Helsinki's Olympic stadium (Mike, Pete, Emma, Richard, the Carney's, Bernie and Gavin are all staying there) and then up to the Holiday Inn where we are meeting up with the rest of the party. It's then a coach trip (watching out for over-taking trees and drivers driving by way of their mobiles) to the stadium to watch the girls play. Sing your hearts out for them tomorrow - we will be! Then I think it's back to the Holiday Inn to see the players, and finally back to our apartment. There probably won't be a blog update tomorrow for obvious reasons.

So until the next time - keep cheering!
Big love

Sam & Lisa x
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