The Hunt for the Liver Casserole
Trip Start Mar 21, 2005
8Trip End Apr 16, 2005
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There must have been a gigantic sale at Stockmann's, a department store, because we, unknowing foreigners, were nearly the only people not carrying the yellow bags, but we were on a quest of a different kind in the grocery stores
Helsinki is a big city-like city, very clean (no Tallinn grit) and very modern, with the famous Scandinavian sense of style. It is laid out right on the harbour, but spread out so, although we didn't walk far enough to see it, I think there are lots of parks and green space. We stayed in the downtown section, only wandering far enough to get lost in a labyrinth of a construction site with covered walkways and confusing (well, Finnish) signs pointing the way out- if only we knew what the words "Way Out" looked like.
On the other hand, when speaking, Finns have excellent English and everyone that we encountered seemed to speak it perfectly with no accent. In fact, they spoke so well that I completely forgot to try to say the few words of Finnish that I knew, and didn't try very hard after I attempted to read the name of a cinnamon bun in a cafe and the waitress laughed at my effort and said "Ahh, a cinnamon bun". But Heids, you'll be happy to hear that neither did I tell anybody off in Finnish, so all in all it went well.
Ok, you've probably been wondering where the UNESCO site comes in, so here it is! Out in Helsinki harbour, among the hundreds of islands that look like so many molehills (hmmm- prairie dog hills maybe for those in North America) dug up all over the place is a naval fortress called Suomenlinna which is an excellent example of 18th century naval fortifications, hence the UNESCO recognition
After supper and a few more forays into grocery stores after the illusive liver casserole, we went to the Kiasma modern art museum which was a great way to round off the day with a number of very interesting exhibits (which I won't try to describe because it's modern art and you just have to see it!) before going back to Tallinn on the ferry- leaving the ice-filled Helsinki harbour, and slipping between Suomenlinna's silent guns to re-cross the Gulf of Finland. Upon arriving, the border guard seemed surprised to see a non-EU passport and had to adjust the date on his stamper because he didn't use it much (EU citizens show their passports or ID cards but don't get stamps when going between European Union countries).