Two Weeks in Helsinki

Trip Start May 26, 2006
Trip End Sep 06, 2006

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Tuesday, June 6, 2006

The Daughter of the Baltic.

Two weeks in Helsinki, the capital of Finland.

The city where saliva coats the pavements, a third of the inhabitants wear studded collars, long black jackets and scowls, while the other two thirds, during the first signs of summer and wearing very little, flock to the parks after frequenting the closest alcohol store, only to drunkenly wander around to find the most convenient place to take a leak, usually behind trees or the corners of buildings, in the middle of the city park.

Yes, summer truly is here.

But what was I doing here in this wonderful city? I hear you ask.

Well, while staying at my - mum's - friend's - boy's - place, (his name was Jarmo), I was going to a course on Finnish History, luckily in English. And to get to the lecture hall I had to take a bus or train, a tram, a bus or metro (subway train), and then walk a few back streets...

It also didn't help that I had the wrong address.

Guess how many times I got lost?

I stopped counting after I got lost in an apartment store while I was lost. It's a good ploy; attract people in and then allow them to wander around trapped inside, hoping they'll buy something when they can't find a way out. Twenty minutes of my life trying to find the exit, elevators, stairs, five floors later and I found myself exiting into a part of the city I knew even less about.

But Helsinki does have quiet a few merits, the bus, tram, train systems are incredibly efficient, when you know how to use them, the people interesting and the architecture amazing, I'm a sucker for baroque and art nouveau, and all other old buildings, especially churches. I find it a little ironic that tourists and others go to these large churches not to admire 'the work of god' but the efficiency and skill of humanity to build such monuments.


Although I cringe every time someone in front of me clears their throat out onto the pavement, I've become used to seeing the occasional pisspot on the corner, the glares sent my way when I make a point to smile at random mascara eyed strangers, and I've even become familiar with the central area of the city. It's not such a bad capital city, even though everything is so expensive I was forced to live off macaroni for the two weeks. (I did refuse it in my second week, but Jarmo literally ate it at breakfast, at lunch and at dinner. Variation - with or without mincemeat or tuna.)

Hmm I complain about macaroni, but it was cheap. Maybe I shouldn't have spent all my money on those damn Finnish lollies.
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