Chilly and rainy Helsinki

Well, the lucky streak is officially over, it seems. Prior to my arrival in Finland, the only rainy day on my calendar was that one day in Gdansk, the day I wanted to visit the beach resort of Sopot. Other than that, Mother Nature had the decency to make it rain only at night, so that I could enjoy warm and sunny days in Warsaw, Wroclaw and Krakow. How I miss hanging out on the market squares of both Wroclaw and Krakow, sipping on a cold Polish beer and watching the world go by (or more exactly, scoping the babes!).

While traveling, we are always at the mercy of the weather. And I guess I landed in Helsinki at a bad time, because it rained every single day I was in the Finnish capital. The sun at least came out for a while on each day, so I can count my blessings and be happy. Honestly, I never thought I'd be getting such low temperatures in July, regardless of the fact that I was so far north. But 18 degrees yesterday, and a scant 16 this morning??? What the fuck!?! Isn't it suposed to be summer everywhere!?!

I have to say that seeing the sun go down past 11:00pm is kind of cool, and so is going to bed past midnight when it's not fully dark outside. The downside of that is the fact that sunrise occurs around 4:00am, which makes for really short nights!

I must admit that I'm missing Poland for a variety of reasons, none of them being the rapidity of their trains! But my Canadian dollar took me much further on Polish soil. With the euro in Finland, I find that my budget just ain't the same. Can't wait to catch that ferry to Tallinn on Saturday! Then I'll be able to "live" again!!!,-)

Although the weather conspired against me in Helsinki, I still managed to visit most of the main attractions. I was pissed that the rain screwed up my schedule and that I couldn't catch a bus or a train to the medieval town of Porvoo. But other than that, I was able to check out the kauppatori, the Uspensky Cathedral, the Senate Square, Tuomiokirkko (the white Lutheran cathedral), the Parliament, the City Winter Garden, the Church in the Rock, Sibelius Park, and the Suomenlinna fortress. All in all, not a bad haul, all things considered. . .

Unfortunately, everyone in my hostel kind of sucked, so I wasn't able to get out at night and experience the renowned Finnish hospitality. I was looking forward to talking about hockey with some fellow fans of that great sport!

Scandinavian women are very nice, of course, though they don't measure up against the Polish ladies!:p Of course, Helsinki is not Copenhagen. But that's a whole other story. . .,-)

One thing that really struck me about Helsinki is how big the heavy metal/Goth/punk scene has remained. Though it's kind of dead compared to the early 90s in North America (the heydays, if you ask me), there seems to be an inordinate amount of headbangers in Finland! I felt like I was stepping back into time when I was walking around town!

I have just arrived in Tampere, where I will be spending two nights. Hopefully I'll find a couple of drinking companions to enjoy the town later tonight and Friday night. Then it's back to Helsinki to catch a ferry bound for Estonia. Holy shit, only two weeks of traveling left. Time really does fly by. . .:-(

I'm almost done with Carlos Ruiz Zafon's The Shadow of the Wind, and my God is it good! I'm LOVING it! I should have discarded the Susanna Clarke so long ago. If, like me, you haven't given this one a shot yet, put it at the top of your "books to read" list. It's heading for a perfect 10/10 at the moment. . .

Talk to you later! Again, please don't spellcheck me. . .:-)

14 commentaires:

Larry said...

As I'll say again, The Angel's Game is even better in my opinion, Pat. Summer 2009 can't come soon enough in regards to that, huh? ;)

If it'll make you feel better, it's supposed to be 33ºC here today :P

Aidan Moher said...

Weird.

When I was in Europe a few years ago I was --><-- this close to buying a copy of Shadow of the Wind to read on the plane ride home.

There must be something about Europe that speaks to that novel!

~Aidan
A Dribble of Ink

Sini said...

Yeah, June & beginning of July have been rather rainy in here. I'd say normal Finnish summer weather. Tomorrow should be a warm day, again colder on Saturday. Too bad you aren't in town on Sat, it would have been nice to meet you. I can talk about hockey, too ;)

The amount of heavy metal fans may have something to do with the big music festival (Tuska) that was here last weekend, some of the audience are probably taking few days to get around Helsinki too. Even if some Finnish heavy bands are known out of our borders and there are lot of fans, I haven't noticed them so much...

Anonymous said...

Ha! Told you so about Shadow of the Wind vs Strange. Glad you're enjoying it. Is The Angel's Game Zafon's novel that just came out in Spanish?

Enjoy Estonia! And thanks for the report on Finland.

Larry said...

Anon,

Yes, that's the English translation for El Juego del Ángel. Should be out in English in about a year, depending on the country. UK is the autumn, but I think it might be sooner than that for the US.

Paul D said...

That's great that you liked it Pat. It's funny, my two favourite books of the past 10 years are Shadow and Jonathan Strange

Jebus said...

What do you mean you couldn't go out drinking? If there is no one in your hostel you go out to a bar and meet the locals you silly mong!

pacamanca said...

Ooooooooooooh the Shadow of the Wind is absolutely fantastic! I can read Spanish and bought myself a copy in Madrid some time ago, but at some point I found that about 15 pages were simply missing! I made the horrible discovery on the bus going to university and as I would only be coming home late that evening there was no way I could solve the problem until then, and not knowing what came up next corroded my thoughts all day. First thing I did when I got back home was find an online version of it and print the missing pages and read them. I can't wait to read other stuff by him.

As for Estonia, I think you'll be in for a bad surprise, money-wise... I've heard that it's REALLY expensive, even for us euro-earners...

Dark Wolf said...

I read "The Shadow of the Wind" not so long time ago. It is an absolutely brilliant book, I absolutely love it. And even I don't give grades to my reads I think this one deserves a 10+

Patrick said...

Praise the Lord, temperatures reached 27 degrees in Tampere today! But things are supposed to go downhill tomorrow, so I hope I won't have to make my way to the ferry landing in Helsinki under the rain...:/

Only 40 pages to go with THESHADOW OF THE WIND, and I'm spellbound!

Sini: You're probably used to their presence, that's all. They're everywhere in Tampere as well, and every single foreigner I meet comments on them.:-) Goths, punks and headbangers are not held in higher esteem now than they were in my days, it appears!:p

Jebus: Nothing quite screams "LOSER" like a guy going out on his own. I might as well wear a T-Shirt that says "Fuck me, I'm Canadian"

Cecrow said...

Did you bring 'Cryptonomicon' on this trip? There's some Finland scenes in it that suggest (decide for yourself how seriously) depression is part of Finnish culture. Maybe you're getting a true taste of their experience, weather-wise.

Patrick said...

Yep, Stephenson's Cryptonomicon is next on my reading list!

Anonymous said...

Depression is definitely part of the Finnish culture. Ever read anything by Mika Waltari?

Jebus said...

From Patrick:
Jebus: Nothing quite screams "LOSER" like a guy going out on his own. I might as well wear a T-Shirt that says "Fuck me, I'm Canadian"

To each their own I suppose but I've gone out on my own plenty of times when in cities I've never been to and had a brilliant time. Maybe the ladies like this type of loser :-)