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. . .:-)