Helsinki n'all ....
Trip Start Aug 01, 2006
54Trip End Dec 31, 2007
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Monday, September 4th Take the train to Frankfurt Main from Stuttgart. Have to explain to Irish boyz on train concept of booked seats before they get taken apart by angry mob and head off myself to find a vacant non booked seat. Find but then have to change at Mannheim - noooooo
At Frankfurt straight across the road to Hostel Frankfurt. Despite being on a dodgy street very good hostel. Get T.V. in room and en suite bathroom - wow. That night visit the olde Euro bank (well the outside) and the Romerberg (old town square). BTW what is with germans and all drinks having to be carbonated
Tuesday, September 5th Off to Frankfurt Airport and Finnair flight to Helsinki. Very impress with service. Free dinner with wine (hooray), screens show pilots view on take off, approach and landing and seats have extra support. Get to Helsinki and bus to Main Railway station. First impressions of Helsinki after a couple of hours - beautiful art nouveau architecture, friendly and helpful people but very expensive. Have a crap hostel setup. 20 Euro for bed in four bed dorm in dilapidated building. To have a shower - hold shower head in one hand, use finger from other hand constantly on button which switches water between tap and shower and move body to avoid taking white wash off walls. Chris (English guy in room) in shock at prices after 6 weeks Ukraine, Latvia etc. Despite this Hostel and all other hostels around booked solid this week.
Go to train station and book rail ticket to St.Petersburg. Lucky did as got my accommodation via travel service in station at Russian Guest house due to having ticket. It used to be a house for Russians to stay in Soviet times. Book also ferry today to Tallinn (62 Euro return)
That evening go to Senate square and cathedral looking amazing in street lighting (see picture when uploaded).
Go to Tallinn entry now if working chronologically
Friday, September 8th Back Helsinki. Get good photos of Cathedral and Market square from back of boot. Off to Russian guest house and not bad. Have to leave key with woman of house as she says to avoid people late night drinking. Have own basin in room which is bit of luxury. Rainy day so do a bit of, via underground tunnels, window shopping and internetting (as of this entry) and see Mary Harney has given up the ghost. Get 300 euros of Russian roubles and have to be more careful from now on with so much cash on me.
Feel throat getting worse again and very cold this evening. Hope the Russian winter is not coming early!
Saturday, September 9th Get up a bit late with the cold and after quick coffee determined to head off and see best things of Helsinki away from the main city centre
1. Olympic staidum of the 1952 Olympics (see pic),
2. The 'Church in a rock' - very cool (see pic)
3. The cemetery for the Finnish dead of World War two against the Russian (including German war dead monument) - see pic
Also buy a jacket today as getting nervous this bad weather is going to following me. Preety hard to do as in Helsinki everything is top designer brands. Eventually get one for 55 euro but at 17.30 when all the shops close for weekend at 18.00!
Helsinki bloody freezing this evening and lots of police around the city centre. Due to Finland having EU presidency a big convention in town. Around 21.00 police seal off a whole junction near main railway station to stop a big riot. Dieing tonight now of cold so off to bed for me
Sunday, September 10th Last day getting up late before the whole big tour starts tomorrow. Totally none tourist thing today. Meet up with ex housemate Jusi from house in Blanchardstown. He is from Finland and now living 50 minutes by train away from Helsinki. Do a few pubs including Molly Malones and talk about travelling and Ireland. Helsinki a small town as Jusi bumps into two ex work colleagues from Dublin. Get to sample the Helsinki dinki (tall drink - cannot remember second part of name Jusi can you correct me) which is lemonade and Gin. It was a drink 'created' for the 52 Olympics and the Helsinkities still down a few when the weather OK. Jusi and his mother went off home around 7 and after dodgy Chisese buffet for second night in succession (only cheap way to eat in Helsinki it seems) off to bed for early morning tomorrow. Onwards to Mother Russia!