Sep 30, 2006
Jan 16, 2010
Okay, this was admittedly a quick visit. I took the fast ferry, just one and a half hours from Tallinn and spent two nights in Helsinki. The morning after I arrived into the u-shaped harbor, I jumped on another boat and took a three hour ride to old Porvoo, so that I would see at least one other town in Finland. It was worth the effort to get up early to catch another boat, because it brought me through the vast archipeligo that makes up the Finnish coastline. I learned that this coastline is one of the only in the world that freezes each winter. Yes, enough to drive a car on. The Finns partake in typical winter fun like ice fishing, hockey, saunas and swimming through holes in the ice. They were surprised I knew about these things and I tried to explain that in NH these are considered very fun as well. I definitely felt a sense of familiarity in these colder climes, and understood now why the vast numbers of Scandanavians who came to the US came to our colder states like the northern midwest. The islands along the coast even looked like home, probably the most similar landscape to Portsmouth that I have seen. Once we arrived in Porvoo, even more so. I walked along the river until I came to a series of protected wooden homes that formed an old town not unlike Strawberry Banke. I endured a brisk ride back across the water to Helsinki and later walked with my Russian roomate speaking rusty French, the only language we shared. We actually were able to converse and learn a little about each other and once again I was reminded that you never know when that French will come in handy.