Helsinki to Turku
Trip Start May 08, 2007
8Trip End May 17, 2007
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10 A.M. We drove off the Viking King and spent 30 minutes getting acquainted with the city. We finally found the train station and parked right in front of it. There we got info about the city. The city was cold, cloudy and the trees were still bare. It was almost like winter. We were all a little disappointed in the gloomy weather and the city looked more like a Russian city, buildings clumped together trying to stay warm.
We decided against the Helsinki pass since our stay was only one day. We first went to the Parliament building to see Lasse Viren but we were rejected at the front desk. The secretary wouldn't let us pass, in fact he laughed when I asked him if we could see Lasse Viren. I understood though, I still questioned the desk clerk to see if there was any other way to conact Viren. After thumbing through paper and checking on the computer he told me that Viren didn't work there anymore. I had kindof figured that since he was elected in 1999 and reelected in 2003 and his term was up in April 07. Oh well, we tried. We walked across the stree to Finlandia Concert Hall. We then walked to Senate Square, (they had Eurovision stages set up for the competition, Lordi had won it last year, each country has a representative and if they win, their country hosts it the following year). We view the Helsinki Cathedral. It was gorgeous on the outside but very plain and white on the inside. The Helsinki Library was just next door and it too was admirable in architecture.
We walked down to the harbor where they had orange tents scattered with various types of street vendors. They had fresh fish too, it was pretty exciting, a mix of locals and tourists, ( we actually saw more Americans here than anywhere else that we visited so far). We decided to take our lunch there and eat outside the sun which had burned off the morning gloom of fog and clouds. We indulged in some local food, Daniel got some reindeer and Elijah some Shrimp Soup, I choose a cheap vegetable soup. It was all very tasty, I tried some of Daniel's Reindeer meat with Cranberries, it was stringy like Pork BBQ. We ate more often than necessary but it always served as a good break. We finished up the central with a visit to the Brick and Green domed Greek Orthadox Church. It has lots of detailed architecture inside but had no pews, just an open space.
Lastly and a big highlight of the day, we went to Helsinki Stadion, we went into the Olympic Museum, saw the famous Lasse Viren video and we also went up the Helsinki Olympic Tower - Great and awesome views, especially of the city and the buldings. It was a tad bit windy and chilly. While were up on the observation deck, we talked with a lady and her son, they were very nice and friendly
Overall Helsinki was a little bit disappointing, maybe because we didn't spend enough time to get to know it but it wasn't offering much for tourists. It seemed very similar to Russian and I did like the fact that all the people were nice and they talked with you and even initiated conversation, much more than the Norweigen and Swedish people that we encountered.
We drove to Turku that night and decided to take the cheap route, crash at a Hostel. It was a great price and very clean, it was nicer than ome of the hotels that we has stayed in. We all went out to eat at an Italian restaurant and enjoyed our pizza, I actually had pasta since I was trying to conserve on money. It was another good time to catch up, talk and relax over some beer and food. We drove 400 yards back to the hostel and had a chance to check email, I got to talk to Michelle while she was at work, we went to bed around 1 a.m.