Home of Santa........Finland

Trip Start Jan 12, 2006
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Where I stayed

Flag of Finland  ,
Friday, October 27, 2006

They're NOT Swedish, do not want to be Russian...they are Finnish... This was made VERY clear to me... i think they have an identity problem myself..... they been ruled by some many countries they have no idea who they are.... One guy who is sure of himslef is the big white and red bearded guy... Santa... he is loved here...

If everyone in Finland were to have a Sauna at the same time, it could easily be accomodated be ample space left over... more sauna than you can poke a stick at. 91+% of the population own mobile phones (Finland is home of Nokia, great marketign at home Nokia), over 50% of the population have library cards. a very orgainsed country, everything runs like clockwork and very clean and safe...

Arrived yesterday from Moscow. Got onto a bus which dropped me within 400 mtres of my hostel, which by the way is in the Helsinki Olympic Staium!!! Must have bee the athletes quarters or something but is now a HUGE youth hostel. (See the pics). Havent really done much touristy stuff as yet, walked around a lot, toured the harbour (see pics), eaten and drank but not much else.
It is really cold here, or rather should i say it is windy which makes it cold.
Tourist attractions i visited were:
The Olympic stadium - not very exciting but voted world most beautiful
Soumenlinna Island - They turned these 5 islands into a military naval base to protect Helsinki for the Russians. Funny story this one... They built it facing the sea to fend off any navy arriving in the summer, they felt safe as houses in the winter as the water froze and expect nobody could survive the winter and snow crossing the ice on foot. So what do the Russians do? They attack by land from behind the fortress which was never built to attack is own city behind the islands! The Russians sat there and waited with all the sailors wifes, food, warm houses till the Finnish surrendered! Classic.
Cathedral in nice a nice suare
Rock Church - The architect didnt want to blow up the rock where the church was to be so he built the church inside the rock... pretty cool.
Audio bus tour - pretty cool, highlights of the city out of the cold...

Strange people i've met on the way...

I think this guy was Isreali and about 50 years old. He couldnt speak english apart from ´have a good day´. I shared the bunk above him and was serioudly afraid i was going to wake up with him hacking into my body with a knife! This guy would just sit on his bed, feet on the floor and stare staright ahead with some religious brochure in his hand. One night when i walked into the room to go to bed, i found him to be the onlu person in the room asleep with the light on. He woke as i approached and mumbled some words. I tried with english and my hands to ask if he wanted the light on or off and pinted at the light, his answer......'Yes the lord he is above´...... o.k i said and turned the light out... no more lord above i gues!!! :). For respect of my fellow travellers i always take my stuff outside if it is late evening or early morning so i dont make a load of rustling noises. As i took my stuff out he said ´have a nice day´:) when i came back from the shower and got ready to leave once again he said ´have a nice day´..... i thought i was sharing with a serial killer parrot!!!

HOT TIPS for travellers:
(1) Waynes Coffee is a franchise coffe house with free internet, good food, good coffee, GREAT Mocha and great service. Free bread with soups, free fruit flavoured water and you dont even have to buy anything to use the net.
(2) Free internet at the many libraries
(3) Hostal Stadion - if you like characterless, unfriendly, sterile hostals then this is the one for you. Ive stayed in some crap hostel but his on is bad. 12 bed dorms, no practive assistance from the staff with directions, attractions, or with incoming phone calls. It is clean tho and in a great location inside the Olypic Stadium (2klm from town on a tram. And yes it is cheap at 16 euros per bed). Also a HI hostal so you get at 2.50 discount. Phone +358 9 4778480
(4)Helsinki card´- greqat value at 29 euros. get free entry into most museums, free travel on all public transport. If you do the audio tour and the island tour you made your money back and saved some already.
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