Lions and tigers and bears, oh my

Trip Start Aug 23, 2009
1
5
12
Trip End Sep 02, 2009


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Flag of Finland  , Southern Finland,
Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hello

There's a chance of an early night tonight. It's 9.40pm, we're at home and have eaten, and have no plans to go on a midnight stroll. So who knows, we might actually get more than a few hours kip tonight!

Today we went to the zoo. (Did you guess from the big clue I gave yesterday and from the title of today's blog? If so award yourself 3 points and a cup of tea to celebrate.) We caught the 11.30am boat (there was us, 2 boatmen, and what looked like 2 members of zoo staff) to Korkeasaari (which means 'high island') which is home to Helsinki zoo. Time for a bit of history, so prepare yourselves - face front, don't talk or giggle, and certainly no note passing. The zoo opened in 1889 to educate the Helsinki workers by way of introducing them to animals. The zoo is home to about 30 different endangered species. The zoo is apparently open all year round, but there are no opening times from December to March. Apparently the gates only close on Christmas Eve and in the evening of Midsummer Eve. Lesson over, feel free to relax.

The weather was typically British (lots of cloud, some drizzle and a couple of downpours) so the zoo was fairly quiet, meaning we were able to wander round at our own pace and properly see the animals we wanted to see without having to either peer over the heads of tall people, or try not tripping over (or up) brattish children running around screaming and generally disturbing us. The highlights of the day: beautiful little frogs that were too good at hiding to be photographed too much, 2 brown bears sleeping, then grumpily wandering through their enclosure just at the moment we sat down to have our lunch at the viewing place next to them, the tigers roaring at each other and to the lions, the lions who mainly ignored the tigers and curled up to sleep before, during and after the rain, the snow leopard who decided to make an appearance after we had announced to the empty-looking enclosure that we would not see it before we left the island, the baby pygmy mongooses (how small and cute can one tiny creature be?), the stupid tortoise that tried to get out of the water via a sheer-faced stone, and the baby reindeer that allowed us to shelter under its tree when the skies opened and dumped a whole heap of water on us. We also went and gazed fondly at the red panda and reminisced about China. (The cake we had in the restaurant was very nice too!)

We spent a very leisurely 5 or so hours wandering round the zoo, and the tiny island of Mustikkamaa (which we can see from the coastal roads by our apartment) linked by bridge before heading back to the mainland by boat (Doris). A stroll through the Market Square and up through the Esplanade took us to Forum (rather large shopping centre) which houses, amongst many other shops, a Moomin shop (number 2 of the trip) and a supermarket where we bought food for our tea.

After the walk home, which included a few admiring glances at the big boats the navy had brought into the harbour, and restraining from shouting 'hello sailor' to the chap on guard at the top of the walkway onto the boat, I finally used the electric cooker & hob. I haven't really used an electric cooker & hob for over 10 years, only the occasional meal cooked at friends' houses. But I managed to throw together a fine looking plate of potatoes, veg and meatburger (if only I could read Finnish, then I would know what it was we had - although it tasted a lot like reindeer!), and we're not dead or dying yet!

That's your lot for today. Big, must-win game against Russia tomorrow. We're meeting up with Jo from the FA at 7pm at the stadium to collect our tickets. From what Jo said there should be about 80 of us (plus a handful more that aren't getting their tickets through Jo, I think) so we should be making a lot more noise throughout the game. We'll have our Chinese hooters and Czech rattles with us, plus whatever other noise making goodies people can muster together, so should be a good one. Watch it on Eurosport at 6pm (UK time), you know you want to.

Probably no blog tomorrow, to until the next time...

Big love
Sam & Lisa x
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