The Christmas Path - Finnish style
Trip Start Dec 10, 2012
20Trip End Jan 12, 2012
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Once we got to the island (bearing in mind Helsinki is a mainland surrounded by little islands) it was quite pleasant, the wind being mostly shielded by the pines. There was a lovely path around the island which was lit by candles and fairy lights. Every now and then there was a 'stop' where some aspect of Finnish Christmas would be displayed. From traditional singers, to a play based on some 19th century peasant characters, to a crowd performance of what appeared to be the Finnish hokey pokey (I cannot grasp The Finnish language at all
The kids initially seemed more interested in exploring the snow and I was starting to wonder why we hadn't just gone to the park next door when gradually they started to get into the spirit of things, especially when the sun went down and they were walking through the forrest in the candlelight. Alexandra particularly enjoyed toasting her own Finnish damper over a welcome roaring fire. Saskia was in very joyful spirits, every now and then shouting out 'Crack-a-lackin' (she's a big fan of Madagascar) to express her happiness. She has been full of 'why's' this trip and I am am really enjoying watching her mind blossom, although I must admit that I am running out of answers. Her most pressing question today was 'why did baby Jesus die?' After my initial answer failed to impress her I told her that she'd learn about that at St James, which seemed to placate her.
I had a very interesting conversation with Alexandra towards the end of the walk when I asked her what she had thought of it. She said that it was good but she had expected some rides. I explained that different cultures have a good time in different ways, and that whilst the Disneyland/theme park type of fun is one way, it's not the only way. I'm very glad we had the opportunity to have that conversation, and the Finnish Christmas path experience was the perfect contrast. It was everything that Disney is not (especially the snow)
I could have kissed the taxi driver who was dutifully waiting for us at the end of the bridge when we finished 15 minutes before the scheduled pick up time. Thankfully I'd had the sense to book a pick up taxi, which was toasty warm and dry.
It's now 7pm and the girls have fallen asleep beside me. Again I'm amazed at the physical challenge they've managed to endure today. Three hours outdoors in constant snow and occasional strong winds was almost too much for me, yet they seemed to cope admirably. Well done again girls. We're so proud of you.