Tuesday, 15 July 2008


so this time we take a ferry across the baltic, decide against a walk, get another taxi, with a pleasant but uncommunicative taxi driver who drops us off in the street right outside where we're staying. we look around. there's the pub pete, which is already full of the type of people who are into their drinking routine by midday. i like the look of it. t assures me it'll be a solo mission. so, this'll be the hostel, i say. t looks around, conditioned by the baltic experience. i don't understand, where are all the sex clubs. and there are none. and we are glad.

how i love helsinki. along with the above there are no random bunches of english boys lagering it up, no drunk scots being arrested, no cokeheads trying to get into my room at night. we are warned in the guidebook there may be drunks and public drunken-ness. and yes, the finnish jakey is present and we did see people drinking beer in the street. but the worried finns should look no further than the uk for proper drinking in the street mayhem.

what we liked

- the academica bookstore. my favourite anywhere, ever. after failing to get latvian or estonian poetry in english the finns not only have some but it's also in french, spanish, german and greek, among others! not only that their poetry in english section is bigger and better than the vast majority of bookshops in scotland. books are pricey tho

- moomins (t). the tove janssen presence is all pervasive. i can't see it but there you are

- architecture. from the railway down helsinki abounds in kick ass turn of the nineteenth century architecture

- kiasma/ateneum and galleries. yes we liked those. kiasma possibly my favourite gallery foyer anywhere

- maxim cinema. the comfiest chairs anywhere. we go to see once. we like it

- the beach

- seurasaari mellow, mellow, mellow

- the people. you have to smile at the metalheads. we had planned to go to some metal karaoke but in the end we were just too tired. we got interviewed for some magazine and they were somewhat bemused that 'coming to see the metal boys' was one of reasons to come and see helsinki. and yes, we did see one of lordi's guitars and it was ridiculous


- helsinki seagulls. truly they are bastards


mmoneypennyinternational said...

this was so much fun to read!

Sorlil said...

sounds like you had a right good adventure! I'm glad I read this - I really wanted to go to Tallinn! I know what you mean about the scots though, where we stayed in Bremen there was a loud-mouthed, vodka-drinking scot, you know the kind with the declaration of arbroath on their t-shirt!

Roxana said...

and how I like to read your travel stories! I was trying to imagine your post after a trip to bucharest :-), how you would see the western-ness and eastern-ness mixing there.

swiss said...

i don't mean to be down on talinn, just that it didn't suit me. imagine somewhere like edinburgh castle and the mile and it's like that. then again, likethe line in jean brodie - for people who like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing they like!

the scottish people we shared our outward flight with had the vodka out as soon as the seatbelt sign went off. and behaved so well we were met by the police on the ground to arrest one of them! choice! i've never been so embarassed to be scottish.

bucharest! we talked about this while drinking the tea! i figured it might be slightly easier in that the language has roots i can actually understand!