I made it! Just. There was, I admit honestly, a point halfway through the long long journey when I considered turning around and coming home. There’s no getting around the fact Australia to Europe is a hard slog. Following a seemingly endless night across the world is unutterably depressing. I need my sunshine.
But here I am. 🙂 The arrivals section of the airport was dark, quiet and almost completely empty. My footsteps literally echoed. Most people from my plane were transferring on, and disappeared. On my way to collect my bag, I passed an empty room full of roll top ‘people pods’. And one room with a grass floor. You can tell a lot about a country from their airport bathrooms. I entered the bathroom to see the starkest, brightest, whitest, most futuristic bathroom ever, coupled with loudly chirruping bird noises coming from the ceiling. I thought maybe I was hallucinating from exhaustion. But no. I looked it up later, it’s intended to be soothing.
I got a few groceries and headed for my apartment. It was 8am Helsinki time, 4 degrees, dark and raining. I needed a coat. I seriously needed a coat! Woohoo!!!! :)))
Here’s the view from the apartment. That’s the spire of the National Museum.
After a twelve hour sleep, I decided it was a good investment on my first day to get a local guide to show me around the city on foot, how to catch public transport etc. She was awesome, a six foot three stunning Russian, 28, doing a Phd in linguistics, fluent in four languages. Way to make a person feel like an underachiever or what. (Although she said my Finnish accent was excellent and I nearly burst with pride :)) We had a great morning, she showed me everything I wanted to see, hopping on and off trams and buses around the city and telling a good bit of history too. This place is incredibly beautiful, and the people are lovely. Is it weird that it feels like home? Genetic memory? Here’s some pics of a few things we saw along the way. (Sorry, I kept them fairly low res for ease of uploading)
Senate Square and cathedral, which we went in to. The black things on the steps were gorillas.
Yep. And no, I have no idea.
Part of Helsinki University, the Faculty of Arts.
One of the oldest cobblestone streets.
Helsinki City Museum. This is what they used to use to melt snow on the streets, I love it.
I left my mark on the blackboard too.
Uspenski Cathedral on the hill and the waterfront with Kauppatori market square and hall.
Old Market Hall.
You know you’re in Finland when….
(I believe they are snacks made of reindeer, rather than snacks FOR your reindeer.)
Temppeliaukio Church (Rock Church). Very interesting, but I felt the vibe was more touristy than theological.
Esplanadi. We had a coffee at a gorgeous little cafe along here, and it reminded me so much of Paris.
Kamppi Chapel (Chapel of Silence). This was my favourite place, it is stunning. And, as the name suggests, silent.
The iconic Helsinki image, at the railway station.
Some Christmas delights. I’ve had a small taste of the shopping available, it is amazing. I may be needing a bigger suitcase.
Naturally there has been project time, mainly at night when I’m still on Brisbane time. I brought two lace weight projects with me because they take up so little room. The first is another crochet shawl from the Craftsy class, this one in pure linen on a 2.5mm hook. I am really enjoying it, I even got a few rows completed on the plane until I broke my little vintage plastic travel hook.
My other project is a Lilli Pilli wrap. This is designed for fingering weight, but the finished item is HUGE so I am doing it in laceweight, Debbie Bliss Rialto Lace, in light grey, dark grey and aqua on 3.25mm needles.
Both of these have been very soothing and enjoyable.
I’m going to take a bus right around the city tomorrow and slightly further afield. There are several yarn stores in Helsinki. They will be found.