Friday, July 12, 2013

Helsinki

Helsinki and I didn't get off to a a great start and I am tainted by that first day still.  However, the weather is stunning and the people are very friendly  when you talk to them.  I am not a loner by any means so I am finding the lack of friends in the town to be very challenging and have had some major dips in my mood, once again confirming with no hesitation that I do have FOBA and that is never going to change.

As you might know I love Saturdays and although I didn't love yesterday, I did recognise that it had all the elements of a great Saturday.  Sun, market, people, water, activity and food.  No family or friends but that is expected on the other side of the world.

With the sun up and high in the sky so early in the morning you are compelled to get out there eagerly and enjoy it.  It is also great coming home from the movies at night in the light.  Funny seeing drunk people staggering around at night but actually in the daylight and I am sure I saw an illicit drug exchange going on from the tram last night too. 

Helsinki is not pretty.  The architecture is grim in some places, perfunctory in others and with a flash of gorgeousness in the form of churches and a few civic buildings.  There are some trees and a few civic gardens but it lacks the charm of many other cities that I have visited.  My guess is that 5 months of snow per year limits what you can do. However, there is as much joy, happiness and colour around the place as you would want.

Interestingly, the women seldom wear black like we do at home.  Every colour of the rainbow is worn and there seems to be scant attention paid to fashion as such although the shops are full of clothes.  Things are casual and individual here and the women do no fake tan or cover themselves in make up. It is refreshing.  The Russian tourists take the form of high heeled made up beauties to  dumpy middle aged women. 

The Finnish language is totally  incomprehensible to me although I have the basic hello and thank you sorted I think. Everyone speaks English which helps but the bus timetables, signs and announcements have no resonance at all. The words are so long and they just all blend into one.  And on top of that there is the Swedish version of everything too so you have to have your wits about you.  I do seem to have some sense of direction and awareness of the city so am finding my way around easily and even in a tricky situation with the tram being diverted due to a parade yesterday I worked out an alternative that worked so was pleased with that
This is the end of this post as I am having a nightmare with the iPad and editing so am going to leave it at that.  Will post some photos in a separate post.

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