Helsinki's public toilets were considered a little over the top
3rd July 2007
Helsinki, Finland (euro trip part 1)
Current Mood: Excited
Category: Travel and Places
And so it's began boys and girls, my European invasion that's so impressive it even would have raised Hitler's eyebrows.
It was gonna be one fat spider by the time it chewed its way through this lot
As most of you already know, cos I've been telling every man and his dog, I decided last summer to blast through the entire eastern bloc for this summer. And after working my bollocks off without paying any tax, I finally saved up enough cash to make my way. Boy, I hope the tax man isn't reading this one. I headed to meet Mands at Victoria station on July 2nd, just in time to say to the smokers 'ha ha suckers!' and after waiting for her half an hour past our meeting time and announcement came over the station tannoy system that the Victoria line was suspended due to a person taken ill on the train. Blimey, I joked, it wouldn't be a great start to the trip if wound up being Amanda. Another half an hour later and with no sign of Mands, I'm thinking I might have gone and jinxed the whole trip. But alas, she turned up like a lost tourist in London and it wasn't long before we were heading to Stanstead airport
Arriving at Stanstead my plan to make an entrance by turning up at the airport in a blazing 4x4 surrounded by explosions to celebrate the release of the action and proper bloke movie Die Hard 4.0 were scuppered when somebody in Glasgow has beaten me to the idea two days earlier. Nothing too much happened at StansteadAirport except for somebody collapsing and needing medical attention at the Easyjet counter.
Finnish army becomes desperate after exhausting ammunition
This was a little reminiscent of my Amsterdam trip when somebody, either a man or a women (see Amsterdam blog), had collapsed at the train station when I had arrived. It had occurred to me that people have become collapsing nearer and nearer my home each time I go away on a trip. What next, I shout 'bye mum!' only to open my front door and discover a heap of bodies lying on my pathway? So it wasn't long before Mands and I found ourselves in Copenhagen, Denmark. That's right, Denmark. What the bloody hell am I doing in Denmark? I'm supposed to be in Finland not Denmark. I think the whole language barrier thing got to my Australian girlfriend, bless her, and we arrived at Stanstead thinking the flight was leaving at . It wasn't. Try . Here we are going on an 11 country hike around Eastern Europe and we can't even manage to get out of London. Not the greatest start to the trip eh? Now we're blasting our way across the other side of London towards Heathrow as we've managed to get a flight to Helsinki via Copenhagen. What was Copenhagen like? They've a real nice waiting lounge and, er, yeah. The only consolation with going to Heathrow was that we got to see someone famous. I'm staring, really obviously mind you, at this fella and thinking to myself he looks like the guy I'm thinking of. So when he goes and opens his trap and the accent comes out I discover it is the Jake Shears from Scissor Sisters, and he's with the rest of the band who's names I can't remember cos they're not as famous as he is. I was in the economy line, obviously, whilst he was next to us in the business class line and I was fighting back urges to approach and ask him if the seats in business class makes his ass 'ah ah ah ah... comfortably numb??'
Eventually we we're on our way to Finland leaving the pouring rain in England to discover something I've often heard about, but never witnessed - the sun. And in Helsinki we found it. I checked into my room in the hostel and then snuck Mands in, as this saves cash and feeds my ego as everybody in the hostel thinks I've gone out and pulled. Which I did come to think of it, just many weeks earlier. Inside the hostel it was becoming right confusing to find out which bed I might be crashing out that night when it occurred to me that bed number 11 wasn't there anymore. According to Lorna, and English chick staying in our dorm, it was there before but and since disappeared. It would seem someone had nicked the bloody bed! We're all prone to stealing some soaps, shower gels and TV sets but taking a bed is a bit much even by my standards. I felt like I'd been setting my swiping standards way too low over the years so when it was time to check out I went one better and kidnapped a cleaner. Her name's Helga and she's 42 with no kids.
As for Helsinki, after reading the Lonely Planet's guide to the city I had come to the conclusion that it all sounded a bit pants really. And it was, hence us only booking one night. There wasn't too much to do there but along with Lorna, Mands and I visited a fort via a quick boat ride where we got to tour a submarine which was pretty cool. I'd never been in a sub before cos my motorbike license doesn't permit me to drive one. Other than that it was really just walking around the city like a homeless person, only better dressed, and taking in the buildings. I did on the other hand manage to do a great Rocky Balboa impression by sprinting up a shed load of steps towards a cathedral whist trying not to have a cardiac. Finally got to the top where I punched out some jabs and hooks and, to be a little bit original, threw out a round house and hook kicks. Let’s see you do that one Stallone, you pension collecting twit. Later that night we went looking for some interesting bars to go to. There wasn't, though it was a Tuesday night and the place doesn't get too lively in the week. Instead we walked all over Helsinki looking for an authentic Finish restaurant to eat and authentic Finnish meal but after about 90 minutes of hopeless searching, in true British fashion, we found ourselves sitting on a terrace stuffing ourselves with donor kebab and chips.
We slept well at the hostel; in fact Mands stole another bed in the hope that nobody would turn up and think Goldilocks was now residing in Finland. And what's more she came with me to give me a hand raiding the free breakfast buffet, at which we must have had about 3 breakfasts and very sneakily made several sandwiches to take with us for the day. A freeatery is just what we like.
So again I apologise, well not again cos it's the first time, but there isn't too much to write about Helsinki. But don't blame me, write to their local council and tell them 'yes, you have all these lovely buildings - now can you put something interesting in them please?' But to be fair I think if you're into the whole art gallery and museum scene you'll probably appreciate the city more. As for Lorna, Mands and I we found ourselves on a ferry blasting its way to Tallinn, Estonia.