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Fun with Finns

USA | Monday, 30 June 2008 | Views [470]

we landed at 4am in Helsinki, or was it 4pm? Not sure because the sun was shining. Wait it was defintely 4am because Jessica and I were both tired and crabby. Grabbed the luggage, a cab and headed to our first Couchsurfing hosts apartment in Helsinki. I timidly rang the downstairs bell for an apartment of people we never met aside from a few emails. To our happiness we met Sirpa who whisked us inside, showed us the bedroom, bathroom and quietly said goodnight. We fumbled around our luggage then tried to sleep with the sun shining. We awoke at 2pm, yikes! Sirpa had been up for hours with breakfast (lunch?) waiting on the table. Over toast, cheese, mueslix and fabulous strawberry juice we shared our lives. They have a beautiful new apartment overlooking the sea! 

After we showered and dressed, Sirpa took us on Tram #8 to meet up with Martii. Martii and Sirpa took us on a walking tour of Helsinki complete with Martii's claim that the best pizza in the world is in Finland! Of course Jessica could not let that slide so we tried it for dinner. The verdict? Well not quite Italian but pretty good. We finally got into bed early (midnight) while there was a litle bit of darkness for a good nights sleep.

The next day we went for a swim at a local pool and engaged in the Finns most cherished activity-the sauna! Men and women go separate because it is birthday suits only. I enjoyed the sauna but some 10 year old boy was some kind of masochist because he kept pouring more and more water on the hot rocks. We made our way downtown to buy train tickets for Russia on Sirpa and Martii's bikes. Love those three speeds with coaster brakes. We ate lunch in a park and stopped at a local outdoor/indoor market. By time we got home Martii was home from work and suggested a biking tour of the surrounding area lining the sea. As a special treat Martii let me ride his old, green ten speed that neither he or Sirpa ride anymore or let anyone else ride apparently. I happily obliged and with a very warped back tire and a lose front fender we set off. Little did we know the Martii liked to take the long way around so a few hours later we ended up in downtown Helsinki eating kebabs at one of his favorite places to eat. We made it home and caught up the day with Sirpa, who had started their sauna for us to enjoy before retiring for an early start to the train station. Sirpa was not impressed that Martii let me ride the green machine but I told her it was my idea. The sauna was a soothing way to end the day and we drifted off to sleep. The next day Jess and I awoke early and Martii drove us to the train station to catch the train to St Petersburg. Martii and Sirpa were awesome hosts and we loved discussing comparisons of the American and Finnish ways of life. We also learned they are trying to adopt a baby from Thailand. We wish them all the best with adding a child to their lives, they are great people and will be great parents. Russia awaits!

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