Finland – the final chapter

Kind of a winding down day today. Got up in time for breakfast and as we didn’t have anything to do today it was quite a relaxed affair. We were supposed to be going on a boat trip but they called us at 10am to say they were having engine trouble. However, the Finns are not people to do things by half so they arranged an ‘official’ sightseeing tour of the many islands, etc. which started at 1pm (lunch included). It ended up being a great idea because we all just really relaxed out there for the two hours or so it took. They drove us back to the hotel after that and we had a few hours to kill before heading back into the city for dinner.

Dinner was in the club where it was possible to jam (they’d set up some amps in anticipation). David, Ras & Mike all played a few songs, either solo or together. I often prefer to just sit and listen at times like this – and that’s what I did. I only discovered now that they have cider up here and promptly helped myself to a few pints!! The weather was even hotter today and it’s about midnight now – and it’s still bright out there!!

Oh well, home tomorrow and a good night’s sleep. Helsinki is a very typical Scandinavian city, yet it’s slightly different than the others in that there is a hint of Russian influences as well. Hardly surprising if you consider that they only got their independence in 1917 or something like that. Robban, the bass player from Wentus told me that when the ‘wall’ was still up Finland was on a steady alert and all the young guys had to do their stint in the army.

Difficult to say if there is a typical Finnish ‘look’. If there is I certainly didn’t see it. Sometimes you think they look a bit like the Swedes but then at other times you think they look more Eastern European. It’s probably a mixture of both. They’re CRAZY about their saunas here. Get this – the population of Helsinki (and surrounding areas) is 1.2 million and they have 2 million saunas. A lot of them have summer houses at the lakes/coast and even their summer house has to have a sauna.

That’s about it for now. My flight is early afternoon tomorrow so I’ll talk to you all a bit later. I’ve given up the fight with the curtains!!

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