Day 18: Keuruu to Helsinki: We continue southwards to Helsinki, Finland’s capital. Our sightseeing tour takes in the Olympic Stadium, the massive underground church and Sibelius Park, a memorial to Finland’s greatest composer in the ‘White City of the North’. (Breakfast included)
Hotel: Satakuntatalo Summerhotel
Breakfast: 8:00 Bags to the bus: 8:45 Bus departs: 9:00
I got up a little before my alarm today so I got a jump on getting ready. The bathrooms were cool at this campsite. Each stall in the bathroom had a toilet, sink and shower which made it a bit easier to get ready. On the bus I played Crazy 8’s with Nancy, Karl, Cathy and Jacqui. We had one quick break, when they realized we were lost, and got into Helsinki a little after 1. After we got lost Dion and Che decided we should play Coach Olympics, since I was in the front of the bus and everything had to go to the back of the d? But apparently the other side of the bus had pretty much given up, I guess I didn’t have to rbus I didn’t do much. Until they wanted an ipod with Eye of the Tiger paused. OMG, that’s me! So everything in my backpack went flying (poor Nancy was trying to keep my stuff organized), I finally found it then couldn’t find the song, I guess I was a little overly excited. I was rushing like crazy because who wouldn’t have Eye of the Tiger on their ipoush so much. We won the point and the game! Yea for cheesy music! On the bus we also did comment things about the tour and Che and Dion thanked us for a nice tour. Dion also told us that he had been lying to us, it was actually his first tour as a Super Cook, how cute. Well the other thing that happened is that my watch stopped, not a very useful watch now, why is everything breaking?
When we got into town we stopped for pictures at the Lutheran Church and at Sibelius Park. Then I had lunch with Kate, Andrew, Kieran, and Marie. We walked over the the Rock Church (Temppeliaukio Church), a church built into a really big rock. After that we walked over to Olympic Stadium from the 1952 Helsinki games, apparently Kate likes seeing the Olympic sites, I’m not the only one. I heard later on that you can go up the towery thing, but we didn’t really have time for that anyway. On the way back we saw the statue to Paavo Nurmi, an Olympic runner/medalist. I was going to try and get my watch fixed before our 5:15 pick up, but in the end we ran out of time.
A couple people almost missed the bus to the Hostel. When we got there I got in the elevator with my bag, I knew where my room was, but I left Nancy to get the key, I just hadn’t told her. So Dion let me store my bag in his room while I tried to find Nancy. By the time I got back downstairs Nancy had already gotten the key. But in the meantime I met a couple people from the Russian part of the tour and said a quick hello. On my way back up to the room the floors were all screwy, room 410 would be on the 6th floor, crazy. Eventually I found my room. There was a doorway that led to a set of rooms, about 6 rooms, which were all filled with people from tour. It also had two toilets, but only 1 shower – that would be interesting. Nancy was in our room and we had a balcony, with a view of construction, Yippy!
We had quite a while to get ready so I decided to find a place to get my watch fixed, since I didn’t know how possible that would be in Russia. The front desk sent me a couple blocks away, I got a little lost on the way, but eventually found a mall. One of the first stores was a watch store and I waited a while to get helped. The girl said it would take 10 minutes, I went for a drink in the meantime. When I got back the girl was helping someone else. I left her alone for a few minutes but it started getting late so I had to interrupted her, either way I needed the watch back so I could get back in time for our Russia meeting. She quickly finished and only charged me half the price since it took so long.
I got back to the hostel with 10 minutes to spare before our Russia meeting with Maggy. I quickly changed and fixed myself up for our dinner and night out then went down to the meeting. Maggy introduced herself and Ash (the driver) and gave us a little basic info before taking the Russia group to dinner. She advised us to have a good time tonight, but not too make it too big of a night since tomorrow would be a long day getting into Russia. We still had a few minutes before going to dinner so I went back upstairs to properly get ready. Some people were very dressed up and I felt like I should do myself up a bit more.
At 7:45 we walked to dinner, we were eating (as was the other group that had gone a half hour before us) at Armadillo. I sat with Cara, AJ and Renae. Since this was our last night with the Scandi only group we took lots of pictures at dinner. After dinner we all met at some bar down the block. Later on I heard that the bar next to ours had an ice bar in it, a couple people had gone to it, but I didn’t bother since I had been to the one in Stockholm. When we first got there I talked to some of the Russia tour people and had last minute bonding with the Scandi people. It was an interesting evening. Che had quite a bit to drink and Tania had an accident. She fell out of an elevator onto the floor, went unconscious and cut her head and was bleeding. It’s a good thing Karl was with her (I’ll leave that to your own imaginations), she had to go to the emergency room and get 10 stitches in her head. Later on I saw the pictures of her in the ambulance and she didn’t look too upset.
I left the bar at 1:20 with Lis, Jilly, Kate and Andrew since the rest of the group was going to a club and I wasn’t interest in that. Poor Kate’s shoes were hurting her feet so much that Andrew had to carry her part way back. We ran into some others on the way, including Kevin who tried to get a ride on Andrew’s back – only to get spun around, which he didn’t seem to enjoy, but the rest of us did. When I got back I tried to call home one last time before going to Russia where my phone rates would be much higher, but I just got the answering machine.