Kate and Bron's Diary for 2002-07-18

Stayed the night in Helsinki

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From: "Kate McMullin" <kate@brong.net>
Date: Fri, 19 Jul 2002 02:54:54 +1000 (EST)
Been a while since I've written, so a few days together now.

On Tuesday we wandered around London (literally - I was so tired by the
end) looking at all the sights of the houses of Parliament, Whitehall,
Trafalgar Square, 10 Downing St, etc. We also caught the tube out to
Finsbury Park, so that we could catch a bus back in. It was an old, red,
double-decker bus, just like they should be! We sat right up the front
up top, and watched London go past rather slowly - narrow roads and
heavy traffic - great mix. Some seriously brave driving happening, and
people know the widths of their cars intimately. We passed Highbury,
Arsenal FC's home ground, which Dad and Andrew will be pleased to know!

The following day we got up around 3:30am to get to Stanstead airport
for 5am for the flight to Stockholm. We got there at 4:45 (fully light
by then) only to find out that Ryanair does not allocate seats, so we
could have been there much later. Stanstead is near Cambridge, it's that
far out of London!

We flew in to Skavsta, which is an hour and a half bus ride to
Stockholm, and then wandered around the city, after gaining our
bearings, and getting some currency (Kronor). Thankfully just about
everybody speaks English, so not knowing any Swedish wasn't a

We then got on a ferry to Helsinki, but all the beds were booked (we
should have booked ahead much further!), but the Viking line have the
option of people sleeping on the floor, or wherever else you find. So we
slept on the floor! If you can call it sleep. The ferry ride was free,
as we have Eurail tickets. There was also duty free shopping, so we got
some good Finnish vodka.

So we've spent today wandering around Helsinki, thinking it's
refreshingly not Melbourne (London could have passed for Melbourne in
places). We have beds at a hostel, though severely segregated, and all
is going well.

Until next time...

From: brong@zebkrahn.brong.net (Bron Gondwana)
Date: Fri, 19 Jul 2002 19:56:16 +1000
Woke up just before we arrived in Finland - the boat pulled in to
Helsinki a bit before 10, and we were off about half past (after getting
some food from duty free and eating it - cheaper than the buffet).

Sat in the terminal for a bit, and called the hostel to find out we
could only check in at 2pm. Oh well, we read for a bit, then carried our
packs through the city. Helsinki is reasonably small. Had lunch at a
great little cafe on the main esplanade, then dumped our stuff at the
hostel ,and had a shower. We stank after a day and a half of overheated
travel - we really should have thought to bring more summer clothes!

Went to the National Museum with our shiny new 48 hour 'Helsinki Card's,
which is really expensive, but gives free transport, and free entry to
lots of things. Still, at €32 (that's supposed to be the Euro symbol
there...), we should be out using it rather than typing emails! Lots of
impessive old armour and church bits and coins.

We trammed around for a bit, then called Joonas (another usenet person),
who came and had dinner with us, then showed us around the town and
foreshore. We had a great view of the harbour.

It was still very light at 11pm when he headed back home, and we to
our hostel.

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