Kate and Bron's Diary for 2002-07-19

Stayed the night in Helsinki

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From: brong@zebkrahn.brong.net (Bron Gondwana)
Date: Tue, 23 Jul 2002 06:26:07 +1000
The day started quite slowly, Kate had blisters from too much time in
boots, and one of my feet was a little sore too. We found a supermarket,
and managed to decipher the labels well enough to get food. The dip we
chose was cucumber and honey, very strange! We caught a tram down to a
seaside park and ate breakfast.

We found the University Library, and had a look at the old books and a
display on the history of Finland, especially the buildings and early
society. After that we grabbed some free internet terminals (all the Uni
libraries have free internet for anyone who wants to use it!) That's
where all the last big set of diary entires were written.

We walked down to the market square, and grabbed some very yummy
raspberries, but then missed the ferry to Suomenlinna (the fortress
island, sometimes called the Gibraltar of the North, which is now mainly
museums, though there are over 1000 residents and a naval training

The next ferry was going to take 45 minutes, so we wandered back
through the park near the market square. It started raining, and of
course we had left the umbrella at the hostel because the weather was
so hot. Doh! Anyway, we saw the Police Jazz Band performing - turns out
it was a Jazz Festival in Helsinki that week. They were quite amusing,
though not knowing the language means we missed a few jokes. The
conductor was a real showoff, he turned and sang into the microphone
for a bit during one piece, picked up an instrument and played for a
bit, etc. Very silly.

After the band we saw some perfomming cats! Yes, really - cats. When we
arrived, two girls were holding the ends of a pole - then they put a cat
on top, and the cat swung underneath and crawled along like a sloth
hanging from a branch.

The next act was to pick two tall men from the audience (I was too far
back to be picked), and get them to hold a basket between them - above
their heads. The cat was then placed on the ground a couple of meters
away, and proceded to walk over and jump straight up into the basket. I
took a photo mid-jump, I hope it turns out! Behind this act, another cat
was walking on top of a pole that was fixed about a meter above the
ground. It started raining though, so they packed up :(

We went back to the market again, bought a big bag of peas in the pod,
which we ate while waiting for the ferry. Our "Helsinki Card" (¤32 for
48 hours) - that symbol is EURO by the way - gave us free transport on
the ferry, as well as free entry into many attractions.

Suomenlinna was good - we checked out a display of Ryas (traditional
rugs) and embroidery, a military museum with lots of tanks, guns and an
early monoplane. We followed the signs to a museum of early toys, but it
was not covered by the Helsinki Card, and we didnät want to spend any
more after those 64 Euros we'd already spent on seeing things.

We finished the day by looking at the Monument to Sibelius (which had
no plaque or signs to say what it was! - it was in Sibelius Park, but
even the signs for that were over the road a good few hundred metres
away...) We also ate some cherries, which were going cheap at the
market on the way home.

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