Europe: Helsinki and Turku
Published 07-28-2009 on my old wordpress blog.

Room 703, Hostel Satakuntatalo, 10:44

Woke up and got free breakfast. I think I’ll have to bring my own food when I move here. Maybe my own chef. Also, I’ll have to be rich. Everything is just a little more expensive than everywhere else I’ve been. But I haven’t seen any homeless folk, been accosted by any people asking for money, or anything like that. I’m not sure those things are so bad, but it’s a sign that perhaps the Finns have figured out how to take care of their own. Or they just put those people in jail forever. At any rate, I’ve got my sunscreen applied an I’m going to walk down to the train station and get on a train to Turku. Actually, I only have 13 minutes to get there, so I might walk over to the market and buy some lunch before I go.

Train to Turku, past Espoo, Finland, 12:31

I wandered aimlessly around the city for some time. Generally, I went in the direction of the train station, but I. Tried to just go using my sense of direction and the picture of the map in my head. I did make it to the train station and then the Pike Place Market, though. Oops, I mean the Helsinki Indoor Market. I toured the stands and then bought a tasty looking sandwich from the vietnamese one at the end. I took a long time, so I had to rush back to the train station to catch my train. I made it with two minutes to spare!

I jumped on the train without asking anyone if my eurail pass would work, so I was a little worried when somebody actually came and checked my ticket. It worked, obviously, but I was nervous. Sheesh. Now I’m hurtling through the Finnish countryside on my way to an historic Finnish town, according to the tourist info folks. I’ll probably spen a couple hours wandering around there eating my sandwich.

I did pass some panhandlers today. Maybe they take Monday off. It seems there are twice as many people out today as yesterday. Maybe the Finns have three-day weekends every week. You know what I haven’t seen yet? A starbucks. I think that might be what makes Finland so great. At any rate, the Finnish countryside is nice from the train. Lots of green fields and tall trees. Maybe I should go from Turku to Jyvaskala and get a sneak peek at the rally…

By some river or canal or something, Turku, Finland, 14:57

I wore my lightest shirt and put on sunscreen. Sure enough, it’s overcast and that cool ocean breeze is kind of unnecessary. I just ate my sandwich, it was sub-standard. I guess the French know what they’re doing there. I have to find some good food in this town. The farmers markets (there’s one here too) sell delicious looking berries, peas, and chanterelle mushrooms, maybe if I were a chef I could use the hostel kitchen and my imagination to create a tasty feast from those ingredients. Alas, I am just a weary traveller.

Turku is a lovely small town. There are tons of bikes everywhere and none of them are locked. If they are, it’s just around the back wheel. Apparently bike theft is not a problem, so if you want to start a bike theft ring, this is the place. I think I’ll go look at the ocean some more before it starts raining.

Turku Train Station, Turku, Finland, 17:11

I walked all over the place. I did not see the ocean, however. But I think I made it to the ghetto. I was walking around and saw a park-looking thing, so I went up some stairs and poked around. There was an off-leash dog park and a big fence with barbed wire at the top. Weird. There was a lady in the dog park, at least. I tried to walk around the fence, but only found some sort of wooden bleachers. I sat in these a moment an tried to figure out where I went wrong in my life to bring me to this conundrum, but it started to sprinkle a bit, so I decided to walk the rest of the way around and see if I could figure out what the hell was going on. I walked and walked. I found some sort of smokestack (a coal power plant, maybe?) that had a section of the Fibonacci sequence on it. I found a bunch of row houses that looked like the sort of houses a factory would build for it’s workers. I found another weird exhaust stack of some kind. It was all very strange. I walked back past their big church to the train station. Now I’m sitting on the train, headed back to Helsinki, tired of walking. Turku was alright.

Lobby, Hostel Satakuntatalo, 20:29

I’m sitting here debating to go back out there or not. I slept a little on the train, so I don’t feel so wrecked. I also walke back and had some weird falafel from a place on the corner. There were some folks skateboarding pretty poorly in the park across the street. It made me want to skate a little and I thought about asking one of the ones sitting around the edge if I could borrow their deck, but I didn’t. I checked out the mall a little bit, it was weird. I didn’t actually go in, the outside was weird enough. There was a group of kids kicking around a soccer ball in the middle of a somewhat crowded plaza. There was a group of white folk doing what looked like capoeira or African dancing to my untrained eye. It was weird.

Well, I gotta get up sort of early to pick up Tom from the airport tomorrow, I think I’ll continue to work on recovering. If I change my mind, I’ll post more. There is a list of rock/jazz shows on the wall, but they don’t start until 10. All the bars appear to open really late. We’ll see how it’s going then.

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Keywords: europe, finland, travel

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