Sunday, August 17, 2008

Finland Travelogue: Part 1

So I've finally got the photos online (so few of them . . . ) and this is the first post! I'm going to break the rest into three posts . . . two recounting events and a third for a general look back.

To view the gallery full size, click the sideshow below.

Teaser: a list of observations collated on the plane back with input from Mike . . .

*fun, welcoming fandom!
*friendly helpful strangers(e.g. strangers who help you recharge your SIM card, for example)
*bicycle lanes on sidewalks! Bicycles everywhere!
*Local rye bread (esp. Island)
*Pizza (I'm not surprised Finland won the int'l pizza comp in NYC...apparently the Italians were pretty sore about it)
*some kebabs, spec. at this place in Helsinki
*Kati's strange delicious vegetable curry stirfry (cauliflower was involved)
*Konstan Molja's amazing buffet
*Comic books!
*Licorice flavored everything (Val)
*kitchen cabinets with integral dish drainers
*Cloudberrry alcohol (Val)
*Fazer chocolate
*various local ciders
*VIC20 C64 and Amiga demos!
*interactive art piece at Kiasma
*public transit system
*intercity trains
*pepper salami (yes I know shut up, we ate things there I'd never touch in the States)
*Pirate themed (ARRctic pirates!)
*Pretty bodies of water
*handsfree faucets everywhere (Val only)
*bathroom locks with occupancy indicators
*free receipt of text messages
*good meat in general
*good and plentiful fish
*reindeer meat
*fridge in hostel room!
*water saving toilet settings
*not taking your shoes off at airport security
*museums that allow cameras (although we didn't use them there)
*museums with free lockers

+Dislikes (some of which are due to my own poor planning)+
*Store hours
*My aging guidebook
*Trying to find shit/getting lost
*Sudden changes in the weather
*unmarked dual use sidewalk lanes (bike+pedestrian vs w/ symbols)
*parking on the sidewalk (yes in some places this is legal)
*no divider on showers--getting the floor all wet
*handsfree faucets (Mike only)
*scratchy toilet paper (Mike)
*rotating cloth public towels (I've encountered these in the States too)
*no bank balance at ATM (Mike)
*loud people in the street at 4am (Val only) (ok, this was me once)
*flaky electronic combination locks on all doors at the Tampere hostel (the secure kind of flaky, with awful high-pitched noises)
*annoying locks at the Helsinki hostel (Val)
*teenagers hogging the computer at the Tampere hostel
*overpriced internet access at the Helsinki hostel
*searching for the right railway track
*not getting to go swimming (Val)
*no damn street signs (like Boston!), weird numbering (two sides of street not match up)
*small type on maps (Val)
*having to push two single beds together
*getting frisked
*handwashing clothes b/c we planned laundry badly
*hostel sheets that don't stay on the bed
*not knowing much Finnish
*unhelpful signage
*unclear directions
*rooms with one tiny window and no screen
*staircases that shake

*Salmiakki - ok, so I've consumed licorice flavored ammonium chloride in several forms (Val)
*Pineapple on lots of stuff
*coffee appears to be v. good here, with cream and sugar. I am confused. (Val)

+More likes <3
*museums where the folks at coat check actually watch your stuff
*folks with amazing English (multilingual envy!)
*Turku student village
*Schopenhauer the bunny
*clean bathrooms
*stuff for kids to do everywhere practically
*the Finnish language
*museli with pourable yogurt
*big, easy to find lightswitches
*radiators with seats on top (lovely in winter I bet!)
*beautiful countryside

Probably left some things out . . .

Rest to come!

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