It's almost three weeks late, but here are some impressions of Finland. The Interstitial One and I visited Oulu, Turku and Helsinki in April/May and, apart from a severe difference of opinion with the locals on what "Spring" actually means and that it does not involve icy winds at close to freezing point, it was a most enjoyable experience. And expensive. As a rule, coffee should preferably be below R10, not over R30, than you very much. Same goes for beer.
We also experienced Vappu, and coming from a country where on 1 May (and all holidays) some go shopping, some laze about, some partake in rallies, some speech, some listen to speeches, some try to catch up on work, and some don't event know, it was oh so foreign seeing thousands of people doing the same thing - participating in the same festivity, getting drunk together, and wearing the same white caps for two days.
We saw Värttinä and Marianne Faithfull live, and both were excellent shows. Faithfull showed that age does not necessarily make you timid when a heckler got a bit too much (from celebrating Vappu) and she exclaimed: "Shut the fuck up, this is my show. I own the stage and you are here to love me!" Ja, tannie. Jammer, tannie.
Some visual impressions below.
Rows: A - C, Columns: 1 - 5
A1: When in Amsterdam for 5 hours, take a boattrip
A2: Alexander & the blow-up doll, Helsinki
A3: Hanging in there, Helsinki
B1: Army bicycles in front of Helsinki Cathedral
B2: Turku Castle is at one end of the city
B3: Värttinä at Klubi in Turku
C1: Sibelius monument, Helsinki
C2: Moomin is a national symbol (awaiting Vappu)
C3: One stone will only get you one bird, Suomenlina Fortress, Helsinki
D1: Inside Suomenlina's tunnels with a trusty Lomo
D2 - E2: Birch trees everywhere!
D3: Cloes-up of Army bicycle, Helsinki
E1: Still life with the Interstitial One and birch, Oulu
E3: Chapel window, Suomenlina Island