30th July 2009
The flight from Riga to Helsinki lasted about 40mins which was great! My Uncle and Aunt (Reijo and Hillevi) met us at the airport to take us to Pirkko’s place (Mummu’s sister).
I was finally glad to have a room to myself. It was cute and always made Nicole and I laugh whenever we found something unique like that toy wombat, or corn!
We then had some fresh rolls Pirkko had made earlier that day and then went for a Sauna! I tried to remember the place and only as we were walking down the stairs did I remember the rooms where I used to play hide and seek with Reijo.
The next morning Reijo picked us up and we headed firstly to where he and mum (+ family) grew up before they came to Australia. It was quite moving to be there and see the place. It was a tiny unit, where 2 adults and 7 children lived for 6 years.
We then went to Helsinki Zoo which is on its own little island! Great idea if you ask me: If any animals break out, blow the bridge!
After the zoo, we headed to a great restaurant called Zetor. I had some creamy Finnish Hash (HUGE and served in what looked like a dog bowl!), Nicole had Herring Fillets and Lauren had the Sauteed Reindeer. I also had a raspberry cider which was absolutely amazing. I think I love you Cider.
We then went for a walk around Helsinki (only quickly as it was raining!). Apparently they hadn't had rain in several weeks and the time we are there (we as in me!) it rains. Typical. We walked up the main road and saw the Helsinki Cathedral and Senate Square and also the oldest house in Finland!
We then head back to Pirkko's and on our way gave her a call to see if she could start the Sauna again: when in Finland! When we arrived we met her grandson Heikki who I apparently played with when I was 3. Neither of us remembered each other, which was hilarious! He wasn’t sure what to say but his girlfriend was a sure chatterbox. She was telling Nicole and Lauren that they should have an authentic sauna and hit each other with Birch branches. Classic.
1st August 2009
Reijo picked us up again in the monring and we headed into Helsinki. We got dropped off at the markets in Helsinki and spent the first part of the monring browsing the markets and eyeing off the punets raspberries. We walked around for a while and after took a walk down the Esplanade in Helsinki: The flowers in this place are crazy cool + it was a nice day!
We then walked to the Natural History Museum of Helsinki to see some mooses as we hadn’t seen one at the zoo (apparently it was sick!). Those things are huge! Reijo was telling us that most road accidents in Finland are caused by Moose.
We then headed back to the Markets where we bought some raspberries (after thinking about them all day!) and sat by the water eating what we could, and eventually feeding the ducks the rest. I can’t remember fully, but I remember going to the Baltic Beer festival as well! The beer was like 20% and way too much for me to drink.
We again had a Sauna when we got back to Pirkko's and also had an Apple and Rubarb Cider that Reijo had given us when he dropped us back that night! Mmm. Cider!
2nd August 2009
Today we drove down the Kings Road and headed into Vanha Porvoo: Medieval Old Town with rust-colored timber shore houses lining the river and quaint cafes. It has an interesting history, especially the Cathedral...
Porvoo has fought for its very ex-istence on several occasions overthe centuries. At the beginningof the 16th century, Danes arrivedby sea to destroy the city. TheRussians burned Porvoo twice.In 1760, a Porvoo housewifemade fish soup, and the fire itcaused destroyed the majority ofthe buildings in the city. The lastmisfortune was the arson in 2006that greatly damaged a key land-mark of Old Porvoo, the cathedral.
We walked up the coble stone streets and had a look inside. It looks pretty cool for a burnt church. We could only stay inside for a quick look as they were about to have some kind of ceremony. It looked like some kind of induction into a cult. Young Swedish kids in white robes marching in twos into the entrance. Creepy.
Of course, it starts to rain again! Reijo was cursing the weather quite politely (hehe).
After hiding out in a cafe and having hot chocolate we finish the walk around Porvoo and head back to their place for some Cider – YUM, and home cooked meatballs. Perfect!
After they dropped us back to Pirkkos we said our goodbyes and thanks! I wished they could come over soon! I loved every minute of it.
That night after we finished packing our things, Nicole and I had a night of chatting, giggling and crying! I couldn’t believe she was going to be away for about a year!
3rd August 2009
After a very tearing morning of goodbyes, I found a lovely note written by Nicole! I’m not sure if I told her but it made me cry, again! I totally loved it. You’re a great friend Nicole!
I then had about 5 hours until my flight. I spent the day in the garden with Pirkko, taking photos of her garden + nic nacs! I then went to my room to check if I had all my things when she came in and asked what I had bought on my travels. I found my little souvenirs and went to the kitchen to show her and after I had finished she went on a little mission and came back with a procelain duck for me to take home. It's so old and faded, but I think its the best of all.
As I was putting the items back into my I saw a little squirrel hopping along in the back garden. Too cute!
When the time came to leave, Pirkko came with me to the airport and she had a coffee and I had an apple juice. We were talking and then she asked if I had finished my apple juice as she had liked the bottle and wanted to take it home with her. It totally made me laugh as I thought she was joking, but she wasn't! She took the bottle and stashed it neatly into her hand bag as if it was normal.
She's crazy, but we all love her!