For those of you who don’t know, though I honestly doubt there is such a person, I’ve been dreaming to move to Finland since I was 15. That’s because of HIM and my passion for their music. I think I have some blog posts about them around here, here and here and probably not only there. My dream of moving to Finland did not come true, but last week-end I made a what I thought would be just a visit to Helsinki, that ended up turning into a power tour of Finnish days, nights, mornings and ski jumping trampolines. And I hope you all know Janne Ahonen, and if you don’t, well, too bad for you, because you missed some really beautiful ski jumping performances and a really nasty fall in Planica from the ski flying trampoline. And any rock/metal fan is aware of the Finnish metal scene plus I guess we all remember when Lordi took Eurovision to a totally different level.
After a short flight I was on my way to Helsinki and, as any tourist, the first thing I wanted to do is to go see the Helsinki Cathedral, and not only that, but to sit on the steps and just look around and drink some coffee. My trip took me close to the harbour, to Uspenski Cathedral that, even if it is an Orthodox church, it didn’t remind me of the ones back home (I presume because of the Russian vs Greek Orthodox styles), to the Sibelius monument or the Temppeliaukio Church, the church built in a rock.
While walking around the streets I ended next to Helsinki University. I stopped by at Molly Malones and stared at the entrance to Tavastia for minutes in a row. That’s where all the cool rock concerts happen, must visit it for such an occasion one day. The evening brought me in a rock pub, On the Rocks, watching Sweet Little Sister, a SkidRow cover band, and another live-jam band that simply confirmed, again, that Finns rock it better. The atmosphere, the energy, the joy of enjoying the music were present not just in the performers but in the audience as well. The late night was spent on the steps in front of the Cathedral eating Swedish candy and watching the sky.
The early hours of the morning, just as the early hours of the afternoon, found me walking around the streets of Lahti and visiting the ski jumping trampolines from the Lahden Hiihtoseura ski club. For those of you who don’t know, Janne Ahonen is from Lahti and registered at the ski club that has the trampolines I visited. And to clear up why I am so passionate about ski-jumping: it’s what I fill my time with on the Winter tennis holiday. Plus it’s fun to watch.
The second part of my Helsinki visit was spent in Suomenlinna which is an inhabited sea fortress and an UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s also a strange contrast between what looks like something very peaceful and picturesque and a place left behind by a bombardment.
All in all, apparently I chose the most atypical week-end to visit Helsinki because I found on the other side of the sea, a city that was full of life, activities and friendly people. As feeling, the short visit brought me closer to the East-European vibe rather than to the melancholy of Scandinavia, so maybe next time I should choose a rainy week-end, not one when the sun is shining.
All would have ended better if I didn’t have a four hours flight delay (for a 40 minute flight) because of a bird that made its way into the engine of a plane the previous day. Norwegian sent the plane to service so the flight schedule got all messed up and instead of getting home early evening I got home close to midnight. And when I say home I mean Stockholm.