Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cash and Culture

I finally got my cash at the Western Union.  Then I hopped onto the tram for the National Museum of Finnish history, which was really nicely done.  Next, I rode the trams around town, trying to get a sense of place . I've been here a couple of days and still didn't feel I understood the layout of the city.  I do now.  I got off at a random stop, took photos and walked back.  Now I'm going to spend the next two hours trying to finish my final paper.

Tomorrow is going to be a busy day.  Leaving in the am for a 1.5 hour guided sightseeing around the city.  Next, I might take a ferry to Soumolinna (spelling?) which has another museum and a lot of history.  Finally, many museums are open late, so I'll try to visit one or two.  I have a Helsinki pass, which means that all of these events are free.  I have to make use of it.

Quick Observations about Helsinki:

*People are super friendly and very helpful, especially going out of their way to help me find a place to get money.

*The architecture is colorful and beautiful -- with many influences from St. Petersburg.

*Nearly every Finnish person speaks really good English, in my experience so far.  I know this is true for many Nordic countries.

*Like in Oslo, the Fins are taking advantage of their short but beautiful summer.  People were picnicing in the park, enjoying a drink in several area parks, sunbathing lakeside, taking cruises to the many islands, and strolling around in the beautiful, warm sunshine.  It's been much warmer here in Helsinki than Oslo -- that was a surprise.

Off to the paper.

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