The day will come when I will die. So the only matter of consequence before me is what I will do with my allotted time. I can remain on shore, paralyzed with fear, or I can raise my sails and dip and soar in the breeze.--Richard Bode

Friday, June 12, 2015

Helsinki, Finland

Greetings from sunny and warm Finland:

I took a ferry from Stockholm to here in Finland yesterday, landing about 60 miles west of Helsinki at a port city.  I had to pack up my motorcycle and leave my rooming house early in the morning to catch the ferry, and I guess worrying about that is why I hardly slept night before last. I did doze off once or twice, but each time I woke up after a few minutes to look at my watch. When it gets light at 1:30 a.m. it throws a guy off his schedule anyway.

I made it though -- I was in plenty of time for the ferry. It was a good thing too, because the line was long and slow to get my ticket. Once I had that in hand, it was a quick zip into the hold of the big ship for the 10.5 hour ride to Finland. And a beautiful ride it was, too, going through narrow passages between mile after mile of islands.

Ships are much more civilized than airplanes when it comes to travel. Still, I detest them. After I have explored everywhere I am allowed to go on the thing, there is nothing left to do except sit in the hot sun or shiver in the cold and breezy shade. I was sure glad I had my computer to play on and to watch movies on, and I was happy to have a good book along with me. Also, there was three pretty good acts going on, one after the other, in the lounge.

We landed about 8:00 p.m., and my first item in this new land was to find a campground and make up on the sleep I missed the previous night. I was amazed at the campground when I found it. Look at how the caravans have their own site instead of being packed in jowl to jowl.

There were geese everywhere -- and it must be mating season because they were all paired up, male and female, and there were a lot of male on male fights going on. Jealous brutes! This guy was trying to put on a show for the female he had his eye on.

I slept great, despite the rather cold temperature. There was no rain, though, and the cloudless sky let the sun start coming through at 1:30 a.m. A midnight sun is bright, althoujgh kind of cold, but by 5:30 it was high enough in the sky to make the tent toasty warm inside. Time to eat  breakfast, pack up, and head for Helsinki. It was a mere 60 mile trip -- no challenge at all for somebody like Odysseus.

I found another nice campground in Helsinki. They know how to do campgrounds here in Finland. Look, I have my own picnic table. That is a rare thing in Europe. In fact, this may be a first for me out of all the places I've stayed over here.

After a quick sandwich, eaten under the sad yet beady gaze of a sea gull who was absolutely certain human food would fit in his gullet just fine, I walked across the street and caught the train into town,

One of the first things I saw was this statue. What do you think -- up here by the arctic circle, does it flow clockwise or counterclockwise?

Here it is from the front. As you can see, it does not swirl at all. Another myth laid to rest.

I didn't see any children wanting to play in this fountain. I wonder why? Stupid idea for a statue. I decided the best thing for me to do was wander around and people watch. I enjoyed these kids trying to blow giant balloons.

As far as big cities go, Helsinki is one of them. I will give it more of a chance to impress me tomorrow. Right now, it is past my bedtime. That sleeping bag is calling me. I leave you with one last mystery: why do you suppose they set up all those tables smack dab in the street, each with several bottles of water lined up on it. I hung around for hours to watch what happened, but it is still a mystery to me.

Later, Ron

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