Helsinki #7. Common Ground.

The next day I met with Lyndsey again at the train station, and we went for a walk in the rain, which was no big deal since we both come from proverbially rainy countries. She suggested to go to the botanical gardens, which I found a good idea. It took us a little while to find the entrance, but once we were inside, we did enjoy the tropical atmosphere and the fine collection of plants very much.

After that we went for a walk heading for a castle that looked great on the map, on its weirdly shaped island, but turned out to be too far and not so interesting. My feet got wet again, the crack was not yet overcome. So we entered a tiny house at the shore, which turned out to be the famous Regatta. We ordered some tea and sat down for a while, drying my shoes and getting a towel and some plastic bags from the compassionate bartender. The rain coming down in streams outside, occasional tourist visitors escaping the harsh winds which we could see in all four directions – it was a remarkable scene, which reminded us of being alive and all that.

Dried up we walked a bit bit further, passing the Sibelius monument, a huge organ on some slippery rocks. As the rain got stronger, we decided to go back and have some drink somewhere in the city center (worth noticing since the Helsinki area is huge). We landed behind the Kamppi in a pool bar, which offered tasty toast. I had to wait pretty long for it, so the waiter justified himself jokingly that I should have gotten it from the toaster myself. Justification on the merest occasion – well, the German and the Finns do share a common ground, was just a thought that trickled through my mind.

Anyway, I accompanied Lyndsey to a subway station, and walked back to Ilpo’s place. I caught him in the act of playing an interesting but complicated looking board game I didn’t want to interrupt, so I said goodbye to him too and headed to Anna-Sofia’s apartment in Kallio, the area where the beer was allegedly cheaper and the people allegedly acting accordingly. I was very welcome once again on a real comfortable couch. Anna-Sofia revealed that she studied Spanish, and was actually writing a novel herself, which gave us some common ground, and incited a nice conversation.

We went to a bar nearby, which looked like a typical Kaurismaki place, Anna-Sofia told me. I remembered only one movie by one of the Kaurismaki brothers, the man without a past, but I got the idea. A typical finnish drunk joined in and made us leave after some not so pleasant remarks. I slept very well that night.

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Kamiel Choi

Dutch philosopher and poet, sometimes sharing thoughts on the internet.

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