Helsinki #5. Writing.

Friday, October 24th. Wrote a few pages and I was quite content because I could feel my fingers.
In the evening an other group came at Ilpo’s place, and we chatted until one. They were nice exchange students who studied in Finland from France, Spain, and Germany. I got to speak German again which felt good. At night, they went to a bar while I stayed in the apartment, a bit tired.

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Helsinki #5. Writing.

Friday, October 24th. Wrote a few pages and I was quite content because I could feel my fingers.
In the evening an other group came at Ilpo’s place, and we chatted until one. They were nice exchange students who studied in Finland from France, Spain, and Germany. I got to speak German again which felt good. At night, they went to a bar while I stayed in the apartment, a bit tired.

Helsinki #5. Writing.

Friday, October 24th. Wrote a few pages and I was quite content because I could feel my fingers.
In the evening an other group came at Ilpo’s place, and we chatted until one. They were nice exchange students who studied in Finland from France, Spain, and Germany. I got to speak German again which felt good. At night, they went to a bar while I stayed in the apartment, a bit tired.

Helsinki #4. Suomenlinna.


The rhythm of 11 o’clock awakening seemed to have been established. It rained that day, but cleared up enough for me to decide to visit the famous island with the castle on it, Suomenlinna.

On the ferry, that was included in Helsinki’s regular transportation system, I met a British girl called Lyndsey, and since she was on her own as well, we agreed on exploring the island together.
First we walked across a wooden bridge which connected to a neighboring island, where barrack-like flats housed some of the 900 people who live on Suomenlinna.
We saw some cannon barrels and went through a dark tunnel, that I very poorly lit with my pocket LED (the smart little energy saver I promote at every occasion). The cannons were Russian built and had the year 1752 engraved in their side. We wondered who had used them against whom. I read in the brochure that the island was used by the Swedes, the Finnish and the Russians as a defense bastion. In the Krimean war it was destroyed by French and German armies.

We walked through the cannon chambers and were really stunned by the thickness of the walls (about 2 meters!) The light was exceptional! We couldn’t stop making pictures of the scene. Inside a huge hall of connected chambers it was as if the light was artificial, but it was actually the sun shining through the window holes.

We went back across the bridge to the central island of our tiny archipelago, and visited a Lutheran church, which looked more like a Stalinist monument. Then we passed a visitor’s center and a submarine, and reached a green garden-like area where we sat down for a while. From here we could look at the open sea, and so could the cannons, which were put here in impressive quantities. As I said, the little island had been used as a defense structure by three different nations, which makes it pretty unique I guess.
We were a bit hungry and after finding several cafe’s closed, we bought a good lunch in the supermarket (the only store on the island) consisting of olive bread, green cheese, bananas and more. Upon seeing the ferry arriving we decided to take that one back and have a coffee in central Helsinki, where we thus landed in a very fancy place with live music and exceptional coffee. We both texted our friends but got no reply, so we went to a bar in the artist quarter. Over a few grand Carlsberg beers we had a good conversation about eggs, ex’es, x’s, eventually framing our lives on an x-axis and rolling on the floor laughing, as you say in internet jargon. Unfortunately, time ran out for us and public transport considerations made us leave the bar. I got home savely and slept like a kitten at Ilpo’s.

I forgot to mention the construction frames we saw on the Suomenlinna island, which reminded me of Don Quichote.

Helsinki #4. Suomenlinna.


The rhythm of 11 o’clock awakening seemed to have been established. It rained that day, but cleared up enough for me to decide to visit the famous island with the castle on it, Suomenlinna.

On the ferry, that was included in Helsinki’s regular transportation system, I met a British girl called Lyndsey, and since she was on her own as well, we agreed on exploring the island together.
First we walked across a wooden bridge which connected to a neighboring island, where barrack-like flats housed some of the 900 people who live on Suomenlinna.
We saw some cannon barrels and went through a dark tunnel, that I very poorly lit with my pocket LED (the smart little energy saver I promote at every occasion). The cannons were Russian built and had the year 1752 engraved in their side. We wondered who had used them against whom. I read in the brochure that the island was used by the Swedes, the Finnish and the Russians as a defense bastion. In the Krimean war it was destroyed by French and German armies.

We walked through the cannon chambers and were really stunned by the thickness of the walls (about 2 meters!) The light was exceptional! We couldn’t stop making pictures of the scene. Inside a huge hall of connected chambers it was as if the light was artificial, but it was actually the sun shining through the window holes.

We went back across the bridge to the central island of our tiny archipelago, and visited a Lutheran church, which looked more like a Stalinist monument. Then we passed a visitor’s center and a submarine, and reached a green garden-like area where we sat down for a while. From here we could look at the open sea, and so could the cannons, which were put here in impressive quantities. As I said, the little island had been used as a defense structure by three different nations, which makes it pretty unique I guess.
We were a bit hungry and after finding several cafe’s closed, we bought a good lunch in the supermarket (the only store on the island) consisting of olive bread, green cheese, bananas and more. Upon seeing the ferry arriving we decided to take that one back and have a coffee in central Helsinki, where we thus landed in a very fancy place with live music and exceptional coffee. We both texted our friends but got no reply, so we went to a bar in the artist quarter. Over a few grand Carlsberg beers we had a good conversation about eggs, ex’es, x’s, eventually framing our lives on an x-axis and rolling on the floor laughing, as you say in internet jargon. Unfortunately, time ran out for us and public transport considerations made us leave the bar. I got home savely and slept like a kitten at Ilpo’s.

I forgot to mention the construction frames we saw on the Suomenlinna island, which reminded me of Don Quichote.

Helsinki #4. Suomenlinna.


The rhythm of 11 o’clock awakening seemed to have been established. It rained that day, but cleared up enough for me to decide to visit the famous island with the castle on it, Suomenlinna.

On the ferry, that was included in Helsinki’s regular transportation system, I met a British girl called Lyndsey, and since she was on her own as well, we agreed on exploring the island together.
First we walked across a wooden bridge which connected to a neighboring island, where barrack-like flats housed some of the 900 people who live on Suomenlinna.
We saw some cannon barrels and went through a dark tunnel, that I very poorly lit with my pocket LED (the smart little energy saver I promote at every occasion). The cannons were Russian built and had the year 1752 engraved in their side. We wondered who had used them against whom. I read in the brochure that the island was used by the Swedes, the Finnish and the Russians as a defense bastion. In the Krimean war it was destroyed by French and German armies.

We walked through the cannon chambers and were really stunned by the thickness of the walls (about 2 meters!) The light was exceptional! We couldn’t stop making pictures of the scene. Inside a huge hall of connected chambers it was as if the light was artificial, but it was actually the sun shining through the window holes.

We went back across the bridge to the central island of our tiny archipelago, and visited a Lutheran church, which looked more like a Stalinist monument. Then we passed a visitor’s center and a submarine, and reached a green garden-like area where we sat down for a while. From here we could look at the open sea, and so could the cannons, which were put here in impressive quantities. As I said, the little island had been used as a defense structure by three different nations, which makes it pretty unique I guess.
We were a bit hungry and after finding several cafe’s closed, we bought a good lunch in the supermarket (the only store on the island) consisting of olive bread, green cheese, bananas and more. Upon seeing the ferry arriving we decided to take that one back and have a coffee in central Helsinki, where we thus landed in a very fancy place with live music and exceptional coffee. We both texted our friends but got no reply, so we went to a bar in the artist quarter. Over a few grand Carlsberg beers we had a good conversation about eggs, ex’es, x’s, eventually framing our lives on an x-axis and rolling on the floor laughing, as you say in internet jargon. Unfortunately, time ran out for us and public transport considerations made us leave the bar. I got home savely and slept like a kitten at Ilpo’s.

I forgot to mention the construction frames we saw on the Suomenlinna island, which reminded me of Don Quichote.

Helsinki #3. Dry feet.

Another day started with a lazy morning and a tasty breakfast. I joined Ilpo to his office and decided to go to the Art MuseumAtheneum“. Before that I walked in another shoemaker’s shop and asked him if you could repair the crack in my sole. He saidyes, I can“, and started working immediately. Ten minutes later he had neatly glued a piece of rubber onto it and charged me only one euro. I went outside and stepped in the first pool carefully. The second and the third one still didn’t get me wet feet. So sometimes a one-euro-repair is much better than a free repair, now that’s a motto.

The museum presented actually a couple of interesting collections. I saw a collection of Ukiyoe drawings from the Edo period in Japan (around 1850). They were nicely presented and gave a good insight in the culture of that period.
More impressive though was a collection of 64 photographs by 8 Japanese photographers. One set depicted the consequences of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, another the results of Japan’s rapid industrialization.
On the upper floor they presented some movies based on work by Mika Waltari, Finland’s most famous writer, as well as a representative series of Finnish paintings.
In the main hall they’d projected moving Finnish words on the ceiling and the walls, and since I heard the Finnish language is endangered I found that moving indeed.

We had a delicious lunch in a Mexican place with two nice girls. Over a spinach chicken pineapple wrap we had a little conversation about the inconsistency of me being an environmentalist but not a vegetarian, and about practicing what you preach. My wrap tasted so terrific that I actually managed to say “Well, catholic priests also don’t practice what they preach. Isn’t go and reproduce yourself a vital motto of Christendom, and yet they never do it.” Such an argument is indefeasible of course, and we finished our lunch with a healthy laugh about the issue.

That afternoon I spent writing in the post office, and reading the current edition of Time magazine. In an English language newspaper I read about Anni-Kristiina Juuso, a very pretty Sami-actress, hardly known among the Finnish, who lives in the north, and constitutes yet another reason for me to go up there.

I had dinner together with Ilpo, who had prepared rice and tofu; it was really tasty. After a short nap we went to a fancy bar and over a Fosters we discussed techniques of approaching woman, and I learned that I should really read this book ‘The Game’ by Neil Strauss. Soon enough we could see some of it in practice, albeit not in a way we fancied. On my way to the toilet I waited for another guy in the doorpost of the men’s room, so that the little man on it could easily escape the sight of the person behind me. A very female looking person passed me and entered the toilet, invoking me to cough loud enough to catch her attention. The soft-skinned man smiled and it was only after I had directed my eyes on his chest that I recognized my mistake. It was a very funny situation, and I don’t think it was such an embarrassment for him. Aren’t gender roles to be played and played with freely?

It was not so late when we arrived back home and went to sleep.