I arrived back to Finland on July 6 and quickly assimilated into the life of a typical family with 3 children, off and away to a soccer game(Helsinki Cup) strait from the airport and I could not be more happy. I expressed to my hosts that I did not want to visit a museum or special site at the expense of spending family time. Does that sound too boring? Not to me, now I know people travel for different reason, to see new sights, and grow in intellect, and perhaps try something new, but my recent trips to Europe have been primarily about family! I have done my fair share of something new but within my short time with my hosts.
We broke bread with several cousins trying out the new grill, and that is always a good reason to bring friends over, food and fellowship. Good food; beef, chicken, salad, corn, new potatoes, and an apple rhubarb crisp with ice cream for dessert.
The next day was going to be long with soccer for the boys early, and a very traditional breakfast of yogurt, granola, fresh pineapple, cheese, breads, ham, cucumber, tomato and juices. It is a very filling breakfast, with much variety and everyone finds something they like even the little ones.
We stopped for some postage and a mailing. I had some items that I wanted to send home early rather than carrying them. As I was filling out my customs form, I mentioned that I had a magnet inside (a lesson is to be learned from this). The postal worker mentioned it was illegal to mail magnets……really??? As you sell magnets in your store, next to other postal items, and they are thin enough to ship, but you cannot mail them?? Do you post that on your magnet shelf??
Anyway, I reopened my package, took out the magnets, resealed it, and paid for postage and filled out a new customs form. WE laughed and laughed about that incident all day and the other failures of the postal systems, like you can’t ship batteries but if you order online, they get “mailed” to via the postal system…Marijuana is mailed via the post office, etc.
Off to soccer we went and arrived to the Helsinki Cup. Something for all ages and seemingly all abilities. After watching a few games of relative importance, literally, we were off to the Olympic Stadium and tower. 60+ meters tall, it was amazing to see the city, and whence we came from.
As an observation, I was surprised at how comfortable the local country citizens allowed their children to roam free amongst a very diverse crowd and often sight unseen. Maybe I am in a safe country, with low crime, or maybe it’s not quite an issue here, but it did catch me by surprise and hold my admiration.
After that we visited the Sibelius Monument, my favorite place in Helsinki to visit because I have some sentimental reasons for seeing it. Sibelius, Finland’s most famous composer, who died in 1957, wrote Finlandia, Opus 26 as a symphonic poem.
We then traveled to a relative’s birthday party and enjoyed great beverages and foods of all kinds of traditional fare. From local candy to home made goodies to champagne.
From there we enjoyed a brief night on the town. We saw the Sea Cloud, a huge three (3) sail windjammer on cruise in the port of Helsinki, now that would be a dream voyage!
We have also done new things like visit Tommy Knocker Brewery in Helsinki. An Idaho Springs, Colorado, Brewery, with a Finnish location. I was happy to share this experience for the 2nd time since I have been in Finland, as I am growing consumers to the cause. As it turns out it is great beer and is new to Finland.
The 8th of July started later in the morning than expected and for a little bit I was irritated that I may have contributed to being late for the day. As it turns out, I wasn’t and we had a great day from the traditional breakfast, to seeing Jean Sibelius’s home in Tuusula, to buying some flowers for my next host, to sitting in Pornainen having traditional coffee and pulla. I was now effectively handed off to the next family, and we got right to work on “catching up”.