Friday, April 30, 2010

Helsinki, sunshine and Maria in one day...magic

Today has been a very memorable one. I have spent it in the company of the very special and lovely Maria in a beautifully sunny and charming Helsinki. I can't upload any photos today as I forgot to bring a cable or card reader with me, but as soon as I'm back in Rotterdam, I will post lots!

We had a truly lovely time walking first round the city harbour (water and boats always good), then through some very elegant tree lined streets (rather Parisian in style), finishing up at a delightful Italian restaurant where we had lunch served by an equally delightful patron. After that, we took the ferry to Suomelinna Island (I hope I've spelt that right) and walked round the old fortifications along its coastal path. The sun shone through the mist onto peaceful waters, and we watched the big sea going ferries pulling out of the harbour. It is really very beautiful and wonderfully peaceful....except for the occasional throngs of students already beginning their celebration of 'Vappu', a very singularly Finnish festival to mark Walpurgis night. The festival itself is celebrated in several countries, but the video link I've given here is the Finnish version (thanks for the link, Maria). Here's another link to its history.

When we arrived back in Helsinki, we actually watched and witnessed the event shown in the film clip, and it was great to see all the generations mingling in the city centre with their white caps on in honour of the occasion.

As the festivities then continue into a series of all night parties, Maria and I beat a retreat and took the tram out of the city. Probably a wise decision judging by the number of police vans I saw as I walked the last stretch back to the hostel. It looked very much as if they were preparing for a busy night!

Tomorrow I'm off to Vaasa to visit Hans and Ingela. More on that later...

9 comments:

  1. Almost right, it's SuomeNlinna :)

    I had such an enjoyable day and lovely Val was wonderful company! Have a great time with Hans and Ingela and see you again on monday!

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  2. By the way, Lisa (Nabonidus) sends her love. She misses you (particularly your lovely, smiling face) and Koos and the blog.

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  3. Val, sounds like a perfectly lovely day! Maria, Hans and Ingela, very cool :)

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  4. How wonderful. Always nice to see blogger buddies getting together. Enjoy the rest of your visit!

    xx
    AM

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  5. So pleased that you had a good visit, and hoping that the rest of your time away is equally pleasant.

    Here is another blogger who would be delighted to take you around the city, so keep it in mind. I even have a hostel next door! And we certainly aren't short on Italian restaurants!!

    LOL

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  6. Wonderful! Will look forward to seeing the pictures.

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  7. Ah Maria, thanks again, and your message from Lisa brought a lump to my throat! We miss her too, but then she knows that!

    I've had a lovely afternoon/evening with Hans and Ingela and tomorrow they are taking me on a sort of tour of interesting places up here. What lovely warm people they are, sons included! Tomorrow will be another good day, I know.

    Grace, Janys, Anne Marie and String, thanks too! I'm having a great time with our blog friends. I can well recommend a visit to Finland to meet them. Truly special, warm people.....and Janys,I might take you up on that offer...wouldn't I love a trip to Venice???

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  8. All that loving warmth centering around you. So well deserved.
    And Nabonidus is alive! Good news.

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  9. Sounds like a wonderful time had by all - you paint such a beautiful picture of the days events :)

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