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Finns in Finlandia cannot handle a hot Summer

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Jul 19th, 2018, 11:01 AM
  #1
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Finns in Finlandia cannot handle a hot Summer

The following are my observation to which Eser gave her approval (possibly because I was the only named driver on our renter car:

- The Finns are stoic
- They are usually slow, in 28-30 Degrees weather, acting amazed at finding themselves in a very different environment. We even saw people falling off their bicycles.
- They are not enthusiastic swimmers. The sea near Helsinki and the multitude lakes offered good swimming in the heat with water temperatures possibly reaching 19-20 Degrees but we saw very few people swimming; just a few waders.
- The Bauhaus style of architecture seems to have taken over their thought processes also. People, their homes, their lives, their food, their rules and regulations are all strong boxes with tiny windows, built to protect what is inside by alien elements as well as the cold.
- They drink a great deal but carry their alcohol well except when a group forms in competition to test who has the loudest Viking voice.
- They are friendly helpful and well-mannered but lacking in empathy (possibly with strangers)
- Finland is very expensive. A simple sandwich costs 12-13 Euro and a poor meal for two with only one glass of wine, over 100 Euro
- We somehow missed the herring but partook of salmon and white fish, gristly and fatty steak, excellent sausages and frankfurters, small and tasteless salads, heavy buttery sauces, mayonnaise,
- no exciting cheeses to compete with gorgonzola, brie, stilton, feta. boursin, cambozola, romano, ripe cheddar, etc.
- Drivin is very easy as long as you have good navigation system or at leas a co-pilot well-versed in google. Eser was sometimes good and sometimes evil just as google,
- If you hit road works, google goes berserk.
- The same is true if you chance to be in Helsinki when Trump and/or Putin are there.
- You have to be very careful with speed limits.
- Most parking is only for the Finns (possibly as parking will be only for Jews in Israel after the new legislation)
- The parking meters are very few and difficult to find. If you have a rented car, to drive in Helsinki, buy a 24 hour ticket for 18 Euros from a supermarket (we found a meter outside one) And be aware that not all of them have instructions in English.
- Then you have to decipher the parking signs.
- The Finnish language is hopeless for those of us who speak English and can understand Southern European languages and German to a certain extent.
- The Finnish countryside is one of the loveliest we have seen.
- Large number of nature parks with hikes, treks, etc.
- In fact, do not expect instructions, signs, pamphlets and books in English, although almost all Finns we met spoke decent English.

There will be more opinionated opinions, grossly misconstruable constructs, murmurings and shouts, cries, laughter following this semblance of a summary.
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Jul 19th, 2018, 12:09 PM
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Taking a rental car was one of the best things we did in Finland. Falling for the offer of the agency to upgrade to a Rangerover was also not too bad, because we drove over a thousand kilometres and the car was comfortable but not much fun to drive. Shifting with a button really turned me off.

Following our usual pattern, we managed to find both the flea market and the regular market on or arrival day, after I broke various barriers of humility and obnoxiousness. The hotel I was proud to have found for such a good rate in very expensive Helsinki, turned out to be a hovel (they may call them luxury hostel these days) without air conditioning, with the room to the West in 29 degree weather.

Last edited by otherchelebi; Jul 19th, 2018 at 12:19 PM. Reason: spelling
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Jul 19th, 2018, 02:22 PM
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Thank you OC for your services to Finish tourism. I've never been to Finland and I almost feel that I don't need to now.
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Jul 19th, 2018, 02:32 PM
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I had a somewhat different reaction to Finland, athough it didn't make my revisit list and I was busy enough in Helsinki (using public transport) that I didn't see the countryside. I found the Design Musem a bit disappointing but the History Museum very interesting, and both cathedrals worth seeing. Plenty of interesting buildings, although not my favorite style of Art Nouveau.

BTW, OC, if you thought Finland was expensive, better skip Norway!
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Jul 19th, 2018, 10:28 PM
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and then there's Turkey and Greece...
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Jul 20th, 2018, 07:00 AM
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We refused to stay at the hovstel, managed to get a Noona to tell us our payment was non-refundable, including the 55 Euro we paid extra for daily cleaning and linen change. When I said, my heart condition cannot accept so much heat, she said they can rush me to a hospital if and when needed. When I said, we should at least get the 55 Euro cleaning fee back, she said no. I was 'somewhat' annoyed and told her that we would come everyday to mess up the room so that they would have a reason to keep the fee. She responded, "Yes, you can do that." Was she just stupid, an android or mean?

We used some of their electricity to plug my laptop to check the Hiltons which appeared to give us some hope for a nice room with good strong American type A/C. We found a reasonably priced one on the Western side of Hrlsinki, near Espo, but it seemed to be full. Yet, heeding the inner voice of the old travel dog, we drove there anyway. Turned out that the inner voice was not to be trusted. They had a room only for that day. By that time we were tired and hot enough to take it at 20% above the internet rate, despite my AARP and age. We carried our suitcases to the seventh floor room which was just two storeys up, to find; Lo and Behold that the room was almost smoking hot. Went back to the reception to be told that "Yes there is A?C but it is not able to cope with the heat. Our sea view rooms are even worse."

So, we went back to the room to claim the luggage which was getting heavier by probably soaking up the hot and humid air. On the way out, while abandoning the not caring receptionist, it occured to me to ask if there was another decent hotel nearby with possibly a working A/C. She wrote the name of Radisson Blu and my trusted co-pilot (I had no option but to trust her, and she well knew that) found the hotel in Espo, on the sea with great trees, birdsong and Canada geese dropping off feathers to supply us with souvenirs to take home as well as other stuff we did not want to take back..

Our room was only 26 degrees with A/C but we borrowed a table fan to make it appear cooler. And, frankly, we had lost all hope of finding a cool room (in all senses of the word) in all Helsinki just as our strength had ebbed to the point of telling us to stay in the room and eat the remnants of some crackers and cookies we had with us. Eser had to go out to the trees and the sea which she thought was a lake and naturally had her glass of wine. Then we were almost fast asleep by 9:30 PM with the sun still refusing to set outside.

Dukey both Turkey and Greece are very cheap. They are horrible to drive in large cities but fine in resorts and regions of natural scenery. Greece also has a great deal of Bauhaus beauties as Turkey does, but those buildings at least have balconies to cater for the climate and the clothes drying habits of the populace. But our historic buildings are fun to see and photograph.

A Finnish tourist coming to Turkey is under high risk of being run over while crossing any street at any pedestrian crossing, Turks, with our traditional trust in some dumb saint or other, not only do not check the traffic lights but will only check for approaching vehicles, very quickly calculating their speed and the time they will take to reach the crossing, and then make small leaps or a dash, the ability to practice that much over-rated or not included in their calculations. So, if a Finnish steps on a zebra crossing, he will either be run over, receive insults, cause an accident or possibly all three.

Last edited by otherchelebi; Jul 20th, 2018 at 07:05 AM. Reason: spelling
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Jul 20th, 2018, 09:06 AM
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I have very fond memories of my trip to Finland.
Mind you, that was 50 years ago...
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Jul 20th, 2018, 10:23 AM
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OC - I beg that neither you nor Eser visits the UK in a heat wave.

You will never survive.
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Jul 20th, 2018, 11:10 AM
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OC, thank you for this entertaining trip report, sorry to hear about your accommodation disasters and the heat. Your comments about crossing the street remind me of my experience when I moved to Australia. I was used to the Finn style where everyone waits politely for people to cross the street here in Vancouver, in Sydney cars would rev their engines and speed up from a block away when you stepped out into the crossing.

We were just in Helsinki in late June, only had one day unfortunately because we were on a Baltic cruise but we enjoyed the market by the harbour, saw a couple of cathedrals, took the ferry to Suomelinna island and had a delicious lunch at Restaurant Aino on the street alongside the big park in the shopping area: Pohjoisesplanadi I believe is the street. It was a lovely Scandi decor, very simple and a limited menu but all Finnish specialties. My husband had the creamy salmon soup, I had the best vegetable soup ever, it was a large bowl with very fresh tender spring vegetables, the server then poured a creamy broth over the top, accompanied by some delicious crusty rye bread and the Summer Ale it was perfect. We shared a trio of house made gelato, again taste explosion. A very sweet waitress. I found the Finns a slight bit more aloof than the Danes.
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Jul 21st, 2018, 06:26 AM
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I think I will give other Scandinavian countries a miss, at least for a Summer visit. Paraphrasing the doctor in the film "Adam's Apples" I will not visit a place that scorches when it is supposed to be cool."

And on that subject, Eser and I decided that the Finns, never needing warm weather clothes, opened old trunks of WW II, Swedish and Russian occupation rags and wore those during the last heat wave.
For foot wear, there were cross country training roller skaters, a few cheap black grey and white sneakers, lots of slippers, sandals, tongs and babettes ( last two worn by hikers as well). The men either wore sandals or ugly black work shoes. Nary an American or Italian loafer, a French Mephisto or Nike, Merrell. Did not even see a Gucci or Rossetti store.

Women of all ages wore colourless and shapeless dresses , many also displaying leggings and tights which they probably forgot to remove after the cold weather. However there was no fur or mittens in sight.

We refused to eat reindeer because both of us are totally against hunting.

Sunday, driving to Turku was not too bad despite the many road works which reduced speed to 50, 60 or 80 K/Hr. Otherwise it was 100 or 120k, with most traffic moving slightly over the speed limit.

We found Turku quite pleasant, reminding us of some small French towns in a way. Ate some stuff at a rated restaurant which we immediately released from our memory except for the price.

Since we left Turku rather early, we decided to visit some green and watery towns on the way, briefly visiting Loja. It was a good idea, gave Eser a chance to stick her feet in the larger lake and take some photographs of the large DJ playing decent music with large ugly black equipment on the beach, unfortunately from behind.
.
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Jul 21st, 2018, 11:34 AM
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Sorry, but it is unlikely in the extreme that the reindeer in question was hunted. Reindeer herding is practised by both Sami and Finns, and reindeer meat is a normal part of the diet.

Last edited by thursdaysd; Jul 21st, 2018 at 12:23 PM.
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Jul 21st, 2018, 12:22 PM
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Oh OC, you are cracking me up. I noticed that about the dress sense there, I think they just don't care about it. On the other hand if you want eye candy- go to Copenhagen. The four of us couldn't stop remarking on how attractive both sexes were-of all ages, not just young people. Absolutely the best looking people on our whole trip. Nicely dressed too in a simple elegant way, well groomed, natural, the women did not all have that fake "barbie meets Kardashian" look with fake nails, hair, boobs etc and too much makeup, they didn't need it with the bone structure they have and those eyes. And the men, well let's just say if I become single that's where I will be headed.
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Jul 21st, 2018, 12:31 PM
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I'm very glad that my experience of Finland (Helsinki, to be precise) was very different than yours!
I hope your trip includes some moments worthy of an anniversary celebration.
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Jul 21st, 2018, 01:35 PM
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kja, I will try to find your trip report and read it.

both Eser and I are observers of people, their looks, smiles, eyes, body language. Although Eser does, I do not like museums with objects strung along, the only memory I carry of all the paintings, cabinets, frescos, four posters, baths, dungeons, etc, is the warning, "Do Not Touch"

On the other hand, I do not have to pay to try to understand gestures, mysterious or melancholy looks, sneers, laughter or sorrow on all types of faces matching or mismatching very different bodies.

I wanted to check a ladies underwear department in a store to see if they carried support bras but Eser would not let me.

We had good sausages and the apparently famous tomato soup with a large piece of grilled salmon. Liked them better than the expensive non-descript tasteless stuff. The problem was that no matter what se drank the heat would not go away. Eser swam at 9:30 PM with another hour of sunlight left, after sliding on a board and sitting in a few inches of water not far from two skinny dipping lads. Serves her right, although she said sje did not notice them (properly?)

We also checked the route to the Viking Line ferry for which we had paid $94 return for both of us on the net. Saw the 24 hour parking, could not decipher the writing, did not see any parkomats and decided very wrongly that it was free

Tomorrow ferries and Tallinn.
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Jul 21st, 2018, 01:38 PM
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raincity girl, thank you for your interest and remarks. Did you know that there is a Barbie museum in Helsinki with lots of Kardashian weight local visitors.
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Jul 21st, 2018, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by otherchelebi View Post
kja, I will try to find your trip report
No trip report -- my visit to Helsinki was long ago.
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Jul 23rd, 2018, 01:27 AM
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We left our hotel at 8 AM to get to ferry early, just in case. We found space at 24 hr, parking. Looked around in the large area and at entrances and exits but did not find any ticket parking machines, decided that the ferry line had a deal with the city which allowed free parking for passengers. The mind is a strange equipment, able to make unusual, nonsensical or even stupid associations and coming up with irrational results.

We spent almost two hours under intense heat in the crowded waiting lounge for 10:15 embarkation to our 10:30 trip. There were people with heat stroke and claustrophobia who were guzzling beer in order to survive under the circumstances. I just pondered on the evils of modern life and yearned for the Finnish countryside.

The huge boat had lots of different types of seating but only 13 chairs with backs high enough to rest one's head, and they were naturally occupied by the time we managed to puff our way up the stairs. The new slot machines were all inundated with small kids who may have had fake IDs saying they were 18.

We just had some of that same Finnish coffee which we generally liked, and did not feel hungry enough to munch on each other's nerves.

We waited for the crowds to thin before abandoning our seats and walked out among the stragglers, reaching a very long line for taxis. The web had warned me of shady taxis and suggested we take specific brands.
Next, we get pounced on by other type of crooked transporters.
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Jul 23rd, 2018, 12:56 PM
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Somehow OC I missed the Barbie museum! lol, must Google that. Can't wait to see what you think of Tallinn. We all felt it was a victim of it's own cuteness...slammed with people wall to wall. Yes it has some very charming buildings but it wasn't our favourite. We had a pretty good lunch at the Peppersack which our guide in St.Petersburg had recommended. It was unfortunately one of those places where they make the waitstaff wear period costumes and our waiter had the misfortune of also having the awkward but sweet demeanour of Napoleon Dynamite. The cheese platter and the meat platter with lots of different types of herring were both really good. The soups and everything else were so so.
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Jul 24th, 2018, 06:28 AM
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Just as I was wondering whether we should try to walk to Old Town Tallinn and then sit somewhere comfortable while Eser did the sightseeing, or join the long taxi queue, a strong looking young man approached us and said he could pedal us to the old town for 35 Euro on a three wheel tuk tuk like bicycle. Having read that a taxi usually costs 8-18 Euro, I said No. He reduced price to 25. I said No again; he then said, he could not do it for less but the young kid he brought to me would do it for 15. I asked the kid himself and he replied Yeah. So we boarded the uncomfortable contraption and suffered a dizzying ride on crowded pavements, managing to stay on board through sheer will power.

The ride was so wobbly and swirvy that I could observe very little of what the city looked like between the ferry landing and the old town.

When we got to an entrance to the old town, I figured I would pay something extra to the strong young man and gave him a 20 Euro note and was about to say he could keep the change when he said I must give him 10 more because the price he quoted was per person and it was written in Estonian at the inner side of his tuk tuk. I felt like arguing, Eser tried to pull me off, other tuk tuk drivers drifted closer and finally I gave the boy the additional 10 Euro while telling him that thieves and liars like him would be carrying passengers on bicycles all their lives since he was too stupid and evil to ever succeed in school or any other profession. An older Estonian came to us and offered some consolation by saying, " I am deeply sorry for what happened, please do not think that all Estonia and Estonians are like that." We thanked him and with the adrenaline flowing at maximum output, I walked along most of the streets of the Old Town for about three hours without stopping even for water or coffee, taking photographs with the Canon which managed to gain weight as we went through the throngs of tourists most of whom fortunately stayed on the main routes, alowing us peace and quiet on most of the streets we trod.

Some impressions about Tallinn old town :
- there are no steep hills
- most of the time, you can avoid the tiring cobble stones by walking on easier pavements.
- You can come across some interesting courtyards if you are willing to disregard people's privacy or realize that the courtyard actually houses a cafe of restaurant.
- there was absolutely no hard sell and nobody tried to pull you into their restaurant or shop.
- there were very few souvenir shops and very little to take back with you.
- there were very few other types of shops.
- the best looking courtyard restaurant was Indian.
- The walls of the town, mostly built over with houses and other structures, were not exciting.
- The cloister of a monastery was the most interesting religious area we saw.
- People did not look very happy in general. It was only later in the cab that we discovered they had the same background as the Finns.
- There were no loud speakers anywhere except for the Japanese tourists.

We finally settled for a very cute and expensive looking restaurant with tasteful flowery outside seating between two buildings. CRU restaurant had slow but smiling service.As short a menu as Helsinki restaurants and could actually have had a Finnish chef or a stand-in. Upon leaving the beautiful restaurant we immediately released the taste of the food in order to not contaminate our palates for future repasts. While memories of tuk tuk and food slowly disappeared in a vapor, we joyfully took a very comfortable Mercedes cab ride back to the Viking line ferry for 17 Euro, giving the driver 20 which cheered him up.

We were pleasantly surprised when we found out that we could embark on the ferry directly when we arrived forty minutes before departure,
This was a somewhat bigger ferry with live music in a bar and children's activities in one lounge area. Very pleasant cruise back

To be struck by parking ticket, Putin and Trump upon arrival in Helsinki at about 9 PM.

.

Last edited by otherchelebi; Jul 24th, 2018 at 06:29 AM. Reason: spelling
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Jul 24th, 2018, 07:53 AM
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Your report is depressing. If I had read this before my spontaneous journey I would have regretted purchasing tickets. It almost appears as if we were not even visiting the same cities in the same time frame.
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