July 4th - July 11th. Since Michael and I play a lot of Scrabble I often wonder what the tile make up might be in the various countries we've visited. In Finland it is the rare word that doesn't have duplicate letters and a healthy sprinkle of umlauts. Google tells me the word with the most umlauts is: kääntääjää (Finnish for translator). So you must get extra tiles with ä, ö and ü along with more j and h tiles or there would be no Bingo for you! More on the hard working umlaut can be found here:
|I wouldn't mind some "hardcore" punctuation in our daily correspondence.|
|There are many places I would like to take this simple one-touch survey||.|
|The snow boot scraper, a standard fixture in every entryway wasn't necessary in July.|
|This interactive sculpture was just around the corner. You could sing into the pipes or tap them to make hundreds of different sounds.|
|Around the corner the other way from our house - a sunny beach side promenade|
There wasn't a television in our flat, and normally that wouldn't disappoint us, but we had become World Cup addicts and now we weren't sure how to get our fix. Michael did some quick research on pubs that were showing the match so we headed into the city. It was the Germany v France quarter final and it brought out the many German fans living in Helsinki so every bar was full. Even a venue called The Sports Academy that can accommodate 1,000 people on two floors was standing room only! That's where we squeezed in and it was fun, but my fellow France fans and I were very much lost in the crowd.
|Watching the World Cup match with 1,000 of our closest friends!|
|Michael setting up the LCD so we could watch the World Cup at home.|
|Not shown - beer, peanuts and a Backgammon game in progress.|
|The delightful Regatta Cafe. Great pastries and coffee and a fire pit for roasting your own sausages.|
|Our tour guide Hanna pointing out the entire bay behind her freezes solid in winter and you can safely walk on it!|
|We've been eating just picked berries for weeks!|
|From the fish monger to my bowl of Bouillabaisse - it doesn't get any fresher!|
|The indoor Market Hall in Helsinki|
|There was great vintage shopping in Helsinki - I hoped to find some affordable Marimekko but no such luck.|
|If fur grew on sustainable trees instead of adorable animals I would wear it head to toe!|
On our last day we took a two mile walk to Seurasaari Island. It was a perfect summer day and a lovely journey. The island has an "living" museum made of collection of salvaged wooden houses, a farm, a windmill and a church with volunteers in period costume showing what life was like in rural Finland during the late 19th century. There was also a nude beach that was tastefully fenced off for privacy. For just 3 euro you could experience the national affinity for the naturist lifestyle. Tempting ... but not today. We found a bench in the sun with a view to the sea and settled in for some reading time and a picnic.
|Houses nestled on the nearby coastal islands.|
|One of the old restored houses on Seurasaari Island.|
|A peek at the past instead of the nudists.|
We are so excited about our last two weeks. We will be in the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania learning more about their recent history and The Signing Revolution! We'll see you there.
|The Viking Line ferry from Helsinki was our first travel by sea.|
Debbie and Michael,