Helsinki Day 1: Wanderings

I think I speak for everyone on the trip when I say that, from a supply chain perspective, SAS airlines had an epic failure. Everyone got to Helsinki safe and sound but 16 of 28 people did not arrive with luggage – myself and my roommate included. We are currently rationing the little bit of toothpaste I had in my carry-on (three more travel tubes in the lost luggage) and using Allison’s hair clip as a comb. I think it’s safe to say that we will be utilizing the WhatsApp tomorrow for some necessary items. Luckily I packed extra undies, jeans, and a top so I’m set for at least one more day.

Now, on to the fun stuff!

Denmark via Air

Denmark via Air

Growing up in MN, I didn’t think a place could be more flat. I was wrong. Denmark is MUCH more flat. Flying over the country I kept repeating in my head “I now understand why they Danes capitulated so easily in WWII – they had no natural defenses!” (Sidenote: I am in the middle of listening to the A History of WWII Podcast with the episode focusing on Denmark’s surrender most recently played so Danish topography is fresh on my mind.)

We got to our hotel sans luggage and everyone headed out in search of food and fun. To add to the merriment (insert snarky tone) of the adventure to date, Finland decided to greet us with a thunderstorm! Luckily my awesome roommate had both an umbrella and a raincoat so I was able to avail myself of the umbrella. Most of the group headed to a local outdoor festival where I tried Rudolph (or was it Dasher?) for the first time. I would recommend – quite tasty. Smilie: :-)

Due to the rain, the group split with some going to a pub to dry out, others back to the hotel, and I found myself paired with a guy from our group (Peter) who, like me, realized that if I sat down much longer I would never get back up. 22,217 steps later I think I saw every closed church and government building (emphasis on closed) within walking distance of the harbour. It actually got to be a joke. We first ventured to the Lutheran Church, which was closed for a wedding.

Lutheran Church (in the rain)

Lutheran Church (in the rain)

All right, we thought, we’ll just head to the Uspenskin Cathedral (the Russian Orthodox Church) – also closed.

Russian Orthodox Church

Russian Orthodox Church

Next we saw some interesting spires off in the distance that we decided to explore which turned out to be the Johanneksen Kirrko ( Johannes Church) where – you guessed it! – it was closed, though my zoom got some good pics of the gargoyes.

Johannes Church

Johannes Church

Gargoyles

Gargoyles

Not to be thwarted – and Peter being a good sport – we then ventured to the German Church only to finally admit defeat. Apparently every single church in Helsinki closes on Midsummer. But, come to find out, the Rock Church had been opened. I’m kinda kicking myself that I didn’t venture up today because I’m worried I won’t have time tomorrow and I was really hoping to see it.

Following this, we met up with some more of the group at Ateljee’s – a great rooftop bar that had been recommended by many of the guidebooks and one of my coworkers. Raining when we arrived, it was sunny and beautiful when we left.

View From the Observation Deck

View From the Observation Deck

The Group

The Group

And, never thinking I’d say this, this bar had THE BEST restroom view I’ve ever seen. I finally understood what the guidebooks meant when they said that they were perfect for exhibitionists.

BEST.BATHROOM.VIEW.EVER

BEST.BATHROOM.VIEW.EVER

Since it was sunny, and we knew that the wedding at the Lutheran Church was ended and that Russian Orthodox was to be open for a brief period, a group of us took advantage of the sunny weather and revisited those sites. It was definitely worth the second visit!

Peter, Prapti, Allison, and Thang

Peter, Prapti, Allison, and Thang

Prapti and Me

Prapti and Me

To end a very busy (and stressful) day, my roomie Allison and I decided to avail ourselves of the free Finnnish Sauna at the hotel. BEST.DECISION.I.MADE.ALL.DAY!!! It was glorious. Both of us I think felt our stress sweat out of our pores and surprisingly, after almost an hour of relaxation, having to ration my toothpaste wasn’t that big of a deal anymore. It really helped put the whole luggage situation in perspective which was that yes, my luggage was lost but I’M IN SCANDINAVIA! Really, can one day’s inconvenience ruin such a fabulous trip? I highly doubt it…..unless it doesn’t arrive tomorrow and then I might have to revisit this notion. Smilie: :-)

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