I really suck at jet lag and time zone changes. Forcing myself to stay awake until at least 11pm last night I woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed….at 3am. Not being able to sleep, I ended up in the lobby from 4am to 5pm Skyping with Ben and sending postcards. Thanks to one of the guys on my trip who was also up at 5pm I was able to get some much needed Advil and did get back to sleep from 6am to 8am.
After lunch I went with a group over to the fortress of Suomenlinna. I will leave it up to you to Google its history but it was quite nice. Leaving on the ferry, the sky was clear and beautiful. Once we got there the fog rolled in and I felt like I was in a Stephen King movie. Though there were a lot of canons on the islands, which made me quite happy and I had to get one with my signature pose.
Next, a group of us decided to venture onto the Helsinki public transit system to go visit the Sibelius Monument. Jean Sibelius was a Finnish composer and – I admit – the only famous Finn I know. Most know of him due to his work Finlandia which ostensibly tells the history of Finland and was a way that the Finns, through music, could resist and protest Russia’s involvement in Finland’s affairs (I just paraphrased a very complex socio-political problem – I suggest Google for a more nuanced, full explanation). The monument was very interesting and I’m glad I got to see it.
Next we wandered back towards the hotel with a stop at the Temppeliaukio or “Rock” Church. It is built directly into the rock, almost as if it was formed around it. Very interesting architecturally and it gave me my “church” fix of the day.
However none of this could compare to the joy I had when I found my luggage waiting for me at the hotel! Seriously, I did not think I could be that happy for luggage!
After dinner a few of us ventured out one more time and I was able to snap these pics of Helsinki at 11pm. Though a little darker now, it’s still much lighter than I have ever seen anywhere in my life.
Tomorrow starts the site tours and the purpose of this trip. First up is Suunto and Kone. Knowing nothing about them I am looking forward to learning about their triumphs and challenges.