Friday, July 08, 2005

Finnish Reflections (Part I)...

First of all, sorry for not blogging during my trip to Finland. I thought I was going to be walking into Finnish internet cafes galore and blogging everyday. As it turned out, a lot of things were closed in Helsinki the first weekend we were there because of the midsummer celebration. Then, I found out that my dad's hometown didn't have an internet cafe (at least I couldn't find one).
So, let me start by saying that Finnair is a quality airline, but they serve the worst food I've ever tasted on an airline. Wouldn't it make sense for Finnair to serve Finnish food? Instead, they feel the need to serve sweet and sour chicken on dry brown rice. It was terrible. Later, when Mrs. TBF took the early flight back to Zurich on Monday morning, she told me they served shredded carrots on baked beans for breakfast. Ugh!
The second thing I'd like to point out to all you non-Finns out there is that the Finns call Finland - Suomi. Where the Finland came from, and why the entire world calls it Finland (or some derivation), is a mystery to me. It is Suomi in Finnish. No part of the word means "fin" or "land". Go figure!
As I said before, many things were closed because of the Juhanus celebration, so Mrs. TBF and I just stopped at little cafes (including the excellent Cafe Kappeli) and watched "the walk of life" (as Mrs. TBF's Uncle Anthony used to call it) go by. Included in this "walk of life" were many incredibly drunk Finns who were in the midst of holiday celebrating. I'm talking a barely able to walk and talk while carrying a mostly empty twelve-pack under their arm type of drunk.
Along with watching the drunks, we walked a lot, rode the double-decker tourist bus, enjoyed the hotel sauna, and took in a couple of museums. The first museum we went to was the Finnish Design Museum. If you ever go to Helsinki, don't bother with this museum. It was expensive, small, and boring - basically just a bunch of Marimekko fabrics on the wall. Save yourself 8 Euros and check out the fabrics yourself at Marimekko's website. Instead, go to the Kiasma modern art museum. It's a much better value, much more interesting, and contains that element of art brut that I love so much.
We ate at a few nice restaurants - Zetor, Tervasaaren Aitta, Kappeli - gorged on the hotel breakfast buffet, and snacked here and there. At one point, I had to do a German/Finnish translation at a Mövenpick ice cream stand for a couple of German tourists - I was so proud of myself.
My dad arrived at our hotel on Sunday. We had a sauna together at the hotel, ate at Kappeli, and then Mrs. TBF left for Switzerland on Monday morning while my dad and I took the train up to his hometown - Kauhava. But, more on that part of the trip a little bit later...
Sorry that our Helsinki trip wasn't more exciting, but we just kind of took it easy. Nothing really that exciting happened.
To be continued...

1 comment:

FJ said...

As a child I once flew to Helsinki from London on Finnair. I remember the food being the best ever - reindeer neat and veggies. I guess it's been downhill since then! Baked beans and carrots? Really? For breakfast? Good grief!