Then next stop on my big European adventure was a short stop in Helsinki, Finland, to visit more of the tall, blonde people, and a land of many trees. I took the ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki. It is a 2 hour trip on a MASSIVE boat (9 floors, a shopping centre, a couple restaurant/cafeterias). This is also, as it turns out, a major booze route, as alcohol is much cheaper in Estonia, so nearly every passenger wheeled a cart full of booze with them.
While picturesque, the gently-rolling water reminded my queasy insides that I had only managed 3 hours of sleep the previous evening, due to a successful gala event.
I stayed with a nice airbnb couple in their apartment with a spectacular view:
My host generously lent me her bike the following day, so I happily cruised around Helsinki on this marvellous machine – wind in my hair (as helmets are not the norm) and the sun on my face. Obviously, this calls for an awkward cycling selfie:
I set out to find coffee and food, and soon discovered that the only think you can buy before 10am on a Sunday morning is beer. There were people up and drinking on the patios of nearly every bar I rode past. I kept weaving my way through the streets for about 2 hours, before I found this charming organic cafe!
After thoroughly breakfasting and caffeinating, I decided to again hit the road and look for the only major tourist attraction that I wanted to check out – the Sibelius monument. This modest goal seemed quite reasonable, as I had the entire expansive day stretching out ahead of me. However, the Fins have a way of making the longest street names, which did not augment my less-than-excellent navigational skills:
Needless to say, I spent most of the day lost. However, that was not really a problem, as I had no need to really accomplish anything impressive that day and I was largely content to cruise about, absorbing the crisp sea air and rays of late summer sun.
I sat and rested beside the water and watched this strange and cool game of kayak-basketball, which appeared to be played using a volleyball of sorts… (Does anyone know the real name for this sport?)
After biking for a while, I decided to stick to the plan, glue myself to the map, and find the monument godammit! It took me at least another hour of biking around to find the massive monument, and it turns out I was sitting pretty much right next to it as I watched the kayak-basketball game, but a bunch of trees had obscured my vision. However, it was pretty cool and definitely worth finding:
After that, I tooled around for a bit longer, biking wherever my whim took me and stopping for ice cream as I saw fit, before heading to the airport for the next part of my journey.
A couple more pictures of the wander about in Helsinki:
And the strangest fountain I found: