Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Turku, Finland

The train from Helsinki to Turku--it was about 40 F outside, but there's still some snow sticking around

The Finnish lumber industry is alive & well

The red farmhouses & barns reminded me of pics of Sweden

With the evergreens & overcast skies, it looks so much like the Pacific Northwest!

My hotel in Turku--Holiday Inn
Slightly bigger bathroom than the other one, though still a bit cozy!

Turku was very small & walkable--it's only 180,000 some people

Another Stockmann

City Centre

The Finnish Orthodox Church (I found out the Cathedral from Helsinki was actually Finnish Orthodox, too)


Helsinki Cathedral on the river

I didn't end up taking pictures of the campus--we were in the conference lecture theatre from 9 am until 7pm, then we went to the dinner after that. After the dinner, I stayed out at a pub that was in a converted old school house with some of the other conference attendees until I had to take the bus to the airport at 4am. It was great to hang out with other people in the field, to see Nick Cull & Nikolas Glover again, and to hear the Nordic and Baltic perspectives on public diplomacy. It's good to be home, though--I missed Richard & Cookie and my comfort zone!

Friday, 26 April 2013


My hotel in Helsinki--Hotel Cumulus, hence the clouds on the ceiling

 Tiny bathroom, as usual
 The Gideons left a tri-lingual bible--just as an example of how it looks, here's John 3:16 in Finnish, Swedish and English!
 Helsinki was very gray and wet, between the harbor and the rain

 The sign was in Finnish, Swedish and Russian, so I'm afraid I don't know what the statue is for--but it was dated 1989, so it must relate somehow to the end of the Cold War
Helsingin Sanomat is the leading daily Finnish newspaper

 This was a primary school I stumbled across while lost--so pretty!

 Lutheran Church on Senate Square

 Senate Square
 Statue of Alexander II, from back when Finland was under the Russian empire. I love the seagull on his shoulder!

 That seagull isn't going anywhere.

 Statue of Martin Luther in the church

 Such a simple interior, but the pulpit and the altar are gorgeous
 And the organ! I didn't notice it until I was leaving, as it's above the front entrance.

 Helsinki Cathedral, right on the harbor

 Every damn bridge in Europe is getting covered with locks now. The trend has even come to Helsinki, which is not known for being a romantic destination. In Paris or Venice, it made sense, but Helsinki?

 Inside the Cathedral--a sharp contrast to the Lutheran one! Lots of gold and color everywhere.

 Cruise ship in Helsinki harbor

 Instead of bollards, they have these hilarious concrete tortoises to keep cars in the lot. So funny!
 Apteekki is pharmacy--makes sense, because it's like apothecary! Finnish is a crazy language, but occasionally there are similarities
 This fountain cracked me up, too--the water comes out of the seals' mouths, so it's like they're spitting at her.
 Esplanade Park--beautiful cafe/bar/restaurant at the harbour end of the park

 This is the Bieber fan crowd. I heard them before I saw them--chanting "Bieber! Bieber! Bieber!" together. I took a photo and carried on after a couple of minutes of nothing happening.
 I had to go to Marimekko, as it's part of my paper I'm presenting tomorrow. It's ridiculously expensive. There were ugly, shapeless dresses for 200 euros. But they're printed and made in Finland, and Jackie Kennedy and Carrie Bradshaw both wore Marimekko, so it's not all bad!

 Shopping district around Aleksanderinskatu (katu is street, so everything ends in -katu)

 The main department store. It was huge and brilliant. I did a lot of shopping and even had lunch here--a brilliant pizza with arugula, prosciutto and goat's cheese.
 I love these Esprit t-shirts for kids. I didn't buy them, because they weren't iconic Finnish souvenirs, but I had to take a picture at the very least.

 I had this for dessert--it looked like a cinnamon roll on the outside, but then it had a berry filling! When you buy things without understanding a word, life is full of lovely surprises! Of course, salted licorice is another Finnish delicacy, and I saw chocolate bars with licorice in them. That's a surprise I don't want to get. I'm not eating any candy without an English translation.

 Postman Pat!
 Fireman Sam and Dinosaur Train!

 The Harry Potter illustrations are bizzare. This one is Chamber of Secrets
 Prisoner of Azkaban
 Goblet of Fire--check out how ugly they made Viktor Krum! Hermione wouldn't have gone for that...

 Huvudstadsbladet is the leading Swedish-language newspaper in Finland (only 5% or something speak Swedish, but everything is bilingual--street signs, labels on food, etc. It's been helpful for me, because Swedish is a bit easier to understand. I bought lingonberry jam without any English on the label, but I know it's lingonberry jam because I remembered the Ikea label--lingonsylt!)
 Train station

 Hilarious! The label had Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish and Danish, so apparently this dry sense of humor is Scandinavian.
 My hotel from the outside

 Feeling slightly like a drowned rat at this point--time to move on to Turku!

 Inside the train station--that guy I accidentally got a picture of is a Finnish soldier!
The trains are very modern & clean & lovely.