Saturday, August 04, 2007

All the Travel Posts I Wanted to Write

. . . while I was in Finland, where I had the (wireless) technology available, but never once had the time.
The people involved include my family and my in-laws, as well as the family I worked with for a summer during university, 13 years ago. They are Temo and Maria (parents) and Emmi, Matti, and Kirsti, the children.

Day One/Two: July 12th /13th

Leave for the airport. Mentally prepare for 8hr flight, and the 7 hr. time difference Toronto/Helsinki. Well, can’t prepare really at all.

Geister and Grandpa both order chocolate milk, which bonds Geister to Grandpa in a way I’ve never seen before. After the chocolate milk coincidence, Geister will not let Grandpa alone. Figure might be good time to get Grandpa to teach Geister how to use the potty.

Sit on tarmac for an hour. Boo starts to wail. I sing to her, hope that no one else can hear with all the ambient noise.

Arrive 2 hrs late to Helsinki; wait an hour or so for luggage; get most of it except for Geister and Boo’s suitcase.
We make M. wait in line to register that our bag is missing, and the rest of us go out to meet whoever is picking us up—it’s Kirsti! So good to see her. And then Temo is there too.
We arrived at their house around 11am, and Maria had a big breakfast waiting for us—it was so Finnish, and exactly how I remembered it. There were the rice cakes/bread, and the good cheese, and summer sausage, and fruit and lots of good things.

The house is not the one I stayed in before—Temo gave us a tour of it as soon as we stepped inside. Really, it’s exactly like an Ikea house, and I mean this in the most positive way. The floors are light wood and everything is done for the purposes of simplicity and practicality. But it is so clean and cheery and lots of Marimekko inspired patterns. I like these designs—nice colours.
The sauna is in the basement. The house is only one storey, but the basement is finished. That’s where we sleep, except for M. who sleeps in the camper.

We went to bed early, and then I couldn’t sleep for a while. Then Geister and Boo both woke up at midnight, and stayed awake until 3 or 4am. Geister watched the Backyardigans on the iPod, and Boo was in a quiet alert state. Until she started to scream. Finally, M’s mom (she was up to help, bless her) and I gave the kids Gravol and we all slept until around 9am. Jet lag—take that!

Day 3: July 14th

Saturday we went into Helsinki. We got a late start—it’s hard to organize that many people to move, plus we slept in—but Temo and Kirsti took us on a wonderful tour. Wonderful as in, very thoughtful, and very accommodating to us. Geister especially liked the big cruise ships—seeing the Silja line brought an immediacy to my last summer here; I remember being so excited and pleased to be going to Stockholm for the weekend. But Geister saw the lifeboats and said he saw bathtubs hanging off the ships.

We walked around a bit and did the Esplanade. I bought a change purse at Marimekko. Then we tried to see the rock church, but it was closed for a wedding. M. climbed the rocks, so then Gesiter had to climb the rocks, so then Boo had to (try) to climb the rocks.

Lonely in Helsinki, left on the steps of a church.

Back home, we ate pizza for dinner and then did all the horsing around in the 21 ft camper we are renting for the upcoming week. Sleep-wise: Do I fit here? Would Geister fit here? Would Geister and I fit here? Would M. trip if the luggage was left here?—and then went to bed around 11pm. Only to lie awake for hours again.

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