Tuesday, 25 December 2012

christmas in helsinki

We thought Norway would be a nice place to spend Christmas with all the snow and markets and festivities. Unfortunately, our flight timing required us to stay in Helsinki for two nights instead of one but we thought;  Hey it's Helsinki, something has to be happening! Plus, Mai's friend from Japan was there too so we planned to meet up with her and have a bit of an orphans Christmas in the snow. Well, that didn’t quite happen as we were unable to get in contact with her.

We actually tried out couch surfing for the first time with a Californian lad. Absolutely everything was closed so we had no food or alcohol! Oh well, Mai and I were actually quite content watching some movies and we settled for a packet of Russian instant soup (which cost us about 10 cents). We also ate some prunes earlier and while playing a card game with this guy, we were in absolute agony with stomach cramps and gas that clearly couldn't be released in his presence. Woops!

The next day we found one supermarket that was open and since we had put out some messages on couchsurfing about a Christmas gathering, we went to get supplies to bake some pies (rhyme totally unintended but quality).  Mai and I spent the afternoon listening to music, drinking cider and cooking a turkey, sweet potato and mushroom pie. Daniel made an American style apple pie and no... just don't even think it.

Later on the others started showing. A local Finnish guy rocked up with a pretty decent  supply of alcoholic beverages, he was really lovely and was a pilot who gave flying lessons nearby. A few more arrived in a group; a young couple and their hung-over friend (unbeknownst to us, he later became highly entertaining). There was also a half French/Brazilian guy who just moved to town, and a country Finnish girl who didn't speak too much English. The food went from sweet to savoury , the conversation interchanged between Finnish and English and the room constantly transformed from full to almost empty during smoking breaks.  We decided to play the classic “never-ever” and as always, we made it half way around the circle before the dirty stuff dame out. If you don't know a room full of people; once you’ve all confessed something personal you'll soon find some similarities no matter what county you’re from! After learning that the pilot had a crush on a younger student we dubbed him as 'Teacher' and couldn't stop cracking teacher/student jokes all night. Mai and I had a bit of shit on each other since we spent our teenage years together and there were some doozies!

After a few rounds of this we felt like we knew each other significantly better and it was clearly time to head out. At 12pm on Christmas night there weren't a lot of options but we enjoyed a beer at a cozy little beer house, briefly visited a punk/metal music place and then found ourselves occupying the pool table of a another bar. After being kicked out at 4am, we wandered around in -12°C hoping for a cab. We ended up waiting in line along with the entire population of Helsinki and finally made it to the couple’s apartment an hour later. The Finnish crew then insisted we play video games with them but after about an hour we all faded and Mai and I sunk into the couch.

Unfortunately nothing else was open in town the next day so we gave ourselves a good 6 hours sleep. We wandered through town in the afternoon and took advantage of the Hard Rock Cafe's Christmas opening hours. Note to self, if you want a nice festive experience – don’t spend Christmas in Helsinki, go home to your family or at least plan a little! Albeit we met some lovely new friends and had lots of laughs!

No comments:

Post a Comment