In 2011 I went to Finland just because I fucking felt like it. Period.
I had been visiting way too many countries on the eastern and western parts of Europe and decided to give a try to the northern parts, and Finland was the first.
I’ve been fascinated with this country for a very long time. I grew up playing drums and listening to metal music that came from this part of the world. Since then, it’s been one of those countries that grew in appeal as a result of the music it exposed. Not coincidentally, a while back I read about the influence this type of music has had in my generation, to want to travel to Finland or be interested in the language. I fall into both of these categories.
Arriving in Helsinki, the first thing I learned, out of hearing everyone repeat it when performing an action for someone else was Kiitos. Basically, thank you.
Not content with just being a royal freak, but also a language freak, I decided to learn some of the vocabulary. However, by the time I headed off to my next destination, all I could remember were 3 very important phrases, which are indeed very essential to social survival when you don’t know fluently how to speak the language. Or if you are from New York, it’s basically the Finnish equivalent of how you’d express yourself in public:
Vittu tätä paskaa: fuck this shit
Mitä vittua?: what the fuck?
Paskiainen!: Son of a bitch!
Or you can colorfully combine them, just like we do with Spanglish and instead say, what the vittu?
Being that I didn’t find proper and cheaper accommodation in the city, mostly because my lazy ass failed to reserve a hotel / hostel well in advance, I ended up having to pick the cheapest one at the last minute during my stop over in Amsterdam. It was in Espoo, west of Helsinki. Being the second largest city in Finland, you’d think a lot of activity goes on but for a Thursday night, it was eerily quiet as shit.
At the hotel, I remember watching a tv show, where Monica Lewinski was the presenter and her bubbly self was showing the hottest spots around NYC and flirting with men that looked nothing like Bill Clinton. I decided to change the channel so as to not bore myself to tears and actually fell asleep watching a show on the mating life of bugs. A topic rather similar to what I wanted to dig in further with a Canadian I had started dating back in North America around that time.
I had a limited time in Helsinki that first round before heading over to Sweden. The day started with typing into Google “shit to do in Helsinki when time is limited“. A 50 minute bus ride from Espoo later, gave me plenty of time to day dream of breakfast instead of planning what the hell I was going to do that day. By the time I arrived in Helsinki’s city center, hunger and lack of caffeine had gotten a hold of my mood that fed the monkey on my back; making me blind with lust for something beefy and greasy.
I couldn’t help launching death stares at people who crossed my path as If I wanted to punch things or bipedal creatures, but it was already noon, hadn’t found what I was looking for and the lack of coffee was making me irritable, thus turning me into a sour woman. Macdonald’s delivered me from all evil, along with the sought after wifi to check the map for the tenth time and guide my ass properly to the opposite direction of where I was initially going.
(Sorry again for the lame picture alignment.)
Belly full and the monkey off my back, walking quietly by my side, I managed to find Senate Square. This is one of the busiest places for first timers and non whites alike and my happy ass meshed along the throngs of annoying tourists. I wasn’t one of those, however because I am simply special. 🙂
I spent about 8 hours walking around, starting with Helsinki Cathedral, which for us tourists, marks the very Senate Square spot from the map and can be seen from the distance. Along with the surrounding buildings of the Government Palace, the University of Helsinki nearby and 2 blocks down, a crowded market square, it’s a nice place to hang out and see the diversity of cultures, the richness and historical beauty of this city.
This first/second day was rather mellow and walking around a 2 mile radius, enjoying the cloudy day and listening the locals yap away in Finnish, made me excited enough to want to learn the language aside from the bad words. Early evening, my body clock and my old bones wanted to shut down shop, so I headed over back to Espoo, with a cold cut in my bag and accompanied my dinner with a re-heated coffee in the comfort of my room.
I gently dozed off to the ad nauseam cackling and toothy grin of Monica Lewinsky and her pseudo whatever ass show, before waking myself up later by my own snoring.
More of my pictures of Finland here:
Finland review to be continued….