Far too much to cover in a single post, so I'll just offer some highlights here in no particular order. Suffice to say that the airline issues were needlessly draconian (sealed duty free purchases not allowed!?), the expenses considerable -- and worth it all.
Laura led me to the Gallen-Kallela Museum that had once upon a time been his house -- and what a house! and a lovely walk to get there through a park in the northern part of Helsinki. I made the most of my 48 hour Helsinki card by visiting as many museums as I could. In addition to Gallen-Kallela's house, I visited the Atheneum, where many more of his paintings were on display, including the Aino triptych; the National Museum where there is a wonderful wing all about the pre-history of Finland and a great gift shop; the Cygnaeus Gallery, high on a hill near the southern tip of the city where you can see Suomenlinna, the island fortress in the gulf as well as many ships on their way to ports far and near; the Botanical Gardens where (yes) I saw the ivy among other wonderful plants and trees; and of course, Kiasma the museum of contemporary art, featured in the lovely Times story just before I left.
Of course my Helsinki card gave me free rides on all the public transportation too, so I could roam the city in search of these places and general sightseeing as well. Laura was my intrepid guide to much -- I would never have found my way to the Gallen-Kallela house without her, and we had so much fun shopping and walking around the city. And what lovely meals too, at the Strindberg cafe or that lovely Italian restaurant where we had a late lunch with Arla.
Friday night's dinner was amazing, out on an island in the gulf with Laura, Arla, Risto, Jyri and Anna -- I had this delicious reindeer and mushroom soup and then a tasty entree of salmon with more mushrooms. We strolled back through the city where the streets were bustling because the days are still long. We decided to have a drink on the terrace at the top of the Sokos builing (ten floors up, one of the higher buildings in Helsinki) as the sun was setting and the red moon was rising. Perfect!
Saturday was my shopping day, to buy the things I had to bring back (in addition to the books and cards that I had already bought). I went to UFF and to the Academic Bookstore and naturally, to the tori, where I bought the reindeer skin Robert wanted (and lugged it around all day!). I went back to the Moomin store, but reined in my spending after stopping by Digelius. By the end of the day I was tired but feeling like I had wrung every bit of fun out of my trip.
Yes, Lordi was everywhere!
And the nice surprise -- flew back on one of the Moomin airplanes!
When I stop being so lazy, I'll get my 260+ photos uploaded to share. But tomorrow I'm supposed to be able to move into my new office at St. Rose, so we'll see when I can get to it. Gene has already burned them onto a CD for me, so I should just upload them, but it would be helpful to give them meaningful labels first...