Helsinki – touristing

The most fun part of flying from Stockholm to Helsinki is that while it takes two hours to get there, it takes zero minutes (or sometimes negative one minute) to get back again.

Although I landed midafternoon, and there is now a brand new commuter rail line connecting Juha’s station with the airport, by the time I’d navigated all the bits (train ticket, phone usage, cash, station names with different endings in Finnish meaning the same place) I was pushing it on getting to Emmi’s 5:30p concert. Fortunately that all turned out all right, and it was a treat to hear her Balkan-Finnish trio live in the lively little art gallery space.

After each day’s rehearsal session, Juha needed to resume Daddy-duty and retrieve his daughter from daycare, so I opted to make a couple of forays into town to see what kinds of tourist trouble I could get into. I got to meet up with my ESI classmate Anni for dinner, hear a free outdoor concert of a folk duo she’d told me about, pick up a couple of tiny things at the Moomin store, launch an expotition to the suburban-ish mall in pursuit of the Finnish equivalent of a Target store, walk quite a bit, and ride on several buses.

I also learned that apparently highway buses don’t stop for you if you just sit at the bus stop. Or stand in front of it at the edge of the pulloff lane. Or stand there and look purposeful and wave. But if you wander farther up toward the start of the pulloff lane too (and possibly just if you’ve tried enough times), eventually one will condescend to pick you up. On the bright side, there are a skillion buses, so it didn’t take That long to be ignored by the first dozen (only 3–4 of which were actually scheduled to stop for me). Saana later confirmed that Helsinki bus drivers appear to be selected for exceptional surliness, so we celebrated together the kindness of drivers in Stockholm.

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