Monday, September 18, 2017

Fast Forward to Helsinki

Container stage silliness passing a wet day in Kemi, Finland waiting for our train.  Just next to this site was a great disc golf course which of course we had to play!

Markos and Sampson anticipate their next adventure, it's always fun to take your bike with you in a different mode.  Have you ever lifted four fully loaded bikes up a meter to fit into an already packed train baggage car in the couple minutes the train stops at your station?

Antti meets us at the Helsinki Station.

Our sunrise welcome tour as Antii introduced us to Helsinki by bike, it could have been a chapter out of  David Bourne's  Bicycle Diaries.
One of the fun fountains - Helsinki centre

Tarn is being sucked into the Sibelius sculpture. Notice the shadow from the sunshine!!!

Change of plans...Rick's infected, and now treated foot callous needs time for recovery.  Help is in Helsinki.  Our Tall Dog (RAGBRAI cycle team) friend Antti lives there and encouraged us to come directly to be his guests and to have Rick's wound heal properly.  We made the tough, but obvious decision to forgo biking the lower half of Finland and get to a place where Rick could take all the time he needed to get his foot back in shape to ride.  (The cold, wet weather and spendy accommodations in Tornio definitely influenced the decision!!!) We rode an easy 26 km to the train station town of Kemi (Tarn doing the majority of the pushing on the tandem while Rick steered), and boarded the all-night train south.  Antti met us at the Helsinki Railway Station and styled us with a sunrise tour of Helsinki centre and a meat pie (Lihapiirakka) breakfast at the Market Square.  We are comfortably settled into his apartment looking out onto a historic gas plant and access to all the major sites-to-see within minutes bike ride on city bike paths.  We combine this recovery for Rick with the known need for time to figure out our visit to St. Petersburg. And now, those plans are made.  No tourist visa necessary, just a 72 hour visit via an organized ferry transit and a documented "tour" (basically a booked bus ride to the centre of St Petersburg.)  We will boat to Russia Wednesday night.

Yesterday we bike toured Helsinki on a sunshine day (without Rick, he had to stay home).  Fantastic architecture and learning.  Finland is a country with strong nationality and pride.  The Finnish architects and poets are a strong part of the connection with country.  Part of our grasp of this was viewing the frescoes at the National Museum of Finland portraying scenes from the Kalevala - the recorded epic work of Finnish lore and mythology.  We plan to visit the Finnish architect, Alvar Aalto, exhibit tomorrow at the art museum.  With Sampson, Markos and Tarn spending serious time on their distance learning schoolwork, I have time to focus on learning about what I experience!!!  The internet is an outstanding accompaniment to my real-life observations.

For Sampson's musings and outstanding photos check his blog out at

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