Monday, January 02, 2006

Get-pis to 2006!!

We tried to learn "Happy New Year" in Finnish, but after hearing that is was about 15 syllables long, we discovered that "Cheers!" was "get-pis!". Now that's a phrase we could master, and master well! Hee hee.

After many drinks of Finlandia (when in Finland, drink what the Finns drink...), we could at last walk around Helsinki normally - well, some of us could. I think the fire in our bellies helped us get around more confidently on the ice covered streets, anyway. We wandered out to the Eteläesplandi amid fireworks going off at every turn. Another drink, and Katie schmoozing with the locals, we made it to Senate Square for midnight to see the end of 2005 and the beginning of 2006.

Prepared with the Finnish countdown to join in, it turns out we didn't need it, as the Finns gathered in the Square didn't count down! Just a big bang of fireworks amid all the others, and it was 2006!

Struggling to enjoy the breakfast buffet the next morning, we could see the snow sheeting down outside. We donned our thermals again, and set out to take in the streets of Helsinki. The festive lights and the blanket of snow made the city magical and pretty. The buildings were spectacular, although I think even Katie got over my "check out the Architecture in Helsinki" line at every gob-smacking building. And they were on every corner.

We walked around to see the Senate Square and Cathedral in the daylight, and then the Uspensky Cathedral and the icy sea. We stopped for coffee and a hangover rest at the lovely Kappeli, and could have easily snuggled in there in the warmth, with the view of the city being coated in more white stuff.

We managed to walk some more in the snow, and see the Temppeliaukio Church, the Finlandia Building (Oprea house, not vodka this time!), and the castle-like National Museum. (Photos)

A late night plane ride back to Stockholm, and the bus back to Uppsala, we are now taking a breather for the day before heading back to London tonight and work tomorrow. We have been to 4 countries in the last 4 days - do I know how to show a little sister a good time, or what!!

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