We made it to Helsinki four days ago.
This seems like a terribly anticlimactic way to announce the completion of our trip, but I’ve forgotten to write an update for four days, and now it seems stupid to try to drag it out any further. Hopefully people saw the facebook posts, but if not I apologize for any confusion this may have caused. We had our rest day on the third, and then we paddled to Helsinki on the fourth. We landed, we loaded, we explored; there was no great tragedy, failure, or incident in the final chapter of our trip. Everything went according to plan. It’s always great to see comments and views from our friends, family, and everyone else out there reading, and I apologize for my distracted mistake. Thank you so much for all of the support!
With that aside, on to Helsinki.
After cleaning, organizing, and packaging our gear and kayaks, we tucked everything into its shipping container, kissed the boats goodnight, and sent them on their way stateside with wishes of luck. Hopefully we still only have ten kayaks when we unpackage them on the other side. With the boats gone, we’ve all become hopelessly lost and despondent – after four weeks of nothing but paddling it becomes hard to remember how to do anything else. I often wake up paddling, feet pressing against invisible pedals and hands adjusting a non-existant skeg. Somehow we’ve all adapted to our new lives, but getting used to the crowds, noise, and chaos of city life has proven equally problematic. I’ve attempted to distract myself from this issue by immersing myself as deeply as possible in Finnish culture. Below is a list of everything I’ve learned thus far.
-Finnish people drink more coffee per capita than any other country, but an espresso typically costs at least three euros. The pricing isn’t really all that interesting and is probably unique to Helsinki, but I find it incredibly frustrating.
-There are hoses next to most toilets in Finnish restrooms. We believe these to be bidets, but our group has yet to come up with a suitable method of testing this theory.
-People here say “you’re welcome” before you thank them for things. I haven’t yet decided if this is a strange discrepancy between the two languages, or if Finns are all just very presumptous.
-Santa Claus lives in the Northern Finnish resort town of Kakslauttanen. He resides in this Lapland retreat with his wife and, evidently, the Gold Elf. Santa takes visitors around Christmas, but leaves his friend the Gold Elf to pan for gold with children in the nearby creek during his summer vacation.
-Reindeer sausage is delicious.
That’s about it. I’ve gone to some museums, churches, and galleries but none of them have taught me anything about food or Santa Clause, so they’ve been left out. If I find a museum with something I deem as important as the gold elf’s summer duties I’ll be sure to let you know.
Thanks for reading, following, and bearing with us while we neglected you the last few days! More updates to come.