i am new to the old blogging but this is a good way to keep all of you jealous of our travels. Also this will be way better than erica and james's blog. We arrived in Helsinki on Saturday the 1st of August off an early morning aer lingus flight. i had by far teh heaviest bag at 17kgs, only 10 of which was mystuff, ruth had 11kgs, erica a mere 8 and james about 12. It'll be even harder to carry the bag around when its full of smelly clothes i'd reckon.
Was very nice city and everyone had brilliant english (except us) which made everything very handy. we didn't have a guide book so we just went on a stroll saw the churches including the one in the picture, ruth didn't come through with the usb connection to upload the other photos which were cool, saw the market bought some strawberries and chilled out. then crashed and went to bed, getting full use out of out of our hotel as we wont be seeing another decent one for a while.
for the nightlife we hit teh ....Irish bar (easing ourselves into being away from home) and paid 6.60 for a pint of kilkenny (it just tastes of home). We also learned that you can sleep on a table in the bar and the finns won't chuck you out they'll just wake you up and let you resume drinking, not that you could afford too (found out that newcastle brown ale is the cheap alternative at 3.50. Later inteh nigtht we hit teh finnish fitzsimons full of divorcees. we left hours later with empty pockets.
ON the sunday, our only fulll day we went to the fortress of sumoliena (or something) where we learned about the inglourious war exploits of finland or sweden east...or russia north west as they were formerly known (not that the irish can claim many war victories). The fort is cool but not really kept in perfect knick adn also most of the cannons point at helsinki. got some cool finnish army stuff, mostly stuff they borrowed from the germans or was left behind by the russians although they did design u boats for the germans. All said sumoliena coule do with a face lift but woud be a great spot to go on the knack.
That night we had some traditional finnish fare, reindeer steak and elk sausage (very nice) and bear salami (less nice) and home brew beer that could be described as less than nice. it could also be described as manky. We hit the hay and we were ready for the first train of the trip, seven hours from Helsinki to St. Petersburg, complete with three passport checks a fifteen minute stop in some backward russian town and a "smoking carriage" whcih was actually a first class carriage. It was boring so i'm left wondering how we will get on with teh stretch from Moscow to Irkutsk. Lots of games of cards i suppose.