After Jyväskylä I rode hard to get to Helsinki, were I wanted to stay for a few days. See the city and experience Juhannus, ie Midsummer night.
I was lucky – After writing to a dozen Warmshower-hosts – that I found Adam, originally from Australia, but living, working and studying for seven years in the capital of Finland.
I was not only glad I could stay at his place for the chats, the good food and coffee, but the day before yesterday it was Juhannus (called after John the Baptist after christianizing the summer solstice first called kon juhla (Ukko’s celebration) after the Finnish god Ukko). In Finland that day/night is as important as Christmas, therefore I would like to experience that with some people instead of sitting in my tent all alone. Adam had invited some friends and colleagues. We had an awesome evening sitting outside drinking beer, grilling, going in and out of the sauna. Since Adam does a doctoral study classical piano, he knows how to play a tune or two, so we even got a little privat concert. And when we cleaned up after the guests left he even offered to stay a third night. That saved me searching for a camping spot or something like that, because I wanted a quiet day on Saturday before leaving on the early ferry on Sunday (I’m on that ferry writing this blog entry right now).
I arrived in Helsinki Thursday morning. I had to do some things for myself and had to do an assignment, so I rode from here to there. In that way I could see the city and feel the vibe. Two birds with one stone. One of the things was that I wanted to give my bike a little check-up by a professional. Not that there was anything wrong, but just the idea that the bike would be good shape for the last stretch home. Adam adviced me on that as well. Since it was almost Juhannus the bike mechanic had all the time for me. He refused to be paid, made some coffee and we had a chat for almost an hour!
That the Finnish love their sauna was true for Adam as well: a trip to a sauna was part of his introduction. That sauna was bigger than the one I rented when I just entered Finland. It was therefore less smothering in my opinion. And a big plus was that you could also have a swim. For the first time in my life I jumped from a 6,5 meter high springboard. One of the pleasures of travelling, that you get a lot of new experiences, although I hesitated two seconds before jumping. An experience richer, but a piercing and a wristband poorer, since I lost those in the jump. But that was all worth it.
As Adam is of course a cyclist himself, he could advise me some nice things to go to in Helsinki, therefore I visited Suomenlinna on Friday morning. A nice early morning with good weather and not many tourists at that hour. Of course I had to taste the local beers there as well before getting on the ferry again to ride a bit in downtown Helsinki.
And yesterday I could chill on the terrace lying in the sun while Adam had to work after just a few hours of sleep.
In short my stay at the last city I visited in Scandinavia has been most pleasant. I loved the whole of Scandinavia, but I’m also looking forward to reach the city of Tallinn and to find out what lies behind the capital of Estonia.