The weather in Helsinki is extremely mild this winter, and there was barely any snow. Because of that, Boris was still biking almost every day. Before our departure to Cyprus, he asked me how I feel about biking. First, I liked this idea, because it sounded surreal to bike in Helsinki when I was not biking in Palatine for a while. However, although I had proper shoes with me, I lacked other winter-biking equipment, specifically pants, and gloves. My hands are getting frozen even when the temperature is in the 40s, yet along 30s, especially when biking. On Saturday, after we came back, it was sunny and still no snow, but there was a substantial wind.
I thought that I would be better off going skating in the city center, so when Boris went biking, I got on the train, and in ten minutes, I was by the skating rink. It was minutes past ten, the rink had just opened, and hurray – there was no like! I paid for the skates and skating and hurried up the ice.
It was wonderful! The rink s huge, and ice was perfect; there were very few people, and although I originally planned to skate for just half-an-hour, I ended up skating for the whole hour and could skate more, if I didn’t have to meet Boris for lunch.
Helsinki is most definitely not on the way to Cyprus – for anybody except me! This time, Boris and I agreed that I will come to Helsinki, and then we fly to Cyprus together. That was another reason I worried a little bit about the flight delay – our flight to Cyprus was at 7-20 AM the next day.
But as I said, everything got resolved. For a long time, I was suspicious about Icelandair initially, but now I like their flights – they are the shortest since they pass the Atlantic closest to the North Pole, and their connections are also quick. And now that I know they do not serve hot meals on board, I am OK with that :). Even this time, with three hours delay, I got to Helsinki at a reasonable time. I love the new airport transit in Helsinki, especially since I installed the Helsinki Public Transit app :). Now I can buy my ticket on my phone and do not waste time at the station.
The same ticket will be good for the train to get me home!
I planned to see the city lights in Hlesinki and hopefully to skate. The latter didn’t happen, because of 1) long lines 2) Boris does not skate 3) I decided I do not want to spend time on the solo activity plus 20 min wait. But we walked around quite a bit. Here are some pictures:
That’s the first time tried to embed instagram posts in my WP post. I like the fact this way you can use the errors and scroll through multiple photos. Let me know whether you like this idea!
One of the craziest things I ever did – the flights both way with two connections, more time in the air than in Helsinki. But if I am supposed to be not just a godmother for Sonia, but a Fairy Godmother for the whole family, I have to measure to these standards!
I bought this dress four years ago (if not earlier) in Helsinki. It was a new fashion back then, and as it always happens with the trendy European clothing, you can’t be sure whether they will ever become fashionable in the US.
This one never did, which made it timeless, and now I can’t even tell why I didn’t wear it for the past three years. At some point, it felt too short, or that there is no proper occasion… I don’t even know! I wore it last Monday when I was taking my friend to Vlad’s bar, and I was like: OMG, I love this dress so much, it’s a perfect fit!
I was talking tons of fall foliage pictures in Helsinki because this time of the year, the colors in Finland are already breathtakingly beautiful. And if didn’t even start in Illinois :).
Boris’ apartment is right by the Sibelius park, which means any time you get outside, there is plenty to marvel, and tons of pictures are just asking to be taken.
I was taking this picture (the sun was setting slowly and shining through the yellow leaves) when I saw a car on the opposite side of the road slowing down, just like the passerby would slow down when they see you taking pictures on the street.
I could not believe this slowing down was related to me :). After all, it was the opposite side of the street. May be they slow down for the red light ahead? But then… the car made a U-turn and slowed down, almost stopped, right in front of me. I saw a guy on the back seat looking out from the rolled down window, holding the camera! And he was taking a picture of this tree! After he was finished, the car drove away.
Maybe you won’t find it funny, but we laughed for another good twenty minutes, recalling the incident.
As I’ve mentioned, there was a lot of biking this time in Helsinki. The last two days were too cold for biking without gloves, and I did not have any biking gloves with me. But that’s the beauty of having your bike – when I could bike, I did.
I can’t even start to describe how everything in Helsinki as suited for bikers. The house has bike storage, where bikes can be stored not only standing, but also elevated.
Boris asked me to call him on facetime when the plane touches the ground so that he will get ready to go to the railway station. I am so happy that I have my internet with me for no extra cost! Yes, my Sprint plan is not cheap, but with my amount of travels, it’s great that I never have to think about it. The moment the plane lands, I can start using my phone.
I have not been here since May, and I forgot that I have a Helsinki transportation app on my iPhone. I could buy my ticket on the way from the baggage claim to the train, and hop on the first train that has arrived. It’s a minor delay, but it shows how we all are creatures of habit. I forgot the way I did it once but remembered how I did it for many years.
When we met at the Central Train Station, he took me to Robert’sCoffee for a cappuccino with a cinnamon bun. It has become symbolic for me – the first meal on the Finnish soil has to be a Finnish cinnamon bun 🙂
It’s the 50s here, compare to our upper 70s, but the fall colors are beautiful!
And I finally got a bike! We talked for a long time of me having my own bike in Helsinki so that I won’t have to rent each time. Boris was always saying that this goes not provide any economic advantage, but the difference is in time not wasted, and I believe it’s worth it.
Most of the stores were closed on Sunday afternoon, and I didn’t like the bikes we saw (they didn’t fit my small body :)), but this morning we finally got what I needed!