Happily for us, Anu and Paul postponed their honeymoon somewhat so that we could spend the following week with them in Helsinki.

That morning, we got up uncharacteristically early (a usually Herculean effort on my part), and made use of the hotel’s palatial gym and sauna before we headed out. On that note, I would like to point out that this map – which lists Finland on the lower end of the European penis scale – was definitely contrary to my personal experiences.

First stop: the National Museum of Finland. We weren’t sure what scale the guidebook was using for distances, and took the tram from right outside our hotel as a precautionary measure. Naturally, it ended up being about three minutes down the road.

One of the glass panels in the front door was fractured by a Civil War-era bullet hole.

The National Museum presents Finnish history from the Stone Age to present day through objects and cultural history.

The permanent exhibits are split into six parts, which we tried to tackle more or less chronologically. To start: “Prehistory of Finland” – the largest permanent archaeological exhibition in Finland.

Skulls from the bodies found in the Leväluhta bog. By curious coincidence, these very same bones were part of the research that one of Anu’s wedding guests had been working on.

Seal was the main game animal for the Stone Age settlers.

“The Realm” exhibit presented the development of Finnish society and culture from the Middle Ages.

Ye Olde Fister.

Remember when the four fairies visited Jesus on the cross and granted him the gifts of beauty, song, and a ray of hope where true love’s kiss would wake him from his deathlike sleep?

Pragmatic badger use. (It’s like the “unconventional materials” challenge on Project Runway, but with roadkill.)

Waste not want not?

Latter day Finns were evidently shorter than modern-day Johns.

Fun fact: this was the shirt I was supposed to wear to the wedding before our luggage was waylaid in Amsterdam.

masc4masc

One of the coolest pieces was actually unintentional: to wit – the bin just outside the museum plastered with entry stickers.

Our next stop was Temppeliaukio Church, aka the Church of the Rock. It’s buried under a mound of stone, which is why I mistook the craggy hillock beside the Parliament House for our actual destination. It wasn’t until we tried to enter a secure government building that I realised the mistake. My bad.

One accidental parliamentary intrusion later, we found the stone-hewn church itself. You can see where some confusion would arise.

The interior was excavated and built directly out of solid rock, and is bathed in natural light which enters through the skylight surrounding the central copper dome.

The church is used frequently as a concert venue due to its excellent acoustics created by the rough, virtually unworked rock surfaces.

The organ in the shadows behind John has 43 stops and 3,001 pipes.

There’s a Mortal Kombat “Finnish hymn!” joke in there somewhere.

Luomus: the Finnish Museum of Natural History.

We didn’t actually make it further than the front desk upon discovering that this was one of the only museums whose entry wasn’t included on our Helsinki Cards, but I loved the whimsical exterior all the same.

Anu! Sans bridalwear, and in her natural habitat. Right before we took this picture, we stopped in at Louis Vuitton – Anu having always wanted to go, but never feeling appropriately attired until standing with John who carries a Louis with him at all times. Inside, we discovered the hilarious specificity of the “six small hats” trunk – for elegant travelling ladies who owned many hats (though hopefully not more than six?). Our visit lasted exactly until the snobbish employee who’d been glaring at us throughout the visit reprimanded her use of photography, because heaven forfend we go selling their clandestine millinery secrets to Armani.

Mona! Is this normal?! (It’s actually worrying how much John suits Paul’s hat.)

In a fairly horrible marketing move, Havis Amanda – a famous statue in the Market Square – has had a pop-up hotel around her, the owners of which are charging people for entry. It’s actually a terrible idea all round though, because the building is raised off the ground so that even if you’ve paid, you’re not seeing the statue in its entirety and the sea lions underneath are obscured completely.

Thankfully we were able to visit a far more worthy attraction, aka the Herring Market!

The Paul seal of approval.

John sampling some fishy wares.

One of the most impressive aspects of the Herring Market isn’t immediately visible until you begin to explore the harbour…

…namely that all of the storefronts are actually housed on the back of the boats!

Slightly less thrilling is this horrible monstrosity overlooking the water.

And what should we call this horrible peeing man-baby?

Of course.

We decided to mount the SkyWheel in an effort to distance ourselves from Bad Bad Boy as much as was geographically possible.

If the colour balance looks a little inconsistent in the next few photos, it’s because the windows were actually tinted blue in accordance with their partnership with Finnair.

While the three of us rode the big wheel, Paul and Mona decided to stay on the ground and take advantage of the SkyWheel’s bar and blankets.

Uspenski Cathedral from above.

South Harbour, Helsinki Cathedral…and Bad Bad Boy.

Before we headed back to Anu and Paul’s place, we took a slight detour via the supermarket to stock up on drinks and snacks. This inadvertently provided us with an insight into Finnish business practices, namely that the country’s entire alcohol supply has been monopolised by a single retailer. Alko is, in fact, the only store in the country which can legally sell alcohol above 4.7% ABV outside of bars and restaurants. It’s also where I discovered my new favourite beverage.

And finally, Chez Neuvonen-Nix…

…where the individual I’d secretly been looking forward to meeting the most awaited!

Meet the beautiful Mai, who helped immeasurably in staving off my cat deprivation.

I’d never actually tried shisha before, despite the fact that there used to be a shisha bar just around the corner from our house. Having said that, I don’t know if “despite” is quite the right word since it was literally never open and I’m 98% sure it was a front for a drug dealer.

Uh-whoooo ahhhh yooouuuu?

Looking over the photobooth pictures from the wedding (prompting John and I to remember exactly what those photos looked like…)

And, as always seems to happen in the proximity of hair…

…John’s favourite pastime.

Also available in purple.

Fetching.

Rounding off the evening (and a precursor to the events of Halloween later that month): some hot Meryl on Goldie action. Yes, we travelled 1000 miles to watch Death Becomes Her for the four-hundredth time.

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Comments
  1. Markus McD says:

    Always enjoy your commentary!! Such wit haha

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