Running the gamut of Finnish art museums.

Following our impromptu sleepover at Anu’s, we put the movie back on that all of us had crashed ten minutes into the previous night. Every day since that hasn’t started with wedding cake and Dolly Parton has been a constant disappointment.

To my endless joy, Mai kept me company throughout.

Not having banked on the previous night turning into an all-nighter, John and I quickly headed back to our hotel to shower and change. We reconvened for some souvenir shopping at the Moomin store, where I attempted to take a cute photo with the mascot outside and ended up looking like the Moomin Strangler.

Next up: the post office, which unwittingly became the site of John’s second, spectacular John-ism of the trip. I’d just gone to pay for these limited edition Tom of Finland stamps and handed them to John so that I could get out my wallet. He gazed perplexedly at them for a moment, before turning to Mona and saying, in all seriousness, “They look a bit…gay.” Mona laughed in response, then swiftly realised he wasn’t joking.

On the subject of (c/)overt homosexuality, Anu also told me that Moomin creator Tove Jansson drew her partner Tuulikki Pietilä into the stories as the character Too-Ticky – who, coincidentally, was in both of the postcards I’d picked up.

Philatelic hilarity aside, I also rounded up my souvenir shopping with some arctic bramble and cloudberry jam. (Plus some Moomin candy I’d completely forgotten about until I excavated it from the bottom of my suitcase.)

And, continuing the theme of the male nudity: The Three Smiths.

The statue was actually damaged in a bombing during the Continuation War in 1944, and the anvil still bears a hole caused by a bomb shrapnel.

Onwards to some deep artistic appreciation at the Ateneum.

Though the pictures were genuinely beautiful. The star attraction was Akseli Gallen-Kallela’s illustrations of The Kalevala – the Finnish national epic.

I feel so informed.

The Fighting Capercaillies (1886), Ferdinand von Wright

Léopold Survage (1918), Amadeo Modigliani

I confess that I don’t actually know the artist of this one, I was just amused by how much he looked like Anthony Perkins.

Village Street in Auvers (1890), Vincent van Gogh (!)

Art museums always highlight John’s and my vastly different appreciation of history. I was terribly excited to see a work painted by van Gogh himself and the texture of his actual brushstrokes, which John – in his own words – would have been just as happy to have seen in a textbook. Conversely, when we went to Tower Green a few years back, John was stirred by the deep historical importance of the site and I was off taking photos of the ravens.

That appreciation can only take you so far, however, because some pieces are, objectively, just a bit shit…

…and deserve to be mocked appropriately. (This is, hands down, my favourite picture of the entire trip.)

We also did a spot of re-enactment in front of Mr Gallen-Kallela’s work, which was around the point that everyone in the museum started to hate us for our lack of museum-grade solemnity.

Our final point of call: the Amos Anderson – apparently the largest private art museum in Finland. And, by hilarious coincidence…

…currently hosting Mutatis mutandis: an entire exhibit dedicated to Tommi Toija, aka the man responsible for the freakish, peeing old-man-baby at the harbour.

The rest of his work was of a similarly wholesome ilk.

Fun for all the family!

Silent Hill, eat your heart out.

Perfect for date night.

The others had (perhaps not coincidentally) abandoned us by this stage, and John, Anu and I were left as the sole appreciators of Mr Toija’s work.

I think the exhibit would probably have been a little less of a culture shock had we not just come from seeing the likes of Van Gogh.

“Look at the exquisite contrast between his pulpy, amorphous body and the gleaming, penis-like head.”


Some of them were strangely adorable. That or we just stayed too long.

The video room where we were once again shooshed for excessive shenanigans.

One last look at the virtuosic baby-carcass-hellish-skull fountain.

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