Learning as we go

Central Church

We arrived this morning in Helsinki after a leisurely and procrastinators breakfast on the ferry. We learned last time not to cram ourselves onto the disembarkation level in time for the doors to open on arrival, other wise sweat would ensue, scowls would form and moods would be altered.

We walked a nice 20 minutes in fresh post rain air through old town and zigzagging trolley tracks to our 2nd Radisson hotel of the trip. The first was the windowless cave…This one allowed us to check in at 11am, and the room is pretty fantastic with the coziest bed ever!!! They even have bikes to rent, and I can’t wait!

We wandered in search of morning coffee and snack but with today being Midsummer’s Eve (A National holiday) everything most stores were closed so it took until lunch to find a suitable meal. Along the way we were lucky enough to catch a couple of neat churches that happened to be open. Sadly though, Golden Arches was the hottest place in town at 1pm when we were hungry…they were even short on tables and toilet paper. There were no McNaps going on either, people were in and out.

I won myself a groggy fast food nap late in the day, another 2 hour siesta to refresh for the evening stroll.

We spent our first stop at a lovely cafe on the main, tree lined street, beside none other than the character inspiration for Gold Member from Austin Powers!!! SO similar in appearance, mannerisms, voice, and even clothing. It was uncanny. He chatted with us about what to see, and hollered “hay hay” at any and all children that walked by. I think he was a little strange, but more just a lonely older man in need of a good chat.

For dinner we experienced a new way to dine, after given cards to stand in one of several lines with 10 people deep to order and have the chef cook our pasta in a few minutes as each person waited. The process took about 30 minutes before we could hunt for a table. The sunny warm patio was packed so we settled for a window seat before taking the card to the checkout for payment. It was inconvenient, and slow but with better ambiance and food than a cafeteria, but otherwise similar.

We are at a similar place in Oslo where you ordered and paid while standing in line, but then at least the waitress brought your food directly to you by table number, so at least you didn’t have to wait so long in line. I can think of a few ways to improve tonight’s system, but no comment cards or suggestions from travelers were requested. So, too bad so sad.