Helsinki: One Door Closes. Another Opens.

Bye bye baltics, hello Helsinki.

I think I have dreamed of coming to Finland most of my life. I kind of thought there would be some magical day when I felt like I was rich enough to see the Nordic countries.

And, BTW, Finland is not considered part of Scandinavia like most people think. It’s kind of its own place. It’s the rebel of the Nordics 🙂

It’s separate from everything in a way, but still part of the EU and on the Euro.

In Tallinn, I took a tour of the old town. And of course there’s kind of a funny rivalry between Estonians and Finns. They make fun of the Finns and the tour guide kept saying “those sneaky Finns!”

There’s a story, don’t know if true or not, that the Finnish military somehow managed to steal some Russian fighter planes when Russia was trying to bomb Estonia. Sneaky, sneaky!

My first two nights were spent at the Bitcoin Embassy.

helsinki_bitcoinembassy

Not the most comfortable place to stay, in the back of an office on a couch. But cheaper than a lot of expensive Helsinki.

(Which as I discovered, is about the same cost as San Diego, maybe even slightly less overall).

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Took the walking tour and walked for miles. Or kilometers.

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The rumors are true. Finnish people are generally quiet. There are so many jokes around this and they always make me laugh, because I think I inherited the quiet Finnish gene. As a kid in school, I was always “the quiet one”, sometimes called “shy” and remember countless times people trying to get me to talk, for the sake of talking.

It was irritating and I always wanted teachers and parents and other kids just to leave me alone, let me be quiet! But it seems to bother people when there isn’t constant talking. So I really appreciated Finland in that respect.

Many Finns think Americans are all extroverted. It’s not hard to see why they think that. On the plus side, I was happy to have peace and quiet in Helsinki nearly everywhere I went. (and the place never felt crowded!) But there’s also a general lack of expressiveness that exists in America (especially in California). Of course, there are exceptions to this, like this white rap band I stopped to watch for a bit:

I was lucky to meet some locals, and had a great time with new friends.

FinnishTriathletes

K&K

FinnishFriends

I was really impressed with the ease of getting around the city, the general niceness of the people, and the forests!

FinnishForest

I took it easy on the tourist stuff and instead went for more experiences, like this rock climbing competition on an old ship:

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If it is indeed true that the earth is warming, I hope that Finland benefits from it! Then again, if that happened on a significant level, Helsinki would quickly turn into Miami or Southern California in the summer, with massive crowds, noise, and parties. However, given that Finland has the most islands of any country in the world, maybe there’s a chance to discover a gem and call it home. Move over Liberland, Freedom Lovin’ Land is coming soon!