Friday, August 29, 2008

Scandinavia Trip - Part 2 (Finland/Estonia)

Our Finnair flight arrived at Helsinki airport late in the day, but the sun was still high in the sky. We checked in and headed for the city to explore; eventually finding an outdoor pub called the M-Bar, we began drinking our first Scandinavian beer and ‘Gin Longdrinks’ (a gin and lemon drink you drink by the pint!). By 10:30 that night we realised the sun was never going to go down, welcome to the land of 24 hour daylight.

Our plan was to head to Estonia the next day so we booked and boarded the morning ferry across the channel.

Estonia greeted us with cooler weather and some drizzle, which we made the most of by heading to the ‘Old Town’ and photographing the street while they were wet (bringing out the real colours of the stonework and cobbled streets).

What an amazing place! For hundreds of years people have been living in these street, unchanged, from the cobbled roads to the large squares full of restaurants and market stalls.

The real eye catcher for two foreign travellers was the overwhelming natural beauty of the local waitresses (read: beer wenches) in all of the pubs. The more traditional pubs had them dressed in traditional dresses (white gowns with decorated velvet and gold vests and waste coats) while the less traditional pubs had them dressed in the same attire, except with the gowns cut off well above the knee!

Our second day in Estonia saw us head out of town on the bus for a look around the area. We hobnobbed it at a ritzy yacht club, explored the ruins of a monastery and walked through the city centre.

The ferry brought us back to Helsinki the following day and we checked back in to the hostel. With nothing much left for us to do in the city we decided to make the most of the night and hit the M-Bar again. I befriended a bunch of Canadian when Tim visited the lavatory and questioned the locals on where to head once the bar closed. We were directed to a nightclub called Redrum (three floors underground!) where much hilarity and debauchery took place until the very late hours of the next morning.

My favourite woollen jersey was stolen while we were there, causing Tim and I to embark on a rampage through the city as the sun came up (I won’t go into this further, although I am relieved to say that we could not get the Helsinki Council roller started).