tarnhop’s barhops – Sweden 4

I only spent a couple days in Helsinki. As you’ve probably noticed, I’m rushing nowadays. My July 11 flight from London to Newark is rapidly approaching. Couple that with frequent bouts of midsummer induced insomnia and you’ve got Stange Days. And what could be stranger than me, the guy who scored one point all season on the 8th grade basketball team (I banked a free throw), boarding in Helsinki’s Olympic quarters. They’ve converted the rooms to a hostel. Here is a shot of the Olympic tower and soccer field below.

The Sibelius monument was a short walk away so I took advantage of the long day and headed over to take some pictures. I think this monument was meant to resemble organ pipes.

And just when you thought you’d seen them all and you’re completely J.FA.C.’d out, it comes form nowhere. Well, actually, it comes from Helsinki and it’s the coolest church I’ve ever seen with the notable exeption of La Sagrada Familia. The Temple Church is built into a rock hill and from a certain angle, it looks as if the ceiling is supported by nothing other than rays of light. See for yourself.

My next couple days were spent hanging out with an American I met in the hostel and a Canadian who I had met in Tallinn. We met up after he caught up with me in Finland. The coolest thing we saw was at the Contemporary Arts Museum. Helsinki is known for it’s design community which is a big thing for RISD grads and SoHo patrons alike but the Contemporary Arts Museum is it’s real treasure. One of the coolest things I saw was this horse. At least it used to be a horse but now it’s sewn up without limbs or orifices to resemble some creature probably found in an issue of The Maxx. You could even pet it if you wanted; eww.

I left Helsinki by means of the Galaxia cruiseliner. This 17 hour boat tripis reknowned for extreme drunkeness as both the Fins and the Swedes take round trip excursions just to get wasted and come home with cheap, tax-free alcohol in huge quantities. No joke. I saw grannies with carts full of beer, liquor, and cigarettes. You’d think they’d buy at least one box of chocolate or a bottle of perfume but these people are hardcore. Not having been here in the winter, I think it’s not impossible that Scandanavians actually hibernate and when they come out in the summer they are ready for one long day of drinking.

One lady was so drunk she couldn’t get back to her room and she was holding onto a railing. I tried to help her but the only words she knew it English it seems were “help me.” I kept saying “how, what do you want me to do” but she was so drunk she kept saying “help me.” We gave up with a mutual shrug and a smile. I saw her later with her old, drunk friends sitting on the steps and we smiled. I don’t think she could manage to get off those steps if say a meteor hit and we all had to flee for our lives but at least she was comfortably numb with her buddies and, really, isn’t that what we all want anyway?

Here are a couple shots of friends I made on the ferry.

Najib there was overjoyed when Ghana defeated the U.S. ousting us from the World Cup but no hard feelings. You’ve got to respect a guy who roots for an entire continent of teams.

I arrived in Stockholm exhausted and in good spirits, ready to take up residence with my friend Ken who I met in Lithuania a week before.
Posted from Sweden:

posted Thursday June 2006