Finnish Christmas: Helsinki days

Continuing to update from our Christmas trip.

December 29-30

Our sleeping is still mixed up. We mostly sleep through the night, but we keep on waking up early in the morning. That makes it easy to get to breakfast before the room fills up, but we keep getting worn out through the day and having to stop for a nap.

Our hotel, right in the center of Helsinki

On the 29th we met up with Lissu to go see a movie and do a little shopping. We spent some of the afternoon together, then E. and I went out together for dinner. Our ninth anniversary was yesterday, but since we were traveling that day it wasn’t such a good day for celebrating. We went to Kappeli, a rather fancy restaurant in the Esplanadi park. The restaurant was nearly full when we arrived, but we were able to get a table. Since this was a celebratory dinner, we splurged on some wine and a couple of set menus. E. had a menu with mushroom soup, grilled fish, and blueberry cheesecake. I took a menu which was little tastes of lots of different things: herring, reindeer, salad, crayfish soup, grilled fish, raspberry sorbet, and a chocolate petit-four. We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly, then headed back to the hotel to crash for the night.

Kappeli restaurant

There seem to be a lot of Russians visiting Helsinki for the holiday. We keep hearing Russian being spoken around us in the hotel, in restaurants, in stores and on the street. It shouldn’t be such a surprise considering that the countries are neighbors (and that, in my prejudiced way, I don’t blame any Russians for wanting to be somewhere other than Russia), but in my previous visits to Finland, even to Helsinki, I have never seen so many.

Helsinki market square on a quiet winter afternoon

On the 30th, we had plans to get together with a bunch of E.’s old friends for a potluck dinner. E. and I went out shopping during the day for supplies. In the afternoon Lissu came by and led us to the apartment where the get-together was planned. Since several of the guests are vegetarians, I made rice and bean fajitas; other people contributed fresh guacamole, salad, drinks, and dessert. Most of the people who came are people that I know and have spent a little time with and they’re all wonderful people. Unfortunately, I was getting very tired and before long I had to leave. I would have wanted to stay, but there was no way I could. I headed back to the hotel and went to bed.

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