Yesterday we were tourists in Helsinki, seeing all the major sites and learning about the history of both the city and the country all while wandering around looking up with our mouths open saying deep things like ‘oooh’ and ‘aaah.’ Today is totally different…we are going to have a day that is less touristy and more like a day we would have if we were back home.
And that is really nice.
AJ and I are up early. Well. Technically I am up and not particularly early and I wake AJ and he is of the opinion that is is VERY EARLY and that I should LEAVE HIM ALONE! What would be the fun in that? Instead we throw on our running shoes, grab our water bottle and head to a small lake about a block away from our Airbnb. Where we, you know, run and stuff. And we had our first casualty of the trip, No one got hurt (though by the bellyaching of one of us you would have thought we needed to visit an emergency room). Nope. One of our two water bottles we have carried all over hell and back that we tucked away behind a bench so we could get some water got lifted. Someone needed it more than us. If that is the worst thing that happens this trip, we are good!
We hit the showers and then meet Annika and Hannu at 11am at a frisbee golf park. We, of course, didn’t have any of our frisbees with us–they are sitting on S/V Serenity in Maryland, but it turns out that Hannu is a very good (frisbee) golfer and has enough on hand that we can all use one.
We are on the Meilahden frisbee golf course, the very first disc golf course in Finland. It is great that we have Hannu with us–this is not a place that is easy to navigate without a guide, at least on the first trip. It is located in a forest and we climb up and down (and up and down and up and down) huge rocks as we move from hole to hole. Each hole is marked by a line spray painted onto the rock. Fortunately all the holes are relatively short–there are 16 of them and all are par 3s. Unfortunately in most cases you cannot see the basket as it is higher, lower or around a corner of boulders. Our games were not affected–we stink. But we all had a great time and each of us had at least one par!
After a couple of hours of frisbee golf Hannu had to leave us to ref a football game and the rest of us decided that we would go play some tennis. Unfortunately the Donnelly contingent was dressed for hiking, not tennis, so we took our tram back to our apartment, changed, got a snack, then tram to main train station, train to a random stop and met Annika who walked with us to the tennis courts.
It is now 3pm. I figure that we are going to play an hour or so and call it good. It is a gorgeous day–the sun is out and the temperatures are in the mid-60s with a little breeze. We are in a complex that has three tennis courts. We have secured the middle court. To our left are three 20 year olds who are crushing the poor ball like it made them mad. To our right is a father ‘teaching’ his 8 year old daughter how to play tennis. He teaching methodology appears to have a lot of yelling and berating of his child. Fortunately it only lasted a couple of hours.
We played singles and doubles and didn’t stop until AJ said he was done. Which turned out to be three hours later. Three hours of tennis. After running and frisbee golf. And a quick check of the ‘won-loss’ record from the games showed that two people won most/all the games while the other two (older) people lost. I needed a wheel chair to walk back to the train station. But none were provided, I was forced to walk to train, then onto train for one stop and 20 minute walk to Annika/Hannu’s place for pizza and game night. AJ, Hannu and Annika played Risk, Game-of-Thrones style while Jan and I watched. 1 We had to call the game due to time; apparently one in our group had to go to this thing called ‘work’ in the morning. When it was all said and done, Hannu was the winner, but it was a close call.
The three of us headed back to the tram and our hotel. It was an excellent two days with Annika and Hannu in Helsinki both as a tourist and especially just hanging out. Tomorrow we start to make our way back to the west. Off to Iceland.
1 I love game night. I live for game night. Except if we are playing either monopoly (the board game) or risk (any version). I have deep emotional scars left by the crushing humiliation I received as a child by my siblings playing those games and my poor reaction to the humiliation (i.e. throwing the board across the room) and have vowed never to play them again.