Are we there yet?

Day 2. Wednesday 15 May. Tokyo to Helsinki.

Daylight crept in around 5, with the promise of some sun. Of course we were early for the shuttle and the 20 mins ride was almost accurate – the distance was, after all, less than 5 kms. The hotel claimed we’d be there at 8 AM – it was actually 8.02. Where had the train taken us last night?

Efficient, orderly clearances and then into the sky with Finnair. The staff will be twiddling their thumbs with only a handful of passengers this time. 10 hours of sunshine, blue sky, the frozen land below, food, food and more food! And some wine.

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After extensive advice from two very helpful railways officials we trained into Helsinki railway station – about half an hour. Again, impressive and efficient system. Our instructions, again with the aid of Google, included the next leg, a tram to the area of our apartment. These instructions, as it turned out, were accurate, although our grasp of the city meant that some of our decisions on where to go in following them were mostly guesswork. The cobbled footpaths tested the small wheels in the suitcases, but they survived. And the tram took us to just below the apartment, much closer that we’d anticipated.

It’s old and probably a converted housing complex – solid walls, high ceilings – but it’s warm (almost too much so), plenty of room and basic amenities.

Shop for limited supplies was followed by a stroll down to the wharf area in the sun – but the air was still cold if we passed into shade, enough to need a jacket. Plenty of people enjoying the late afternoon sun at cafes and bars, soaking up the warmth and the beer. There were lots of brave souls in the outdoor swimming pools,which didn’t appear to be heated in any way.

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By the time we got back it was around 7 PM local time, but our body clocks were telling us it was 1 AM the next day. Off to bed; T dons the ‘Lone ranger’ mask, as the sun is still bright and no, the curtains are NOT blockout.

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