(50) Summer in Helsinki

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Painter Pentti Ikäheimonen handed me a glass of orange juice inside his studio with shiny floors and posh armchairs. He doesn’t speak any languages a so he talks Finnish to me, very slowly and clearly. No, I have no knowledge of any Finnic branch of languages, but I do get what he says. This “château” is his studio. He doesn’t live here, he only works here on his paintings. He called me inside, because not many people get here through the 3 miles of forest lanes, certainly not on a scooter and definitely not all the way from London. After he showed me all the rooms with all his paintings, I expressed my admiration and left to set up a camp by lake which he marked on a map for me. I can go for a swim to wash off all the dust from the road before I enter the crowds of the city…

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…and so good bye cold Finnish forests…

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…here starts a new world…

 

 

…in the Uspenski Orthodox Church I sat trying to understand all the hassle outside its walls…

 

 

…how many centuries these icons, symbols and rituals can remember, all connected together into one faith which came from so far away. After so many centuries we didn’t get it… that only such long-term persistent values and passions are what pushes the world somewhere, what leaves a mark in history… a we are chasing the feelings of comfort and luxury, short-term, changeable and quickly depleting. No, I’m not orthodox, not even christian. But one doesn’t need to study Bible and take part in church rituals to see that something is rotting outside in that world. Or, rather I should say inside…

 

 

…some turmoil on the other side of the hall grabbed my attention. Some people waving… waving on me! Frenchmen! The French family from the flower-painted camping car, who I spent night with by the Barent’s sea 1500 miles further north watching white wales. These are coincidences that makes me feel we live in small world. And so I don’t feel alone in the city.

 

 

…Helsinki is a marvellous, Jazz in the streets, blond girls selling ice cream, and the one with most beautiful smile selling books. After 2 months of more-or-less permanent hunger, I ate the biggest hamburger on the menu and that was the first meal in a restaurant since I left UK…

 

 

 

 

…after all the ice, snow, storms and chills, finally hot summer…

 

 

…Helsinki is full of colourful ships…

 

 

…sometimes hard to distuingish where the icebreaker ends and building starts…

 

 

…I got horribly lost in the huge port, my TomTom died completely…

 

 

…how I was roaming up and down across the port searching for my ferry, right in front of me a flower-painted french caravan appeared… such coincidence make this world even smaller than before. We waved good bye to Helsinky, good bye to the north…

 

 

…sometimes in the middle of the night I’ll disembark in Estonia. From this summer’s point of view, that is very far south…

 

 

…but there’s still a long journey home ahead.

 

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