Finding My Happy Place:
JMM 03 - 09 - 2010

Helsinki is a magical wonderland. Everything is made of gumdrops and lollipops and anything that anyone would care about far exceeds the expectations of even the pickiest chap. Everyone is as beautiful as the architecture which is as beautiful as the landscape which is more beautiful than anything. I need to come back, everybody needs to come with me, and we need to stay a long time. We started the day with a four-hour bus tour of the city guided by a beautiful Fin named Mia. She was a fine arts/architecture student herself, so she had a lot of great knowledge and insight into the places we were seeing. We went through some of the older sectors, but also some new ones, which were very good to me. The amount of snow and ice here is comparable to the amount I trudged through in Saint Petersburg. It is great to see people ice skating and playing hockey all over the city, I wish I could have joined them. After the guided tour we had roughly 5 hours to explore on our own, so we quickly boarded a tram to the northern part of the city where Alvar Aalto's home/studio and office are. The neighborhood is full of gorgeous buildings seated nicely in the birch and pine covered hills overlooking the Baltic Sea. His home was inspiring and I took enough pictures to digitally reconstruct the masterpiece if I so desire. After Aalto we took another tram back to the city center and stopped at the Contemporary Art Museum by Stephen Holl (damn he has been busy). It wasn't a bad museum both in it's architecture and content, but it couldn't compare to the Aalto buildings and the ones surrounding them. Hot damn this city is a delight. I NEED MORE! We left Helsinki on a large, ice-breaking ferry to Tallinn across the frozen Baltic. It was challenging to figure out whether the chunks of ice were moving the boat or the boat was moving the chunks of ice. I think it was a little of both. It was eerie. I liked it.

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