Friday, August 28, 2009

End of the road.

I won't be the last I won't be the first
Find a way to where the sky meets the earth
It's all right and all wrong
For me it begins at the end of the road
We come and go...

- Eddie Vedder, End Of The Road

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Gettenlosten Copenhagen.

Maybe it's because the trip is winding down and I'm not paying as close attention, maybe I'm just lazy, or maybe Copenhagen is a really confusing city to navigate.

But in less than two days in this town, I've gotten lost twice.

The first time was when I was touring around yesterday, trying to see as many sights as possible on my way to The Little Mermaid. Right around the city centre the layout gets really winding and streets converge on each other, so every time I thought I was going in the right direction, I was going further south or east than I wanted to.

I nearly ended up in Christiania, which I did not want to do. I'm not sure I'll even go there at all; my flight tomorrow is late but still I'd like to err on the side of caution and not end up in a Danish jail like my buddy did.

The second time I got lost was earlier today. The Metro stop I got off at from the airport was called Forum, and I noticed that there was an S-line stop called Farum. I took that one, since it seemed like it was in the same direction. Nope.

45 minutes later I was in the middle of nowhere at the end of the line, so back I went to the main hub and took the Metro line to Forum - exactly one stop away. Way to go me.

Other than that, Copenhagen has been awesome. Great people, great city, great atmosphere. I knew right away I would have a good time here when my locker number happened to be #55.

The first set of pics is from touring around town, including the aforementioned Little Mermaid, which is really small and out of the way for something so famous.

The rest of the shots are from Kronborg, the castle in Helsingor outside of Copenhagen, better known as Hamlet's Castle.

Tonight is pretty much my last night out in Europe (unless Keflavik has a hopping Thursday nightlife I don't know about) so I'm gonna head out with a few hostel buddies and have a few Danish beers.

Skaal everyone! Back home on Friday!

Now I'm done
And I know because it hurts
In all ways, in other words
I am a passenger
A dream that's over

- I Mother Earth, Passenger

Monday, August 24, 2009

Fortress of solitude.

So everything went according to the aforementioned plan.

I went up the Olympic tower for the obligatory view-of-the-city shots I'm compelled to get in every city. You give me a high vantage point, or water, or statues, and I'm gonna take a picture of it. It's just that simple.

Then I went to the market square for some world famous Finnish fruit. While the blueberries were actually blue inside, I have to say they weren't that great. I preferred the strawberries, which may have been the best I've ever had. I also got some Finnish black currants, which were tart and excellent.

As you can see I stored them in my canteen, rather than carting around containers with no lid. Kept em nice and fresh...that canteen has been an underrated travel accessory.

Next I took a short ferry ride to the island fortress Suomenlinna, which was really cool. The highlight for me was going in and out of the stone caves for some long-exposure shots (and finally getting some use out of the mini tripod I brought).

And finally I capped off the day with a nice traditional Finnish dinner (thanks for the recommendation, Elina): elk and reindeer with mashed potatoes and lingonberries. That's right, I ate Rudolph! Between this and the whale in Iceland, I've really expanded my culinary horizons.

Also that beer was really nice, dark and unfiltered. It was made by Nokian Panimo, which I can only assume is the beer division of Nokia. They're not just a cell phone company! OK, not really.

I'll be at the penultimate destination of the trip tomorrow afternoon: Copenhagen. I just really like using the word penultimate.

Packed and all eyes turned in, no one to see on the quay.
No one waving for me, just the shoreline receding.
Ticket in my hand and thinking wish I didn't hand it in.

- Okkervil River, Lost Coastlines

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Nice guys Finnish first.

Had a great day in Helsinki today!

It started, as all good days do, with a nice late sleep-in (well, late for a vacation anyway, around 11 AM).

Then I met up with Elina and Riikka, two Finnish girls that are friends with one of my co-workers (thanks for the hook-up Megan!) and they showed me around town.

We ate at Amarillo, which is a Tex-Mex place, hilariously enough...I had a double burger with fries, which was pretty good considering how far we are from Tex and/or Mex.

Then I bummed around the harbour area and had a pretty nice cappuccino at Wayne's Coffee, which appears to be some some of Scandinavian coffee chain as I've seen them all over the place.

And finally I capped it off with what is becoming an annual vacation tradition: a rock show in a foreign country. I saw Protest The Hero and they were friggin awesome (the two Finnish hardcore bands that opened for them, not so much).

I hung out with the bassist from Protest after the show; he was happy to see another Torontonian. Then on the tram back to the hostel I found another Canadian, from Vancouver, and we talked for a bit about random stuff with a couple of Finnish teenagers. I don't know where the Scandinavians-are-a-cold people myth came from; everyone's been really cool, actually. *rimshot*

Tomorrow the plan is to go to the top of the Olympic tower for a nice view of the city, then head down to the market and buy some Finnish strawberries and blueberries (which are apparently excellent) and then head to the Suomenlinna, an island fortress.

Headed into the home stretch...can't believe it's almost over. I can see the post-vacation depression coming a mile away.

I begged this place to let me burn
And it whispered, "Burn away."

- Protest The Hero, Nautical