Kyllä, minusta täällä on mukavaa
[Translated that means...Yes, I like it very much.]
There are some challenges in regard to time, money, language and temp system, but this is a very pleasant country. Also, the darn computer keyboard I am using has just a few things different on it that getting out an e-mail is a bit maddening.
My time in Helsinkli was quite mellow, even with the backed up drain in my hotel
room, as well as a fire alarm being sounding early in the morning of my departure
day. My hotel location allowed me to walk to many places of interest.
My favorite part so far was the train ride North. There came a point when I
looked out and places in the U.P. came to mind. My Finnish immigrant
grandparents setting in the U.P. found their HOME AWAY FROM THEIR BIRTHPLACE
HOME. Birch trees, evergreens, lakes, streams and snow. I felt at home the more
North the train and then bus took me. Being in my father's family's homeland is a priceless gift.
Finnish people quickly recognize my last name. I now know the correct pronuciation of it. This trip may not provide me the opportunity to visit actual relatives, but I have made connection that will help in my future efforts.
I have met many wonderful people. I met a young lawyer, Cary Turtinen, on the train to Oulu and as well as, serving as my interpreter with the conductor, we had a wonderful lengthy conversation about Oulo, my father's family's birthplace. I wish to thank him for his help.
The ski tour started on yesterday. I may not ski the tour's total 440 KM (270 some miles), but I will ski each day. My first day I went 46K and today 29K. (A new blistering toe has me being cautious. Afterall, I am on vacation.)
In a couple of days, we will spend the night at a schoolhouse. (School's are closed for a winter ski holiday.) I found out that Finnish children start to learn English in their schools staring in the third grade. I have brought some children's books about Michigan and the Upper Peninsula to leave at the school.