Hell-yeahsinki Part 1

Why Helsinki and Booking Arrangements

Last weekend Mario Party did like any group of exchange students would do and made a trip to Helsinki in Finland. Now first out of the way, why Helsinki? To which I respond, I have no idea. I think most of us just wanted to go somewhere so when Giacomo and Andrea suggested flying to Helsinki we made like sheep and readily followed. Overall it was an okay trip for me with several ups and downs. There are some things I would not do again such as go back to Helsinki but in hindsight I am still very glad I went with everyone.

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For some strange reason we ended up going to Helsinki in waves. Giacomo and Andrea flew first, flying on some really expensive Norwegian Air tickets. No tears were shed on their part though, as Bri says they are extremely flagrant with money. Bri and I flew next on Finnair, our tickets (597 SEK) while not markedly cheap were at least 50% off what the Italians paid. Nikki and Jordan came last also on Finnair as well but only arriving in Kamppi close to midnight of that Friday.

We booked a really sweet apartment on Airbnb, the place had three bedrooms and the living area was comfortable enough for us to all hang out in. There was also a jacuzzi and sauna but these turned out to be 1) a glorified bathtub and 2) very small and attached to the shower and toilet. Which brings me to my biggest critique of the apartment, the misleading advertising of the place being a 3 bedroom 2 bathroom when really one bathroom had nothing but the ‘jacuzzi’ in it and the other had both the shower and toilet. I ended up arguing with Andrea and Giacomo a couple of times regarding the appropriate duration of a shower and respecting the personal space of others. While I don’t want to elaborate too much on this issue, I would like to say that I had the foresight to see this coming up and that it could have been completely avoided had we not been misled by the blurb on the apartment. Despite this the place was still very nice and well furnished, we paid 350 SEK each for three days and two nights.

Meeting My Sister, A Picturesque City and The Worst Dinner I’ve Ever Had

When Bri and I arrived, we met up with the two boys and had lunch before walking around the city centre.

P1000481-1 Helsinki felt warmer than Stockholm despite the abundance of snow.

P1000482-2 P1000493-5This is Giacomo.

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My favourite place in Helsinki is probably by the dockside. Frozen water isn’t exactly beautiful but there’s something wonderful and frightening about seeing something as large as this body of water succumbing to winter’s wishes.P1000508-11 P1000513-12 P1000516-13

We had both gotten something like two hours of sleep the night before due to packing and the logistics involving getting to the airport by 7 am, so it wasn’t long before we gave up and went to sleep.

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I managed to meet my godsister Tessa after having not seen her for years. We had a quick chat at our place before she had to go back to Lahti.

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The first night we ate at Zetor, a place that Andrea had gotten wind of from a Finnish person he met on campus. I think everyone that night would have a different opinion of the quality of that dinner. I for one absolutely hated it for several reasons

1) Booking was made for 9 pm

In Italy they eat dinner really late. In America and Australia we do not. Perhaps I should have brought it up sooner but I did not realise the gravity of eating at such a late hour would have on my already delicate stomach.

2) Restaurant was made of inefficiency

Upon arrival the waitress had informed me that food would take an hour. Looking around at the restaurant I would say that it was reasonably full but it did not look packed. Not to mention the floor staff did not seem to illustrate any kind of immediacy in their manner that they should if the place is supposed to be that busy.

3) My order was wrong

I had ordered a main course sized salmon soup and no starter. After the agonising wait for bread, for the starters to clear and the mains to arrive, my soup comes as a starter size. At this point it is past 10.30 pm and I had basically given up on everything. I think what is most ridiculous is the fact that Giacomo had ordered the exact same thing (a starter sized salmon soup) which was able to be served an hour before mine. The only saving grace of my meal was that it cost me less than 11 Euros.

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Bri had an equally horrible time because she was hungry as well though her meal was at least a lot more substantial than mine. The boys were very happy with their meal and called it one of their best dinners thus far on exchange. I would never go back to this place and never again begin dinner at 9 pm.

First Night Clubbing at Namu

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First proper Mario Party photo!

When Jordan and Nikki arrived we went to a club in Kamppi immediately. It had a cover charge and drinks were expensive but I was not as fussed since I did not drink for the entire night. However clubbing while sober involves an enormous amount of energy and enthusiasm which I am not made of even on my best days that do not involve 2 hours of sleep. Also everyone there looked kind of ridiculous and not just because I had not put on my beer googles. Nevertheless I lasted as long as everyone else, coming home in the early morning of 5 am. We ended our first day in Helsinki with lots of talking, hummus, bresaola and squats.

Now Playing: Everytime – Glen Hansard

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