Ode to Omena Hotel

2 Comments

Our love affair was a brief one
only 23 days I enjoyed your pleasures
but 23 days I will never forget.

Some say you are strange
for not having a front desk.
But you always were a rebel.
Be gone front desk! Be gone helpful staff!
Be gone iron! The neat and tidy are wicked, wicked people!

You could never be taunted as wasteful
with your 3-in-one green goo soap… stuff
and your once a week cleaning
a finer clean there never was

Unscented, mostly water, green translucent gel

Unscented, mostly water, green translucent gel

Ah, but your greenish amenity shall never be taken!
For if he tried it would leak all over his underwear
because you do not even provide a cap!
Be gone caps!!

And you clientele – you shun no one
surely that is a character trait worth noting
Your lowest of prices welcome all sort of drunken being
and foreign gymnast team
(much acclaimed for their early morning door slamming)
and destitute Russian tourists

Ah - the drunk peoples poetry!

Ah – the drunk peoples poetry!

 

But alas I has fallen for another
her name is Radisson
She cannot compare to your charms
But we will always have the 2 am fire drills
and Ha! The memories of being woken up
by the cleaners of the rooms and their smirks
as they barge into our rooms unannounced

Farewell my love!

We'll always have fire drills

We’ll always have fire drills

 

 

Last Sunday. Last Capture.

Leave a comment

Well today is my last Sunday in Helsinki. It seems that Sunday has been my best day each week. Lots of walking around, good weather, good food, etc. Today was no exception.

I’ve got tons of photos, so I’ll just kick it off…

Parliament Building

Parliament Building

Level 4 (which may now be level 3) started off with a tour of the official buildings on one of the main streets in Helsinki. The Parliament building was especially interesting. The clues for this one are going to be pretty hard to find. ūüôā

Overlooking the Olympic Stadium

Overlooking the Olympic Stadium

There are miles and miles of parks in Helsinki. I followed one part and saw the hill. I climbed it to get a better look of what was around and whammo… the Olympic Stadium. Pretty awesome!

Rose Garden

Rose Garden

On the way around to the front of the stadium I found this really cool rose garden. The building was really interesting. I bet in the summer it is even better to visit.

Football

Football

On the other side of the stadium there were several soccer fields (football here) and there was some sort of tournament going on because there were lots of matches going on. Note the girl in the lower right… carrying cross country skies. You see that all over the place here because there is so much snow everywhere that people ski from place to place.

Another semi-outdoor arena

Another semi-outdoor arena

Then there was one of the highlights of the day… The Olympic Tower. The picture doesn’t do it justice.

 

Olympic Tower

Olympic Tower – 1952 Olympics

There¬†are plenty of naked lady statues in Helsinki – if that’s your thing. This one seems to have a fascination with seagulls. Seems kind of weird to me. So I took a picture of it of course.

Whatever floats your gull

Whatever floats your gull

Then came the real highlight of the day. The Sibelius monument. I loved this thing so much it deserves several photos. Its really a lot larger than it looks. (That’s what she said)

Sibelius 1

Sibelius 1

Sibelius 3

Sibelius 2

Sibelius 3

Sibelius 3

Artists signature

Artists signature

This is what the texture looks like up close

This is what the texture looks like up close

Sibelius

Sibelius

Nearby there was an AWESOME little caf√©. It was right on the shore. Besides selling coffee you could have a campfire and cook assorted meat products on a stick. Smelled spectacular, but the place was busy and I was on a mission so I couldn’t partake.

Yum

Yum

 

Small place, big line. Must be good.

Small place, big line. Must be good.

Its hard to see… but here is the hot dog cookery. I wish I could insert smells into this post. :o)

Smoking hot

Smoking hot

 

Apartments on the water

Apartments on the water

The apartments on the water are awesome looking. These all look out over the sea. I took the photo from basically the docks on the other side of the road.

Ok, time for pizza and beer with the gang. Probably our last beer drinking shin dig of the trip.

Chow!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do a good turn daily

Leave a comment

Well I did my good turn for the day. And it will probably be one of the most memorable events of the trip.

I was walking back to the hotel when I see this woman who looks lost, looking around the hotel. As I opened the outside door she said something, but I didn’t understand her. Crazy Finnish language. I tried speaking to her in English, but she didn’t know any. That was weird because every Finn I’ve met so far has been able to understand English.

So I motioned inside, thinking she needed to get in. She followed me in. Then she was looking around still while I waited for the elevator. She said something else to me and I got an idea. I lead her into the pizzeria next door and asked them to translate. But they didn’t understand her either. I could see she was getting frustrated. I tried different things to understand, but no use.

I motioned upstairs. Maybe she is looking for a friend. So we got in the elevator and headed up. She passed a few floors then followed me off of mine. Great, now I have¬†a tag-along. That I don’t understand.

Next idea – maybe she can use my laptop to translate somehow. So we go into my room (I know what you’re thinking. No.). But she couldn’t even type anything! Finally she motioned for a pen and paper, which I gave her. I totally couldn’t understand that either.

Say what?

Say what?

But that gave me another idea – to find her nationality. Russian. Ah! I know some Russians and they are right down the hall. So¬†I go grab Andrey and Roman and they determine that she was basically dumped here by some “friends” and needed to book a room. but, since the lovely Omena doesn’t have any on-site staff she couldn’t. And, she only has cash.

So she gave me the cash and I got her a room. Yeah, I made someone’s day. Maybe three people’s day… Andrey and Roman thought it was pretty funny.

 

 

I’m in love

4 Comments

I heard a guy once say that he falls in love with every woman he meets. Some times for 10 minutes. Some times for 10 years.

Well I fall in love with places. I’m not sure why. But when I visit a new place I really like to get to know it. And the more I uncover the more I usually love it.

New York has done that to me. There is an energy there that is hard to explain, and impossible to duplicate anywhere else.

I’ve fallen in love with Shelter Island too. Nothing but good memories of the place. Including one of the best weekends of my life last year with Deb followed a couple weeks later with a great bike trip there with the guys.

I’ve fallen in love with Seattle, San Fran, Denali National Park, and even Bolivar Missouri. They all have their unique beauty shown in the landscape, culture, and in the people.

But I’ve really fallen head over heals for Helsinki. Another day of exploring today and a dozen more reasons to love Helsinki. I’ll try to describe it with photos.

The metal balls dot the harbor area

The metal balls dot the harbor area

Only serious mariners go out with this much ice. And yeah, they were out.

Only serious mariners go out with this much ice. And yeah, they were out.

This huge vessel is at a port for the oil company

This huge vessel is at a port for the oil company

 

This canal is surrounded by sleak apartment buildings. There were parts of docks still connected, so I assume you can boat here.

This canal is surrounded by sleek apartment buildings. There were parts of docks still connected, so I assume you can boat here.

 

This restaurant had quite a few moorings outside. I can only imagine what it's like in the summer.

This restaurant had quite a few moorings outside. I can only imagine what it’s like in the summer.

 

I can't include all of the photos of these buildings. But they were really unique.

I can’t include all of the photos of these buildings. But they were really unique.

Really cool angles, spiral staircases mixed in with sharp angles of glass and steel. And, out front dozens of moorings. (See next photo) I can’t figure out what the glass blocks are in the next pictures. But you could only access them from the private marina entrance on the other side of the fence.

Protected basin

Protected basin

 

 

Ha! They but a Darth Vador helmet on him and gave him a light saber

Ha! They but a Darth Vader helmet on him and gave him a light saber

 

Yeah right - they said boats will start getting put in the wtaer in two weeks.

Yeah right – they said boats will start getting put in the water in two weeks. But the place was busy!

You know I had to go in here...

You know I had to go in here…

Most of the apartments have glassed in porches. But these were just the coolest.

Most of the apartments have glassed in porches. But these were just the coolest.

 

And right across the street from the fancy apartment was a wooded park with hundreds of these little cabins!

And right across the street from the fancy apartment was a wooded park with hundreds of these little cabins!

Lots of people out enjoying the frozen sea.

Lots of people out enjoying the frozen sea.

They keep their parks very clean and the trails groomed

They keep their parks very clean and the trails groomed

 

The beach

The beach

 

Even when it is frozen the sea attracts lots of people. Something about it… the openness and the calmness.

I sat on this stone bench looking out over the sea for over an hour. Hundreds of people passed by. Some walking their dogs. Some pulling their kids in a sled. Some cross country skiing.

Spring is in the air in Helsinki. And I’m in love.

 

A night to unwind

2 Comments

Had a nice night tonight just chilling and unwinding. It started off with a little walk around Kamppi, the local mall area. There is a non-denominational silence room that is really cool to go into.

Silence Room

Silence Room

I found this lady who set up a booth and she does drawings of you with ketchup. Yep, ketchup. It’s not Heinz or I would have done one to bring home to Deb. :o)

Ketchup Drawings

Ketchup Drawings

Then I went to my favorite spot – Sky Express – for large beers and even larger pizzas. The guys were all in the mood to unwind and we had a good time.

Big beers and bigger pizzas

Big beers and bigger pizzas

 

These guys are all really great. We have a good time poking fun at one another. Tonight’s group was from South Africa, Brazil, Poland, Canada, and me from the US. Yet we all found common ground in beer, pizza, and making fun of male ice skaters. Lots of laughs.

Polish guy pretending to be French

Polish guy pretending to be French

 

Check out the wall art of the naked chic in the background. I swear the face is the guy who cooked our pizza!

Anyway, tomorrow I head out to work more on my Helsinki version. And celebrating St Patty’s day of course.

 

 

A world of learning

Leave a comment

Last night we had a great little shindig at the AppCampus space. It was put together by Paolo Borella, the Director of AppCampus. Paolo shared his Italian tradition of an “Apperatiff” – basically a meal (and drinks) before dinner. It’s a really nice idea that I think we should try to do in the US.

My Russion friend prepping for the Apperatiff

My Russian friend prepping for the Apperatiff

 

The spread included proguto, olives, salami, bread, capers, and an assortment of hard cheeses. Plus a variety of jellies and sauces. It was REALLY good.

A great selection on Friday night

A great selection on Friday night

 

And of course, we had some drinks!

Prosecco - a sparkling white wine

Prosecco – a sparkling white wine

 

The best part of the evening though was getting to spend time with the rest of the AppCademy group. After a hard week we let our hair down and had some good laughs. I had a great conversation with a group of guys that included people from Brazil, France, Belgium, and Estonia. Did you know if you live in Estonia you pay close to 70% of your income as taxes? But businesses are not taxed at all. In Belgium it is like 45%, but you have reliable social security. It was really interesting talking to all the guys.

It is also really interesting how people from other countries look at people from the US. One statistic I heard was that only 2% of the US has passports. We are just so into our country that we don’t realize there is a whole world out there! I have a new mission – to get my wife and kids outside of the US on trip(s) to different countries. It may be a far off goal, but I think it would be a great way to spend time with them.

Now on to Saturday…

 

 

 

 

The trip over hasn’t been so great

3 Comments

Well I just got to my hotel in Helsinki. What a long trip. I wish Deb was driving the plane because then maybe I would have gotten some sleep.

The flight from Cinci to Paris was the worst. 8 hours of the most cramped seat flying I’ve ever experienced. I didn’t get an ounce of sleep, although I tossed and turned for the majority of the trip. I think the upgrade to preferred seating would of been worth the $100. I think I might do that on the way back.

Boarding in Cinci

Boarding in Cinci

Now I’ve been in a few airports in my day, and I have to say that the Paris airport is most confusing, pain in the neck airport I’ve ever been to. It’s taken a while, but O’Hare has moved to #2 in that category. There were only two cool things about it.

#1 there was cool architecture and art all over the place. (Too bad they didn’t pay as much attention to easy customer flow)

The curved wood wall is a lot bigger than it looks.

The curved wood wall is a lot bigger than it looks.

 

The other cool this was this toilet paper dispenser. I had to post this for Rob Andre to see. I’m not really a judge of toilet paper holders, but this one was the best I’ve ever seen. No scraps of paper all over the floor. But I bet a guy designed it. Hehehe.

Appropriate design for a men's room

Appropriate design for a men’s room

Helsinki is cold and gray. My room, which I share with two other guys, is smaller than the boat. The bathroom literally is the old toilet/shower combo. Not sure how this is going to work. If it were warmer I’d look to camp somewhere.

Nothing exciting to see. At least just yet.

Nothing exciting to see. At least just yet.

 

Now for a meal and a good nights sleep. Over and out.

 

 

Older Entries