December 8, 2013

Cycling Suomi: Helsinki

 First days in Finland

1. Stadion Hostel Helsinki

Waiting at the airport
You might not believe it that I , with my 32 years on earth, had only been in the air 3 times before this flight which would bring us to from Amsterdam to Helsinki.

So the boarding  was already a big adventure for me, especially because we brought our bikes with us. With all eyes on me, I made the bikes ready for the transport. My hands were shaking and my body got uncomfortable warm, but I got it done.

Hmm does the way we packed our bikes tells something about our selves?

Marcia had a really hard time letting go of her bike at the 'Odd luggage' take in.  All that we could do after seeing our bikes disappear in a black hole,  is wait and hope that the bikes would come out in one piece in Helsinki.For me the whole boarding made me feel inexperienced and lost, but luckily Marcia was there to guide me.
Excited as a child I pointed everything that amazed me during the flight. Marcia, an experienced traveller with more than 20 flights on her name, had to laugh about this. For her flying has become as normal as travelling by train. 
I loved flying above the clouds and  the small t.v. with the flying information (height , the location and the temperature outside the plane). The time literary flew !

Helsinki airport!
After some impatient  waiting time in Helsinki airport, we received the bikes in one piece!
At least that's what we thought. While making them ready for the road we noticed that there were some small issues with them ( Marcia her bikes saddle came loose on one side,  her breaks had some adjusting issues, and my tire was damaged). Nothing I could fix or needed to be fixed to hit the road for this small trip to Helsinki centre. Tomorrow is a new day and we will try to find a bike shop, before getting on the road for real.

At the nearest petrol station we got help putting  air in our tires. As the kind petrol man Hannu said to us ;  "It doesn't matter with how many wheels you come here, two or four. My purpose is getting people on the road, no matter what". He even gave us a more detailed map to get to the centre.
Marcia and Hannu, the helpful petrolstation man

We cycled our first  27 kilometres in Finland by cycling to the  Hi Hostel 'Stadion Hostel' in Helsinki ! We , Dutchies, from the flattest country ever, were a bit surprised by the amount of hills and the steepness of it.We knew Finland wasn't flat, but this many hills...

We got also got lost a lot, could not understand any of the signs along the road , but luckily we met more kind and helpful people. ( We totally ignored  the rumour that  Fins are asocial people, and just asked people for help. But maybe our overwhelming happiness and enthousiasm made the Fins in such a shock, that they did forget to act asocial).  The map we got from Hannu combined with the directions we got, made us find the hostel.  We had conquered our first  monster, we found our  way!

The key to the storage for our bikes
And yes, this was also my first experience with sleeping in a hostel. Marcia is used to the hostel culture , not me. Again I felt a little inexperienced and naive when hearing stories from other travellers of their trips around the world. I really haven't seen much of the world (Yet).

It was very special to be at  Stadion Hostel.
We were in a euphoric state of mind: Hi Hostel is saying Hi!!! Welcome to Finland!!

Happy girls!
Sleeping on a double bed with 6 other people in the room was strange, but I was to tired to be bothered by the noizes of the others. I fell asleep while writing and drawing.

Happy  and excited we woke up, but our enthousiasme disappeared a bit when we looked out the window: Rain........

So we were not that sad to spend half of the day in the bike shop ' Töölön Pyörä' Marcia spotted.
While we did some shopping for food and other
necessities, our bikes got fixed!
Around 2 o clock we finally left Helsinki, to our first stage towards Turku!

 Goodbye Helsinki, Turku here we come!