Helsinki was lovely. It was my fourth visit there and still I did a bunch of new things: Finnish Design Museum, Arabia Porcelain Factory Museum, Seurasaari Island, and the zoo. But mostly I just enjoyed a brief foray into western-Europeanness. Drip coffee and big cookies in cafes. People being polite. No one pushing and shoving. Shopkeepers who don’t scare you off with their glares.

And! I got to see Mari and Jyrki and Tapio the Superbaby. So nice.

I’ve decided that I’m no longer going to put up with Russians sneering at Scandinavia and saying that it’s boring. Dear Kostia bears the brunt of my complaining, but on the whole I am very diplomatic and try to say nice things when Russians ask me my impressions of Russia. After all, I am here by choice. But this dissing on Scandinavia, which has managed to make a near-utopia out of the same kind of climate and resources Russia has made a disaster of, well, I’m not going to stand for it any more. So there. You’ve been warned, Russia.

So my cold is pretty much gone, but I’m left with this really annoying cough. Kostia got me some cough syrup which tastes like oregano, but the only thing that really seems to keep the cough at bay is beer, nursed slowly. Is it bad to use beer as medicine?