I’m in Helsinki again, briefly, to get a new Russian visa, and I would just like to make a plug for Jaffa orange soda, the best soft drink ever.

I would also like to recommend that if you’re looking for a youth hostel in Helsinki, you stay in Eurohostel, which is where I stayed last time, and not Satakuntatalo, where I am now. The latter is cheaper and includes breakfast, but isn’t nearly as nice.

On the train from St. Petersburg yesterday, there was a Spanish man, about 60 years old, whom I overheard saying that Russians are not very friendly. “They are the most strange people I have saw in my life!” I wasn’t sure who he was talking to. Later, I heard him say, “I am sorry, what I said before,” and went on to tell a story about a Cuban guy he knows who is married to a Russian woman and imports Spanish furniture to Moscow. As he was getting off the train a Russian man about the same age was helping him with his bag, so I guess they patched up their disagreement about the friendliness of Russians.

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