These, it seems, are the only things we need anymore that St. Petersburg doesn’t have, if my Helsinki grocery purchases are to be analyzed. St. Petersburg itself needs a lot of things that Helsinki has, but that’s a tired old story.

Yesterday I changed my plan to go to a movie in favor of a Public Transportation Adventure. I bought myself a day pass and rode Helsinki’s single(though forking)-line metro to one end of the fork, then back to the base of the fork, then down the other side of the fork, then back to downtown. I had planned to get out at a random stop and look around, but was delighted to find out that once you get out of downtown the metro goes above ground, so I was content to just look out the window. I bought a “Yankie” candy bar from a vending machine because I found the name amusing. (Thank goodness it didn’t involve black licorice, the one problem with Scandinavian culture.) It was kind of like a Milky Way with chewier nougat.

Getting back to downtown, I took a tram through a part of town I’d never been to before. Looking at how close-together the streets appeared on the map, I’d envisioned some cozy little historic neigborhoods, but actually it was a very modern business district.

Oh, and I got my new Russian visa without incident. If you’re getting a Russian visa in Helsinki, use the visa service at Russian Tours. Their fee is only 10 euros if you have your own invitation, and they are very nice and organized and they do all the standing in line and dealing with the gruff bureaucrats for you, which is soooo worth 10 euros. (If I may be allowed to sound like a spoiled brat for a moment.)

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