May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets’ towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkey’s howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches where storms come and go as lightening clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you---beyond that next turning of the canyon walls. ---Edward Abbey (thanks Trudy Hall)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Around Helsink, Sauna, History, Music, still no dance.

after the sauna
July 24-25
Jack and joking men
We went riding around town.  The architecture is quite stunning.  There are some stone men holding lanterns in front of the train station that we like to imagine are telling jokes to one another, but they can't smile.  We heard they are quite iconic.
We went to a real old sauna.  For 10 Euro we got a towel and went in to a big room that you could throw water into the hole and make it really hot.  I took a couple of turns in between showering off and went out in the courtyard to cool off.   It was really lovely.  The women softly spoke so it sounded like they were just whispering consonants to each other.  I did feel so invigorated and light from the process.  I’m glad they were open.   

The evening brought us into the amusement park area.  When we got off the bus, we heard strange Klezmer Circus music with growling, so we followed the sound to an amphitheater full of people and a band with 2 cellists (one synthesized) a keyboard player, a sax player (soprano and bass mostly) a drummer and a very tall, long-haired trombone player who played like he was a rock star—shooting his slide into the audience and high into the air while giving sudden dramatic mysterious stares into the air to support his band mates. 

 Check them out: Alamaailman Vasarat!  ( There were Indians who were taking all the empty bottles from folks, and Asians selling curry and noodles.  A tight group by the stage flung their hair and bounced around a lot.  Dogs were a welcome sight.  (I’ve seen dogs inside businesses, on ferries, and around everywhere!  Yeah!)  After the band finished, we walked through the rides section of the park.  It seemed normal, except it suddenly occurred to me that there was not a lot of noise!  No raucous tunes emanating from the twirling seats, no barkers with mics -- just screams of thrilled people.  We asked how much to ride the Ferris wheel: 6 Euro each.  We decided to see the city from the ground.

Les has the cold now.  We ate the breakfast offered by the hostel (eggs, ham, cheese, tomato/cucumber, yogurt, juices, coffee) and puttered around until noon.   

We ended up in search of an old ritualistic greeting at the open-air historical site where the staff wears the clothing of the times.  There we saw all kinds of wooden structures with birch bark as tar paper under shingles made of small branches or U-shaped logs alternated over each other like Mexican tile.  Boards with holes and pegs held the last part of the roof on.  We saw HUGE oared boats that would carry 100 people to church, and the beautiful wooden church was impressive in its height and décor.  There were three mills: one windmill like you see pictures of in Holland (small); one stout water mill that was their saw mill; and one water mill that is directly under the middle of the building that runs sideways.  Good idea. 
After a traditional pastry filled with porridge, we went to the small beach and lay in the sun. 
Some lay on the sand, but most were on the smooth granite rocks.  Then I went in search of a dance studio where there was to be a jam at 6PM.  The old cable factory is a gorgeous, square, U-shaped, huge, 4-story building with artists in it.  I loved the feel look and smell of it, and hung around alone for a while before deciding they weren’t dancing tonight.
bird feeder!
Argentinian Journalists covering the Metal Bands

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