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"Don't plan it all. Let life surprise you a little." -- Julia Alvarez
|386--Finland (Suomi): Go to Hel (Helsinki)|
Jun 27 2007 - 08:01 PST
cherie writes: Helsinki isn’t Hell (Everyone knows that Hell is a town in Norway!) Helsinki is a modern city with a blend of Lutheran Cathedrals, Orthodox Churches, bustling outdoor markets, sidewalk cafes, and a train station so magnificent, you’ll promise to never drive your car again. There’s even a Rock Church—but it’s hard to play rock music on an organ.
A Neoclassical Lutheran Cathedral designed by Carl Ludvig Engel in Helsinki, Finland.
If you’re looking for high-rises and steel towers, Helsinki isn’t your kind of town. It’s a pleasant surprise that the Great White City of the North has no skyscrapers. What Helsinki lacks in steel, it makes up for in charm.
If you’ve always thought there weren’t enough hours in the day, go to Helsinki in the summer. Even in the wee hours of night, there’s enough light to read your city map. Corey Heart, you can really wear your sunglasses at night!
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|385--Finland (Suomi): A visit to Santa on the Arctic Cirlce|
Jun 26 2007 - 12:37 PST
cherie writes: My birthday began in Rovaniemi, Finland where we saw the midnight sun (a few minutes early!) Being on the Arctic Circle, the sun “touched down” at 11:54 and it was the first time I saw the “almost” midnight sun.
Cherie celebrated her birthday visiting Santa at his main "Post Office" on the Arctic Circle in Finland.
When morning came, my friends and I went to visit Santa Claus because celebrating Christmas once a year simply isn’t enough.
Finland says that Santa’s official office is in Rovaniemi, which means Santa lives right on top of the Arctic Circle. There’s a line painted on the ground to prove it!
So far Santa has received 11.8 million letters from 195 different countries. Santa’s “helpers” sort the mail by country. Children send about 32,000 letters a day to Santa at Christmas time, and Santa can read many of them himself since he speaks 10 languages.
After sitting on Santa’s lap (he sang me Happy Birthday) our gang headed south to Keuruu, Finland where we camped by a spectacular lake. We pretended it was Christmas and exchanged gifts and feasted in the true holiday spirit (we ate until our bellies hurt!) Then a few friends decorated a cabin and threw me a surprise birthday party! It was Christmas and my birthday on the same day!
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