We said goodbye to Santa Claus and to our friend Ekki (not necessarily in that order) and off we rode for a cruise 230km run down to Oulu which is on the coast of the Baltic Sea. It was a nice large town/ small city with a nice waterfront area that was teaming with local people
We got a bit lost so Diana asked the friendly policeman pictured below for directions.........
He might have been a bit fat but his body was nicely bronzed !
Some of the place names do seem a bit of a mouthful
Then after a good nights rest on Oulu it was a 610 km run down to Helsinki. The GPS compass sat relentlessly on " south" all the way. . We did it in eight and a half hours door to door which is a testimony to good roads flat roads and not much traffic. One of the stopping places had bells everywhere. From these big ones down to very small ones.
We arrive in Helsinki where we have a two day break. Orlanda the bike is booked in for a service and new tyres on Monday. I had been watching the tyres carefully for the last few days as we have done about 9,700km since leaving London and 10,000km is usually getting close to the maximum life for this sort of tyres.
We wander round and play tourists in Helsinki. To the uninformed eye we could have been tourists off a bus trip. First stop was to look at the Russian Orthodox Cathedral complete with its characteristic Russian "onions" coated in 22 carat gold.
In the main square there is a man on a plinth doing a big complaining act. " Look here" I hear him saying loudly, " I am Alexander the second, former Czar of the whole of Imperial Russia, a lot more important than that jumped up little upstart Vladimir Putin, and here I have to stand in a tourist square with a bird doing its business on my head all day, every day ! "
Well mate, let me tell you , it even happens in our country, particularly to statues of our former Prime Ministers.
Helsinki is nice. Colourful trees
Sunday discussion parties and picnics
And more statues
We find out that Finland has only been a separate country since 1917. Before that it was a Duchy of Russia and before in the early 1800's it was a part of Sweden. I thought they might of had a picture of a Nokia cellphone on their national flag but I think Nokia has been and gone somewhat.
Finally we find there is a strange weather phenomenon occurring here in Helsinki at the moment. At about 11.30 pm the sky goes black for several hours. I google it. It is a phenomenon called "night". It has been six weeks since we have seen one! Aha yes, I remember..........!