The place 9


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The view from the planes was great. Europe seems to be covered with forests, at least the parts I saw. Finland is smaller than Rajasthan. Its population is much lesser than even Delhi’s. It’s got more than 40,000 lakes and has its own archipelago! It’s a very scenic place full of natural beauty. Every small little thing is appealing to look at, be it the weeds, the twigs in the lush grass or the leaves in the tall trees. As expected, everything is clean, dust free and pollution free (including noise pollution). I could take a deep breath freely after a really long time without getting the feeling that I am harming my lungs. The cool, crisp mountain air laden with the foresty smell (minus the smell of thick vegetation) is an instant energiser. The place looks like its mainly a forest dotted with houses. The heart of Helsinki is not really like a forest though. Since it’s the capital, it’s more populated and has more hustle and bustle due to the harbour. The languages spoken are mainly Finnish and Swedish. Thankfully most ppl understand English which is a welcome respite from Japan. I don’t need to hone my dumb charades skills any more.
Helsinki has a mix of old architecture and modern glass buildings. In places it looks more like a Nordic kingdom and in some it looks like an ultra modern city and still in others, it’s a mix of both. It’s a different feeling altogether, seeing a hi-tech bus standing on cobblestoned streets or seeing a beauty salon showcased in a building which looks like a fortress in its own right. The architecture is mostly Jugend. Common houses look like small little castles built of rock, with their own barricades. At times I get the feeling that I have jumped into an old Scandinavian novel – the architecture, the people – all look like they belong to a make believe world. The midnight sun phenomenon appears quite bizarre to many ppl. Though I never found it so bizarre (heard about it so much), it does seem odd when you feel the need to wear goggles at 10 in the night! It is confusing my body clock. Everyday I have been out till 12 in the night at least. It’s never really time to sleep. Sleep comes only with fatgue. Fatigue comes with a lot of walking which I have been indulging in. The weather is perfect and the place scenic – what else does one need to be outside!


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