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January in Helsinki

I’m back from the dead folks!  Haaris has been working hard to update the site and I have to admit, I am genuinely impressed.  Hope you all like it.  My time across the ocean, in Helsinki has been flying by and I will quickly say a word or two about the places I’ve visited so far, before getting back to the ever-looming African trip.

Helsinki itself has been a rather pleasant surprise as a place to live.  Ultimately, the sunless weather and expensive cost of living are made up for by cleanliness, the feeling of always being safe (its said that you could pass out drunk on the street at night and wake up with your wallet still beside you – although I am not particularly inclined to testing this theory), and the ease of public transportation around the mid-sized city.

The White Cathedral Red Bull Crashed Ice

Chinese New Year (year of the horse)

My first trip was to Tallinn, Estonia; a weekend to see the Old Town, attend a birthday party with an Estonian friend that I met in Canada, and pickup cheap alcohol to bring back to HelsinkiTallinn was beautiful, affordable, and has an interesting history that I knew very little about.

Baltic Sea SunriseNational MonumentIMG_0360IMG_0366(little selfie just to prove I was actually there)

Next up was Oslo, Norway.  Definitely worth the weekend visit.  The major sights weren’t awe-inspiring, it is definitely among the most expensive cities in the world (I paid 16 Canadian dollars for a big mac meal that was perhaps not very cultural, but a decent hangover cure), and I didn’t get a chance to visit the museums that were recommended to me.  The silver lining, I meet up with three Canadian friends and had two phenomenal nights.  The first was a night out partying in Oslo, which unlike Helsinki seemed to have a plethora of drug dealers and prostitutes on the streets after the bars closed, combated by an equal number of police officers.  The next day we took a bus outside the city and took a 5 km hike to a cabin where we stayed the night.  People were cross-country skiing and tobogganing everywhere – easily the highlight of the trip.

osloOpera Theatre oslo

 

And finally in February I travelled to Madrid (with layovers both ways at the extremely efficient Schiphol airport  allowing me time to walk around Amsterdam)  to meet up with both my rugby team and girlfriend.  It was a great city with great food and despite team puking into the toilet with my girlfriend after a Friday night out, it was a weekend of great memories.  Obviously fantastic to see everyone and I’ll let photos speak for themselves.

IMG_0589IMG_0546IMG_05431966775_10152224557725729_851197922_n1001214_10152224558360729_569412804_nIMG_0617IMG_0622

If you’ve lasted this long you’ll finally get to hear about Africa.  Research has been an ongoing project and is both overwhelming and makes me think I am in over my head.  It also makes me evermore excited as I anticipate the journey.  Currently on a plane over the Baltic Sea en route to Lisbon and will be touching African soil for the first time with a three day trip to Morocco planned for my birthday.

That’s all I got now.  Stay tuned for news on the real trip, Africa.  Peace out knuckleheads.

 

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