Welcome to Helsinki, Finland. (Home country of Teemu Selanne – For those who don’t know him – Teemu is a famous NHL player who played for the Winnipeg Jets in the 90’s. Craig and I named our first dog after Teemu. ) Of course hockey and speed skating/synchronized skating are very popular in Finland.
We made it to Helsinki all safe and sound. It has been a long day, but things are going well.
Gathering at the SLC airport was a breeze. I got the carnet activated and got everyone checked in. We realized at check in that Benj didn’t have his bass bow case. No worries though- his mom hurried back to Waterford and saved the day. I don’t think that Benj will be forgetting his bow from now on.
Everything was smooth sailing in the airports. The blue shirts were a hit – very comfy and easy to spot. The flight to Amsterdam was almost 10 hours so everyone slept or watched movies. We were also given quite a lot of food surprisingly – pasta or chicken meal, a sandwich midway and then breakfast towards the end of the flight. There was a little turbulence on the plane toward the end of the journey so Kelly did get motion sickness. She promptly threw up as we were descending. Poor thing. She is feeling a lot better now.
In Amsterdam, we had a 5 hour layover. We gathered in the mid “food court” area and camped out there for a few hours. We took turns getting food and stretching our legs – kids had pizza, pasta, frozen yogurt, Starbucks etc. My favorite items that I tried were the Dutch pancakes and croquettes.
Ford and Grant went to the “Yotel” and took a nap and showered. They felt refreshed at this point. Those boys are very resourceful….
As we boarded the plane were learned that we are delayed getting out of Amsterdam because of heavy winds. We had to wait on the tarmac for over an hour, but finally off we went.
We landed in Helsinki – it looks greener than I imagine. Very lovely. Everyone got their bags and we met Eva our ACFEA courier who will be with us throughout the whole tour and Marie who is our Helsinki city tour guide. So far I have learned that the “Lilly of the Valley” is their national flower and the Birch tree is their national tree. They have a lot of kids playing soccer, but baseball is still more popular.
We checked in at the “Original Sokos Hotel”. It’s a charming hotel, centrally located hotel. We had a lovely dinner of salad, chicken and vegetables and ice cream with raspberry sauce. Vegetarians got their own meals. The kids said that the salmon was really good.
After dinner some of us went for a little walk around town. Our hotel is in a great area right in the heart of town – less than 5 minutes from the train station. It also stays light out for quite some time. We found a park and some lovely pedestrian areas to walk around in. I love that about Europe – everything is so quaint and very walkable.
The rooms at the hotel are lovely. They are also advertising our concert for tomorrow night in the lobby with a beautiful flyer.
Everyone is happy and healthy but tired and ready for bed.
I have to say that I am very proud of my students. They have worked extremely hard to prepare for this trip. Tomorrow will be our first concert at the Rock Church. We can’t wait!
Currently it is after midnight in Helsinki – we are 9 hours ahead of Utah.
Thanks for thinking of us.
Kathy and Craig