30 August - 5 September 2001
5 September 2001
Sprinkling, 9°C (48°F)
We saw in the VallejoNews.com there
was a bad fire at docks used by the car companies in Benicia.
I made banana bread on Monday.
It is a little tricky getting the cooking temperature correct in C°.
We had a glorious time in Helsinki. The
weather couldn’t have been better. On
Sunday, when we returned to Oulunsalo there was a definite nip in the air
and today it is raining. They say that the fall has rain and wind, so maybe
our fall weather has begun. The days are becoming much shorter. It is
now dark around 2200, instead of 0030. So you can see things are changing
quickly. We will have been here a month on September 6th.
Helsinki Fulbright Orientation
Highlights from Mary Ann:
30 August 2002, Thursday:
It was great going to the
and meeting all the people that are available to help us and who helped to
make the matches for the partner exchanges. We also meet more Americans
that are here as exchange students and professors that have come to teach
at the universities.
After being in meetings until 1530, six of the American Exchange Teachers
went to a lovely hotel on the waterfront. We all agreed to meet for dinner
and then we all wanted to check out the night life, especially since there
was an end of the summer celebration called “The Night of the Arts City Festival”.
We did a lot of people watching as we walked around and listened to the street
musicians. The best group was a trio that was playing and singing Torch Songs
from the ‘40s and ‘50s. We all took the tram, reminding us of the trams we
rode in Vienna, back to our hotel around 2330.
31 August 2002, Friday:
We all met at 1000 for a sightseeing bus tour of Helsinki. It is a great
city with a beautiful skyline and waterfront. Of the three cathedrals we
saw I really liked the
Cathedral, which is carved out of solid rock. They have a terrific
esplanade to walk along. The most unbelievable part of the tour was looking
out the window and seeing the Finnish President walking to work without
a bodyguard escorting her.
When the tour was over, they left us at the Residence of the Ambassador
of the United States for a buffet luncheon. It was hosted by the Charge
d’Affaires Carol van Voorst, since we don’t have an American Ambassador
to Finland right now. It was a very special affair and I felt very honored.
We had a fabulous lunch and ate out in the garden under a tent.
After the luncheon, we walked along the waterfront watching the beautiful
sailboats in the Baltic Sea.
We then walked through a lovely park and into a Flea Market. I bought one
of those Russian Dolls that you open and keep finding a smaller doll inside. There
were six in mine.
We had all decided to meet at 1830 for dinner. One of our Finnish friends
took us on a ferry ride over to a little island restaurant for a delicious
Finnish meal. I tried the braised reindeer and had Tar ice cream for dessert -
very interesting. It was fun listening to a group of Finns sing as they
enjoyed more and more crayfish and schnapps.
01 September 2002, Saturday:
We were out and about by 1000 for a day of sightseeing on foot. We headed
to the local Farmer’s Market. Some great clothing and craft items were
on display at good prices. We may need to visit this market when we are
there on another trip.
We then took a ferry to an island called
where a fortress was built by Sweden in 1748. We walked all around this island
and watched a video on the history of the island. We bought lunch from a small
café on the west side and sat at tables overlooking the bay.
We took in a few more museums after leaving the island. Then again we met the
six Americans for dinner at a glass-walled restaurant, Kapelli, on the Esplanade.
Another great meal, this time I had Scandinavian Hash. It was very tasty.
We decided to go to the Hotel Torni that had a bar above the tenth floor and
a fabulous view of the city as a way to end our wonderful day.
02 September 2002, Sunday:
We had a chance to do a couple more museums and then headed to the airport
after saying good-bye to our Fulbright friends. We have set up dates in the
near future to visit each other. This way we will get to see different parts of
What a weekend. It is going to take a couple of days to recover from the
nonstop four days.
Must go and try to catch up on my sleep.