Friday 30th June
Warning: This post will have an extraordinary amount of pictures of dogs. Be on your guard…
Today we drove into Helsinki, keen to explore at least one “Scandy capital” on this trip (we’d skipped Olso and Stockholm.) It soon became clear we’d made a terrible mistake. Driving in large cities is an infuriating activity at the best of times, even if it is a lovely Nordic city with patient drivers and no high rise buildings. We’d researched the car parking situation in advance, and were mentally prepared for the extortionate prices. What we weren’t prepared for however, was the half an hour we spent driving around in circles searching for the damn car park that we’d chosen!
“You have arrived at your destination” Google sardonically declared, just as we were driving over a bridge that led us onto a highway back out of the city.
“The car park must be under the bloody bridge” we moaned, trying to reset our route.
After a pointless drive out of the city, we finally managed to turn around, making a firm beeline for the city centre. As we approached the fabled car park, things started to go wrong again.
“Make a U turn when possible” instructed Google, repeatedly.
Google then helpfully suggested an incredibly dangerous U turn spot, right into some oncoming traffic on a busy junction.
We finally managed to get going in the opposite direction, after a highly stressful search for a safe turning spot.
“Make a U turn when possible,” Google instructed again, at another busy junction.
“It’s messing with us!” I shouted in frustration. “Google is actually messing with us!”
We eventually got onto what was most definitely the correct path to the car park, when Morgan tuned himself into the Google hive-mind and anticipated “It’s going to tell us to make a U turn”. And sure enough, it did.
The only redeeming feature of Google in Helsinki, is that the Finnish word for street is “katu”, which the Google lady pronounces “kachu,” making every street name sound to us somewhat like “Pikachu”. (The Finnish hitch-hikers we picked up found the Google voice’s pronunciation hilarious and told us how totally wrong it is, so this is definitely a quirk of Google, not the language!)
We ended up abandoning our search for the most affordable car park in Helsinki (which may or may not have actually existed) and pulled into the nearest parking spot, resigned to pay 4.5 Euros an hour instead. Ouch.
Still, once we’d parked we had a good walk around the city, mainly exploring the harbour area. Morgan even managed to find a reindeer burger, which he’d been wanting to try since he was deprived of the opportunity in Norway. Apparently it tasted like a cross between beef and lamb.
We were pleasantly surprised to find that dogs were allowed on the ferry to Suomenlinna fortress, so we took the 25 minute cruise over and spent a pleasant hour exploring this ancient fortress.
Except for when I saw a really cool husky and was so distracted that I nearly concussed myself by walking smack bang into a low-rise stone archway. The island was very windy too, which Lex seemed to enjoy.
Then, we realised our parking ticket was going to run out alarmingly soon, so had to rush back to the ferry port and leg it across town to get to the car in the nick of time. Arrgg, stress!
But, we did see a Czechoslovakian Wolfdog on the way, which made me gasp “Ohhh! Wolf!” whilst Morgan pointed out the various minor yet significant differences between a wolf-dog and a real wolf, and then spent 10 minutes complaining about how they use dogs to represent wolves on TV, which gives the general public (and me) a poor idea of what a wolf actually looks like.
We had one final and very important thing to do before leaving Helsinki; attend an impromptu Helsinki Alaskan Klee Kai meet up! Lex was very excited about this, having never met another Klee Kai (except for his family, before being separated from them as a tiny, 8-week old ball of fluff.) We even caught him trying to drive to the meet up early.
Patiently waiting for us as we legged it across town, were Enzo and Niki Boy, two standard size Klee Kai, plus Hugo, a miniature Klee Kai! (Klee Kai also come in “toy” size, which are even smaller still!) Lex was the largest of the bunch, and as it turns out, he’s actually pretty big for a Klee Kai. We never knew!
Lex usually has absolutely no interest in other dogs (we actually think he doesn’t consider himself a dog at all), but he’s always been more interested and tolerant with other huskies – as he was with his Klee Kai brothers!
He was curious at first, thinking this was a regular passing in the street type of interaction, then when he realised we were staying, he turned on his gruff “Ok, just so all you younglings know – I’m the boss man” attitude, before relaxing and eventually mostly ignoring them once again.
Our friends Steff and Alex had pointed out the possibility of Lex choosing to stay with his own kind, forcing us to sadly let him free to run wild with them, like in that episode of Pokemon.
But, luckily Lex definitely choose us at the end of the meetup! And he at least grumbled at these guys less than he would have grumbled at non-Klee Kai pups, so that was nice.
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