Friday, May 16, 2014

Vacation to Somewhere part 4

What do we know about Finland? It gets very cold. But our trip is in August. That’s the warmest time in Finland and that’s when Finns seem to leave Helsinki – making hotels much cheaper.

Helsinki seems to have a very good public transportation system. They have lots of trams – which I like a lot better than subways – and you don’t have to take a taxi from the airport into the city. I’d rather take a train from the airport than a taxi any day. Taxis have different rules and systems everywhere in the world and you have to know how the locals do it to do it successfully. Trains are pretty straightforward and don’t charge different prices at the driver’s whim.

Most of the main attractions in Helsinki are all in the same part of town. That just makes it easier. There are cities in China where everything is a million miles from everything else. You can’t just walk from one sight to another. When I’m in a city for the first time, I want to be able to walk as much as possible. You don’t see as much from a taxi who’s taking you on a wild goose chase and you see even less from a subway.

None of us can speak any Finnish at all. I don’t know a single word in Finnish. But I can say, “Jag pratar inte svenska” in Swedish. A lot of people seem to speak Swedish in Finland.

Not that it matters. I don’t think you need to know the local language to enjoy your visit. Sometimes not knowing the language makes it more interesting. I don’t know a single word in Thai, but I had a good time there. I don’t know any Dutch and very little Italian, but Amsterdam/Rome was a great trip. I don’t know any of Indonesia’s languages, but Bali was one of the best trips of my life.

English is also very common in Finland, so there shouldn’t be any problems. We were thinking about Thailand, the Netherlands, Israel and Jordan and we don’t speak any of those languages.

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