A Travellerspoint blog

May 2007

Santa Clause, who?

Why the good man actually comes from Turkey.

sunny 18 °C
View Finland May 2007 on erodrigo's travel map.

Today I went to Seurasaari, the open air museum of Helsinki. When you walk the island you get an impression how Finland looked when it was still built in wood.
It was a nice walk through the pine forest with a few very beautiful buildings.
Helsinki_089.jpg
After this I went on a ferry trip to the Helsinki zoo, which is on an island in front of the city. I’m sorry to say, it’s not worth the money. The island is too small for all the animals being held here which results in too tiny habitats for the animals and therefore you see, especially with the big cats, boredom behavior. This shows itself in endless walking up and down, on a small space, and rubbing their head against the walls.
But on the topic, why doesn’t Santa originally come from Lapland or the North Pole.
Well Santa Clause originates much, much more southern, namely Turkey. What? Yes I kid you not, he was the bishop of Mira in Turkey and he helped the poor with food and gifts. This originated in the Dutch custom of welcoming Sint Nicolaas (in English Saint Nicolas, yep you get it; Saint Nick) every year on the 5 of December in the Netherlands. When the Dutch set out to go and colonize North America starting by finding New Amsterdam (these days called New York) they brought their custom with them and when the English saw this they started to do the same. But since they had trouble with the name Sint Nicolaas, they named him Saint Nicolas, which in time became Santa Clause. And with the English old Saint Nick started to get around and well ended up in Lapland or if you like on the North Pole.
Well now you know it all, so don’t let me ever catch you on saying that you don’t know where Santa Clause comes from.

Posted by erodrigo 19:29 Archived in Finland Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

Don't built forts

Why it's useless and absorb all off your nations cash

sunny 18 °C
View Finland May 2007 on erodrigo's travel map.

Yesterday I did eat Bambi, or to be more precise carpaccio of his big brother Reindeer Rudolph. Well the meat was red, so I presumed his nose was too.
It wasn’t all that different from normal carpaccio but it was nice. As it is asparagus season here too I made that my main course.
Going to diner in Helsinki is a bit expensive, but it helps if you have bought the Helsinki card. You get discounts in restaurants and all of the interesting sites and museums together with the public transport are free.
This is good, because I have to say Helsinki is expensive. Even the tiniest museum with almost nothing to see will charge you 4 euros to get in. So if you visit get that card and save tons of money.
Well on the topic, why it’s useless to build forts, especially if you’re the king of Sweden. Today I visited Suomenlinna, Sveaborg as it was it’s original name when the Swedes where still ruler of Finland.
Sweden had a long history of war with Russia in the 17th and 18th century. As things started to go wrong for the Swedes in the late 18th century they decided to built a sea fortress in the harbor of Helsinki.
Helsinki_023.jpg
Just before 1800 they more or less finished it, with a lot of help of the French, who donated most of the cash. The commander of the fortress also built a fleet (a good investment, in contrast to the fort, as history showed). The Russians then sent a fleet of ships to attack Sweden and the fort, but lost a massive sea battle and quickly signed a peace treaty. But a few years later, the eighteen hundreds had just started; they thought it a good idea again and attacked the fort in mid winter. The sea was frozen and they had the more modern weapons and after a very short siege the Swedish garrison commander gave up the fort, in 1809, and the whole of Finland became a sovereign province of Russia.
So after pumping in several years income of the whole of Sweden it only remained in their hands for a decade.
But we must thank them because it’s a beautiful island and worth a visit.
After I returned I just walked around the centre and looked at the Uspensky cathedral and the cathedral on the Senates square. I didn’t go in. I’m just not that much of a religious buff.
I think tonight I’m gonna have some more of Bambi’s big brother Rudolph, but this time I’m going to try the steak, see who that falls.
Well that’s all for today. Probably more tomorrow.

Posted by erodrigo 18:15 Archived in Finland Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

Katu, what?

My first Finnish word

sunny 18 °C
View Finland May 2007 on erodrigo's travel map.

I arrived in Helsinki this afternoon and allready figured out my first Finnish word. Katu. It must mean street because every damn path here is called somethingkatu. I walked around for a few hours and visited a church. But no not just any church. The Fins have strange ways of building them. Well at least this one. They have blown a big hole in the rocks, covered it with a dome and ready. Well it saves on bricks offcourse.
Helsinki_012.jpg
Well I'm off for my first real Finnish meal, I wonder what to expect. Bambi?
More tomorrow.

Posted by erodrigo 19:25 Archived in Finland Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 3 of 3) Page [1]