Tomorrow I must pay for my flights to Copenhagen and Vágar, Faroe Islands. I will do this before Arto and I depart for Sweden. SAS is taking me from Helsinki to Copenhagen at half the price of Finnair, and Maersk Air is flying me from Copenhagen to Vágar, FAE. There are two airlines that fly regularly to the Faroes (the other is Atlantic Airlines) but Maersk Air is the only one that allows for a reasonable connection in Copenhagen on my way back. Here is the flight schedule:
14 March: 07.00 HEL (SAS) 07.45 CPH
09.15 CPH (MAE) 10.30 FAE
The Faroes are two hours behind Finland (in other words, they are in the same time zone as England, which is five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, where I live in Mississauga, Ontario).
21 March: 11.45 FAE (MAE) 14.45 CPH
15.40 CPH (SAS) 18.30 HEL
The return connection in Copenhagen is only 55 minutes, and I must change airlines, so I hope I can make it.
While in the Faroese capital of Tórshavn I will stay at a Bed & Breakfast, Hansina Berg, right in the middle of town. I plan to stay three nights. I will settle in on Friday afternoon, and find a bike rental place and acquaint myself with the layout of the town. You know me: I will hit the book stores, library and the post office first! Saturday I will walk around the town and shop, and make accommodation plans for the rest of my trip; Sunday bike ride; and Monday I will head off to the next island on my Faroese journey. I intend to ride as much as possible but in some cases I will, of course, have to take the ferries. In the interest of safety I will take the buses if I find I cannot detour any of the many-km-long tunnels. Tunnels crisscross the Faroes and they are dark and very narrow. Cyclists and pedestrians are forbidden to travel through them, and even if you chanced it, the exhaust fumes inside might gag you.
On 12 March I will see Finnish band Scandinavian Music Group at the famous Tavastia Klubi in Helsinki. Tavastia is to Finland what the El Mocambo is (was) to Toronto. I picked up the band’s album here; in fact, it was one of four albums on my MUST GET list when I arrived in Helsinki. None of this music is for sale in Canada, however, fortunately, Värttinä has a worldwide record deal, and all of their albums are for sale in Toronto shops at domestic (non-import) prices. Before I left for Finland, I had been corresponding with two of the SMG band members by E-mail (Joel Melasniemi and Antti Lehtinen) and I just wrote Joel to tell him that I was now in town. Maybe I can meet the band after the show like I did with Värttinä.
In Sunday’s Helsingin Sanomat, the main daily newspaper, there was a quarter-page story devoted specifically to Värttinä’s foreign fans. The focus of the article was Sandor Sebők, a Hungarian engineer who has seen the band many times and who has created his own group website. Some beautiful colour pictures from the group’s concert at Aleksanterin teatteri were included in the article, plus also a mention of a “Canadian fan” who came specifically to see them. Unfortunately my name was not in the article.
My plans today: hit the bookstores! One of my favourite remainder book stores, in addition to Kirjatori, is Kirja Pörssi ( = Book Market). For those who know the French word for stock market, you can see how the Finns fennicized the word. They sell a wide assortment of postcards and pocket dictionaries. I visited the main post office yesterday and bought so many new stamps. In the past two trips I had taken to Finland, I always used different stamps with each postcard I sent. Yesterday I bought some reindeer stamps, native Finnish birds stamps, hockey and Finnair planes stamps. I love stamps and postal history, and in my opinion, it is just plain boring to get a booklet of the same stamp for every postcard I send. I pore over the stamp catalogues and pick which series I want (series that are still available for sale). I left with a pocketful of stamps from 2000- onwards. I cannot promise that I will have the same variety to choose from in the Faroes, as different postal systems may “retire” old stamps.
Off to buy books. I may need to buy another suitcase already. Some of you know why…some won’t cuz it’s a surprise!