Days 3 and 4: Everybody’s getting married in Helsinki

Midlife Sentence | Uspenski Cathedral, Helsinki

The days are starting to run together at this point, so that’s the perspective you’re going to get from this blog now, dear reader. If anything you’ve read heretofore made any sense whatsoever in the first place, that’s probably outside the norm, anyway.

Regarding our last day in Copenhagen, remember that thing where I said ‘Mike kept testing the gods, saying things like “I thought it always rained here? You guys are just pulling my leg.”?’

You knew that meant rain in our future, right?

Well it did, duh. We’d been planning to visit Tivoli Gardens, which is what everyone told us to do while in Denmark. But seriously, in pouring rain? No. Disneyland about gave me an aneurism, and I’m traveling with three generations of family here.  Tivoli Gardens may be fantastic, but in the pouring rain it sounded like about as much fun as a hangover.

So, I googled “what the hell do we do in Copenhagen with a half day to spare and it’s pouring rain?”

And Google said “stay inside, fool.”

So we went to the national aquarium, Da Bla Planet. Which had a lot of fish and a lot of me trying to keep everyone from getting separated and from spending too much in the gift shop.

So, in the end, it wasn’t too much different from Disneyland. Except there were more hammerhead sharks.

At this point I have to let you know that one of the smartest investments we’ve made was to buy a few Cophenhagen Cards for mom and the boys. I won a couple through a sweepstakes I’d entered last summer with, or else I wouldn’t have known about them. You pay one price for one-, two- or three-day passes and all your public transportation and the fees for a great many of your museums and castles (or in our case: castle) are free or reduced. Including our trip to and tour of Da Bla Planet.

Denmark has a fantastic public transit system, and on this trip we made use of trains, metros, busses, and canal boats, all free by virtue of this little card. I tried to track whether we got our value out of the little suckers, but lost count. Still, avoiding the hassle of figuring out how to buy passes, and in what zone, and whipping out a credit cart every five minutes to pay for them was worth the money. A three-day adult pass is about $100 bucks, or about $30 for a child. You can check them out here.

That night we took a late flight to Helsinki for the next leg of our tour, got into town at about 11:15 pm, and took a train to downtown and a cab to our airbnb flat. THEN, mom and I sat on our luggage at the door to the building while Mike and the boys walked to a convenience store to pick up the keys from someone who was holding them for the owner.

This is the downside to airbnb. We’re saving gobs of money over hotels, and I love staying in people’s homes. But we have no 24 hour concierge, so sometimes you’re left sitting on your luggage at 1 am outside your flat with your 71 year-old mom, while your husband does a scavenger hunt for keys.

It’s called “adventure” people.

So … by the time we got to bed, it was getting light out. Yes, 3 am here in the northern climes. Good morning. But we’d brought eye masks and were able to sleep in until after 11. It was bliss.

Which was followed by a walking tour of Helsinki, in which we tried and failed to get into two cathedrals, but were thwarted by wedding parties.


Midlife Sentence | Uspenski Cathedral, Helsinki

Midlife Sentence | Helsinki Cathedral

So, instead, we took cathedral selfies, which were marvelous, first because Mike got to recreate the cathedral selfie of Colin from six years ago, when we were here before (I’ll share a collage of that with you later), then because Colin did his new thing where he smiles for the camera, but it’s from half a mile away from the rest of the family, then – and this is the VERY BEST THING EVER – because Colin actually smiled for a photo.

That’s it. No funny face. No frownie, hide-behind-his-flock-of-seagulls-hair-face, but a bonafide smile. And it was beautiful.

… Okay, then I found out that Mike made a deal with Colin and now we owe him a euro for every smiley photo we take of him.


Here are a few more pictures that didn’t cost us a dime:

There will be more tomorrow, I’m sure, and I’m going to try to put a cap on the price of smiles for selfies. This shit’s costing us a bundle already.

Update: Here’s the recreation of the photo Mike did with Colin 6 years ago when we were last in Helsinki, versus today. Dangit … have to admit, I’d pay a million for that smile.

Midlife Sentence | National Cathedral

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