To Amsterdam and Back Again

I can't believe how fast our summer free travel period went.  I had this past week off, and I met up with Anna Kleinsorge (my friend and fellow teammate from Georgetown) in Amsterdam.  It was an amazing time to be there, as the Netherlands played in the World Cup Finals, and the excitement was tangible throughout the city - I've never seen so much orange in my life!  Anna and I partook in the soccer events, as well as hit up several museums, rented dutch bicycles, and generally just ate our way through the canals.  It was a really great break from school.

I flew back to Helsinki Wednesday night and have returned to a heatwave.  After dripping with sweat non-stop for two nights in a row (because of course Finland doesn't have air-conditioning), I went to the front desk to ask about a possible room change, since my room faced the sun all day and our window was "broken" (i.e. it wouldn't open all the way).  My new room is quite an improvement - one of only a few in the entire complex with a balcony, and a nice view of the water.  I'm already living out there.  

Tomorrow I return to school for an intensive 3 1/2 week studio project, which I know very little about, just hints here and there.  It supposedly is going to be very writing intensive, and more of a collage-type project, so it will be interesting to have the details filled in tomorrow.  Somehow in the midst of this, as well, a few of my classmates and I are going to try to squeeze in a trip to Stockholm, which I'm really looking forward to doing.  Alright, better get going so I can enjoy my last day of freedom!

Anna and I at Museumplein for the World Cup Finals, sporting our orange pride and fitting right in.

View from my balcony to the water (as requested by my Dad)


Mmm, Basil Ice Cream

Yesterday we finished the first portion of my summer program - "Documentation and Representation."  The group  worked fiercely these last few days to get everything finished, and somehow we managed to pull it all together for the presentation.

After some much needed sleep last night, and several loads of neglected laundry this morning, Kay and I ventured around town.  I dragged him to see Aalto's House of Culture (as I have to write a paper on it tomorrow), but since it was so nice outside we decided to leisurely walk back to the city centre.  Today was probably the best weather we've had this summer in Helsinki, and it was apparent the Finns felt the same as they were out in droves.  We stumbled upon several groups - out celebrating various events but all soaking up the sun.  It's already tempting me to procrastinate some more with aforementioned paper and go to a park tomorrow and get some sun...

The highlight of my day, however, had to be the basil ice cream I had this afternoon.  A-MAZ-ING!  Not quite sweet or dessert tasting, but with nuts (almonds?) and more savory, probably one of the most unique and delicious ice creams I've ever had.  I guess it shouldn't be too surprising as Finland is Europe's biggest consumer of ice cream - on average the annual consumption is 13.7 liters per person (I stumbled upon this fact one day as my classmates and I were debating the origin of ice cream, and I of course needed to Wikipedia it...).

The first group we encountered - complete with trance music, and dancers (maybe on something...)

Pride Parade Celebration
Aleksenterinkatu (main shopping street)

I keep forgetting tomorrow is the 4th of July - I wonder how big the U.S. population is here in Helsinki, and if there will be anything going on?  We sure don't seem to run into Americans very often (although, I did hear excerpts of a few seemingly American conversations at last week's Arcade Fire concert in Senate Square).  Happy 4th to everyone at home!  Hope you're enjoying your summers!