kevin_standlee: (Kevin and Lisa)
After returning to the hotel with our purchases, Lisa and I stopped to have one of the sodas we bought and rest our feet. I checked messages and saw on Facebook that Kevin Roche and Andy Trembley were back in their hotel room as of only an hour earlier. I called Kevin and asked if they would like to meet for lunch, and they agreed, so we collected our things and headed back downtown.

A second reason for going back to the hotel was that I had a poster tube with the small vinyl WSFS banner (made by Sasquan) that hangs from the front of the Business Meeting table with me, and I wanted to mail it home rather than somehow try to fit it into my already overloaded luggage. The post office is downtown between the train station and the Sokos hotel where Kevin and Andy were staying, so this worked out well. The trains are running again, and there were no queues at the post office, so we managed to connect with K&A roughly on time to head off on a Viking Expedition.

We're Gonna Starve! )

After lunch, we bade K&A goodbye because we were aiming for one more hobby shop for Lisa to look for trains. It was a longer walk than I thought it would be, partially because I rather unnecessarily went up and down hills getting there. We didn't find anything Lisa wanted to get, but we found yet another person who described herself as a "con-goer" who had known about Worldcon but had not gone. We told her that Worldcon would be in Dublin in two years and she sounded interested.

Given our location, we took the opportunity to ride the Helsinki Metro. Because Cheryl's friend Otto gave us a lift from the ferry terminal when we arrived and our other trips didn't take us along the axis of the Metro, we'd never had a chance to sample it. This was more of a joy-ride, but when you've bought a multi-day unlimited transit pass, you have the ability to hop on and off systems like this.

<a data-flickr-embed= )

An afterthought from this morning: We had an interesting piece of equipment follow us down the tram tracks when we first set out for our first round of tourism and shopping.

A Tidy System is a Safe System )

After a brief recovery time in the hotel (and a final short grocery stop for a snack for tonight and for tomorrow morning), Lisa remembered something she had seen in Stockmann's department store downtown, so we made one final round trip downtown. I think we got good value from our transit pass.

Returning from the last trip, we threaded our way through the latest batch of tourists trying to figure out the elevators, Lisa took a bath, I composed journal entries, and we continued our packing. The alarm for tomorrow is set for 4:15 because we need to take an early train to get out to the airport for the flight to Iceland tomorrow.

We have had a wonderful time here in Helsinki. I would love to get a chance to come back here someday. Everyone was so good to us, and we enjoyed ourselves immensely.
kevin_standlee: (Worldcon 75)
With the trains (but not trams and other local transit) shut down on Tuesday, we were limited to Helsinki. However, that's not really that big a limit, and we had made our plans today to visit Suomenlinna, the former fortified island in Helsinki harbor that is now a UNESCO world heritage site.

Expecting to be walking a lot today, we sprung for the hotel breakfast buffet (not included in my points-based hotel nights). I think this was the right call, but as there were still Worldcon fans in the hotel, chatting and socializing slowed down our departure. (Also, I had slept in for a couple of hours this morning.)

A Day on the Island )

If you're interested in the full set of my photos from today's island-hop, I created a Suomenlinna album on my Flickr site.

Coming off the ferry, I was seduced into buying an a fruit-filled crepe from one of the vendors in the Market Square. I told myself that I'd already walked 12 km today and had earned this one; besides, it was the fruit-filled version and I didn't add the ice cream. I classed this purchase in the same way as my buying an elephant-ear pastry when in Seaside, Oregon.

Lisa and I walked back toward downtown through the Promenade area, eventually finding ourselves in Stockmans Department Store, where Lisa did a bunch of shopping but did not find anything she wanted to buy. Among other things, she was looking for an electric kettle that was not Made In China, even if it meant wiring a 220V European plug into our kitchen. Alas, this quest was unsuccessful.

Apparently while the train drivers strike ended at 1800 today, regular rail service will not resume until tomorrow, so we hopped on the #9 tram and started heading "home" to where we've spent the last eight nights. There we had an important but mundane errand: laundry. We dug out everything, packed it into the oversize zipper-locking plastic bag I brought partially for this purpose, and got back on the #9 to go to the S-Market and the 24 Pesula coin-laundry. We used the larger €18 washer to do everything in one load. An hour or so later, we had clean, dry laundry and a small number of additional groceries, and we set off back to the hotel.

At the hotel, we started the initial round of re-packing, putting away as we could the stuff that we will not need until we get home or at least until Iceland, and confirming to our own satisfaction that we aren't going to exceed our luggage capacity. If we bought too much, we have the option of buying another piece of luggage, which we can do because our homeward luggage allowance is more than our outbound, thanks to using points to fly in IcelandAir Saga class. Fingers are crossed, however, that we can make it all fit for the trip back.

We have one more full day in Helsinki, but we need to not stay out so late, because the flight out on Thursday is much too early, requiring an early departure from the hotel to get to the airport sufficiently early.

One final note. Lisa was wearing a Worldcon 75 t-shirt while we were riding the tram back to the hotel. A woman sitting next to us with her daughter in a pushchair noticed the shirt and told us she had been to Worldcon and that it was her first-ever science fiction convention. She had been there with both her children, and the older one participated in Children's Programming. All of them enjoyed the convention immensely, and they hope to be able to come to Dublin in 2019. After all of the negative things I've heard from some people, I'm very happy to hear good experiences of people like this. We all were first-time attendees once, and I started my adventures in fandom at the largest Worldcon (by attendance) ever held, so I hope that many of the people who started with the largest Worldcon ever held in mainland Europe also have the positive feelings toward Worldcon that I have.
kevin_standlee: (To Trains)
Here I restart the numbering of the days in our Worldcon trip, not including the five days of Worldcon itself.

Lisa and I intended to go to the Finland Railway Museum originally on Tuesday so that we could sleep in today; however, the VR (Finnish Railways) drivers union had other ideas. They called a strike to start at 18:00 Monday through 18:00 Tuesday. Therefore, if we were to go up to Hyvinkää where the museum was located, we needed to do it Monday (and get back before 18:00) or Wednesday, the day before we leave Helsinki. We decided to do it Monday. However, that meant we were running on maybe four hours of sleep when we made our way over to Pasila this morning.

To the Trains! )

We continued on to the downtown shopping center and found what to us seemed like a bargain, in an all-you-can-eat sushi/Chinese buffet for €10.50. We ate our fill. I wish this place had been near Messukeskus!

Escaping the Strike )

We boarded our Helsinki-bound train and found a pair of facing seats. Fortunately, we were going counter-commute, and people had apparently also been making alternative plans because of the strike. Initially, we thought we might ride all the way into Helsinki and then after getting dinner ride back to the hotel on a tram (the trams/buses are unaffected by the strike), but both Lisa and I kept falling asleep on the train, and Lisa said we should just go back to the hotel and go to bed.

The Elevator of Doom )

Lisa fell into bed, and I admit I almost did so as well, but there were some groceries I wanted, so I took my tote bag and went back down to the lobby. Although most of the fans have moved out, the place is filling up again with tourist groups and tennis players (an ITF tournament is in town this week). I ran across some of us late stayers (including Dave Lally) in the lobby, and ended up sitting down and shooting the breeze for a lot longer than I intended before I walked down to Lidl for more supplies. By the same I got back from the store, I had some second wind and thus decided I'd better get these photos online, including the Finland Railway Museum album.

Tomorrow we're in Helsinki. We're considering our plans, which probably include going to Suomenlinna, which is accessible on local transit because the ferry is included in transit passes. However, I'm going to see about not setting an alarm tomorrow morning. We need a recovery day.
kevin_standlee: (Default)
Lisa went on the Nuclear Power Plant tour today, so I was on my own. I ended up doing a lot more wandering around than I originally expected. (I logged more than 25K steps!) I had a great time, and I thank Cheryl Morgan (who has been here numerous times) for showing me some of the better places to go and see. I got full use of my transit pass, riding back and forth between downtown and the hotel on the trains and also getting some tram rides.

Come about 17:00, I returned to the hotel and changed into my business suit to attend a reception being hosted in the Worldcon members' honor at City Hall. They invited selected members of the convention (weighted apparently based on our participation in the convention as staff or programming participants) and hosted us in a large room in the city hall, which was originally a hotel during the imperial Russian period.

Feeling Welcomed )

After the reception, I returned to the hotel, where it was at last possible for pre-registered members to collect our credentials. Thanks to being personally recognized by Eemili Aro, I was able to collect not only my badge, but also Lisa's (she hadn't returned from the tour yet), and that's a relief. With more than 5,000 attending members already pre-registered, I didn't want to be in the queues on Wednesday.

Lisa got back late, and we made an effort to go downtown for dinner, but found nothing that both suited us and was open, so instead we bought some groceries and took them back to the hotel. The Holiday Inn helpfully had emptied the mini-bar so we could use it to store perishables.

Tomorrow, when the convention starts, we have no early commitments (unlike the other days of the convention), so we'll probably pay for the hotel breakfast buffet (not included in our free-with-points room). The other days, we won't have time for that. We're still considering our options.
kevin_standlee: (Go By Train)
This evening, we made plans to take Chris Carson out to dinner for his birthday. We were to meet at Japanese restaurant northwest of Helsinki Central train station. The most straightforward way to reach it would have been a bus ride from the convention center, but Lisa and I, having already purchased a day pass on the system, decided to ride the train downtown, then walk to the restaurant.

Spot the Bear )

After dinner, we once again could have taken a bus, but we preferred tram (Line 4) to Central Station. Line 7, which would have taken us straight to the convention center, is replaced by the 7x bus due to construction of Pasila Station. We'll take buses if we must, but we prefer rail transit even if it's not the shortest journey.

A Couple of Train Station Photos )

Four minutes after departure, we got off at Pasila. We'll be on the trains again tomorrow. We wish we'd done a bit more research over the cost of transit passes. A 1-day pass (which you can buy on board the trams and buses) is €9. A 2-day pass (which you must get from a ticket machine at a station) is €13.50 and is obviously a much better value. All Worldcon members will receive transit passes good for the convention days, but that does us no good on the "shoulder" days like today and tomorrow.

The restaurant? Well, I can't say as I recommend Umeshu. I've had much better. It wasn't bad, but I don't think it was all that great, either. But we enjoyed the company.

Between the past two days, I've logged more than 20K steps, but 3/4 of them were today, because of the semi-enforced idleness on board ship. My feet already hurt, and we're only at Worldcon day -2.

Now I hope I can get some sleep because we have to be up early to get Lisa back downtown for the 8 AM departure of the tour to the nuclear power plant.
kevin_standlee: (Cheryl 2)
Cheryl Morgan is in Finland right now, and is offering to search out answers to any questions you might have about the place in regarding their Worldcon bid. As the ballot for the 2015 Worldcon (including the Helsinki bid) was recently released, now is a good time for sending Cheryl questions before you make up your mind for whom to cast your Worldcon site selection ballot this year.

October 2017

S M T W T F S
1 234 5 6 7
8 9 10 1112 13 14
1516 1718 19 20 21
22232425262728
293031    

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Oct. 22nd, 2017 08:25 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios