Helsinki, 2007

It was a quiet affair. At the hotel, we were told, "Today, holiday, shops open 9am to 1pm. Tomorrow, big holiday, nothing is open."

Christmas in Helsinki

Nancy's response (once we were out of earshot) was, "Okay, we get the point." It was Christmas.

Just as well that we had friends in the city, whom we met for dinner over the next two days. We talked about kids and parenting with Laura and Henrik over gloggi, the Finnish mulled wine. Emma participated by strutting shyly around. She was two years old. The three-week old boy who hadn't been named, was asleep most of the time.

During the day we walked around a quiet city where pretty much the only activity was at the open-air ice rink. At night, stuck in our room, we played miniature ten-pin bowling (with wooden ball and pins) - my present from our gift exchange. Between the three of us, Nancy was the expert.

Cold winds

On the third day, Beatrice and I finally discovered a shortcut to the city centre. We walked against a wall of wind to the harbour, braving the freezing temperatures, made chillier still by the squall.

It wasn't exactly pleasant, but I found a strange beauty in all that.

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