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Published: February 26th 2009
Short entry as it was a short day... I woke up just to decline breakfast on the airplane and go back to sleep. Woke up an hour or so later on approach to London's Heathrow Airport. Once on the ground I grabbed my backpack and headed straight away to the lounge to spend my couple hour layover. My flight to Helsinki ended up being about an hour late so I took a short nap before they started boarding. Quick flight, just a couple hours, and I was in Helsinki, albeit at 1830 instead of the planned 1630.
My bags came thru in good order and getting thru customs consisted of walking thru a gate that said "Nothing to Claim." No questions, nothing, nice n' easy. I made it to Europcar and got my Toyota Prius after some argument to get a better car, unfortunately they had no other cars.
I found the car, spent about 15 minutes figuring out how to start it... The key fob inserts in the dash, then with foot on break you push the power button... No noise, just battery... Engine only starts when it needs it, I thought it needed it to heat up since it's freezing in Finland, but the Prius disagreed. So I hit the road, foggy brained from the flights, freezing and hating my Prius. Luckily the Finnish love American Heavy Metal, so the radio kept me awake for the drive to Tampere. TomTom worked perfectly with his new Western European Map and I pulled up right in front of the Holiday Inn Tampere just shy of 2030. Checked in, parked, threw my bags in my room and called Dave, the other guy here working with me.
Dave got sick of waiting for me and my late flight and had already eaten dinner, but he came down to the hotel restaurant for another drink. Our waitress is about the cutest, bubbliest Finnish girl you could think of... So I ordered a Finnish beer and the most Finnish dinner they had. She suggested salmon soup and reindeer noisettes. According to Liz, noisettes is a shape, I guess something similar to our medallions, e.g. beef medallions. The beer was great, a flavorful lager, still light. The soup was incredible, creamy with chunks of good salmon. The reindeer was perfectly done as well, very tender with perfectly done root vegetables... not overcooked like most American restaurants, they still had some bite to them. A perfect first meal in Finland.
Off to a good night's sleep after plenty of traveling.
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