To soak up the culture and get to see Helsinki we chose not to buy tickets for the single game days in each arena, when the lesser countries in terms of competitiveness are playing. So today we joined a noon walking tour of the Finnish capital under the winter sun. It was a fun and informative walk around town seeing the Swedish, Russian, and independent Finn influences. Helsinki is actually a fairly young city, made the capital once the Russians took over from the Swedes, so the buildings are actually younger than many in Maine!
After our tour we warmed up with some sweets and hot chocolate at a cafe that would remind you of the Crystal Palace at Disneyworld.
Finally, we headed to a local home for a Home Dining experience. Similar in concept to eatwith.com this allowed us to dine with some true locals, experience food, and hear about local culture. Our hosts, Jan and Nika, prepared a wonderful meal featuring salmon to start and lamb as a main course. We got to learn more about Finland and their experiences around Europe, while we enlightened them on the US and the variety of lifestyles. It was a fun and memorable evening!
Tomorrow we will take in a couple of grudge matches at Hartwall Arena as the Slovaks take on the Czechs and the Russians meet the Finns. These 2 ‘border wars’ should generate some great hockey and give us a full on European game experience.
Today, the Slovaks beats Belarus 4-2 and the Danes upset the Swiss 2-1. With Switzerlands terrible showing yesterday against Sweden, and several players earning suspensions, they have put themselves behind the 8-ball with their second loss. This puts them well on their way to fending off relegation, likely against Belarus.