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.
Cheryl had already shown me and told me that we really needed to eat at Harald Viking Restaurant, a chain of Viking-themed Finnish restaurants. Now it's frankly "cartoon" Viking, but the food is really quite good.
I, Lisa, and Kuma Bear sit with Kevin and Andy here just after our main courses arrived. Kuma eyes hungrily the Sword of Meat in front of us, even though there was no fish on it.
Lisa and I had The Runemaker's Game Sword for two: Grilled partridge, reindeer tenderloin, beaver sausage, leg of corn-fed chicken and vegetables skewered on a sword, served with alder smoked cheese potatoes, viking shield potatoes, roasted root vegetables, cep sauce, cranberry and juniper berry sauce, game mousse, tarred lingonberries and garlic cloves flavoured with smoked paprika. This was superb. The meat was nicely done (and I'd never had the first three meats before), and the sides all tasty.
For dessert, I had the tar-flavoured and Arctic bramble ice cream with marinated cloudberries, lingonberry syrup and nutty muesli cracker crumble. Lisa was skeptical of tar ice cream and had the chocolate cake, which she liked, but the sorbet with it was less successful and she gave it to me. I should have given her some of the tar ice cream (she reconsidered it once she'd had a taste), but I regret that I neglected her on this. (Note: thanks to all of the walking, my blood sugar was — just barely — normal even after eating all of this stuff.)
We had an excellent lunch with Kevin and Andy and also got the opportunity to see the lobby of the Sokos, which is brilliantly old-school.
I made a mistake in this photo and didn't get any of the "evil genius" lounge chairs around the edge of the lobby, unfortunately.
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.
The stations seem quite airy and spacious.
Unlike the narrow-gauge trams, the Metro is built to the 5-foot Russian (and Finnish) gauge, which gives a lot more room inside the cars. This one is empty because we'd accidentally boarded a train that was going out of service before the next station. We rode with it to a siding where it reversed and headed back toward Helsinki Central.
Although initially we thought we might travel a bit farther, when we got to Central, we decided that we were a bit worn out and got off the Metro here to take a train back to Pasila and our hotel room.
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.
This tramway cleaner followed our #7 tram for a while this morning. It appears to sweep the tramway and probably clear the flangeways as well. It speaks well of the Helsinki tram system that they run these machines a lot — I'd seen them multiple times during our trip — because this sort of maintenance saves on other wear and tear and prevents mishaps caused by clogged flangeways.
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.