We took a boat from Tallinn to Helsinki for a day, crossing the ice-covered Gulf of Finland in the Baltic Sea. I have to mention that we planned this trip long before the Vice-President’s trip to Finland, Russia, and Moldova was announced, which happened to be the same week of our travel plans to the Baltics. We joked that we might see him in Helsinki but had no idea what day he was scheduled to be there, and we didn’t put much more thought into it. But sure enough, walking towards the center we saw the presidential brigade of GM SUV’s, blocked off streets, secret service agents, and police everywhere. We waited for the Vice President to exit the residence of the Finnish president so we could snap a photo. It really would have been nice to be in Moldova for his visit. I hear it was quite the affair, and Peace Corps volunteers were invited to a meet and greet.

We really liked Helsinki, like really, really liked it. If it wasn’t cold 9 months out of the year, I would like it even more. After visiting the Finnish Design Museum, we walked through the streets of the design district to browse through different designer shops to see the latest trends (post to come). I love lamps and lighting fixtures, so I was drawn to those stores especially. We met some wonderfully nice Finnish people at a tea shop who told us about a little rocking chair merry-go-round on the ice, so we went and checked it out.

And one thing I will always remember about Helsinki… voisilmäpulla. I have no idea how to say that, but it is pure heaven. I loved it so much. Basically they are butter buns shaped like a mini volcano with the most wonderfully, perfect dab of smooth sugary filling.

Uspensky Russian Orthodox Cathedral at Katajanokka. 1868. Largest Orthodox Cathedral in Western Europe.

Vice President Joe Biden.

Senate Lutheran Cathedral. 1917.