In the cool of morning I wrap a scarf around my neck, passing Helsinki joggers and cafes loaded with coffee- drinking, sociable, sun-loving Finns, and busy, pale- skinned girls in sensible shoes. I step aside as a cyclist in civvies and no helmet explodes from a crooked cobblestone laneway. Others weave between cars, buses, and concertina trams; the green and gold reminiscent of my far-off Melbourne home.
Waiting for my tram, I’m pondering the up-beat `Western’ manner of these Finns. Joggers on the streets? Definitely not something common over the Russian border from where I’ve just come.
There's the great boom of a ship's horn, the bright blue sky an odd opposite to the long drawn out winters - bleak and black. My companion smiles, her head tilted to one side. “We must simply cope with the short days…yah...and the depression….. it can be too much for some.”
Her chatter is measured and matter-of-fact. “All that sparkles, it is not silver here, and you will see the weekend Tallinn ferry mostly full, with partying Finns Hell-bent on cheap alcohol and self-destruction.”