My first week in Helsinki ended today when Trudy left for the airport around noon time. Her email over the airport's free wifi confirms another smooth trip - the quick bus trip from Rautatientori left time for relaxing and people watching, there was no need to remove her shoes at security and they barely glanced at her passport.
While she was here, we visited pretty much all of the sites listed as most popular, yet still found time for several unexpected extras. At the Kiasma Art Museum where we viewed the show called 'Thank You for the Music - How Music Moves Us', we bravely passed warnings about explicit content to enter the room for a video called 'Grind'. We watched, amazed, as dancers in slow motion performed 'the grind', in a kaleidoscopic-like video, using incredible muscle control that is unnoticed at normal speed. As we got up to leave, a woman sitting in front of us began talking to us in rapid Finnish, but as soon as we said 'English please', she effortlessly switched over to ask us how we had found the video. It turned out that she was one of the dancers in it, and was trying to gauge visitors' reactions to the film. She said men had often been more uncomfortable than women, though many wives also quickly urged their husbands to leave with them. We assured her we found it not overly explicit or discomfiting, but fantastic, because of the beauty of the videography, the appreciation we developed for the strength and control of the dancers, and just plain hard work required. Sharing with her made our appreciation of the video an even more special experience.
Our visit to the Rock Church started off badly as busload after busload of tourists filled the church in waves, spending only enough time to take photos of each other against the rock background. We sat and tried to appreciate the beauty but ultimately the waves drove us to the exit. As I asked about brochures for the upcoming concerts I'd seen advertised on a sign outside, a man who overheard me, said his group was about to begin rehearsal for their concert that night. We knew we couldn't go to the concert itself, so we walked back into the sanctuary to sit through some unusual vocal warmups and then a bit of their planned evening performance, another unexpected special addition to our visit. Thank you to that man. Photos show some more of the story.