I arrived in Helsinki, the capital of Finland from San Petersburg in a cruise. The ship sailed the whole night and we arrived in the morning. It was a very windy day and although it was sunny the day was very cold. I went to the “Kauppatori Market” where the inhabitants from Helsinki accustomed to the long winters, enjoy the sun in the summer days.
The market gathers merchants of food, of clothes and crafts. Some of them come from very far, like the insular farmers that arrive in small wooden ships to sell their fresh products, as fruits or potatoes that cultivate in their gardens.
At the market I met many tourists coming from Italy, Spain and from Africa and I sold very well. Inclusive to many Finnish people, who liked about the idea of travelling around the world by bike.
In Estonia I got the telephone of an Argentinean, so I called him. His Latinos friends call him “Che” and when we met each other, immediately he offered me to lodge in his house.
Che is in Finland from 15 years ago, he worked as police in Argentina, but he told me that always he was one of those people who dreamt of travelling. One day while he was working in Mar del Plata he met a Finnish girl and after a short history of love he travelled to Helsinki and then they married. Today we have a son.
During the barbecue that he organized with his Latinos friends, among them: Peruvians, Mexicans, Salvadorans and Colombian, they told me that there the conditions of life are better, the personal life is hard. “My true friends are the Latinos”, Che told me, although I speak very well the Finnish, it’s very difficult to join with Finnish people to share a meal or a chat. We are very different. The winters are very long and it is very cold and people would seem that per habit they don’t leave from their houses”.
Sharing with Che his solitude, I convinced myself that there is not better place for one that his own land, with its idiosyncrasy, its people and its mistakes. Today Che is separated, but he continues with the idea about a family, maybe this time he has luck with his new Russian girlfriend.
After the meal we left to a Latino disco and I enjoyed it; I liked to see as the blondes girls of the place liked to the Peruvians boys.
A Finnish sponsor
In my journey through Africa I never carried too much clothes, its tropical and desert climate didn’t demand me to make it, but here in the north of Europe, the cold and rainy climate every time made more difficult my cycle.
For this reason, in Helsinki, I communicated with people of Halti, the sport clothes with more tradition in the country. And I was lucky, they liked the project and they didn’t doubt to equip me with all that I needed. Thanks “Halti”.
Finally I stayed in Helsinki about four days, it is a city with half million of inhabitants that it receives the name of “White City of the North” for their white neoclassical buildings, built by the Russian rulers in the XIX century.
On Sunday morning I left with Che who accompanied me in his bicycle to the west, to Turku direction, at least that was the idea. Che, who was very convinced, began to cycle to high speed for the right road, but then he showed me that he wasn’t more a good cyclist and in the km 50 he told me that we had missed the road. I couldn’t believe him; he was living in Helsinki from 15 years ago!!!! And he didn’t still know the exit of the city toward Turku. Without a doubt he was a confused.
Way to Turku – Km 34,668
The cycle to Turku was longer than what I thought and always I cycled with a strong wind coming from my front and for moments with rain.
The area was very mountainous, Finland is a country that has a third of its lands are covered for forests of pines and another big part is covered with water, with more than 180.000 lakes and numerous rivers. Finnish people told me that in the area of the arctic polar circle the landscapes are wonderful, but it was not my road, I had to cycle to the south.
During the whole day I pedalled toward Salo and I arrived almost without forces, but there another Argentinean received me. His name was Sergio and he told me that he left Argentina at the time when militaries rule the country. Sergio settles down in Finland after some years through South America, Europe and Asia, with his dream came true: his girl with her yellow hair, who he met in Italy. Today they are married and they have two sons. And he told me that he could not integrate to the type of Finnish life.
Finally I arrived to Turku after 200 km, in spite of between Helsinki and Turku exist 165 km. And there I met other four Argentinean boys who received me very well too. Ari, Pablo, Lucho and Diego. Four guys who left their soccer teams: Independiente of Avellaneda and Deportivo Español, to come to play soccer in Finland. Ari was playing his fourth season, and Lucho was the goaler of the last Finnish championship. Today to some plays of the end of the championship they tried to get a place for the European cup.
The winter here is very hard told me Pablo, we are very close to the arctic polar circle, and the days are very short, the dawns are very later and the sunsets are around at 15.00 o’clock. And usually the days are rainy or with a lot of snow. You see said to me Diego the windows are triple, they have 3 layers of glasses that close tightly at the same time; the cold here can reach to 30º below zero.
I could understood that they are ok because they are like a family, but everybody told me that they would like to return at home as soon as the contract ends.