Country 20!

12 June 2018

We needed to be up promptly this morning, as our ferry to Helsinki was leaving at 12:00, and amazingly, it all went like clockwork!  I ferried several loads downstairs to Ian who packed them into Bluebell, whilst Cornelia amused herself with a box of dominoes that she had found.  I showed her how to stand them up, then knock them down and she was beside herself with excitement at this novelty!

It was a short drive to the ferry terminal and we arrived in plenty of time for a speedy check in.  Consequently, we had some spare time and managed to have a video chat with Tante Elisabeth and Sam and Amanda, who are all currently in Prague.  Unfortunately, Cornelia had requested her one hour of screen time on the way to the ferry, and was glued to it whilst we called – apart from one moment when someone mentioned the word “cheeky” and her little bat ears pricked up, and she asked “Who’s cheeky?!”  Then, realising it wasn’t her, she returned to her Kindle.  Threenager that she is!

Thankfully, her time was up by the time we embarked on the ferry and, full of excitement, she bounded up the steps.  We found the kids’ area straightaway, and while Ian went to post our postcards, I grabbed us a couple of coffees and plonked at a table just near the playpen.  There were a couple of Australian children there, so I suggested to her that she might want to introduce herself and ask them about themselves, but she decided not to this time, as she just wanted to play by herself.  Gulp… didn’t expect that!

We ate our lunch at the table, then Ian took Cornelia off to explore outside and around the rest of ship, so that I could research the days following Helsinki (which will include Ian’s birthday).  When they returned, Cornelia was desperate for me to go with her to the bar area, where a man was playing a guitar and singing.  It turns out the reason she wanted to me to come was because she wanted someone to dance with, and Ian wouldn’t dance with her.  Luckily, I don’t mind a bit of embarrassing mum dancing, if it boosts her confidence and love of music, so we twirled and jumped and smooched to various songs, and she had a ball.  When he finished his set, we were drawing into Helsinki, and it was time for us to return to Bluebell.

After a short wait in the van, we had an equally short drive to our apartment, which is absolutely wonderful!  My favourite so far!  It is in an old building with one of the old-style lifts, but our apartment is superbly modern Nordic, complete with whitened timber floors, grey gloss kitchen units, SEPARATE bedrooms, and a big diner area.  Cornelia is ridiculously happy as her bedroom has a car-shaped bed, and various toys including Russian dolls, a ride-along dog and a Cars petrol pump.  I’m not sure we will ever get her to leave!!

We unpacked the van, and then we needed to find somewhere to park it, as it was too big to fit in the garage of the property, and the on-street parking costs €4/hour.  Asse had printed out a map for us, showing where the free parking is, and as there was some next to the beach about a mile away, we decided to go there.  We found a parking spot immediately, only to realise that we were just on the wrong side of the free parking zone.  So we moved to another spot, only for a local to come up and let us know that we were required to leave a five metre gap between a pedestrian crossing and a parked car.  Argh!  Just as we were deciding what we should do, I spied another car leaving (from the free zone) and legged it up with Cornelia to guard it possessively, whilst Ian turned Bluebell around and joined us.  Whilst we were waiting, we saw family of geese crossing the road, using the pedestrian crossing!  I could hardly believe it!!!

Ian decided to choose another space slightly further up, and parked there, but when he got out of the van, he realised that it was in front of a bus stop, so once again, he was back in and going back to the spot that Cornelia and I had been reserving for him.  And FINALLY we were parked!

We had a lovely walk back to the apartment, interrupted only by two things.  One was stopping for some grocery essentials (milk, cereal, beer…) and the second was much more exciting… happening upon a tiger python enjoying the early evening sunshine and relaxing on the grass with its owner!!!  Cornelia was delighted when the owner invited her over to stroke the snake, and was there like a shot.  What a totally random and incredible opportunity!

Subsequently, leftover spag bol for Bugsy and leftover chicken fajitas for me & Ian was a bit unadventurous,  but it was all delicious and somehow just tasted better with the daylight streaming in through the large windows.  This is definitely a “happy” flat”!  Having said that, poor old Cornelia went through a completely clumsy phase, first hitting her head on the sofa, then pinching her skin in two pieces of wood, then falling off the wooden dog toy, and finally tripping over a threshold into the bathroom.  Poor old sausage is covered in little bumps and bruises, but I call them her “adventure marks”.

As she was clearly exhausted, we didn’t bother bathing her tonight, and she was happy to go straight to bed after a couple of stories.  And as astonishingly as the day started, so it finished well, with her going straight to sleep!  We finally have an evening to ourselves!  Just a shame that I only bought us one beer each…

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