Day 2: Liquid Sunshine and WE ROCKED IT!

We “Rocked it” today!

It was an awesome concert! I will get to the concert a bit later….

As the Finnish would say…. Today is a liquid sunshine day. (meaning rain…..)  It did rain, but it didn’t keep us from doing all the lovely things we had planned in Helsinki.

Breakfast at the hotel today was delicious -really tasty with fresh fruit, yummy breakfast “magic balls”- a doughnut type thing with a caramel sauce inside, homemade mini pancakes with homemade jams, eggs, bacon, cheeses, meats etc….. It was a really great breakfast buffet.

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After breakfast we started our tour today with visiting the “Rock church. The Rock church took 1 year and 6 months to build. It was completed in 1969 by two Finnish brothers. It’s a Lutheran church – with services still held on Sundays. They said that on Saturdays it becomes busy with weddings. There was a piano player and the acoustics were wonderful. The ceiling of the church has 14 miles of copper wire. It helps to balance the rock walls for the acoustics, which are fantastic by the way.

We learned many things about Finland from our local guide today –

*She was telling us that both Finnish and Swedish languages are recognized here in Finland. Swedish is their 2nd official language. She also said that kids started learning English in the 3rd grade.

*Students get their license at 18 and that it costs around 2000 Euros to get it.

*Birch tree as you know is their national tree and the sap one can drink to help you with your joints.

*Finnish people love their saunas. The smoke saunas are the best -there is no chimney and you burn the wood for 6-7 hours. One also dips themselves in cold water and goes back and forth between sauna and cold/ice water baths. Somehow it is supposed to be good for your health and social connection. The Finnish say one can  “Die among good friends”IMG_1871

 

*Gas is very expensive here – it is almost $8 US for a gallon.

*High taxes here, but you don’t have to pay for medical and/or education expenses.

*Many Finnish people love to garden, but they don’t have any space so they “rent” garden spaces just outside of the city to grow flowers and fresh vegetables.

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We then went to Seurassari – which is an open air museum where you can see and understand the history of the Finnish people from the 17th and 18th centuries. The area was extremely beautiful and peaceful. We all loved walking around in the “forest”. Craig even rode a “horse”! He thinks he has a career as a jockey…..when he’s done with Waterford! 

From there we went to the Sibelius monument. It looks like a bunch of pipe organs. It symbolizes Sibelius’s music going up to the sky. The sculpture has over 600 different pipes made of stainless steel. Finlandia is one of his most famous pieces. It was good inspiration for my students to see his monument before performing his work tonight.

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For lunch today we went to an open air market and the students got to pick what they ate. Many chose crepes and seafood soup/chowders. Yummy!

The concert was amazing tonight. The acoustics in the hall were outstanding and it was just a delight to perform in such a unique venue. The crowd was very enthusiastic. I wouldn’t say that it was a packed house/crowd, but none the less it was quite full. I met people from all over the world who came just to hear us play tonight. A cute couple came from Sweden and had read about us on the internet and came straight from the train station. I met another man who was funny enough from Moscow and loved all the Russian pieces we performed. That’s a great sign of things to come.

I was pleased with all aspects of the concert. I’m proud of their musicianship.

However – there are two things we can improve on. I will try and buy some rocks stops before our next concert. I had reminded the cello students to bring their rocks stops from home and we had 4 kids forget theirs back in Utah. We had to improvise and Ms. Olson made some out of duct tape. When Clark said that he had some duck tape I didn’t think to ask what “color” it was. Of course it was “BYU” blue……luckily BYU has the same colors as the Finnish flag….. 🙂  We really need real rock stops – all those who forgot got a bone today.

The other thing we need to improve on is our tour stamina – I know that we traveled far yesterday and did a lot of things today, but it is important like any big game that all students rise to the occasion until the “last whistle”.  We have time to get over our jet lag before our next concert in Tallinn so I’m hoping that they won’t be as tired towards the end of our next concert.

We walked to a special restaurant for dinner from the hotel. It was called Zetor. It is a special Finnish restaurant that specializes in Reindeer. We had Reindeer soup and Reindeer stew with Blueberry pie for dessert. (Vegetarians had mushroom soup and risotto for dinner.) It definitely was a once in a lifetime experience. Every day is an adventure and I believe in making the most of where you are.

Tomorrow we are off to Tallinn by ferry.

Thanks for following – sorry it’s late here so I will dash to bed now.

Big hugs to all –

Kathy and Craig

 

 

 

 

 

 

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