Hello there! It took us a while to recover from the fabulous time we had in Helsinki, but here we are to tell you all about it :).
This big meetup was meticulously planned by Pooca, and exceptionally well executed. There were traditional Finnish games and yummy Finnish food, cute name tags, boat rides, visits to historical places, flea markets and an amusement park, lots and lots of presents and plenty of time to write and send postcards!
So, here’s what we did those 3 days, in detail:
On Friday, 28th September it was pre-meetup day. We met around 5pm near Aleksis Kivi statue, besides Helsinki’s train station. After the obligatory introductions (in attendance were a total of 48 postcrossers from Finland, Russia, Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, Netherlands and Portugal), the group went postcard shopping, guided by Pooca, who showed us the all best spots!
An hour later, we met at the square again, and then went off to a nearby park, where Pooca introduced the group to a curious traditional Finnish game called Mölkky. It goes like this: there are 12 wooden pins that people should try and knock over with another wooden pin, thrown from a distance. The pins are numbered 1–12, and the knocking over one pin gives the player the amount of points marked on the pin. If more than one pin is knocked over, the total number of pins is the score for that player’s round. After each throw, the pins are lifted up again in the exact location where they landed and the first one to reach exactly 50 points wins the game.
Mölkky was a lot of fun, with pins getting successively further apart and players looking for more creative ways to hit them :)
After the game, we sat down on the ground and wrote some postcards while eating delicious mini-stroopwaffles, brought from the Netherlands by dandilion.
On Saturday we met again at Aleksis Kivi statue. The main event of the day was a visit to Suomenlinna! Suomenlinna is a star fortress built on a group of islands just outside Helsinki. It was built to protect the country (at that time under Swedish rule) against a possible Russian invasion. About 900 people live in the islands, and the fortress is a Unesco world heritage site.
The weather was quite good, so we had a nice time walking on this fortress, admiring the fortifications and their cannons and the sea that stretches all the way to Tallin. Oh, and also enjoying the lovely presents and sweets that the group of Russian postcrossers, dandilion and Lotty distributed! :)
After Suomenlinna, we had some time to relax, visit some of the city monuments and fill our bellies with the delicacies in the market.
At 4pm we got back together for some early dinner. The buffet menu was delicious and in fact, our group was so big we had to split around in the two restaurant floors! :) When everybody was happy and full, we went to a coffee shop close by to write and sign all the postcards we sent! That was serious work and everybody helped counting the postcards, and re-checking for address correctness and total of signatures!
On Sunday 30th, the last day of the meetup, we visited the Valtteri flea market – a huge indoors flea market with all sorts of things! It was very intriguing yet so much fun to explore! After Valtteri, we walked to Linnanmäki, a nearby amusement park. And it was so great! We all went at once on the Panorama Tower, from where you could see a stunning 360 degrees view of Helsinki and then some of us went on Vuoristorata, a really cool and old wooden rollercoaster! We even met 'Rolle Pelle’, the mascot of Linnanmäki who accepted to take a picture with our group!
In the afternoon, we took a break in the local post office and finally mailed a grand total of 545 postcards!!! :) I’m sure we broke some record there, and made the post office people really happy!
That’s it! I am sure you can read my excitement from the number of smilies and exclamation marks I’ve used writing this post, but seriously, it was amazing. Helsinki is a very welcoming city, and there was so much generosity and friendliness in everybody we met, that I wish many more of you could have been there! Postcrossers sure are a special bunch. :)
Thank you Pooca for organizing such a brilliant meetup, and to everybody who participated and made it so special!! :)
PS – All the linked pictures are from the several meet up galleries, and you can see more of them on the following links: