Bucket List Trip (Day 1 & 2): Hello, Helsinki!

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The first time I remember thinking, “I’m going to Russia one day” must’ve been eight years ago when I was 16. I could fill entire libraries trying to explain what it is that did me in — the history, the politics, the architecture, the culture, the people — but in the end, I simply and completely fell in love with Russia.

Who knew it was possible to feel homesick for a place you’ve never been? Well it might’ve taken me eight years to make that happen, but today is that day! (Or more accurately, tomorrow is that day, but who has time for nitpicking?)

My mom and I are setting out on what I’m calling the Bucket List Trip. We didn’t make it for my high school graduation … and it was a no-go again after university, but today is the day dreams are coming true! RUSSIA, HERE I COME!

We said goodbye to Toronto yesterday. (Here I’m tempted to say “earlier today.” It’s been so long since I’ve slept. My circadian rhythm is so thrown off that my body no longer knows nor cares what time zone I’m in. Sleep is all I need.) After a layover in Amsterdam, we finally made it to Helsinki, Finland.

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It’s amazing how well the city is laid out to accommodate cyclists.
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Nobody locks their bikes around here! That would not fly in Toronto.

Here in this smiley, friendly, cycling-crazed city, we’re joining up with a tour group that’ll be taking us not just to my beloved Russia, but Minsk, Belarus and all the Baltic capitals as well! (I didn’t dub this the Bucket List Trip for nothing.) We’re both utterly exhausted but the adrenaline kept us going long enough to see a little of Helsinki. It really is a beautiful city.

I can't stop admiring the architecture of the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art.
I can’t stop admiring the architecture of the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art.

Needless to say, I am more than sufficiently pumped to finally set foot in Russia tomorrow. I can hear the hallelujah chorus.

Consider this fair warning: I will be gushing about my Bucket List Trip for the rest of the month. Let the adventure begin!

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