Last weekend I had a friend come to visit me from France. Deciding that I needed a weekend away after being in Sweden three months, we decided to go to the nearest, coldest place we could find (in hindsight I don't know why I didn't suggest Spain), HELSINKI. While I have a small baseline knowledge of quite a few countries in the world I have to say I knew less than nothing about Finland before visiting. So with that vast understanding of the culture and customs, I boarded the plane for one of the shortest flights of my life and away we went to Helsinki.
One of the first things I noticed upon arriving in Helskini was the airport (an obvious first thing to notice) and how totally futuristic the train was. The second thing was when we stepped out of the station into the center of the city, TRAMS. You may not know this about me but I LOVE public transport and these trams were super cute.... I digress.
I have decided to keep my blogs short (at least until I have more than five readers) so I will just talk about one of my favorite parts of the trips. Throughout our weekend we had seen balloons everywhere. We thought maybe we were going crazy but instead realized we had arrived in Finland in time for Vappu. The annual holiday the day before May Day (1st of May) when a group of students are lifted by a crane above a statue in the middle of town. They clean the statue and then place a university cap on its head. It is traditional for the students to wear their university hats and even old people participate by wearing their hats from years ago. A very poetic waitress said to us that we'd "see ninety year old men wearing hats stained with wines from parties of the past." I never saw this, but the sentiment remains.