Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The last day before things have to get serious...

I think I did a pretty good job making the most of my last day of traveling before I have to settle down in St. Petersburg. I woke up with the sun this morning - at about 4 am, I think it was. I rolled back over and slept some more, but did get out of bed relatively early. I decided to wander around a bit. This is only the second city (the other was Budapest) where I didn't take an sort of tour. I kind of wish I had - I've only been hear for about 36 hours, and I know I'm missing so much. But there is only so much you can do in two days, and a tour wasn't high up on the priority list. And they cost money, which is running low at this point.
Anyway, I ended going back to the Kauppatori around midmorning. I wanted to eat an early lunch there, before it became too overrun with tourists. There are a lot of vendors selling fresh grilled fish and other stuff, with the grills right there. One of them was grilling a bunch of salmon, which made me miss going to Colorado and fishing with Grandma and Grandpa - nothing is better than catching a salmon in the backyard, then grilling it within the hour :-D. She was also giving out samples of what she called "small whitefish." The were suprisingly tasty, even though they looked like battered and fried sardines. The finnish word for this kind of fish is "muikut", and according to the "fish girl" (I didn't have a chance to get her name), this is what Finns say instead of cheese when they are having their picture taken. I thought that was kind of neat. I talked to her for a while as I was eating my helping of muikut. Apparently she had just returned from studying at Tec de Monterey. She agreed with me on the whole Finnish-sounding-like-Spanish-even-though-they're-not-related thing.
Also, it was during my wanderings in the market that I met the largest concentration of southerns of the entire trip. I met a two couples from Tennessee, three couples from Georgia, and a couple originally from Texas but now living in Florida, all in the course of about thirty minutes. Old southern folk are so friendly.
After the market I took Vesa's advice again (he was the Finnish guy I met in Salzburg) and went to the Kiasma, the local museum of modern art. It was awesome! Those of you who were on the Santa Fe trip in 2004 might recall the "grotesque" show we saw at SITE Santa Fe. Well, the top floor of the museum had a similar theme. They even had some works by some of the same artists. Remember the bathroom-tile cross-section with the blood and guts beneath? They have a few by that artist here too! It made me laugh. The gift shop was also suprisingly good. Lots of fun postcards.
Anyway, I need to go get something to eat again. The sun tells me it's early, but my stomach says it's late. I saw a restaurant earlier that claims to sell texmex. I fear I will be disappointed, but at this point I'll take what I can get - I really need a quesadilla.

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