Wednesday, October 24, 2012

North out of Helsinki to Seinioki

"'The unexamined life', said Socrates, 'is not worth living.'  The converse is also true. The unlived life is not worth examining."  Robert Hughes, art critic and author in 1987. 
So on we go in our summer's travel to Finland.  Let's travel now about three and a half hour's north of Helsinki to the small city of Seinajoki.  .  We were pleased in Seinajoki to be able to see a bit of the marvelous summer celebration of Tango, have some great food, and to marvel at the signature church of one of Finland's greatest architects, Alvar Aalto.

Travel north out of Helsinki is via fast, smooth, comfy electrified passenger service

Soon you are passing castles

and archytypal Finnish countryside with neat red farm buildings, lush fields, and green forests.
Seinioki is a spic and span modern city about the size of Galesburg, IL
 The Tango Festival was in full swing.  Strangely this is not just a dance competition but instead a kind of  all purpose  drinking, singing, dancing, music, summerfest that draws thousands of people from all over Europe. It has been going on in Seinioki for twenty years.

The town center is literally closed off to make room in the streets for various booths, open air bars, rock music venues, and semi-carnival attractions.  The main singing contest is sort of like American Idol for the geriatric set and is nationally televised.

Some Tangoers dress in national costume; others prefer spikey colored hair and jeans.

The streets are lined with craft booths and food stalls
For the truly daring there was even a hoist into the sky and a bungi jump.
This may be the countryside, but Seinioki is blessed with plenty of fine food.
Their Prisma supermaket puts a Super Target to shame

Aisles are wide and they sell everything from candy to stoves and refrigerators.


Restaurants can serve local gourmet fare

or the best of Americana. 

The most impressive sight in town is the slim and striking  bell tower designed by Finnish architect Alvar Aalto. 

 Off to the real rural  Finland in our next episode where we will attend Saturday Market Day, tour the local church, and experience a Finnish Baseball game.


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