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DS86DS

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NORDIC COUNTRIES

🇩🇰Denmark
🇫🇮Finland
🇮🇸Iceland
🇳🇴Norway
🇸🇪Sweden

The Wild Hunt of Odin
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DS86DS

DS86DS

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I wouldn't mind living in Finland, it looks like a pristine wilderness. It also seems a lot cleaner than Ireland, aka. there's no rubbish dumped around the countryside. As well as being a pristine wilderness, I'd imagine it's great for fishing


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Mowl

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Nice shots there alright. One of my favourite cruises is the slow overnight from Helsinki to Stockholm which docks at the town and island of Mariehamn/Aland en route. It passes through the heart of the archipelago and is an unbelievable sight to see. Thousands of tiny islands and many of them untouched. The few houses there are are usually designed to sink into the background and it's all about the beauty of untouched wilderness among all of the islands.

The shots above are mostly from summer, but the winter sailings are even more breath-taking. It's like you could just hop off the boat and walk over to a house and knock on the door to say hello.

The ice-breakers kept the channels open and the cruises get cheaper as the temperature goes down. It's truly a life-changing experience to see what these people have done to make their homes into artworks. And not just in the architecture, but also with the discipline of keeping in mind the nature that lives on these routes. The archipelago sailing version will give you around ninety minutes of endless island just like in the shots above, but this map shows you the sheer number of them.



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DS86DS

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Did it take long to get used to the cold up there? As nice as the wilderness is, I wouldn't like to get lost in it on a cold winter night - that Arctic cold looks like it could kill, literally.

Would the environmental laws be a lot tougher up there? I can't imagine they tolerate farmers dumping slurry and pesticides everywhere, polluting the rivers and lakes as well as the soil.
 

Mowl

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Did it take long to get used to the cold up there?

No, I'd already spent a few winters here before moving up. Mainly because the period from Christmas through to March had fuck all work in Dublin, so rather than freeze to death from the Irish humidity, I preferred the dry cold of Finland - which even at say minus thirty-five is still far easier to deal with than minus two in Ireland.

As nice as the wilderness is, I wouldn't like to get lost in it on a cold winter night - that Arctic cold looks like it could kill,

It can and it will kill you if you're not prepared. Contrary to the multitude of islands in the archipelago, there are thousands of lakes all across Finland: in fact, we have more lakes than any other country on earth. So winter breaks on the lakes is another form of holiday, but not for the faint-hearted. You'll have to drill into the ice to fish for freshwater edibles and there's not much in the way of wildlife about as most go into hibernation.

Even here in the city you can die from exposure. Drink too much and pass out in a doorway? They'll scrape you up and take you to the morgue where it can take up to three days and more to thaw a dead body out for their pathologist to work on. So there are options available: apartment blocks have emergency bells you can ring to get into the hallway to warm up if you can't handle the cold, or aren't dressed for it.

You have to have a real winter kit wardrobe: I have two - one's for summer and the other's all winter gear. Huge fake fur overcoat, massive furry hats, big thick gloves, and proper boots on your feet. One time out on the island of Suomenlinna (with Hangar Queen, C Captain Con) I stepped on a rock which burst the tip of the boot. Water started to seep in and we had to cut the visit short and get back to the mainland before my toes were frozen solid and would need a hospital to save them. Frostbite takes minutes to set in. I used a plastic bag outside my socks to keep the water out, but it was still freezing even so, keeping out the wet makes no difference, you'll get frostbite regardless.


Would the environmental laws be a lot tougher up there?

Yes, but nobody breaks them, only idiot tourists light fires and if they're caught out by the authorities they'll pay hefty fines. You can't just stop in some nice spot and light a fire, it has to be on a designated area, ie: next to the water, lake, sea, river, etc. Finns are well adapted to life in the actual wilderness, our mokki culture (small wooden cabins out in the wilds next to the lakes) teaches everyone survival skills.

I can't imagine they tolerate farmers dumping slurry and pesticides everywhere, polluting the rivers and lakes as well as the soil.

Hell no - but back around a decade ago, a troop of Irish traveler families arrived by ferry from Stockholm and headed up to Tampere where they set themselves up and started robbing the shops, houses, and anything else they could (few places have security up that far north) and dumping washed diesel into the lakes. They were killing rare birds for food and making an awful fucking mess, then they showed up at the welfare offices looking for money. They were refused and the cops lead them back to Turku and sent them packing.

The sheer fucking embarrassment was rotten.

As for farming itself, Finland has only a small percentage of home-grown fresh foods, we have to import quite a lot during the winters, and Finnish farming is HIGHLY regulated. The likes of Val Martin wouldn't get away with his slurry business, he'd be banged up for years.
 
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DS86DS

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What differences have you noticed between Finns and Swedes? I wouldn't have much knowledge in this area, but it does seem that Finns are more laid back, whereas Swedes come across as more prim and proper.
 

Mowl

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What differences have you noticed between Finns and Swedes? I wouldn't have much knowledge in this area, but it does seem that Finns are more laid back, whereas Swedes come across as more prim and proper.

I had a few Swedish lady friends over the years, mostly when I still lived in Dublin. The girls are great, they know who they are and what they want. It's the men that let them down: most of them are wetbacks and too frightened of offending anyone with their real thoughts, so they get steamrolled by the women and by the new immigrants. I stayed for weeks at a time back in the noughties, and toured there dozens of times after moving to Helsinki. The blokes just bore the pants off me, and it seems the women think the same way.

Finns are a breed apart. Whether male or female, dealing with the Finns is upfront, nothing hidden, nothing avoided, nothing to take any offense at, never mind how fucked up things might be. They get on with things - if it's broke, they don't just fix it - they redesign it so it can't happen again. The Finns get things done quickly and efficiently, whereas the Swedes tend to mince around like Mick Jagger on MDMA. I couldn't even dream of living in Sweden, it'd be a fucking nightmare. But there was a time (before I'd toured in Finland) when I knew that the Nordic way of life suited me. But as for moving there? Nah, I knew it'd never work out for me.

I prefer straight talking people who know who they are, what they want, and how best to go about getting it.

A weekender cruise is fine, mainly because I know I'll be home again soon enough. Stockholm was a lovely city twenty years back. These days it so cosmopolitan you can't find any real Swedes anywhere in the cities, it's all immigrants working there and running their own businesses there. The old town in Stockholm is very nice, but staffed by immigrants nowadays.

In Finland, you get what you pay for - no more and no less. And no bullshit with it either.

I suppose the best answer to your question would be to try it for yourself. See what sticks, what appeals to you, and how to find your place in the society around you. I'm well settled, happy in my life, my work, and myself. Everything else is a cherry on the top.

You can fly into Tallin Estonia very cheaply and take a Hanseatic cruise to visit all the main cities: Tallin, Helsinki, St Petersburg, Stockholm, Vilnius, and Riga. Take a six week cruise and try everything. Or rent a car and ferry around. Or take separate tickets and take your time as suits you.

But it's NOT for everyone either, there's no utopia to be had a first glance, you have to take the time to understand how the cultures are for yourself. I had it easy in that I was touring all these countries already, and I knew Helsinki well and had a good crew up here to orientate me and get me involved in the heart of the artistic community - who don't take to strangers muscling in too easily. I was getting paid for the tours, but it was the daytime where I found my feet by getting out and meeting people, going to the galleries to see the shows and other music centres, the pop and jazz conservatories and the higher level classical institutions. You have to beat the streets to find out where the hubs are, but once you're accepted, you're good to go.

You should try it - I guarantee you: a few weeks of Nordic/Scandinavian lifestyle will leave you massively disappointed with the Irish version of life: you'll find it harder cope with after dealing with life up here. It'll show you just how fucked up and rotten Ireland really is.
 
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DS86DS

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🇩🇰Copenhagen

Wandering around Copenhagen on Google Maps, it really makes Dublin and other Irish cities look like kips in comparison. I guess not having a history of gombeen developers intent on knocking down half the city helps.

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Wandering around Copenhagen on Google Maps, it really makes Dublin and other Irish cities look like kips in comparison. I guess not having a history of gombeen developers intent on knocking down half the city helps.

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Its only water, tourist broachers. The Phoenix Park is lovely this weather. So is the Lake District of England.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stormont_Castle. I suspect the doss houses in Finland are better than here. At least they provide internet.
 
The Lake District of England freaked me out a bit when I first saw it. It looked like a countryside theme park that somebody had been up hoovering and tidying overnight.

A sort of lake and hill Westworld. Developed by William Morris.

I like my countryside a little wilder.
 

Mowl

Member
Nice shots of Denmark and Copenhagen. I toured a lot across Denmark over the years, in the attached photo you can see (1) the busiest bar in the city, and an Irish pub, and then (2) the water fountain feature where I always sat for a spliff between sets. It's a pedestrianized street and boulevard, and it leads down onto the main square in the city center. I got shoved into the fountain one night by some drunk Irish guys on a bender sitting beside me. Wet up to the knees, fucking idiots.


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If you go the other direction it leads out towards Kristiania, the hippy commune and separate city within Copenhagen. You can stroll down 'Dealer Street' and buy your preferred smoke, or drop into any of the bars that stay open as long as there's customers. But you must NEVER ever take out your camera and take pictures. If you're spotted (like the one vocalist I hired for one tour) they'll knock it out of your hands and stamp on it, then apologize. But your camera will get smashed if you're caught out taking snaps.

They're very uptight about that.

Last time I was in Copenhagen I got stuck in the airport for an additional twenty-two hours due to an overbooking by the sales people. They paid me around €500 for the inconvenience, so I went downtown and had a slap-up meal and then over to Kristiania for the craic. Got seriously bombed with a gang of Danish lads and went back to the airport on the direct line only to be stopped and searched, then questioned because my luggage was sent forward to Helsinki without me. Told them I'd been to the commune and smoked but that I had nothing on me. I got the full three degrees anyway, and barely made the flight.

I fucking HATE airports.


Wind turbines provide clean green electricity.

Yeah, but they run on batteries.


No, we don't - we have a token few.

We use nuclear, thicko - five plants in total.

Its only water, tourist broachers.

What?

The Phoenix Park is lovely this weather.

It's lovely in any weather.

It was my back garden before we moved up the hill across the river to Ballyer.

I know the park like the back of my hand.

So is the Lake District of England.

Went boating on Lake Windermere with my ex- from Manchester years back. They say that many of the holes under the water of the lake haven't been plumbed to find their true depth. They say some are over a kilometer deep. The water on the lake is pure black: drop your hand into it and it'll disappear from view only six or eight inches from above.

We sailed out and roamed a few of the smaller islets, set up a picnic and got laid, then took a swim.


Beautiful building really, pity it's people by lunatics.

I suspect the doss houses in Finland are better than here.

Far better, no comparison really: Irish houses are so weak, a strong gust of wind could collapse one.

At least they provide internet.

Where? In your institution behind high walls?

The Lake District of England freaked me out a bit when I first saw it. It looked like a countryside theme park that somebody had been up hoovering and tidying overnight.

A sort of lake and hill Westworld. Developed by William Morris.

I like my countryside a little wilder.

Windermere is beautifully laid out. Herself had a grandmother living there and her cottage was the most romantic and idyllic little house I ever saw, straight out of Lord Of the Rings. There was a few tea houses and coffee cafes, but tradition always suggested tea and cakes. Not exactly my style but still a nice experience. The boating aspect is great, very cheap too - or so it was at the time.

It reminded me of a Hobbiton/The Shire type community: all the cottages hand built, with straw roofs and little chimney pots. Lots of old people and no pubs as such (at least we didn't find one) but still a lovely experience. The kind of place I'd love to take my Mam for a visit. She'd be in her element in that sort of community.
 

Mowl

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🇫🇮Helsinki

Finland's capital has amazing architecture and an enviable natural setting.

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That's the presidential palace and the Swedish embassy. The palace is connected directly to Uspenski Cathedral, which would be to the right of this picture, by an underground tunnel beneath the sea. It leads directly into Shelter 8, which I managed for over a decade. One hundred and ten square meters of soundproofed space twenty five meters below street level. There are multiple new basements floors beneath that again, and it's the location of the main servers for Uusimaa and southern Finland.

Shelter 8 is one of ten underground shelters connected by tunnels. The bedroom of the presidential shelter is directly below the central orb above Uspenski, which itself stands another thirty meters above ground. It's a Russian orthodox church and the shelter was put there because the Russians aren't going to bklow up their own church, especially not seeing as it's the first thing you see sailing into the main dock at Katajanokka.

In the foreground you see Allas Sea Pool: a heated pool over the bay connected to a fun park and huge big wheel standing one hundred meters tall. One of the cabin is a sauna, so you can take steam and see the views for a nice price for a group of say six people. Bring your own booze, everything else is supplied: towels, soaps, etc.


Postin katu, the old post office sorting building leading up onto Senate Square. In summer it's filled with outdoor tables and restaurants services. An original part of the old town.


The thoroughfare along Hotel Kamp, the most upmarket joint in the city. Met Keith and Mick in the bar years ago when they were over for a gig at Hartwall Arena. Anyone who's anyone books in there, it's a diamond hotel and has a number of starred restaurants attached. Strictly upmarket, major dudes and moneyed classes.


Esplanadi, the southern esplanade next to the sea. The other one crosses to city tpo kilometers up mannerheinentie to the sea on the east side at Heitalahti, a golden sand beach very popular in summer. The street you see here is mainly commercial. Restaurants on the ground floor but the upper floors are all attached to the main shopping centres and are all accessible through the underground tunnels.

Again: Helsinki is really two cities: the one you see and here another beneath the ground.

Roads, laneways, walkways, and even larger thoroughfares for service vehicles and heavier traffic like artics and the like.


Market Square, right on the doorstep of the presidential palace you see in the shot above.


Tram one rounding the edge of Market Square on the seafront with the presidential palace and Swedish embassy behind.


Lasipalatsi: the mounds you see are portals to allow light to flood into the underground passages and connecting tunnels to all the shopping centers and other cultural hubs.
The skate kids LOVE this spot and skateboarding is allowed for certain hours of the day and also for skating competitions.

It used to be the main terminal for all of the inter-county buses, but that was relocated to beneath the Kamppi shopping center, which is nearby. That underground is around the size of five football pitches. Buses set out to al points around the country from there.

Deep underground is a better way of running a national transport system, it allows for space and it's all connected by even more tunnels to all the shopping and cultural districts.


That looks like Karjalalainen katu, a wealthy neighbourhood and in the distance you can see the spire of Torni, the tallest building in the city centre. But there are three new towers almost completed down on Kalasatama which dwarf Torni. But it has a lovely bar on the top floor and the views are stunning.


This could be any of hundreds of jetties around the city and county.

Very typical though and as you can see: Finns are very connected to the water. Boating is very popular and most families own some sort of vessel. Bething them in winter is a problem, so most take their boats home and shelter them under a tarpaulin.


Suomenlinna, the city fortress out at sea, about three kilometers off the bay at the presidential palace. Getting there is easy: your city bus/tram ticket covers the sailing which takes around fifteen minutes. It was from that the Finns tried to hold back the Russians, but they took the island and we had to work even harder to reclaim it.

All the turrets you see were heavily manned and armed to the teeth. The larger full-scale cannons are all still in place on the upper grassy areas. They're fucking enormous too. But the entire island, which is a world heritage site, is accessible to all and you can ramble around the tunnels, the turrets, and the interconnecting underground walkways connecting them. There's a submarine dock to the right which houses a few of the bombed out subs, and to the left and rear a dry dock for wooden ships for maintenance.

This island is massively popular in summer and has nude beaches as well as family beaches - which are more or less the same to us. The basic rule takes into account foreigners being uptight about nudity. We aren't in any way bothered by it ourselves, it's part of the sauna culture for us. That said, checking out the hotties on the nude beaches never gets boring.

It's a great place for a party, and many Finns rent the halls for weddings and other parties. It has a museum and library, a few hotels, restaurants, shops, theatres, craft workshops, etc. You can only travel there by either private boat or else the public transport line. Public transport is €1,80 for a return ticket. The ticket also covers transport in the city, we buy time on a ticket, not distance. You get ninety minutes of travel on all modes of transport in the city for that price. That said, nobody really pays for it anymore, most people hop it out to the island. There are never ticket checkers on the boats.

All in all, it's paradise on earth.
 
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DS86DS

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Would Helsinki be more expensive than Dublin? Are you allowed to bring back much alcohol, tobacco etc. on the ferry from Estonia? Some of the Nordic countries have a reputation for being very expensive, so the idea of stocking up on say cigarettes from neighbouring Tallinn would be tempting if you're on a limited budget.

I love the lake side cafe, it's like a slice of the Finnish wilderness in the heart of the modern metropolis. Would they be pricey for a cup of coffee in general though? I'd rather visit one of those and relax than one on a busy street.

I can well imagine that the public transport system makes that of Dublin's look badly run and inefficient by comparison.
 
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DS86DS

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I was curious as to how this Finnish violinist and model, Linda Brava is the spitting image of Pamela Anderson.

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Turns out Pamela Anderson has Finnish ancestry, so perhaps that explains the resemblance.

 

Mowl

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Would Helsinki be more expensive than Dublin?

Nope, it's much cheaper, if you know where to go.

A night out in Kallio would cost as little as twenty euros for a rake of cheap beers and a take-away from the grilli. Live music is mostly free, the bars pay the bands, not the door tickets. The more bands you put on, the more customers you get. This applies for classical and jazz, not just pub rock or other type bands.

Are you allowed to bring back much alcohol, tobacco etc. on the ferry from Estonia?

As much as you can carry so long as you have the receipts to prove where it was bought from in the city, NOT on the ferry. The ferry allows the same as most airports and will charge you VAT on the spot. Still cheap though, but not AS cheap as shopping outside Tallin in any of the shopping centers.

Tobacco, hooch, cigars, whatever. You can buy the real thing in the stores or the fake versions on the streets. Getting caught with the fakes will land you in a cell for trying to import them at all.

Some of the Nordic countries have a reputation for being very expensive, so the idea of stocking up on say cigarettes from neighbouring Tallinn would be tempting if you're on a limited budget.

Yes, most Scandic countries are extremely expensive if you don't know your way around.

The Tallin shopping trips are extremely popular: it costs €12 per person for a two bed cabin. Access to restaurants, buffets, etc cost a little more but like I said elsewhere, if you do it right you can pay into the buffet near closing time at midnight and grab everything you can and put it into tupper ware. They'll toss it out otherwise.

The ships have numerous clubs, shows, revues, burlesque, and bars. Casinos, betting shops, and table games.

You sail out slowly at around 1900 and the ship arrives at Tallin around 2200, then berths and the doors stay locked until 0700. You party all night on the ship and at 0700 everyone spills out into the city and old town for the shopping and the food. Amazing restaurants in Tallin, and masses of them too. My favourite is definitely Olde Hansa, an authentic medieval themed dinery with service from staff dressed in period costumes. They serve boar, deer, moose, bear, wolf, and any other meat types not common to the regular shops. The cooking methods and machinery are all the same as they were seven hundred or nine hundred years ago. It's dead centre in the old town, and is an amazing culinary experience.

Link: https://www.oldehansa.ee/

I love the lake side cafe, it's like a slice of the Finnish wilderness in the heart of the modern metropolis. Would they be pricey for a cup of coffee in general though? I'd rather visit one of those and relax than one on a busy street.

Finns drink more coffee than any other EU member state. The prices vary depending on where and what you're looking for. You can buy a freshly ground coffee bean of your choice from as little as 70c, or go big and head to Senatintori and pay three or four euros for a real Finnish experience.

I drink one coffee a day, in the morning. I love the smell of the factory over on Alexi, and like the Guinness factory in Dublin roasting the hops and yeast and other ingredients, the coffee factory here covers the city with an aroma of fresh coffee being ground and baked most mornings, it's wonderful.

But it's also common for people to bring flasks of their own taste to the beaches and parks. Which are numerous and easily accessible.

I can well imagine that the public transport system makes that of Dublin's look badly run and inefficient by comparison.

There's no comparison. For one - the pedestrian is king in the cities. Bringing a car into the city centre is costly and time consuming. You're encouraged to leave your car outside the city and use either tram, bus, metro, or commuter lines. Taxis too, they're cheap by day. When a pedestrian steps out into the street, cars must stop immediately. It's madness taking a car, makes no sense.

The transport system is scheduled and arrives precisely on time, every time. Hopping the system is also easy, whether tram, metro, or commuter. Not so much with buses or taxis. Cycling is another great way to get around. We have cycle lanes which are second to the pedestrian. Cyclists are perfectly safe on the paths, they're built on the edge of the pavement and are dual lanes.

Pedestrians first, mothers with prams included (mothers pushing prams aren't charged anything, it's all free) cyclists second, delivery and service vehicles third (though they all operate in the wee hours, they're not allowed into the city after 0800) and motorists at the bottom.

You can set your watch by any mode of public transport - this is also why taking a car is a dumb idea: the buses and trams have preference, so you'll be waiting at lights a lot, driving in short bursts a lot, and idling your engine for hours at a time. Then there's parking, which deliberately isn't cheap. Besides, walking is another lovely way of getting around downtown Helsinki. Or renting a bike, electric scooter, or motorised skateboard.

The one thing I dread on arriving back in Dublin is (a) the sheer fucking chaos of traffic, and (b) the cost involved, and (c) the standing around waiting for hours in the rain for a bus. Simple things like trying to get to my clients over in Castleknock, Blanchardstown, along the Navan Road and further out to Clonee and those new estates. If I'm trying to get to Ongar from Ballyer, I have to take a bus into the city to find the connection back out again, and it takes fucking hours to get to work. Instead, I prefer to walk it. Down into Chapelizod, up the Knockmaroon Hill (and my parents first house at the very bottom) and around into Castleknock village. It takes a shorter time to walk the five kilometers than it does trying to negotiate it by bus.

I was just talking about all that on the blog earlier. There's a lovely thread about it going on since yesterday. I posted the original thread back in 2014 before I packed in my commercial art business, and I took masses of photos of the route to Castleknock at Myo's pub and posted them for the folks to chat about.

Even though my art business is finished, I still take that walk at least once or twice every visit home.

It's just too awesome not to.

It's my childhood and my earliest memories: everything green, fresh, the river running by and the sound of the weirs and the water rushing over them. The park, the park walls, the lodges, the deer, the endless forests and wind-swept gaels, all of it. It's where I would ideally keep a home in Dublin if I could afford it. Maybe even buy a modern apartment on the very site our old house used to be. Maybe some things have changed, but not the magical things: grass, trees, river, water, bricks, stones, forests, lakes, old pathways, abandoned wonders like the Magazine Fort. It never ends. It's the best things old Dublin has, yet not many seem to care for it.

Maybe that's even better so.

Here's a lovely way to see the fort in 3D:

 

Mowl

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These lads must have been the Special Forces of the Finnish Army.

As you can see, the Russians didn't stand a chance. The Finns moved like greased lightning across the lines and they were well fed and wrapped up properly too. The Russians had to forage and hunt for food, hogs, bears, anything they could find. But the Finns knew they were starving and they tormented them by setting up cooking stations nearby the lines to tempt them in with the smell of hot food.

Then they circled them on skis and took them out one by one.

It was 450,000 Finnish troops against 450,000,000 Russian troops, and even at the odds of ten to one, we still ran them ragged. The key to all of this was preparation, discipline, and of course sisu. That incomparable Finnish trait of courage and stoicism prevents them from ever giving up, no matter what the odds.

Even the Finnish ladies were deeply involved in the winter war: it was they who decided to pull up the train tacks on the west coast and melt them down to make bullets, bombs, and mobile cooking stations. That was a crucial element in winning the war: a decent hot meal every day and chagnges of damp clothing and burst footwear.

I was curious as to how this Finnish violinist and model, Linda Brava is the spitting image of Pamela Anderson.

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Turns out Pamela Anderson has Finnish ancestry, so perhaps that explains the resemblance.

Ten a penny, really. Very typical Finnish features, except not so much botox as Linda uses.

Has Mowl Mowl dated this woman yet :unsure:

I don't date as such: I take 'appointments'.

I'm fussy like that.
 
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