Helsinki - day 2

18397 steps

11.5km

Today was a bit more rainy and we were nipping in and out of the shops to avoid the showers.  

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Clas Ohlson is a mixture of B&Q, IKEA and MUJI. I was quite tempted by the idea of a Snow Kick, available in lime, pink or purple. 

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Or how about a serious piece of snow clearing kit? Your very own petrol driven snow blower.  

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All the cardboard boxes Santa Claus could ever need.  

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And your very own sauna kit.  

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Today was the day the Christmas lights got turned on under the expert guidance of a lady engineer on a step ladder, and her daughter, probably aged about ten. You can just imagine her teacher tomorrow in school - 'Write an essay about what you did at the weekend'. 

After that it was time for the procession, led off by three police horses wearing stuffed antlers.  

These were followed by all sorts of groups. Two batches of people walking Bassett Hounds in dog sized red jackets, and one collection of Dalmations doing the same.  

A vintage tram filled with pensioners dressed in cherry red sweaters.  

A library bus with Moomin on the side (naturally). 

Three or four fire engines of varying vintage.  

An entire ice hockey team complete with cheerleaders.  

A street cleaning/snow clearing municipal vehicle with a scoop bucket on the front and hay bales on the back.  

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The cast (or company) from the National Ballet who were accompanied by tin soldiers, mice and ballerinas in numerous layers of leg warmers. I think they were performing the Nutcracker. 

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There were Clown Doctors and finally, of course...

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... there was Santa Claus in his sleigh.  

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The Christmas tree is up, so I guess that means it's soon going to be time for mince pies and mulled wine.  

The procession tour was stuffed with families and young children in snow suits. It was notable that there was no tat - no street vendors selling glow in the dark plastic rubbish.  And the musicians outside the big department store weren't passing around a hat or bucket for coins, so I assume they are being properly paid by the store, which is rather nice, I think. 

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On the way back to the hotel we went to the supermarket for some uce cream, and I just had to take a photo of the mustard shelves.  

Thats a SERIOUS selection. I wouldn't know where to start. And this was just an ordinary store, not a Posh shop. 

More tomorrow.  

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