My Two Cities Helsinki and Bangkok



The Rock Church in Helsinki



The Prompt: A Tale of Two Cities––If you could split your time between any two cities in the world, what two cities would those be?

My two cities would be Helsinki and Bangkok.

I would spend the summer months in Helsinki and call it my home base, from there I would travel to different countries in the region where my ancestors came from. Helsinki is a very beautiful town and the capital of Finland, it is located on the Gulf of Finland not far from the Baltic Sea. The population is around 1.5 million people. I would visit everything there is to see  there first and enjoy all the local cuisine.

My first side trip would no doubt be to Lapland, reindeer country, the land of the Sami people or reindeer herders. That is where my paternal grandmother Minnie Virtinen came from. They are a very hardy and proud people. I would love to spend some time there and get acquainted with people who are related to my grandmother. Taking a ride on a sled pulled by reindeer, and would surly have to milk a reindeer. When a reindeer was killed, it is said,”The liver was quickly removed and eaten raw.” I might pass on that one.

My next side trip would be Kaafjord Norway where my paternal great-grandfather Ole Hoel came from, our family history there goes back several hundred years. They were fishermen miners, blacksmiths and no doubt some of them were Vikings at one time back in history. I would eat all of the salted herring available while there. My great-grandfather and his two brothers came to America in 1868, they had four sisters who remained in Norway. There would no doubt be many cousins to visit while I was there. My great-grandmother died on the trip to America or shortly after they arrived.

My third side trip would be right in the country of Finland to my maternal grandfather’s town. Oulu Finland. His name was Kalle Vayrynen. He came to America with a couple brothers and sisters in around 1870. The Vayrynen family history in that region goes back to the time the first records were kept. While there a steaming hot sauna, followed by a naked plunge into the lake would have to be on the agenda.

My fourth trip for the summer would be to Sweden to my maternal grandmother’s home town Ruskola, Overtornea, Sweden.
By the time I get there I should be ready to sit down and visit with my blonde haired and blue eyed cousins. Or maybe white haired and cataract covered eyed cousins. It will be a fun time.

November has arrived and I want to get an early start for Bangkok. This might be a shock and awe experience. I hope to fly into Don Muang International Airport just for old times sake. I spent two months there in 1961, as a member of the Able Mable Reconnaissance Task Force. The long  cab ride into Bangkok will bring back memories of many trips to the city.

If they still have the three wheeled cabs in Bangkok, I might walk. Two of us rode a three wheel scooter cab once, the driver weighed about three hundred pounds. Sixty miles an hour in bumper to bumper traffic, very exciting! It will be great to take pictures with a modern camera that does justice to the subjects or objects. The Golden Buddha never looked right in black and white. I should check to see if the Nippa Hut is still open, what the heck I have all winter.

6 thoughts on “My Two Cities Helsinki and Bangkok

  1. Nice flow of thoughts! I was in Bangkok 5 times this year while I travelled Thailand’s neighbouring countries for 4 month. I often found myself wondering what the city must have been like “back in the days”. I would be very curious to hear about your impressions of 21st century Bangkok, if you were to go there 🙂 !

    Now I moved to Helsinki and it’s, well, let’s say a bit a different cup of tea. Especially now in November it sure would be great to be able to escape to buzzing, tropical Bangkok…


    • Hello Ansel, you must feel right at home in Helsinki with the name Ruotsalainen, I have some very good friends by that name in Lake Norden, South Dakota. I mentioned it would no doubt be a shock and awe experience, if I went back to Thailand after over 50 years, I imagine the changes are unreal as they are everywhere else in this world. Thanks for visiting My Mixed Blog, I’m sort of a newbie at this, like a blind man feeling my way around. I would like to hear about your recent travels in the neighboring countries of Thailand. Keep in touch.
      Best wishes, God bless


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