30th January

January 30, 2004

It’s 2am Helsinki time and despite being up since 5am, The Man Mountain, Die Mensch-Maschine and myself are led semi-willingly into a late-night disco by Tanya and her ten words of English. After enduring a half hour walk in sub-zero temperatures, we feel we deserve a break from the cold. Five more words of broken English later and we change our minds.

Earlier in the evening at a party held by Centrozoon’s Finnish contact Ola, I’m in the unlikely position of sweating profusely, having overcompensated in the thermals department. Markus, who’s committed the same mistake, also looks like a melting waxwork model. Providing a striking contrast to our Ranulph Fiennes arctic outfits, everyone else stands around casually in t-shirts and jeans speaking in five languages at once. Luckily, English is one of them.

Earlier still, the journey progressed unhindered by the constantly appalling weather. A pleasant train ride to Düsseldorf (featuring a cameo appearance from the legendary Captain Rock from Herzebrock) led to a featureless flight and a subsequent ride through the gritted streets of Helsinki.

Awash with pines and snow, Finland does an excellent job of looking like Finland should.