Tampere, Finland: July 21st, 2022 to July 26th, 2022

What can I say? It’s been a while since I’ve updated. I’ve just been busy. Between teaching last year, which was full of drama, COVID, and graduate school, there just wasn’t much to update about or planned trips.

I knew I was going to Finland about a year ago. I didn’t say much about it because with COVID and then the Russia-Ukraine War; I wasn’t even sure the trip would happen.

Last year, when I was home briefly, my mother mentioned how she wanted to see Queen in concert, but they were not coming to the United States, only to Europe. Queen is one of her favorite bands. She and my brother danced to a Queen song for their mother/son dance at my brother’s wedding. My dad abhors Queen (He also hates Journey) and said he wouldn’t go to a concert with her. So she asked me to go instead. I have a very limited summer schedule because of teaching and how the school year works in Texas, so there were only a few dates that I could go. I told her I would go with her if there was a date in Finland. Sure enough, there was. The concert was originally going to be in Helsinki. Still, with the Ukraine-Russian War, it got moved to the Nokia Arena in Tampere because Russia owned the original concert venue in Helsinki.

So, I had one day between the Colorado road trip and my Finland trip. So the one day I had between the trips involved a lot of laundry. I took the dirty clothes out of my suitcase, washed them, and repacked them. I had a flight from Houston to Dallas, then I met my mother at the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, and we flew to Helsinki from there. Not much to say about the flights. My mother got business class tickets for us, so flying to and from Finland/Texas was a lot of fun. I even managed to get a few hours of sleep on each flight since the seat was converted into a bed. I watched the newest Spiderman movie on the flight to Finland and enjoyed it. I also played a little bit of Persona 5 Strikers and Xenoblade DE. However, I’ve become a pescatarian since the Colorado road trip because we drove past so many kill farms, which made me really depressed and sad. I also am deathly allergic to nuts. Therefore, I was limited in what I could eat on the flight, but I still managed to find some things I could eat. We landed in Helsinki at around 10 am, and we had a car pick us up and drive the two hours to Tampere.

We stayed at a Mariott Hotel in Tampere. There’s not much to say about that; it was a typical hotel. I enjoyed their breakfast. Finnish oatmeal is amazing, and I am trying to experiment with oatmeal here to mimic the oatmeal there, and have not succeeded yet. They also had a really good dish with tofu and vegetables. The first day we got there, I walked around the city using a map to find a grocery store so I could buy vegetarian-friendly meal choices like yogurt to keep in the room refrigerator, and a took a few pictures.

To be honest, there’s much to talk about that. It was rainy the next two days, so I didn’t get out much. I spent most of my time in the room, playing Final Fantasy XV on my new laptop, which I enjoyed immensely. However, shortly after I returned, Xenoblade 3 came out, and I’ve been obsessing over that ever since. I’ll eventually get back to my Final Fantasy game.

We arrived in Finland on Friday morning, and the Queen concert was on Sunday night.

I wouldn’t say I am the world’s biggest Queen fan. I enjoy some of their music. I don’t hate them as my dad does. I honestly would NOT have spent my own money to go see this concert, but my mother loves Queen, and she wouldn’t travel alone, and the only way she was going was if somebody accompanied her.

Overall, the concert was a really good show. Adam Lambert was great. He had amazing makeup, and I wanted most of the shoes he wore at the concert. I enjoyed the concert, but again, it’s not a concert I would have chosen to attend personally. We got to the show, and I waited in the long line to get my mom a Queen tee-shirt since her knees were hurting, and she couldn’t wait in the line. Most of the crowd was maskless. I wore a mask because there were so many people there. I also wore masks at the airport and on flights. I also wore earplugs because I didn’t feel like losing my hearing.

Here is a picture of my mom and me at the show. For the record, I look like my dad’s female clone, and my brother looks more like my mom.

This was the setlist:

Now I’m Here
Hammer to Fall
Somebody to Love
Killer Queen
Don’t Stop Me Now
In the Lap of the Gods… Revisited
I’m in Love With My Car
Bicycle Race
Fat Bottomed Girls
Another One Bites the Dust
I Want It All
Love of My Life
’39
These Are the Days of Our Lives
Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Under Pressure
A Kind of Magic
I Want to Break Free
You Take My Breath Away
Who Wants to Live Forever
Tie Your Mother Down
Radio Ga Ga
Bohemian Rhapsody
Ay‐Oh
We Will Rock You
We Are the Champions
I did know most of the songs. I knew some better than others. The band gave it all, and they played an awesome show. Their show had some cool lasers and lights, too, and vaguely reminded me of going to the planetarium when I was younger to see laser-light Pink Floyd shows. My mother enjoyed the show, and to me, since she’s the one who loves Queen so much, that’s all that mattered.
Not all of the pictures I took on my phone came out well. But a few did:
I also took a few videos that I posted on YouTube.
After the concert, we went back to the hotel. It was pretty late.
The next day, I met with a friend in Finland. Laura took the train from Helsinki to Tampere, and we spent the day together. We did a lot of walking. I’m not even kidding. We walked everywhere. I enjoyed our walking tour a lot. Tampere is a huge city, and I saw all sorts of cool things on our walking tour. And it was awesome to meet up with Laura, who I’ve known for years. After walking, we went to a sushi buffet and had some sushi. Unfortunately, I wasn’t very hungry, but the sushi I did eat, and the vegetarian spring rolls were delicious 😉 and so was the ice cream. I bought some souvenirs for my family. Laura helped me pick out some coffee and tea from Finland, and dad has since told me that he’s enjoyed them both very much. I got some coffee and chocolate for Justin. The chocolate was delicious. I finished the banana toffee one I had bought for him because it was so freaking good. I love bananas and toffee so much, and together, they were amazing. I got a golden toilet keychain for Justin and a derpy unicorn one for myself, which is currently on my keychain. I got Brenda a magnet because that’s what I get her every time I go someplace. I also bought some Moomin toys for Henry that I gave to my mother to give to him.
Here are pictures from my walking tour with Laura.

The next day, mom and I woke up early because we had to catch our flights back to the states. There’s not very much to say about that. I sort of slept for a few hours. I drank a lot of blueberry juice. It was delicious. When I wasn’t sleeping, I played games on my switch. Justin picked me up at the airport with Taco Bell and Sonic.
It was a very short trip, but I enjoyed it. I like Finland a lot. I think the next European vacation I plan with Justin will be a road trip in Finland and a few days in Estonia, which we can get to by ferry from Finland. I liked Estonia a lot when I visited it in 2018 and would love to return. I’m not sure when that will be, but hopefully soon.
I still need to update about Colorado, but I need to get those pictures off my DSLRs first. I’ll get that done soon.

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