I’ve spent a large part—bigger than I’d like to admit—of the past weeks trying to come up with a funny or interesting angle for this post. But I can’t think of one and now I give up.
A few weeks ago I treated myself to a weekend of debauchery by taking a few days off and flying to Finland for the release of the next iteration of EA’s hockey video game series, NHL 15.
Me and some friends have this tradition of getting together for an entire weekend, hanging out, getting shit-faced and playing NHL, whenever the latest version comes out.
And because I had missed last years decadence I was eager to—
You know what? I’m getting ahead of myself.
Let’s start from the beginning.
I love morning flights
Having calculated that I would actually save more money—and my sanity as an added bonus—I ordered a airport transfer taxi, which would arrive at 04:30.
So I woke up at 04:00.
My flight was scheduled to leave at 07:30. The plan was to have enough time to not have to stress about it.
Even the taxi driver thought that the M25 has never been so desolate as we made it to Heathrow in record time. I was left with plenty of time to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee and some breakfast.
So far so good.
Because I was only staying for a weekend and because I enjoy travelling lightly, I had only packed an extra t-shirt, a pair of boxer-briefs and a pair of socks. Since I’ve also
stopped travelling with my belt I simply walked through security in a breeze.
I usually fly with SAS but Finnair had been slightly cheaper this time which meant—the cheap bastard that I am—I was of course flying with Finnair.
Now, as some of you might remember, we’ve had some bad experiences with flying in the past. Though specific to Ryan Air—who are genuinely buddies with Satan—it has left a sour taste in my mouth anyway and I’m always a bit apprehensive when flying, regardless of the airline.
Imagine my surprise when seating myself aboard Finnair’s modern plane, fitted with overhead displays, plenty of elbow space—by aviation standards at least—in-flight entertainment and complementary food and drinks—a sandwich but still.
Finnair is amazing.
Putting things in my mouth
Upon arrival I was greeted by my mom, who had offered to take me out for a pizza. She had asked me if there was anything particular I wanted, to which I had replied “Kotipizza”.
But my mom had been to a rural restaurant & grill named Grillo—with a website so bad that it gives a whole new meaning to “Shitty McTurdtastic”—and wanted to take me there instead because she had gotten, and I quote,
The best pizza I have ever had.
The pizza was okay. Not bad, but definitely not the best I’ve ever had. Would I go there again? Sure. Would I miss it if I couldn’t? No.
Next time I think I’m going to have to insist that we go to Kotipizza instead.
After that, it was time for the debauchery.
Five grown-ass men in a small 32 m2 apartment.
Beer, beer, NHL, beer, sauna, beer, NHL. And a little more sauna for good measure.
I had a great time and even managed to add a few more ales to my spreadsheet, even some Finnish and Swedish ales.
I also had the good fortune of trying an ale that is now officially one of the most disgusting ales I’ve ever had, a Belgian Trappist beer called À la Chimay Bleue.
Sunday, a day for hangovers
Now, I should confess. I get very hungover. Very very easily.
At least when drinking beer, vodka and spirits always seem to have a less detrimental effect on me, but despite drinking mostly beer I managed to come out unscathed and wasn’t suffering a hangover at all.
Which came in handy as I hung out with my mom, siblings and brother-in-law for most of Sunday.
A kosher flight home
Monday morning. I took my sweet time getting up. My flight wasn’t leaving until 17:55, giving me plenty of time to have breakfast and hang out with my mom before heading out to catch up with my grandparents before I leave.
Once I arrived at the airport, boarding had already begun and I simply sauntered through security into the plane to sit down and begin my flight home, which turned out to be interesting all in itself.
On the plane from Helsinki I sat next to a Furniture Designer from Israel. She had been living in the UK for the past 10 years and had a studio in London. Being Jewish, but not of a very strict kind, she had ordered from Finnair’s kosher range—out of curiosity—and was more than happy to share some of it with me—who was also curious.
The Hebrew word “kosher” literally means “fit” or “proper.” When used in relation to food products, “kosher” means that the item in question has been prepared in accordance with Jewish religious practices.
I should point out that neither of us ate any kosher meat.
My two and half hour flight flew by—excuse the pun—as we sat and talked about a little bit of everything.
And before I knew it, I was home again.