Helsinki, Finland. Yooper blueprint.

When I learned the Orchestra would be playing in Finland this summer I messaged my friend Jonathan Rundman, the one guy I know who'd been to Helsinki. I asked what I should do on my day off.  Turns out I asked the right guy.  "You should meet up with my cousins Carl-Kristian and Micke."  So I did.

Before we go on the Rundman Brothers Tour, let's get acclimated. This spaceship outside my hotel window is actually one of two synagogues in Helsinki. It's a little over one hundred years old. I love the look.


This is the Hall of Culture where The Orchestra Starring Former Members of ELO played two sold-out shows. Nice place.

Pedestrians on the right. Bicyclists on the left. DO NOT get the two mixed up or you will get run over.

This is a former railway line that's been turned into a pedestrian and bike path.  It runs right through the heart of Helsinki. 

Street art. I like it.

I see at least two smiling bug-eyed aliens in this piece of board from a building site.

This is a laundromat.  I was away from home for 26 days. Now you understand why I was excited to find a laundromat.

Then I met up with the Rundman brothers. Carl-Kristian is a professional actor and Micke directs live music shows for the national public TV channel. 

The super accommodating Rundman Brothers decided to split up their hosting duties. Carl-Kristian took the morning shift and showed me highlights of Helsinki. Micke would meet me later in the day and take me out to the country. Perfect. It was really generous of them to do this for a total stranger. I'll never forget it.

A distorted iPhone panorama of the Olympic Stadium from the 1952 games. The stadium has hosted the Stones, Springsteen and most every giant rock act.  Plus some athletic stuff.
The harbor area is vast, with lots of waterfront. 

View from inside a Ferris Wheel by the harbor. Blue tinted windows give a unique look at huge cruise ships that routinely traverse between Helsinki and Tallinn, Estonia, which is virtually right across the Bay of Finland.

Lunch by the harbor, cooked and eaten right on the street by the water. Salmon, fried sardines, onion rings, potatoes and fresh vegetables. OMG this was so good. Slimming, too.
We tried to walk off our lunch by visiting the Sky Bar atop a popular hotel. Here's the view.
I bid adieu to Carl-Kristian, thanked him profusely for the tour, and then Micke drove me out to the country. We got into the family motorboat and after only ten minutes we were on a private island in the Bay of Finland. No sound but water, birds and the wind. Awesome. Oh, and my tinnitus. I could hear it really well out there.

Now's a good time to reveal the secret spice flavoring this whole trip to Finland. My Dad grew up in Ishpeming, Michigan, way up in the Upper Peninsula. Ishpeming has a long history with Finnish immigrants who settled there in droves. The aforementioned Jonathan Rundman, who suggested I meet up with his cousins, is from Ishpeming, which blew my mind when I found out.  Besides music, our mutual ties to that isolated American town have sealed our friendship. So, when Jonathan's cousin took me out to the family camp on this beautiful island, I couldn't believe my eyes. It was a parallel universe to Northern Michigan. Calm, cool water, evergreen shores, white-barked birch trees, huge stones left lying around in the wake of ancient glaciers…it was exact! 

Good stone placement.  That's the Bay of Finland, so it's cold and salty.

Let's eat outside, shall we?

Our constant companion.

Enter Finnish sauna, set for 200 degrees. Cook for 25 minutes. Enter Bay of Finland. Cool off for 25 seconds. Voila. Melted muscles. 


I know. Not picturesque at all. 

The least I could do was host my hosts at our show the following night.  Thank you Rundmans!  I can't wait to go back!

9 comments

  • Jorge

    Jorge Albuquerque, NM

    Thanks for sharing the pictures, they are nice !! Next time you are here let me know and I will give you a tour to show you the highlights of the area.

    Thanks for sharing the pictures, they are nice !!
    Next time you are here let me know and I will give you a tour to show you the highlights of the area.

  • Jonathan Rundman

    Jonathan Rundman Minneapolis, MN

    Love the pix! So glad you guys had a good time. Next time I wanna go!

    Love the pix! So glad you guys had a good time. Next time I wanna go!

  • Micke

    Micke Helsinki, Finland

    It was a pleasure hosting you, "a total stranger" :) Turned out to be a very cool and easy one - glad to have met you. Hellos from Maiju and Nakki too.

    It was a pleasure hosting you, "a total stranger" smile Turned out to be a very cool and easy one - glad to have met you. Hellos from Maiju and Nakki too.

  • Lys shonnard

    Lys shonnard Reno, NV

    Hello! Loved reading about your adventures and interactions! Your perspectives weave a vivid and entertaining read. Plus, I'm pretty sure you never come across as " a total stranger" to anyone. Rock on, hopefully Prng and I can catch a show this year.

    Hello! Loved reading about your adventures and interactions! Your perspectives weave a vivid and entertaining read. Plus, I'm pretty sure you never come across as " a total stranger" to anyone. Rock on, hopefully Prng and I can catch a show this year.

  • Gill

    Gill London

    Hi Hux, Thanks so much for taking the time to share your adventures with us folk who would love to be there with you. Beautiful photos and eloquent text... as always! Cheers! :-)

    Hi Hux,
    Thanks so much for taking the time to share your adventures with us folk who would love to be there with you. Beautiful photos and eloquent text... as always! Cheers! :-)

  • Tom Gade

    Tom Gade Red Wing, Mn

    Awesome pics, Hux. Makes you want to be there. When are you guys coming to Minnesota again ? Thanks for sharing Tom G.

    Awesome pics, Hux. Makes you want to be there. When are you guys coming to Minnesota again ?
    Thanks for sharing
    Tom G.

  • kim pendleton bonner

    kim pendleton bonner dallas

    so glad i'm on this list, thanks for sharing!

    so glad i'm on this list, thanks for sharing!

  • Steve A.

    Steve A. Three Lakes

    Hey Hux , I just got back from camp @ Three Lakes where we got to hang out with your cousins and brother. It reminded me about the pics that you showed us about your trip to Helsinki. It was really cool to see and hear more about Finland. Thanks for sharing. Steve

    Hey Hux , I just got back from camp @ Three Lakes where we got to hang out with your cousins and brother. It reminded me about the pics that you showed us about your trip to Helsinki. It was really cool to see and hear more about Finland. Thanks for sharing. Steve

  • MK Wright

    MK Wright Western Springs, IL

    I have no connection to any of the aforementioned persons, but happened upon this site in a web search for Karl-Christian Rundman. I have just finished watching the Finnish TV series "Easy Living" on Netflix US, in which he stars (and which I highly recommend) and was so blown away by his performance as Tapio Mikkonen I wanted to see more of his work (unfortunately not much available in the English language). This little website was at least a nice glimpse into his 'behind the scenes' persona and affirms that his acting (as I perceived it) was grounded in a connection to reality as average people live it. Bravo, Karl!

    I have no connection to any of the aforementioned persons, but happened upon this site in a web search for Karl-Christian Rundman. I have just finished watching the Finnish TV series "Easy Living" on Netflix US, in which he stars (and which I highly recommend) and was so blown away by his performance as Tapio Mikkonen I wanted to see more of his work (unfortunately not much available in the English language). This little website was at least a nice glimpse into his 'behind the scenes' persona and affirms that his acting (as I perceived it) was grounded in a connection to reality as average people live it. Bravo, Karl!

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