Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Gymnaestrada camp Day 1 - Arrival and settling down

Recently I had the honour to volunteer at the World Gymnaestrada, which is a major gymnastics event organized every 4 years. This time it was in Helsinki. To be more precise, I participated in a special international camp organized by the Finnish Summer High School Association (Kesälukioseura), which included volunteering at the event, among many other fun activities.

The 10 days at the camp were most likely the most fun I've ever had in my entire life. Considering that I got there because I came 2nd at the Finnish olympiad for Estonian high school students in spring and a Kesälukioseura scholarship was one of the prizes, I felt quite over-rewarded. We lived in Suomenlinna the entire time, which means that during the camp I got a nice dose of everything I love - international and lively environment, ships, Helsinki, busy schedules, gymnastics and so on. I will be publishing one post per day for every day spent there for the next 11 days, adding one song for each day.

Day 1, 09. July

Since the camp started with a meetup on Kauppatori, which is from where the ferry to Suomenlinna departs, but I took the early morning Viking XPRS to Helsinki, I had the whole day in Helsinki on my own. Since the weather was lovely I spent it walking around Helsinki and shopping. I walked around Töölönlahti, then went to Kamppi and headed towards the West Harbour, where the 50th Anniversary of Tallinn-Helsinki route was celebrated.

Breakfast on the Viking XPRS
Mandatory funnel photo
Meeting superstar on the way
as well as Aidadiva
and Merilin
Sailing past what was to be home for the next 10 days
Silja Symphony 
Ocean Majesty and Suomenlinna II
Seabourn Quest
My feet also carried me there
Tallink was giving away free ice cream!

Europa and Seabourn Quest outbound

When the time was right I headed to Kauppatori where I met some of the people who were also coming to the camp - two girls from Italy, a half finnish guy from France, a girl from Finland, a guy from Poland, a half finnish half dutch girl from Tanzania, plus two teachers from Finland and one from Spain. We took the ferry to Suomenlinna and spent the evening there playing some games to get to know each other better. We were to stay at the Suomenlinna hostel, which was very nice. The reception was only open during a small part of the day, we used the common room for gatherings and rarely saw other guests, so it felt much more like a home than a hostel. After some hours another group from France arrived and joined us. At one point we were given one roll of toilet paper and told that it's all our whole group has for the entire camp. A little disappointed, we sent the roll around and took as many pieces as we thought we would need while trying to leave something for others. After a few rounds it was made clear that we were fooled, and we had to tell as many things about ourselves as the amount of toilet paper pieces we took. I managed to remember all the names and origins in one evening and the next 10 days were looking very promising.

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