So I step off the train in darkest Finland, it is -10 and there is Kimmo my long time Polar Bear friend waving his big hand at me. I go up and great him. Next to him is standing another guy, and so I go to shake his hand, but then I recognise his face from may years ago, but not from cold climes but from somewhere much hotter. I shake his hand and am met with a warm smile, one that I have not seen for four years perhaps. This is one of the wonderful things about my job, you are able to bump into people you have not seen for so long in the most bizarre of places. It is Rodrigo, from the sunniest Portugal where we used to make sand sculptures together. He had come all the way to Finland to make ice sculptures for the first time.
We drive into the darkness, the roads covered with snow, Kimmo’s van tyres gripping with ease as he flyes around the corners, the trees bending with the weight of the snow.
“So, we are not staying in a hotel.” pipes Kimmo.
“OK, some log cabins then?” I am not being optimistic, we have stayed in them before.
“Not quite. Remember when we went to the holiday cottage on the lake?” Log cabin it is then, this was sounding good, picturesque, boats, saunas fire, BBQ, “…Well, there was a mental hospital that you could see on the hill….” Oh god. “We are staying there.”
Since I watched the movie the shining as a child, I have since had a slight phobia of long corridors. Now long corridors in an old mental asylum are something else.
Through the trees I could see the lights around the buildings as we approached, but no lights in the buildings themselves. This was a little spookey. Only one building still had some lights on, and had some patients there; we drove past it and pulled up to another deserted building.
“So, here we are. You don’t mind if I go home do you Jamie?” Ah, not at all Kimmo, why have three people go insane when you can get away with two.
“…Oh, and the lights do not work on the stairs.” What a suprise, an old mental asylum with no lights. So in we went scrambling in the dark to find our room on the third floor, searching the corridors for number 301. I looked in one room and there was what appeared to be two beds to each side and then a third table with an operating light hanging low from the ceiling. I don’t think so.
After a time we found our rooms, and it appears to be a cosy enough appartment. Still, I opted to share a room rather than have one by myself.
Tomorrow we cut some ice and compact the snow for making the sculptures in the grounds.