What is SKS you ask? I DON’T KNOW. It’s only the name of, oh, every building in Helsinki. Also, every building has a juhlasali. What is that? My Finnish dictionary tells me nothing. The prefix suoma is attached to everything.
Using my mad research skills, I find … nothing. (Mostly because we have no internet in the hostel.) Our offline map figures every music building in Helsinki was named by Sibelius, and we are running out of time to see concerts, so we knock on all the doors with juhlasalis, SKSes, or Sumoa prefixes.
After missing an entire day of concerts, here’s what I’ve learned.
Finnish is hard. But learning it is going to be among my new hobbies, along with learning about bird calls and succulents.
Suoma means Finnish. More specifically, “suomalainen” means Finnish. That’s why the word is on every building.
Juhlasali means great hall. Every suomalainen building has one. So, if you’re looking for a concert, good luck to you.
Sibelius rules Finland.
So, to sum up: don’t go to any concerts in Finland, because you won’t be able to find them. Instead, stumble around, pause for beer, go on a walking tour, lay on the grass by the water, eat salmon, go back to the water, have a sauna, try to remind each other what you were supposed to be doing in Helsinki, go back to the sauna, check out the third “Alko” (liquor store – we translate what is important!) to see if they have Fisherman’s Friend aquavit (they do!), realize you left your towel in the sauna, so you should probably go back, attend a salmon buffet, sit on harbour for sunset …
And admit that Hel is truly heaven.