St John’s church

Before the performance I was looking for an ATM to get cash and stumbled across St John’s Estonian Lutheran Church. Apparently it was used by the Soviets as offices. When communism fell, the Estonian community, and probably also the Estonian government, rebuilt it in 1995. By the look of the pictures at the entrance it was a huge project.

A Great Night

It was a wonderful experience to see Nutcracker last night, in the theatre where it was first performed in 1892.

I have very happy memories as a child of hearing this music played on a 45 EP on our first record player. In those days I had no idea it was a ballet, but I loved the music.

I was in a box last night. Around me was a proud father with his 5 year old daughter, she was transfixed for the whole night and was quietly taking it all in. Next to me was a woman with her 8 year old grandson Victor (who wanted to practice English with me: “hello”, “good evening”, “that is red”.) Victor wasn’t so impressed and was a bit restless. When we were leaving, the Babushka rang someone, presumably Victor’s parents to pick them up. I overheard her saying something like “he was sitting still some of the time”.

Going home in the number 6 bus was no problem.

The Mariinsky theatre is showint its age a little, but rather than renovating it, they have built a new theatre right next to it, with the unimaginative name “Mariinsky-2”. Nevertheless, it looks good and I might try going there as well.

Hmmmmm, rethinking clothes

I just checked the weather forecast for Helsinki next week.

The weather has been around 0 degrees recently, but just as I arrive, the forecast says the skies will be blue and the temperature will be -10 degrees or lower.

The coat I was planning to take is ok for around -3, but I might have to take something a bit warmer, because I have to get from the airport to my hotel in Helsinki before I can buy warm clothes there.

Vivat King Canute

Today is the 1000th anniversary of the coronation of the Danish Cnut as King of England.

When he “tried” to do the tide, the point he was trying to make was that even the king can’t do that.

Cloudy Day

Question: next month (14th October) is the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings.

How will this be commemorated?

Credenziale del Pellegrino

This is the Pilgrim’s passport kindly mailed to me by the people at the basilica in Assisi. As well as providing evidence of being on the camino, it includes maps of the routes.

This is the plan: Assisi to Rome along this route:



This is one of the camino routes in Europe which are shown in this map:



First Thoughts

I will be (please God) in Rome in 5 weeks. After a couple of days in Rome, I plan to walk from Assisi back to Rome. This is part of the Via Francesco, from Florence to Rome.
I don’t want to plan too much, but these are some things I have learnt about this route:

The way starts from the Santa Croce church in Florence. The first 8 days go through the Casentino nature park.
When you leave the park, you arrive at La Verna, where St Francis received the stigmata.
Straight after this, you arrive at the Montecasale convent, where St Francis met 3 robbers.
The path then follows the Apenine mountain range, then arrives at the Medieval town of Gubbio, where St Francis is said to have befriended a wolf.
From there you walk along a 48 km path that has been constructed from Gubbio to Assisi.
Three kilometres south of Assisi is Santa Maria degli Angeli and the Basilica.
From Assisi, the path goes over Monte Subasio and passes the famous convent Eremo delle Carceri and the nearby town of Spello, with its restored frescoes.
From here we go back to nature and the towns of Spoleto and Bevagna.
Next the town of Montefalco lies in the hills, with more frescoes.
Then we reach Spoleto and then follows some days over the mountains.
Then follows the villages of Ferentillo and Poggio Bustone.
Then we reach Rieti, which is the geographical centre of Italy.
The next town is Stroncone.

Soon after this, the path leaves Umbria and enters Lazio (Latium) and its olive trees. This is not a tourist area (yet) and backpackers are not provided for and there are not many hotels.
We pass Vescovio and the famous abbey Farfa.
The path ends in Rome at St John in Lateran. It was in this basilica that Francis received permission to set up his new order in 1223.