Trip number 10 of 2003 was to Finland. As my desire to go to parts of Europe further afield was increasing, so was Ryanair's, and when I saw that they had started flying to Finland, I decided it was time for me to head that way as well.
I went with John and Moh. For no clear reason, when we arrived in Tampere, the immigration formalities were desperately slow. For about an hour the queue inched forward, frustration boiling over among some of the passengers. When we finally got to the end, completely inexplicably John and Moh got Finland stamps and I didn't. I felt robbed as we got the bus into Tampere, and then found our way onto a train to Helsinki.
There was snow on the streets of the capital when we arrived. The morning was grim and cold, and we wandered from our hostel towards the city centre. The first thing we passed was the Uspensky Cathedral. Finland had been a province of the Russian Empire until 1918, and inside the cathedral, it felt like I was back in Moscow.