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Erik & Smisty & TPR do Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland

Part 26: Cork Is Sorry

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At last we come to the final park of the trip, Linnanmäki. The name means Water Castle Hill, but I think they should've included the word "rocky" in there somewhere, personally.


25: Sampo Circus



The park was founded, and is still run, by the non-profit Children's Day Foundation. Entry is free, though one must of course pay for the attractions. Can you guess what year it first opened?



The first ride of the day was Taiga, an Intamin LSM launch coaster not completely dissimilar in style to VelociCoaster. I think I like this one slightly more, though it does lack the theming of IOA's ride. Both are smooth and aggressive, but VelociCoster's first half feels like it's made up of smaller, more compact elements (which I guess I'm saying is less good).

A pretty great ride, in any case.



Taken through the window of the gift shop, because I'm artsy.



Next door to Taiga is Kyöpelinvuoren Hotelli, the exterior of which is "shown" here, in this shot from the queue for the Ferris wheel--because, again, artsy.



I had no idea this dark ride existed, and it was spectacular. It reminded me a lot of Blue Train, except where Blue Train is a celebration of random mix-and-match horror theming, Kyöpelinvuoren Hotelli has a consistent theme throughout--which might sound less interesting, in a way, but isn't because that theme is, "What if witches ran a hotel but a wizard showed up to fight them and got killed almost immediately and they also live in the hotel and there are werewolves too sometimes I guess."





Yes, the park has a fun house. But, it's a fairground-style trailer-mounted one. Better than not having a fun house though, to be sure!



I'm not afraid to punch a seagull.



I don't know what this is, but I appear to be having fun. I suppose you could classify it as a powered coaster, but I'm not sure what the point would be since no one should be counting powered coasters anyway.



Goldballs modelling the next "what the hell is this?" ride.



This dark ride I did know about.

I had no idea so many coaster enthusiasts were coulrophobic.



I thought it was great! (Giving Linnanmäki the best 1-2 dark ride punch of the trip.)

Let me know if you want more pictures of terrifying dark ride clowns!

Or witches!

Or that one wizard guy who died.






Next door to the Clown Circus is this walk-through haunted house and mirror maze. Well lit and family-ish, but I really enjoyed it. They give you 3-D glasses, but they feel pretty unnecessary, to be honest.



Some cool effects in the mirror maze, like glass that "breaks" to reveal monsters when triggered by passers-by.



Some areas of Linnanmäki are themed and some aren't--or I just don't understand what those areas are themed to.

Or, to put it another way, Linnanmäki is circus-themed except when it isn't, which is frequently.

Don't tell me that doesn't make sense unless you've been there.



There is no other theming of this kind in the park. Enjoy your pee!



I think this photo was taken from the "sky cabin" style observation tower, Panoraama.



Vuoristorata has a similar layout to Bakken's Rutschebanen, but this one is still breakman operated.

(Er...brake-person operated?)

Unfortunately, this one was rather rough and dull. Of course, I only rode it once (because it was rough and dull), and by its nature, one would expect some variation from ride to ride--but I can only judge by what I experienced. And what I experienced was pointless.

RMC it!




Why, bug?

Linnanmäki, that's why.



There's something weirdly interesting about a monorail built through a multi-level park in such a way that it travels directly alongside pathways.



In case it wasn't obvious, I fell in love with this park when we walked in.



Hot dog, lunch!



The train (which has a tiny graphic of a train on the front of it, presumably so that you'll know what it is once you get up close) travels around this water tower that doesn't have water in it, but can't be torn down for historic reasons.



It can apparently have a roller coaster built inside of it, though.



Linnunrata eXtra

Linnunrata means "Milky Way" and eXtra means "stupid VR goggles that you shouldn't use because the inside of this ride is actually really nicely themed!"

To space, obviously.


Oh, and hey, Barry's back!

He's been back for awhile actually. In fact, think he only missed, like, one park.

Don't rely on me for news updates is what I'm saying.



That looks cool. How do we get down there?



For an extra thrill, ride your horsy along the edge of a rocky cliff.



It's a walk-around character. Of some sort. Quick, walk around her!

Quickly googles "Linnanmaki mascot."

Oh, Rolle the Clown. Which, yeah, don't google that. She's not it. She's waaaaay less horrifying.



Yes, Smisty and Goldballs are on this thing. Photo by me.



Maybe this is more common than I think, but I've never seen a swinging ship ride with restraints that come down over your body and rows that face one another.

We rode just because it seemed weird.



The park's spinning coaster, Salama, was quite alarming in that the ride was janky and rough leaving the station and all the way to the top of the lift hill. But then it was fine and smooth and enjoyable. It was almost a feature. Like, let's make people think this ride is going to be horrible, but then it's fun actually!



This area of the park is largely themed to the Finnish epic, Kalevala. And if you don't know what this, there's a chance you actually do. At least, if you've ever seen the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode featuring the Finnish/Russian film based on that mythology, "The Day the Earth Froze."

That's right. The big metal thing shooting water and fire is, in fact, meant to be a Sampo.


Wait...MST3K paired that film with a short called, "Here Comes the Circus."

Oh. Your. God.

That means that Linnanmäki is entirely themed after Episode 422 of Mystery Science Theater 3000.



Pikajuna is a Mack powered coaster that was primarily interesting for how it intertwined with some of the park's other coasters.



Speaking of Mack, we were warned that there's a reason Tulireki is the world's only Mack E-Motion Coaster. And during the first third, it didn't seem too bad. But oh that second third, the jack-hammering begins! And then the last third is kind of in-between, where it's just a little bit terrible.

I am not an engineer, but I have to suspect that the drunken elves that move the seats a bit in relation to the chassis just don't have the magic to maintain their composure at the bottom of the drops.



The park also has an upcharge Sea Life Aquarium. Well, not an upcharge, really, as the park is free to enter. So, just a charge, I guess. Maybe it's even weird to say, "the park has," since there's also an entrance from outside the park. Not that having to enter the park would be any great hindrance.

Anyway, naked dudes eating ice cream. And one has a bird on his head.

Just try that sh!t with me, gull. I'll mess you up.



Can verify that the aquarium has an underwater tunnel, making it officially legitimate.



It also put a little hat on a sea urchin, making it fun in a way that's kind of dubious.



"Just try putting a hat on me, aquarium. I'll mess you up."



I like Sea Life Aquariums. Maybe not quite as much as most city-run aquariums, but they'll do!



Linnanmäki. It's great. Maybe their overall coaster collection is just okay, on average--but Taiga was really good and Salama and Linnunrata are both fun. Two wonderful dark rides, plus a walk-though and a fun house. An observation tower, monorail, Ferris wheel, aquarium. Some interesting flat rides and lots and lots of weirdness. Yeah, this is an Erik park.

Score: 10



And so we say goodbye to TPR (here represented entirely by Robb).


But--and I apologize in advance--this is not the last update, as we spent two more full days in Helsinki doing Erik & Smisty stuff. So stay tuned for:


The elevator of death!

A drab office building full of snakes!

A really big store!

An observation tower that's part of a stadium!

A really tiny power plant!

Baby ribs!

Um...the airport!

And more!


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That means that Linnanmäki is entirely themed after Episode 422 of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

The prophecy is fulfilled!



Or maybe not. But isn't it pretty to think so?



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  • 3 weeks later...

We planned two days on our own in Helsinki, after the end of the TPR trip, in order to do Erik & Smisty things. And we did! Here are the less good ones. (I don't know, it just worked out that way.)


26: Cork Is Sorry



Up bright and early, but it's hard to tell because our hotel is in Finland and that's where the sun lives.



Gotta have some beans and a donut to get me going, though.



Helsinki is nice, and I'm happy to spend time in pretty much any northern European city--or really almost anywhere that I've never been. But, having said that, it's no Stockholm.



Ooh, a grocery store!

Yes, we're easily amused.


We're fun and you're the problem. Ever think of that??



This seems like an unhealthy selection of breakfast cereals even by American standards. And I eat beans and donuts for breakfast,


09PXL_20230624_174003330.thumb.jpg.8ea7c63952bed9c04190614a1a81b15c.jpgSpeaking of unhealthy and American: I'd been looking for this particular Ben & Jerry's flavor the entire trip, after having encountered it at Gröna Lund in 2019., and really enjoying it. (Apparently it's a UK "only" flavor.)



Okay, now that you mention it, "baby back ribs" is a pretty weird name for a food already, but leaving the word 'back' out of it doesn't make it better.



Helsinkians really provide for their seagulls.



(I would go with 'Hellions' if it were me.)



Time to ferry about!

No wait, ferries carry cars. Water taxi? We're gonna ride on a boat boat, is my point.



"Switch costumes, you ignominious pretender!"

If you understand this reference, congratulations! You are unique in all the world and also you're me and your brain is broken.



We did not ride the SkyWheel Helsinki, so I cannot say whether or not licorice consumption is required onboard. But what I can tell you is that the single brown cabin is the world's only sauna on a Ferris wheel.

Actually, I'm just assuming it's the world's only. Their website actually says, "world's first," which seems to imply that someone else has since built another one. However, I can find no evidence of this. Which forces me to consider the even more insane possibility that SkyWheel Helsinki was so sure someone else would immediately copy this idea that they just went with 'first' right out of the gate.



And here we arrive at our destination: Korkeasaari Zoo, which is located on an island.



Just to reiterate: this entire island is a zoo. Which is awesome.

But, to be honest, it feel less like an island that they brought a bunch of zoo animals to, and more like an island that just kind of had some animals on it already, so they declared it a zoo.



So, the location is cool, but is the zoo actually any good?

Well, no. Did you not read the last caption?



But perhaps I'm being too harsh. It does have this leopard.



And a statue of a goat.

Note the building in the background. Which is a restaurant named--and I swear I'm not making this up--Restaurant Pukki.



Which did not make us vomit, I am happy to say.



Probably the most interesting animals at Korkeasaari, Amur tigers.



Other things of note: Korkeasaari is the largest zoo in Finland, was established in 1899, and is open year round.



These are also animals of some kind.



Karhulinna means "bear castle."



Yep, that's a bear.



The old, no longer in use, bear castle. You know, from back when people thought that bears would be more comfortable in a castle than surrounded by trees and stuff. And that they might like being stared at by a mural of a tiger all day.

Look, I'm pro-zoo, but just tear this thing down and never speak of it again, you know?



"I bless the herpetariums of Afriii-cAsia!"



Pop quiz: Is this snake from Africa or Asia?

If it helps, I 100% do not remember because I didn't take a photo of the sign and it's been like 10 months since then and this is easily the longest trip report I've ever done and I'm starting to have regrets.



I guess there's more to a zoo than just animals. There's also wooden planks.



They're not exactly the word leader in gift shops, either.



Wait, you can walk on and off this island? Why did we take a boat??



At this point, I can't really even get off on a naked statue unless there's a seagull on its head.



We wanted to visit Stockmann for a few reasons. For one, it was recommended to us by one of Smisty's co-workers who used to live in Helsinki. Two, it's the largest department store in the Nordic countries, and we like going to stores and malls and things when we're visiting new places. And three, it was a possible place I might find a little something I was hoping to track down while in Helsinki.

That third thing didn't really work out. As while I was able to confirm that it existed (in an employees-only area), I was not able to actually see or experience it.

I know, I know, I'm being terribly mysterious. But I won't make you wait long. Just until the next update.

Oh, wait...that could actually be awhile at the rate I'm going. You'll probably have forgotten all about it by then.



Big store. Lots of different stuff. I don't know. Things adults like.



We found our favorite section, toys!



This game sucks.



Okay, I feel better now.

Ultimately, it is just a really big department (and grocery) store. But we enjoyed checking it out.



Back out on the street, we get one of those classic European "this would be a national landmark in the US, but here it's a transit center" buildings.



The Three Smiths Statue is the metaphorical center point of Helsinki. I think you're supposed to see this one before the parody of it at Linnanmäki (Three Smiths on a Break).


Just one more day to go! Will I get it done before the end of April??

I mean, I have to get it done before the end of May. I can't take a whole year to finish this thing.

Actually, maybe I'll just quit now. That would be funny.


The end.


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it's taking me just as long. . . LOL.. I'm still 3 parks behind you!

that "Bear Castle" reminds me SO much of the Deer enclosure at Marineland, Niagara.  but they STILL use that one - even if the Government took away all the bears from the enclosure they had, so you no longer can feed them ice cream cones.

as to the Helsinki Wheel?  Jon and I DID ride that one :)    (tho, no, we didn't do the Sauna car. that was extra).




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58 minutes ago, bert425 said:

as to the Helsinki Wheel?  Jon and I DID ride that one :)    (tho, no, we didn't do the Sauna car. that was extra).

It was on our 'possibilities' list! But we didn't quite make it over there. As I recall, there was some kind of 4D theater thing it was paired with, but that seemed weak. If it had been a proper flying theater, we probably would've done it.

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42 minutes ago, Electerik said:

It was on our 'possibilities' list! But we didn't quite make it over there. As I recall, there was some kind of 4D theater thing it was paired with, but that seemed weak. If it had been a proper flying theater, we probably would've done it.

it was closed for maintenance during our time there. . . .  so wasn't avail. regardless.


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