For the 8th meeting, Néd and I weren’t able to meet in person, so we decided to have a call while introducing our hometowns to each other with the help of Google Maps. Néd showed me Rouen, a big, lively city where he lived most of his life. The Seine river runs through it, which is why a huge drawbridge was built across the river, easing up traffic and allowing boats to sail into the city. There’s a big festival held annually when ships from all over the world sail through, some of them opening up as restaurants and bars along the harbor. Speaking of which, Rouen used to be more of a harbor town, but in the recent years many of the old factories along the riverside were turned into restaurants, malls and other forms of entertainment.
Néd taught me all of this while panning around the map of Rouen. One of the first things I always notice in photos of France is the architecture, which is older and looks more charming to me, compared to Helsinki. Néd argued that Helsinki is beautiful in it’s own way, which I can agree with. I noticed a few Crêperies, and we realized there really aren’t any in Finland, or at least any we know of, though we do have some waffle cafés.
Néd went on with showing me some ruins standing right there in the center. He explained that around 45 percent of the city was destroyed during WW2, and they keep some of the ruins in memory.
I also saw the famous cathedral which was featured in one of the paintings by Claude Monet. It really is such an impressive creation.
We decided to look around Helsinki, which is right next to my hometown, because it would be more interesting to compare things between Helsinki and Rouen. Besides, Néd has already seen the “good” parts of Vantaa.
Néd told me the first time he ever visited Helsinki, he remembers being impressed by the big buildings decorated by huge ads. Even though Helsinki doesn’t have the tallest buildings, it’s size is greater vertically compared to Rouen, where buildings aren’t allowed to expand too much vertically.
I showed Néd mostly around the center, where I spent most of my after-school time during high school. We were often using the setting where you can look at the google maps images from many years ago, because it was funny to see the old store fronts and ads. I continued showing my high school and an apartment building I used to live in.
Lastly we looked around Töölö. In Néd’s opinion, Helsinki doesn’t feel like a capital, because of the large amounts of free space right around the center, and the wide roads.