The cigar shop is not far from my hotel. Some quick directions from the front desk and a few blocks of walking put me in front of a door with symbols that I and every fan of the leaf have come to recognize. Of course, every cigar smoker wants to pick up a few Cubans when traveling abroad. This is exactly what I did.
Yesterday, I had my all-time favorite cigar, the Vegas Robaino (I think it was sized double coronoa), and it was magnificent. I also picked up a Partagas Serie D for later. This is all I bought because the prices are absurd. First, the dollar’s performance against the Euro is not doing me any favors. Also, Cuban cigar prices are jacked up in most European countries because the only people buying them are American tourists.
The shop was small, about the size of the Barclay Rex across the street from Grand Central Station back home, maybe a little smaller. It was not designed for customers to stop in and sit around for a while. But, that was fine. I wanted to grab my stick and walk around. If I were to be in Helsinki for a long time, though, I’d have to find some kind of cigar-friendly lounge, because the shop just doesn’t provide one.
I walked up to the store and saw a familiar dynamic. A woman was waiting out front. It reminded me immediately of the toe-tapping girlfriends and wives I’m accustomed to seeing outside De La Concha. I suspected that this young lady’s other half was picking up a few sticks for the road.
The illusion was shattered when another woman walked out … with a pack of cigarettes. I guess some dynamics don’t travel as well across the Atlantic. Nonetheless, I went inside.
The selection was small. There were several pipes on display; like Reykjavik, the price was quite reasonable. But, I have a pipe. I wanted Cuban cigars. The selection was modest but sufficient, and they did have my Vegas Robainos.
Note to cigar-smoking travelers: bring your own fix from home, but by a Cuban or two here for the experience.