Greetings from HELsinki! The reason I’ve been silent for so many days in a row has been my trip to Helsinki. I’m writing these lines from the middle of the forest, with lovely sun rays going through the branches. I was in desperate need of relaxing and taking time for myself. Helsinki is one of those places where you can relax and have a great time visiting unusual places.
We arrived here at midnight, and the next day we took a walk and headed to Suomenlinna. Helsinki streets are nice, neat, and relaxing. Even the busiest streets have a great atmosphere during the day. We walked around the Esplanadin Puisto before getting into a Ferry headed to Suomenlinna. If you’re going to do that, consider having a byte in the market nearby (Kauppatori). There are fresh fruits and neat places where to taste meat pies.
We’ve been told that we’ve been fortunate because the temperature is just perfect. It isn’t cold, and it isn’t hot. Walking around is just a delight. The only thing you need to survive Suomenlinna is comfortable shoes. The stoned streets of most of the island can kill your feet quickly, and tire you quite fast. Consider wearing shoes with firm soles so that you won’t end up complaining about any stone in your way.
Suomenlinna is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Known also as “the Fortress of Finland,” it holds treasures all the way. It was made by the Swedes in the mid-18th century. It’s a set of islands connected with cute bridges.
We visited the Suomenlinnan Kirkko, a church built by the Russians in 1854. However, our target was the Vesikko. It’s the only remaining WWII submarine in Finland. It’s small, and when you are in you get an idea how narrow and uncomfortable it was. Then we went to the Sotamuseo Maneesi. It offers an overview of the Finnish, Russian, and German military. It has creepy mannequins with the uniforms. But all in all, it was great.
Back to Helsinki, we decided to walk for a little bit more and visit the Presidentinlinna (Presidential Palace), and the Helsinki Cathedral. Since we jump in and out Rautatientori station, we can enjoy the art nouveau flairs easily.
Ever since I arrived in Helsinki, I had small surprises. Sometimes it feels like being in Japan. But taking the train shocked me. At Rautatientori I read “JR” instead of “VR” as the logo for the trains. The reason is that both logos are incredibly similar. No wonder my brain is playing tricks on me.
The Helsinki Cathedral is impressive. You’ll get a different feeling depending on the time of the day you decide to visit it. The reason is simple: the light. Taking pictures of the place is a delight, but depending on your light the feeling is going to be completely different. So, I recommend you to stop-by during different times, and to go inside. It’s simple and yet compelling.
Also, dare to walk around without fear. Helsinki is perfect to just walk around and discover great venues. Coffees might be expensive, but they’re worth it if you find a great location. Also, let your eyes wander and notice all the details. Sometimes the best things are just in front of you. So, don’t stick your nose in the guidebook too much, and wander daring to get lost.
If you’re crazy about books, then you should stop at Akateeminen Kirjakauppa. It’s Finland’s biggest bookshop. Most of the books are obviously in Finnish. However, you have also a great selection of books in English, and many textbooks to learn Finnish (if you’re up to it.) And, you can find some that have English explanations. Worry not, because you’ll discover Moomin all over the place.
I also found a very spooky children’s book called “Noidan Käsikirja.” It has a skull on the cover. Thousands of Finnish kids got traumatized by it. Now, they’re publishing it again. I guess it’s for nostalgics.
Food is fantastic as well. The selection of chocolates, ice-creams, and all sorts of pastries is endless. So, yes, you can get extra kilos in record time. There’s also a great selection of Deer dishes, and funky food (boar meat, and different types of toasts with crab and other kinds of fish). I don’t remember the names of what I’ve eaten so far, but just know one thing: everything was delicious!
And then I went to the supermarket. I’ve been several times already, and I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of money on chocolates and licorice. There’re so many types that it’s tough to only choose one. So, yes, I’m crazy as a hatter, and all my presents come from a Supermarket. In the meanwhile, I’ll be drinking different types of lonkero after sauna.
I have some more days to go. I’m going to enjoy writing fantasy in the middle of the wood. Let me get lost with adorable chocolate and tasty lonkero.