As you arrive to the Finnish capital you realize that it’s all relaxed,laid-back and calm.There’s no chaotic rush even at the airport. The first tip: don’t rely on the bus drivers. Many of them don’t speak English, the others just don’t bother giving you proper directions. However, on your own you figure out easily how the transportation works, after all even the metro system consists just of a single line, the second one being still in plan.
The massive building above is the main railway station, located in the compact center of the city, where every attraction is at a short walk or tram ride distance.
Weather can be pretty much diverse: in 3 days I had part of heavy rain, sun, wind, cold and cloudy, but bearable temperatures too. Obviously as the weather changes the whole atmosphere suffers a transformation. The Helsinki Cathedral on a rainy day:
The same location on a sunny day with the occasion of Vappu events:
Vappu starts on 30th of april with a lot of music, drinks and a big crowd at the Havis Amanda statue. Students wearing their colorful overalls and the must have white hats, wash the statue and place a hat on it, while everybody cheers and drinks champagne.
The next day, on 1st of May the celebration continues in Kaivopuisto Park with picnicking and more sparkling wine.
With this occasion the Finnish, as know a reserved nation, go a bit crazy and open up much more than usually.
Besides Vappu, there’s still a lot to see and experience in Helsinki. We are still in the center, where at every corner you spot either a cozy bar or an inviting restaurant. You shouldn’t skip either of them. The offer is large when it comes to food, but it is worth trying some Finnish speciality such as reindeer meat. I felt pity for the reindeer, but still couldn’t resist the temptation… In Zetor, a cosy Finnish restaurant in the center you have plenty specialities to choose from.
For drinks in a nice ambiance go to Kaisla. For beer fans there are more than 100 diferent types to choose from, quite a few Finnish as well obviously.
We shouldn’t forget that we are close Santa’s place, Lapland and it’s a good occasion to try out some food from right there.
Besides te very typical reindeer specialities, salmon soup is absolutely delicious and after the tötteröletut ( pancake speciality) I guarantee that you’ll lick all your ten fingers.
This trip was full of amazing food and nice bars, one of them located in Torni hotel, where besides the cute bar and it’s good variety of drinks, also the toilet needs visited. I’m not pointing that out without reason, but I suggest taking the effort of going to the restroom even if you don’t need it. I guess you are a bit confused now, I just let the view speak for itself. View from the Torni toilet:
Helsinki is awesome, but isn’t it cool that in less than 15 min ferry ride you are on a gorgeous island called Suomenlinna? Such a fantastic, Unesco World Heritage site, with beautiful nature and lot of history.
In Helsinki you can see several beautiful and unusual churches as well. Their architecture may be different, but most of them serve to the same religious orientation. Some of them you can spot from far away as being religious institutions, others you wouldn’t guess what they are actually.
The fact is that all above represent churches and are an important part of the daily Finnish life. Speaking of which, hockey becomes essential when the championship starts. Just a few hours before my flight back to Zürich I’ve been invited to Sports Academy Bar to cheer for Suomi ( Finland in Finnish). Luckily they were playing against USA, so I didn’t mind, ’cause if it was against Canada I might have been the only person there cheering for the opponents. The spacious sport bar got packed in minutes with loyal fans wearing their hockey T-Shirts and hats and waving around their national flags. It was a pity leaving in the middle of the game and letting behind me this great city, where I feel I still had things to discover… at a next visit.