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Helsinki

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Senate Square (Senaatintori) with Tuomiokirko on the right

I have previously blogged about why I was Helsinki here. Finland is not classified as part of Scandinavia and that’s ok. It has so many things to offer in itself although not in a flashy way. Everything feels more muted and are just waiting for you to find. Despite “living” there for 3 weeks, I still wish I had more time to see more of this beautiful city and country.

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This was the first ever winter destination I have been so it holds a special place in my heart. Crisp blue skies and even more crisp snow under my feet, plenty good photos were to be taken. Every direction was just as picturesque as the next and the architecture is such a collection that I think, makes this city so stereotypically different from many others. A mix of the European classical coloured buildings and modern architecture plus a number of churches with little sky scrappers makes Helsinki feel special.

I had heard little of Finland before I knew I was going to go there. But walking around, it’s like the innovative and creative design hubs of Finland are just hidden and waiting to explode into the world (think Nokia) just modestly from these ordinary buildings.

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Karjalanpiirakka

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korvapuusti

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Reindeer meat at Zetor

I discovered some delicious pastries! Piirakka was one of my favourites- a rye base with fillings of rice, potatoes or carrots, and I would buy some whenever I could. Korvapuusti- a cinnamon roll, was also a nice tea-time snack with coffee (although to be fair, I’m abit of a coffee snob and no-one does coffee like us Australians). I tried reindeer which is often served with lingonberry jam. Cloudberry jam and seabuckthorn jam were brought home as  heavy gifts (available from Stockmanns). A friend from the lab gave me some good old liquorice lollies each with a varying taste of saltiness. I had never seen so many liquorice lollies in a supermarket aisle in my life. I also tried the famous liquorice shot Salmiakki (easy to drink but you will pay for it later ;)).

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Exterior of the Main Railway Station

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Sites that I visited:

  • Kauppatori: It was the end of Winter when I visited so the market was quite small with no fish for sale when I went but food and handicraft stalls instead. And a very frozen lake (or is it sea?).
  • Suomenlinna: Great day trip out to be surrounded by nature. Pictures to come in another post.
  • Kiasma: Contemporary art museum. I spent a good few hours there and loved the architecture of the museum.
  • Kansallismuseo: National Museum, it was ok. I went after Uni one day- can’t say it was overly impressive (think shelves and shelves of archaeological artifacts).
  • Temppeliaukio Kirkko: The church in a rock, hidden in residential streets, it’s not a very far walk from the main strip and is definitely something different to see.
  • Ice skating at the outdoor rink outside the Main Railway Station
  • Had a drink at Ateljee Bar which gives you a panoramic view of the city.
  • Had a peep in the Design Forum. If only I had more money and more luggage room.
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Main street Pohjoisesplanadi

What I wished I spent more time on:

  • Walking and browsing the design district
  • Entering Uspenski and Tuomiokirkko churches
  • Eaten out more

If you have visited Helsinki, what did you think? Are there any other things I should add to my list for next time? Are you thinking about travelling to Helsinki? Let me know in the comments.

-S.

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Uspenski

Winter in Helsinki

Winter in Helsinki I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to do some work in Helsinki in 2013 and was there for 3 weeks at the end of their winter. As an Australian that had only seen snow once before this trip, the prospect of arriving in a snow laden city with temperatures below […]