Friday, September 09, 2016

Helsinki, Finland

Picking up where I left off about a month ago, maybe more...
Our transit from Tallinn to Helsinki was in style!  We took a 2.5 hour ferry but because Chris has been with me on the boats/ships before, he actually booked a room where we can lay down in case things went south for me.  Yeah, me and sea travel have been known to have some issues :( Anyway, it was really nice to have that because the seating on the ferry is first come, first serve and people end up sitting absolutely everywhere.  What was also weird was the amount of alcohol people were bringing from Estonia to Finland – cases and cases of beer!

When we arrived in Helsinki and checked into our hotel, we knew to start looking for dinner right away (it was about 9PM).  After some wondering, we found a nice Finnish place and had Finnish taster platter with Finnish cheese, meatball and some other random things.  It was alright, but nothing like the Estonian food.  The wine in Finland, however, was better.  At least for me since I don’t like dry.

Following day, we went out to explore the city.  Our first stop was Rock Church.  Church was built in 1969 and its below the ground level, with only the dome is visible from the street.  It’s hard to explain, it’s hard to photograph to show its beauty but  one of the words to describe is different.  And since we’ve been in Germany we have seen A LOT of churches so sometimes different is good.

Inside the church, you can kind of make out the rocks behind Chris
We also wondered to Uspenski Orthodox Cathedral which is a largest Orthodox Church in Western Europe.  It’s situated up on the hill and we kind of just enjoyed sitting up there, enjoying the sun and the peacefulness of the all of it.   
Can you say "grandiose"?

Market Square and Hall were kind of fun - big square with lots of tents with souvenirs.  What was different about Helsinki (besides everything since it was being our first time in Scandinavia) is that there are very few souvenir shops, and most of them were congregated on the Market Square.  Market Hall had lots of food and most of it was seafood - some raw, some prepared but very few places to sit down so we ended up finding a sushi place nearby to grab lunch. I love sushi!

Sea Fortress Suomenlinna was probably our most enjoyable stop in Helsinki.  It was built in 18th century, and it was used as a defense by Sweden, Russia and Finland at different times. I am guessing that not many places in the world can claim to be defending 3 different nations.  What makes it really cool is that there are still guns that face west back from 19th century when Russia ruled Finland, that it’s an island and has the cold breeze, that it has a tiny little beach where we got our feet wet in the Baltic, that you can climb on the rocks but also stay on the path … I can keep going but it’s really better to see it in person.

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