Helsinki, I have grown to like you very much. When I first arrived here I was not so sure, but now after 2 and a half days exploring I can confirm, you are a very nice place!
As I left off my last post, I was planning to meet my friend Helen for the day, to explore this cosmopolitan city together. What a wonderful time we had! We met as planned near the centre of town, and meandered from one fun activity to another. We cycled our bikes all around the city, along the sea wall, admiring the boats and enjoying the salty light breeze whipping our hair and faces.
Before I met with Helen, I found the botanical gardens and had a quick wander through there. Again I was happy to see so many blossoming peonies.
The Helsinki craft beer festival was on so this is where we spent some time in the sun, catching up, and enjoying a few small ciders. We topped it off with an excellent share plate of nachos, pulled pork and guacamole; a perfect and very tasty light snack.
It was so nice to see my friend. We chatted happily throughout the day, catching up on life and simply enjoying each others company. I love to meet up with my friends all over the world, it makes travelling so much more rewarding when you have a friendly face to visit and spend quality time.
We walked, cycled, explored and rested in the central park square, enjoying the sun and atmosphere supine on the soft green grass in the centre of Helsinki.
We ended the day with an excellent Tibetan meal, only a short walk from the ferry. The day had been so sunny, but ended with giant droplets of rain, breaking the spell of our perfect day exploring Helsinki. We hugged good bye, and I made my way back to my temporary home, satisfied and happy with my great day out.
The next morning I felt very lazy, I was tired from exploring, and slightly worn out from a continual absorption of images, places, sights and sounds. I gave myself some time in the morning to relax, read, mindlessly flick through my social media feeds; by lunch time I was ready to go again, somewhat refreshed and inspired again.
I made a plan in my head and it all worked out really well. I ventured down to the harbour, and began with lunch. With a strange feeling of hunger (what is that?), I had not really had much breakfast, I was ready for an authentic Finnish meal. I decided on salmon, potatoes and these delicious fried garlicky sardines; it was one of the best meals I have had! I took my time to absorb my new surroundings enjoying the smells, sounds and delights around me. I could hear the squeal and squawk of sea birds, diving for an opportunistic feed. The sounds of an accordion playing in the background, creating a perfect holiday atmosphere for tourists and locals alike. I could hear the chit chat of multiple languages coming from the market square and the sizzle of salmon as it cooked on the hot plate, ready to be devoured by hungry customers. I was relaxed, and enjoying myself immensely.
I was pretty pleased with myself and ready for activity number 2; it was time to explore this famous island called Suomanlinna. I enjoyed the quick ride over, snapping at the seagulls as they flew frantically behind the boat. Their wild flying and dipping and weaving seemingly purposeless, they appeared to enjoy the breeze or the engine fuel or maybe the occasional jumping fish?
Once there I walked around the cobblestone streets, enjoying this quaint little island. I wandered into a few cafes and art shops, enjoying the gifts and art works, without buying too much besides some pretty art cards. After a coffee and some photos, the rain began spelling my departure. I was ready to get onto some inside activities!
I made my way to Ateneum, the central Art Gallery and museum. It was absolutely amazing! A wonderful display of portraits, landscapes and a feature exhibition by Alice Neel, a deceased modern life painter. I wandered around happily admiring all the artworks, speculating at times; I am sure I could paint like this! I am actually really inspired by all the art I have seen on my travels so far. It has inspired and motivated me to get painting when I return home. Fill my walls with artwork!
I realise that all art is great, if you use a really expensive looking frame, it makes it even better! Lol! I am an art lover and will do my best to get creative when I get home and make some of my own creations! I will post you the proof!
Satisfied with my days efforts, I felt like I had concluded to the best of my ability my time in Helsinki. I would have loved to have more time for another sauna, and perhaps a day trip to Tallin Estonia would have been good too. I am sure I will be back to this part of the world another day in the not too distant future.
Next on my list is Greece! I fly out to Athens then straight on to Santorini. I am looking forward to some sun and relaxation by the pool time. And I am very much looking forward to exploring the next magical place and taking heaps of new photos!
I hope you have enjoyed my trip so far, I am heading into the last country next, my time abroad is coming to a close. I will vow to make the most of my time in Greece and write heaps about it all!
Any tips for Greece for me?
Take care and drop me a line to say hello! I love visitors!