Helsinki is the capital of #Finland and also my heart.
Last month when my summer holidays began we flew to northern Europe. Our first and foremost destination was #Helsinki. I have heard much about Finnish people, my parents talk about them in day to day conversations. Before i visited Finland, i already knew few of their achievements –
Unlike India, children don’t start school there until they are 7
The first exam Finnish children sit for is at the age of 15
Education is never forced on them. Yet, they are the highest scorers in the international exams.
And the most important being they are the creators of the world famous game – Angry Bird !
Impressive it is. Isnt it?
Coming back to what i did there 🙂
The moment we reached Central Helsinki from the airport, we were given warm welcome by a boy, almost by age, Hamza. He helped us catch the right bus to our hotel. We stayed at the #Clarionhotel for three nights, newly made, luxurious hotel. Me and papa took a swim at the famous pool on the 16th floor. The pool has glass walls, so you can enjoy the view ahead and below you while swimming. Just wow !
Here in India, I have only seen street lights as poles on the sides leaving the main path less lit. Street lights in Helsinki and even in other European countries hang from the wires illuminating the path beautifully. Makes more sense !
If you happen to read this post and put up in #Clarion, then take Tram no. 9 to Helsingfors or the Helsinki Railway Station. There you can buy travel cards or sightseeing passes easily. You can get them from the hotel as well but just incase it gets over (like in our case) then Helsingfors is the best place to fulfil all your needs. Just look for #R- Kioski which sells the passes for 24,48 or 72 hours. They even have it for 7 days if I remember correctly.
Places to see :
Suomenlinna – Ferry to Suomenlinna is at walking distance from Helsingfors. If you have the travel pass you can take a free ferry which takes 15 minutes to the Suomenlinna island. People come here to picnic, stroll, play or just laze around. It is spread out in an area of 6 kms.
My favourite part was visiting #Cafe Vanille – must try their homecooked blueberry cake and spinach quiche.
Next up was Korkesaari zoo. Must visit for the bears(national animal of Finland) & the angry birds (they will scare the hell out of you – BEWARE of Finnish birds). We also saw Snow Owl, Pikkupanda, Amur Leopards, sleeping tigers and lazy lions.
Rock Church – Made by two brothers by blasting out a single piece of rock. It has brilliant acoustics. Children play music there for visitors of the church. We lit candles and took pictures of the marvellous beauty.
Sibelius Monument – They told us on hop on hop off bus that it was constructed by a woman architect. The locals believe the structure was inspired by organ pipes but actually the architect tried to portray a forest scene believed to be the true inspiration of the artist Sibelius. The monument is located near the sea in a park and is made up of 600 organ pipes.
Must visit the very popular #Regatta Cafe – Had an icecream and munched on some almond cake with condensed milk on top. Yummm !
Europe Coffee Chain – Espresso House. While i enjoyed playing on my ipad, my parents enjoyed some of the famous Finnish desserts.
For shopping visit the famous Forum mall. Sells everything possible. They say if you cant find it at Forum, you don’t need it ! Also, Ginatricot, i bought my favourite glasses from there.
Don’t miss the birch trees with white bark. Only adds to the beauty of Finland.
Please check out the berries- lingon, cloud, rasp, blue, black and much more. They have it in plenty. Since Finland is 75% forest and only 25 % inhabitated by people you can find forest berries there in abundance ! We bought lingonberry jam for home, delicious it is.
My tips –
Please fly Aeroflot. They give the best of gifts onboard to engage oneself and have the latest kids movies collection to enjoy your long flight. I loved their special kids meal onboard too. We flew Delhi – Moscow – Helsinki (Super Fun !!!)