Minus 4 °F , Snow as far the eye can see. THIS is Helsinki in winter.
Welcome to our Finland-Trip, Part 2!
This time we start at the 6 hours lasting and 50 EURO per person costing bus trip from Kankaanpää to the Finnish capital Helsinki.
The track itself has just a distance of 168 miles, but with the bus and intermediate stations in Tampere, it turns out as a relaxing and smooth ride with view of the beautiful Finnish winter landscape.
If you want to refresh the memories a bit of our experiences in Kankaanpää – just click here.
But still such trip the whole day is somehow tiring and we were pretty glad, when we arrived in the evening in the already dark and bitter cold Helsinki.
Our Airbnb Host assured us, that a contact person is already waiting for us in the flat, which sound pretty soothing for us.
Well, it wasn’t.
After trying a couple of times to reach him via phone, we finally got someone on the phone, who assured us once more, that someone is on the way and we would get into the flat within couple of minutes.
Yeah, at least we managed to wait in the house floor, otherwise we would probably got frozen outside.
Something is completely wrong here…
Finally someone arrived, completely out of breath and somehow “confused”.
Actually this somehow did not really feel trustworthy, but the real fright hit us when we entered the flat.
Obviously the person who lived there before, left the flat like after a fight.
The door was opened, light switched on, TV was on and it was clear, that something was wrong here.
At this point it couldn’t get worse.
We immediately called the host of the flat, a very intense debate followed and the situation was short before going out of hand.
Luckily we didn’t completely lose our nerves and the contact person recommended us a Hotel just around the corner, the SAS Radisson, where we straight went to.
…but all is well that ends well!
What a luck!
There was exactly one room free, which we thankfully booked.
After the long ride and the nightmare with Airbnb we were finally relieved. So we went to buy some nice snacks for the evening and we finally could rest and end this long day.
The problem was just, that the room was available for one night, so beforehand we booked from the hotel another hotel room.
Wasn’t of course a big thing, so next morning we went with all the luggage around 500 meters further into the Street Albertinkatu.
On Tour through Helsinki in Winter
From that point on our mission was finally to discover Helsinki in Winter, at least we had fantastic winter sun – weather. Sunny and clear blue sky.
Temperature ranged still in the very freezing temperatures of around 5 °F, but as everyone knows there is only mismatching clothes.
So we strolled through the relatively small Helsinki (Swedish: Helsingfors). With its around 640k citizen it is by far the biggest city in Finland.
As one of the first highlights we discovered the beautiful harbour of Helsinki and its amazing old market hall (Saluhall) Vanha kauppahalli.
Opened in the year 1888 for the first time, the market hall with its beautiful wood carvings and unique fantastic delicious specialties is truly a touristic highlight.
And yes, the prices are also impressive, “cheap” you don’t find here.
But hey, where else to find real bear meat? Or fresh, huge, red salmon? Delicious sweet Lakka-berry-liqueurs? And so much more…
It is indeed a Discoverer- and Gourmet highlight, but you easily spend some hundreds of Euros here.
Kippis, Lemmy Kilmister
Of course a visit in the local Hard Rock cannot be missed and it was highest time for a good snack anyway.
“Fluid food” as well as solid food was highly welcome!
It is actually some cool Hard Rock, more Scandinavian relaxed instead of wild and hard as I have seen couple of other Hard Rock Cafes already anywhere else in the world.
But no bad thing! Only the price of around 7 Euro for a (SMALL!) Motörhead beer is nearly without concurrence.
Well, did anyone say that Helsinki is a cheap city?
Helsinki in Winter: Sightseeing
In direct neighborhood to the Rock Hard Helsinki you find the Senate Square (fin. Senaatintori).
This place is framed with the Dome of Helsinki and the Monument of Russian Tsar Alexander II, who was well known for his preference to Finland. Since you can see some slight similarities with Saint Petersburg.
Furthermore you find there the so called Sederholmhouse which was built in the year 1757, the oldest stone house in the inner town of Helsinki.
And being in Helsinki in winter time, when all is covered by powdered sugar look like, it is especially romantic here.
The Finnish National museum
The main target of today was the Finnish National museum (Suomen kansallismuseo).
Here you find countless testimonies of Finnish history and national cultural properties. An entrance fee of 15 Euro per person is neither cheap nor expensive.
You just have to decide, which value culture has for you.
For us it was worth in any case and the expositions are seriously spectacular!
The exhibition is divided in 6 sections. Let’s start with the one full of coins, weapons, trophies and more…
Find here some impressions…
Let’s continue with the early period of Finnish history and the history of Finland as an own sovereign country.
The penultimate part describes the life of the Finns before the age of Industrialization and the last part finally is about the younger history of this beautiful country of the thousand lakes.
To make it all not too theoretical, find here some more impressions of exhibits…
All in all the visit took us around 3 hours, but you can also easily spend double that time.
For us it was revealing and interesting and with a warm and good feeling in the belly, more knowledge and probably bit more wisdom even and last but not least an extra portion of satisfaction we strolled slowly back through the meanwhile dark Helsinki to our hotel.
Perfect Start for the travelling year 2016
The rest of the evening was quite unspectacular, the day was already full of events and impressions!
The next morning we flew back to Berlin and I resumed a most satisfying first visit in Finland.
The truly heartwarming welcome of Birdies family, the charming appeal and wild beauty of the Finnish winter landscape, but also the peaceful and symphatic atmosphere of the Finnish capital Helsinki in winter made this trip a perfect start into an amazing travelling year 2016!
Winter- greetings from the Finnish Sauna is sent by Hendrik
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Thank you sincerely, Birdie & Hendrik.