Helsinki Finland

Those of you who know us might know that we’re not city folk in general. We’ll go to a city and spend time occasionally, but we wouldn’t pick a city as vacation destination. Having said that, it isn’t a surprise that, while we were impressed with Helsinki, it wouldn’t necessarily be a destination for a vacation to Finland. Rather, we would probably fly in and spend an afternoon seeing the sights; maybe have coffee and a pastry in a coffee shop somewhere and then make our way north to Lapland to see some reindeer.

Our tour of Helsinki was from a cruise line sponsored bus. We drove around the city looking over the more prominent sights and would occasionally stop and see things a little closer. We made stops near the Senate Square where we had time to view the Senate Building, the Lutheran Cathedral and an interesting statue of the Russian Czar Alexander II. We say it’s interesting because all references to times when Finland was occupied by Russia have long since been removed except this one. According to our guide, the statue of this particular Russian Czar was left to stand because the Fins more or less liked his rule. Something to research for a future article perhaps.

Rock church was constructed in the 1960's, built inside solid rock. They charged $2.00 to use the restroom.

Rock church was constructed in the 1960’s, built inside solid rock. They charged $2.00 to use the restroom.

We stopped at the famous Temppeliaukio Rock Church (a Lutheran church carved out of solid rock), then headed out of town to Hvittrask for some time at the home of three of Finland’s most famous architects. They were Eliel Saarinen, Armas Kingren, and Herman Gesellius, in case you’re following famous Finnish architects. For us, the fun here wasn’t the fact that we were snooping around some famous folks homes. They of course don’t live there any more. The fun was that we were outside the city and had a chance to see the countryside, to look if only briefly into the Finnish forests.

What we saw at Hvittrask told us that Finland is definitely on the short list of places to return. The forest was mostly pines with some hardwoods and a lot of birch mixed in. With ferns on the ground, it looked like, well, like a combination of Nova Scotia and Oregon.

Our visit to Finland, while brief and only the smallest of snapshots, told us that we need to come back and spend some more time. While we found the city to be clean and friendly, our interest was more towards the forests and country side in general. We can easily see our next trip headed up north to see the reindeer.

We’ve placed a few images of our brief stay in Finland in a gallery here for your enjoyment.


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