Arriving in Helsinki, Finland early in the morning, we were excited to explore the city for the next four days. I liked it, but it is definitely not my favourite place so far.
As soon as we dropped our bags at our little cottage, having had no sleep on our flight from New York, we all decided to have a nap. Still very tired, we forced ourselves to be awake and explore the forest close to the cottage before we went to bed again.
It was however, a very peculiar night. At around 12:30am I woke up very suddenly to a big, bright, blue sky- it could’ve been midday! I checked the clock, and sure enough, at 12:30am the sun was still shining bright! It was so crazy, I couldn’t sleep any further that night. Soon all four of us children were wide awake, curiously watching the strange night sky. Here in Finland, in the summer, the sun only sets for around two hours. And in the winter, it almost never rises! I am glad we were here in summer!
The next morning, a mere ten minute tram ride took us to the city centre, where we headed to one of the oldest and biggest cathedrals in Helsinki. This is where we started our walking tour of the highlights of the city. The tour was not good at all; even our questions to draw out more information was met with an ‘I don’t know’ from the guide.
Jet lag hit us like a city tram as soon as we got back to the cottage, and we all had a ‘short nap’. Five hours later, Dad came to wake us all up. We were glad that we only had to hop across the road to the small supermarket to get something for dinner, as it was already 6pm. It wasn’t even really worth getting up.
Every home, no matter how big or small has a sauna. Even in the public parks and areas, you will find a little wooden cottage, a communal sauna.
Most families have a small cottage along the coastline for the few days of summer. (These really are few!) The little cottages have no running water or electricity, but the people can get these necessities from nearby public facilities.
Helsinki itself is a very practical, safe, clean and liveable city. However, as a tourist, I did not find this a very interesting or visually stimulating place. It was all mostly so pale and grey. Some places along the coastline are quite beautiful, but cannot compare to some of the beautiful beaches and shorelines I’ve been to.
In addition, the city is also very expensive! I saw a simple ham and cheese sandwich, in a deli window, for around €20, and another €4 for a regular cup of coffee. This was nearly $8 AUD for the cup of coffee. Crazy!
I am, however, glad we came to Finland, although four days might’ve been a tad too long. Never the less, I will forever be able to say, ‘Yes! I’ve been to Finland!’😀
Until next time,