Helsinki: an epic start, but a rushed ending

Helsinki Travel Blog

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At the harbour (one of many)

Helsinki! Finally! Helsinki is something I am looking forward to. Me and a friend of mine who has visited Helsinki before have this thing going on. He didn’t like Helsinki at all and he tries to make me understand that Helsinki is a boring place to visit, but I am not listening. I am psyched up to see it, if only to put my foot on Finlandic soil. I am a big fan of Finlandic metal music and a visit to Helsinki will have some spiritual value for me. Ever since a visit to Stockholm a few years back I got addicted to travel and back then it was already clear to me that I had to see Helsinki as well. It has become a symbol of visiting new places.

It is only 1.5 hours by boat from Estonia to Finland, so that makes for an excellent day trip.

Uspensky Cathedral
I took the early boat of 10 o’ clock and arrived in Helsinki at 11:30. And it was raining a lot! There was a storm going on with lots of rain and strong winds! At first I was afraid that my whole trip to Helsinki would be ruined by the weather. But when I stepped off the boat onto Finlandic soil, I put on my ipod and started listening to Finlandic metal music while the storm was raging around me, complementing eachother, and suddenly my entrance into Finland became epic instead! I guess that is how the Finnish deal with their weather.

After a thorough study of my guidebook I realized that the main attractions of Helsinki were a bit limited in number. The rain and storms, seemingly summoned for my epic entrance, disappeared, and I took this pause in the weather to explore the city.
Senate's Square


First up: the Orthodox Uspensky Cathedral overlooking the harbour. This Russian church is once again very different in appearance from the Orthodox churches that I saw in Riga and Tallinn. The Uspensky Cathedral is built on a hill, and has a robust, red-brick exterior with not as many curves and swollen domes as the others had. It attracts a lot of Russian visitors to Helsinki and is lavishly decorated inside.

Quite in contrast to Helsinki’s other famous religious monument: the Lutherian church on the Senate’s Square. This church is more elegantly looking with slender domed towers and with its white exterior and its long flight of stairs at the front. There are little stars drawn on the domes. The interior is also the opposite of the Orthodox cathedral.
Train station
It is very empty and solemn inside, bland almost, with a big pipe organ.

That sort of sums it up to be honest… Helsinki has a lot of shopping streets with well-known brands. It also has progressive rock and metal music in its McDonalds. Helsinki also has a train station in Art Nouveau style, with statues outside will balls in their arms that, I guess, will light up at night. I still had several hours to wander around before the boat took me back, so I chose to see a third sight a bit outside the city center and I took my time to walk to it. This is Temppeliaukio, basically a church inside a blownup piece of rock.

As I approached the park where this rock-church was located, I saw its hump of rock sticking out of the ground. There was a path going up, so I thought that was the entrance to the church, but when I got to the top I was actually standing on top of the church! At the other side of the rock I noticed that I was standing over the entrance, so I climbed down at the side.
The Japanese tourists who were cheering for me
It was a trouble to navigate the rocks and I had to use all my climbing skills to get down. I jumped from the last rock right in front of the entrance, and then I heard people clapping behind my back. There was a group of Japanese tourists who had witnessed my whole descent from the rock and they were applauding that I got down whole and healthy, hahaha!

After I took some time to sit and rest inside the church, I walked back to the center. And while I was walking, I recieved this text message from the ferry company:

Linda Line departure Hel-Tal at 19 is cancelled due to bad weather. Please contact the ticket office.

And then my battery went out. It was 16.30 and I knew that there would be one other boat leaving for Tallinn, at 17.00, so I ran back to the harbour! On my way I jumped into a souvenir shop to buy a miniature Uspensky cathedral and then rushed to the ticket office.
At the rock church
I was just in time to go back with the 17.00 ferry.

So that sums up my day in Helsinki. It is true: there are more exciting cities in the world, and there is not a lot to see. But I take Helsinki at face value. It makes for a very nice day trip. For me, it was an obligatory destination, but I am glad that I decided to make Tallinn my base of operations, since it is cheaper and more beautiful. Helsinki is a nice place to check off; to have been. For the real Finland experience I guess one should venture out into nature, and travel north, but I will leave that for another trip. For now: back to Estonia.

And when I had my dinner in Tallinn, the waiter asked me if I would like to see their show. I didn't know what to expect, but I followed him, and in the main hall of the restaurant a few waiters gave a show where they played gentleman who duelled with swords over a girl. It was fun!

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At the harbour (one of many)
At the harbour (one of many)
Uspensky Cathedral
Uspensky Cathedral
Senates Square
Senate's Square
Train station
Train station
The Japanese tourists who were che…
The Japanese tourists who were ch…
At the rock church
At the rock church
At the harbour (one of many)
At the harbour (one of many)
At the harbour (one of many)
At the harbour (one of many)
At the harbour (one of many)
At the harbour (one of many)
At the harbour (one of many)
At the harbour (one of many)
At the harbour (one of many)
At the harbour (one of many)
Uspensky Cathedral
Uspensky Cathedral
Streets in Helsinki
Streets in Helsinki
Uspensky Cathedral
Uspensky Cathedral
Uspensky Cathedral
Uspensky Cathedral
View from Uspensky Cathedral
View from Uspensky Cathedral
Uspensky Cathedral
Uspensky Cathedral
Uspensky Cathedral
Uspensky Cathedral
Streets in Helsinki
Streets in Helsinki
Streets in Helsinki
Streets in Helsinki
Streets in Helsinki
Streets in Helsinki
Senates Square
Senate's Square
Senates Square
Senate's Square
Senates Square
Senate's Square
Senates Square
Senate's Square
Senates Square
Senate's Square
Senates Square
Senate's Square
Streets in Helsinki
Streets in Helsinki
Streets in Helsinki
Streets in Helsinki
Train station
Train station
Train station
Train station
Some important building (14 pilalr…
Some important building (14 pilal…
At the rock church
At the rock church
At the rock church
At the rock church
A show in a restuarant in Tallinn
A show in a restuarant in Tallinn
A show in a restuarant in Tallin
A show in a restuarant in Tallin
A show in a restuarant in Tallin
A show in a restuarant in Tallin
Helsinki
photo by: portia