For the final part of my travels, I’m back in a city- Helsinki. Coming here was a last minute choice (I also considered Svalbard but the sun doesn’t really come up there at this time of year!)

I arrived yesterday. Landing late in the afternoon I found the new (only opened this year) station and got the train into the city. The station had some artwork alongside the tracks:

New railway station at Helsinki Airport

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New railway station at Helsinki Airport

Not sure how you got to and from the airport before. Buses I guess. They’ve still not got direct stations at the terminals so it’s a little walk. Anyway, after finding my hotel and eating, I was pretty tired so went to sleep. I must have slept well as I didn’t wake until around 9 so rushed to get dressed as the hotel stops breakfast at 9:30!

Today I’ve mostly wandered around to get a feel for the place. It started off cloudy but was sunny in the afternoon. Pretty cold here though. I began by heading south to a park that forms the southern edge of the city, Kaivopuisto. It was pleasant to walk around here with the trees turning nicely autumn-y. I stopped for coffee at Cafe Ursula before heading back into town.

Ursa observatory, located in Kaivopuisto Park

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Ursa observatory, located in Kaivopuisto Park

Looking roughly south from the highest point in Kaivopuisto park

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Looking roughly south from the highest point in Kaivopuisto park

Kaivopuisto park in autumn

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Kaivopuisto park in autumn

On the way back I passed a small church, Pyhän Henrikin katedraali (or the cathedral of St. Henry). Apparently Henry was bishop of Uppsala and it was constructed in the mid 1800’s.

The Cathedral of St. Henry

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The Cathedral of St. Henry

I continued up towards the market place, and then turned east onto a small peninsula. Here, on a hill, stands Uspenski Cathedral, claiming to be the largest eastern orthodox church in western europe. Inside it’s decorated quite extravagantly with lots of gold, but it was undergoing refurbishment and was full of scaffolding, so no pictures from inside!

Uspenski Cathedral, an Eastern Orthodox church

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Uspenski Cathedral, an Eastern Orthodox church

From the other side you can look along the grand buildings of the eastern sea-front.

Buildings along Pohjoisranta, on the eastern seafront.

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Buildings along Pohjoisranta, on the eastern seafront.

I was getting peckish by this point, so I walked back to the market, passing a moored light-ship on the way. This appeared to be a cafe now, but was closed:

Red light-boat now serving as a cafe/restaurant

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Red light-boat now serving as a cafe/restaurant

Also in the market square, turtles seemed to be scattered around making fence-posts. No idea why.

Turtles by the market in Helsinki

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Turtles by the market in Helsinki

Need to hold up a chain link fence? Turtles!

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Need to hold up a chain link fence? Turtles!

And of course a small bridge with wire railings can only mean one thing…

Where there's a bridge, there be padlocks

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Where there’s a bridge, there be padlocks

I went inside the old market hall (Vanhakauppahalli) and found some food – a nice Salmon on dark bread sandwich. The market building was mostly comprised of cafes and shops selling various food and drink.

Vanhakauppahalli - the old market hall.

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Vanhakauppahalli – the old market hall.

Vanhakauppahalli - the old market hall.

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Vanhakauppahalli – the old market hall.

From here I wandered up to the Finnish Museum of Natural History. It wasn’t too big with just three floors, but the exhibits were nicely laid out. The ground floor was full of skeletons in a “story of bones” exhibit (and an elephant guarding the staircase), and on the upper floors were various fossils and stuffed animals.

Bones in the natural history museum

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Bones in the natural history museum

Elephant in the natural history museum

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Elephant in the natural history museum

Tiger (deceased)

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Tiger (deceased)

The staircase is rather grand, too.

Staircase at the natural history museum

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Staircase at the natural history museum

From here, I walked back to the main square to have a look at Helsinki Cathedral. Another impressive building, although less ornate inside. I’d go so far as to say plain. But the organ was worth a picture.

Western face of Helsinki Cathedral on a sunny afternoon

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Western face of Helsinki Cathedral on a sunny afternoon

Helsinki Cathedral organ

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Helsinki Cathedral organ

I walked around a little more and had some coffee before going back to the hotel to grab my tripod. It gets dark early here (around 4:30) so I took another picture of the cathedral from the south side.

Night time view of Helsinki Cathedral's south side

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Night time view of Helsinki Cathedral’s south side

After this, it was time for dinner, then bed.


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For the final part of my travels, I’m back in a city- Helsinki. Coming here was a last minute choice (I also considered Svalbard...

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For the final part of my travels, I’m back in a city- Helsinki. Coming here was a last minute choice (I also considered Svalbard...

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