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:
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.
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.
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!
From the other side you can look along the grand buildings of the eastern sea-front.
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:
Also in the market square, turtles seemed to be scattered around making fence-posts. No idea why.
And of course a small bridge with wire railings can only mean one thing…
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.
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.
The staircase is rather grand, too.
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.
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.
After this, it was time for dinner, then bed.