Two Nights in Helsinki

Two Nights in Helsinki

What a whirlwind Helsinki was. I have tried to figure out how long we spent in the city timewise, but I get lost somewhere between sunrises and time zones.

Travel Day

Another red eye flight.
May 15, 2018 – The day  began with a long drive to get a ride, to catch a bus, to catch a plane (Boston), to catch another plane (London), to finally arrive in Helsinki, Finland.

I have the most difficult time sleeping on travel days, and they can seem never ending.

However, this time I was rewarded for my sleep deprivation.
While the whole plane slept, I opened the shade on my little window and watched the sun “rise” while the clouds below me mimicked the darkened waters of the ocean.
Watercolor splashes of pink and orange bled into the night, replacing blackness with hues of blue.
It was completely surreal to witness the magic of seeing tomorrow!

Helsinki, Finland

May 16, 2018 – By the time my husband and I met up with our friends at our AirBnB, it was time to eat dinner.


I rarely talk about food as a travel topic.
It’s because I’m not good at food.
I am uncomfortable eating unfamiliar foods.
Especially while traveling in another country.
I have dietary restrictions – I am a vegetarian.
I also have food allergies to cinnamon & tree nuts.
And frankly, I would rather not eat some basic foods eaten by “normal” vegetarians, like mushrooms.

I am an impossibly picky eater.
I can be satiated by four food items if all else fails – coffee, bread, cheese, and chocolate.

My travel companions, especially my husband, enjoy eating regularly as well as tasting the local cuisine at a variety of restaurants.
But for me, these constant food changes cause a great panic within, making in nearly impossible to eat at times due to a queasy, anxious stomach.
Add to this food equation all the dental work I’ve had done in the last couple years, and there is an ever present fear of not being able to eat at all.

Pondering writing about my Helsinki experience I asked my husband what his favorite part of Helsinki was.
He said, “The Lappish restaurant.”

Saaga Helsinki: A Lappish Restaurant

Sami Shamanic Drum.

I’ve thought about this restaurant every day since we ate there.

Their vegetarian dish was sautéed broad beans, mashed potatoes, pickled cucumber and lingonberries.

I can honestly say, I would recommend.

Kolmikulma City Park

Tellervo – Finnish Goddess of Forests.

May 17, 2018 – We jammed in an entire vacation’s worth of sightseeing into one day. And it’s been calculated that many of us walked approximately 10 miles that day, during our Helsinki exploration.

I was excited!
Running around the parks and squares,
taking note of the flora and fauna,
the architecture and public art,
as well as the foods and wares being sold in Market Square.

Esplanadi Park

Me standing with the Maiden of Finland at the base of the Johan Ludvig Runeberg Memorial.
Public Art

At first glance it might go unnoticed.
A common theme is subtly displayed throughout Helsinki.
Restoration & Balance.
A communal expression shared by artists whether the intent was there or not.

Of course, this could just be my imagination based on what I have learned about the history of Helsinki.

Market Square

Havis Amanda Fountain.
Nathan and I in front of the Havis Amanda Fountain.
Keisarinnankivi (The Stone of The Empress) Public Memorial.
Old Market Hall.
Helsinki City Hall.
Supreme Court.
Presidential Palace.

Uspenski Cathedral

I was excited to see if I could go inside. Lucky me, I could! Once inside, I took some quick photos and left.
Looking up inside the cathedral. I was looking for organ pipes, but I didn’t see any while I was inside.
I was visually overwhelmed because I had never been inside a church like that before.
A view of Helsinki from the viewing platform outside of the cathedral.

Senate Square

It’s really unbelievable, that I didn’t take a photograph of all four sides of this huge monument in the center of Senate Square.

Me standing in front of the Maiden of Finland at the base of Alexander II.

Helsinki Cathedral

I ran up the stairs!
Then I ran around to the back of the cathedral taking note of the columns and motifs.
And I ran inside to see these elaborate organ pipes!

Temppeliaukion Church

I fully admit I was much more thrilled by the granite than the church itself.
But it did have an interesting atmosphere inside as well as organ pipes!

Intriguing Architecture

As we wandered through Helsinki I was fascinated by so many buildings! I enjoyed the colors, symmetry, and random spires so much that I felt in awe constantly.

Yellow building seen from Kolmikulma City Park.
1898 pink building with a lion’s head and corner spire!
This building wowed me from every angle!
This building had a tendency to glimmer in the sun.

Additional Sculptures

Central Station at 11:10pm.

Never ending twilight. We were out until 3am and the sky never seemed to get fully dark. It was confusing and made it difficult to sleep.

Group Photos Around Helsinki

Looking back it’s really difficult for me to imagine that Nathan and I spent under 48 hours (two nights) in Helsinki!

A couple things worth mentioning about Helsinki – saunas and long drink. Both worth experiencing if you happen to be in the neighborhood.

Helsinki crew included Alicen & Nathan, Becky & Andrew, Mel & Mike, and little Meg.
Photos were taken by me (Alicen), my husband Nathan, or our friends Becky & Mike.