Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Helsinki pretty much met my expectations, a poor man's Stockholm in many ways as a Swedish person told me.

I get the impression that the best part of Finland is the rest of the country, most of which lies above Helsinki. A place for real out door lovers. Since Helsinki is the world's second highest northern capital after Reykjavik, most of Finland goes through summers with full days of light and winters with full days of darkness. While we were there the sun went down but it never became truly dark.

Since Finland was part of Sweden until the early 1800s, Swedish is still an official language in Finland, although only about 5 or 6 percent of Finns speak Swedish.

My couchsurfer said in the winter he can walk outside his front door and snow shoe or cross country ski to work, not bad!

It didn't appear to be as bike friendly of a city as the rest of Scandinavia. It is a bit more hilly. They do have some bicycle lanes, but they are not set up as nicely as in Stockholm or Copenhagen. My host Markus said that here they have the critical mass every month. In Stockholm or Copenhagen, there is no need for such nonsense bicycle rides as the majority of the population is bicycling anyways.

One fine local meal was had in which Mom & Dad each had sauteed reindeer and mashed potatoes. I went with the salmon fillet. Other than that, they have a lot of seafood and Russian food in this city.

They say helsinki is a mix of Eastern and Western cultures, and at least in the architecture that is seen. Helsinki was part of the Soviet Union after Swedish rule. You can see that in the two big orthodox churches:

1 Liter of beer in a can:

Robert's Coffee:

Who are those stylish individuals perusing the market?

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