When we left Australia in March 08, we bought a “Around the World” ticket. It is what is says, and we had picked 3 continents, South America, Europe and Asia, in order to get us to Oslo. On each continent, we got 4 jumps. Since we had already spent a jump going from London to Oslo, and we needed one going from Oslo to Helsinki on exit, we needed to pick a spot. We were on the OneWorld alliance, and from Oslo, we could only pick between London and Helsinki…
So we picked Helsinki for a weekender. I had to work in Stockholm that day, so Sara traveled first, then I caught up and found her grocery shopping…
Now, we did no research for this trip, except print out the top 10 from TripAdvisor. As it turned out, we had chosen to travel on the weekend of the Finnish National Day… This is an extract from Wikipedia that sort of sums up the experience:
During the early decades of independence, Independence Day was a very solemn occasion marked by patriotic speeches and special Church services.
This is making it sound very depressing, but it wasn’t that bad!!!
Kobe had booked us into the Hotel Helsinki Strand. They had an excellent sauna section up the top! Got some steam happening up there with Pete, but the girls wouldn’t be convinced.
Saturday we started doing the tours, and it took a while before we realised why everything where shut, yeah, national day! Being used to the Norwegian variety, and even the Australian, I had expected more.
First up on our itinerary was the Cathedral. It looked nice, we took some shots, and moved on.
The Cathedral is on the Senate square. Have a look at this page, and its just like being there….
Then, we where down by the water.
From there, we headed up to one of the other main activities, the rock church. It is a Church in a rock.
We were getting pretty cold by this stage, just like this pooch.
On the way back we stopped at the Kiasma. This was actually one of the highlights! The museum was good and entertaining! And warm! It got Pete excited!
During the evening, we chilled in the hotellounge, checking out all the celebrities and officials staying at our hotel as they departed for the presidents reception in their ballgowns and tuxes. Some very pretty people! But it wasnt quite the party for the common man.
Sunday we headed out to Soumenlinna.
Its and old sea fortress, and the ride was cold! Because it was so cold, we were practically running around the island in order to make sure we got on the next ferry. Somehow we managed to loose Pete, at least so we assumed. As it turned out, he was actually ahead of us. Kobe nearly freezed her fingers of trying to operate the iPhone with no gloves, so she could call him to see where he was. Those touchscreens cant handle the cold, and neither can your hands!
Coming back, all the shops were open, and we finally got to check out the Finnish design in the shops. They had some good stuff, and I ended up buying 2 reflectors.
And with that, the trip had come to an end, and we headed back to Norway and the snow.
And yeah, I filled in a survey, that turned out to be a great thing a few months later!