Finland….doesn’t the name sounds exciting to hear? Thinking of it was a dreamy winterland destination cladded with neat snow forest and peaks or feeling the breath of chill air in the freezing temperature while walking on the shining streets in the dark chilly climate, well that’s a feeling I always had about Finland. But the best feeling actually comes when you finally know that you have got the chance to see the amazing country in real from your own eyes. Yes, it was happening to me and was so excited! The idea to visit Finland actually started from a fellow travel blogger “Viivi“of whom I used to be a regular follower and use to see some amazing articles about her country Finland. So the unresistant travel lust finally pushed me forward to make a small trip to Helsinki and also got the chance to meet the fellow blogger in person as well!
On board the Finnair flight when I was about to touch down Helsinki, the weather was partly cloudy, very little sunny and the views of snow-land Finland from the top was just so mesmerizing. I could really felt the sense of excitement and happiness in my own eyes!!
Finally I landed at Heslinki Vantaa Airport, after clearing through customs I went straight ahead to tourist information center to purchase 2 day regional pass which cost in total for 18 Euros. The best deal about this pass it works 48 hours from the first time of activation and it includes the airport region as well so you end up saving good money on Airport drop from your accommodation and includes almost all public transportation. Traveling in Helsinki is pretty much easy, in case you get lost, people are very much helpful to guide you to the right path. I was headed straight towards my hotel “Holiday Inn” which was hardly 2 km from the city center.
This was the first view I watched from my hotel room window and believe me my desperation levels were just increasing every second moment. I was tired and exhausted, but the travel bug was still alive! So I got freshen up in few minutes and left to explore the city heading straight towards the downtown Kamppi city center. Kamppi is basically a commercial cum residential area which have been designed by various Architects throughout the time consisting of supermarkets, restaurants, shops, nightclubs, underground subway station, bus terminus and even high-class office and residential apartments.
Since it was around Christmas time, I was lucky to see the decorations at every second corner. Kamppi being the busiest area of Helsinki, one could easily see an active life all around. But out of this busy life, kampii has something special stored in its vicinity. Its a small Chapel, the architecture of which dominates the atmosphere but as soon as you step inside, it is a perfect place intended to calm down and just experience the utmost moment of silence. When I was sitting inside at one of the bench, I felt a moment of meditation in the air, the purity of thoughts as if you can feel connected to yourself in that moment!
After leaving chapel, I placed the city map in my pocket and went ahead to explore where the city takes me. For a moment I thought could be silly but it was the best things to do then. So I just walked along the city streets beautifully decorated with shining chandeliers, mesmerizing boulevards and parks, lively restaurants where people were just celebrating the company of their friends and mates and I was just enjoying the moment passing by every second corner.
After walking for couple of kilometers randomly crossing the streets, circumfering my way through market square, I went ahead to the famous “Senate Square”. Though most of it was closed by this time, but the view even then looks so amazing!
Senate Square is also one of the major tourist spot in Helsinki and is dominated by attractions like Helsinki cathedral, Government palace, Sederholm House and university of Helsinki. Although I was tired but I decided to climb up those broad flight of steps in the main entrance in the front cathedral which were so steep it felt as I am actually climbing a cliff up top! It was windy, cold, freezing but the feeling to be there at the top in the front of that grand architectural beauty was just amazing. I sat there for couple of minutes watching the grand scenery of nightlife, isn’t it actually interesting sometimes? Just to experience the life in a city by yourself? Well it might felt lonely but I think it can be one of those best moments of your travel! 🙂 ..After Senate square it was time to head back to hotel and get some good sleep as next morning I plan to visit the famous”Suomenlinna Island”.
But wait, let me rewind a bit…..the best part of this mini Island journey was the fact that I was not doing it alone! Yes, so I finally met the fellow blogger (whom I mentioned earlier) and we decided to go ahead to Island together. Well traveling solo is always fun, but to travel with someone who share the same craziness as you do is sometimes more fun that can you imagine! Suomenlinna built as a vast fortress is considered as a “World Heritage Site” by UNESCO and is situated on the outskirts of Helsinki. It is connected by short ride from Ferry which was actually included in my regional pass, but although when we went to check it was more like a free entry as they there was no one there to check! 😀
On board the ferry heading towards the Island, the super chill feel of the air was rushing through my face, immense feeling of crazy cold was tingling through my body, but I couldn’t resist any single moment to enjoy that perfect beauty of the nature all around me.Once reaching the Island, the view towards the fortress was kind of astonishing! Although being December month, most of the shops and restaurants were close and the island itself seems very less inhabited with only handful of tourist. But even then walk through the island was much peaceful and felt so great!
Following these small bridges on the Island through our way to cobbled road we wandered around and saw some old little houses built in traditional style half of them seems to inhabited at that time, some old fortress building which now converted into tourist sites. There were also militarily facilities with various cannons and large gun which might be dating from different era. But the thing which I found most interesting was the landscape “Hobbit land” (well that’s what I call them), which looks nice and appealing and really blends along with the beauty of the sea. After climbing some few up and down landscape terrains, we finally made it to the edge to see perfect picture of the sea where sun was about to set down.
We went along few different sites to catch the glimpse of the fascinating sea views before heading back to the city. Suomenlinna in all could say was one of my best experience of Helsinki so far, the peaceful island filled the immense beauty of nature consisting of historical elements and traditional houses, I think that is one all need for a perfect tourist destination!
My trip finally came to the end and I was all ready next day to take my flight to Budapest, Hungary which was my next stop! Standing at the airport before my departure gate few minutes before boarding time, holding my trolley hand bag looking outside towards the window, it was about to get snowy, looking at the spectacular view, recalling all the moments I spend in last 2 days, I wished and hope for a moment, when would I get the chance to visit this beautiful country again?!!
Have you been to Helsinki? How was your experience? Feel free to leave comments anytime! 🙂