Helsinki: Spring in Sight!

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So it seems I’ve done a bit of a disappearing act. Again.  I really hate to keep doing this, because there are so many things I want to blog about – but I’m just so bad at planning it!  Also, I tend to get really lazy and say “I’ll do it tomorrow” and then not have time the next day.  Hm.. maybe I should start pre-planning/scheduling posts?  We shall see.

Where have I gone this time?! Well.  For a few days there I was being super-touristy in Stockholm with the Parents!  They came to visit me and Sweden, and we all had a great time (and great weather, in the end).  But more on that later.

I spent the weekend in Helsinki, Finland!  Here’s a pictorial overview:

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Yep, that’s right – we took the boat over from Stockholm to Helsinki.  The boat was a little nicer than my last cruise – but nothing super exciting.  The only thing really different was that we ate meals on the boat (as opposed to bringing my own).  But the main purpose of this cruise was transport.  Nice enough, like traveling on a hotel!

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Arrival in Helsinki – Esplanadi park.  It’s actually *starting* to feel like spring in this part of the world!

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This guy was awesome.  So talented – and little tidbit, he played the Säkkijärven Polkka (traditional Finnish), of which my choir learned an arrangement last semester.  I miss performing!!!

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Train station.  Lot’s of cool architecture and design in this city!

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There’s actually a ton of really amazing modern design in this city – the most famous being the iittala glassware (which I now want for my nonexistent house).  Unfortunately I was a little too caught up in most of it to snap pictures.

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The Temppeliaukio Church, built into a rock! (Hi dad!) This was an amazing construction, and the inside was even more fantastic.  But again, my camera did not manage to capture the beauty.

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Our fantastic hotel room!  Can you guess where I slept?  Ha. But, in all seriousness, I don’t think I have a single bad thing to say about this hotel. Especially their service quality & breakfast buffet!

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View of the city from a ferry (I like the seagull in there).

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We took the boat out to Suomenlinna – a maritime war fortress, built in the 1700s.  People actually still live on the island.

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Modest Lutheran church on the island.

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Bunkers in the cliff side.

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A cruise ship passing by, leaving Helsinki!  Thought this was a neat juxtaposition.

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We didn’t do a lot in Helsinki, and I think the Suomenlinna fortress was the most exciting part.  We did a little shopping and wandering in the afternoon which is always nice.

Also, today is Vappu in Finland (Valborg in Sweden) – which is the big spring festival/holiday/celebration.  In Finland, the day before, all university students wear their overalls, and picnic/party/drink in the park.  The city was definitely getting a little crazy last night, but it was really cool to see!  I am a bit sad I missed the holiday weekend in Sweden, but that’s that, no point dwelling on it.

While I enjoyed my few days in Helsinki, it definitely wasn’t my favorite city (sorry, Finns).  But it did make me realize how much I really love Stockholm.  AND, spring is finally here!

Does your country celebrate May-day/spring festival/Walpurgis?

Ever been to Finland? Thoughts?

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