Published: March 22nd 2011March 18th 2011
Seat with Snow
The centre of Helsinki.
Monday 14th March 2011
This was a total work day for John, but we flew to Helsinki in the evening. It was -2C when we arrived and to our delight, we could see snow on the ground as we flew in!
Tuesday 15th March 2011
Another work day for John, but at least Ali got to have a look around Helsinki, well and truly rugged up for the daily maximum of 1C! She was totally blown away when, on reaching the harbour, to find it totally iced up - wasn't expecting that. Ali spent the day finding interesting sites to revisit with John the next day.
Wednesday 16th March 2011
We must mention the breakfasts! We thought the breakfasts in other countries were pretty full-on - but Helsinki takes the cake! There was a much greater variety of the usual juices, cereals, yoghurts, fruits, breads, cheeses, cold meats and condiments, plus a multitude of fish dishes (oh yum - pickled fish!) - and there were hot dishes like porridge, scrambled eggs, boiled eggs, bacon and sausages. What's more - we got all this for a mere 6 Euros - so cheap!
Oh! Did we mention the overnight temperatures
(no, we didn't!) - last night it dropped to MINUS 11 degrees - and we had no idea thanks to the Quadruple-glazed windows! (And in Australia it's prohibitively expensive to get double-glazed windows!) During the day though, it was gloriously sunny, and even though it only reached 1 degree, most of the time we were quite comfortable (admittedly we had every bit of our warm clothing on - and John bought a pair of Lapland reindeer skin mittens!).
First stop was Senate Square with the great big - white-as-white Lutheran church (Tuomiokirkko
towering above it. Just to keep with the religious theme, we then visited the 'onion-domed' Russian church, Uspenkin katedraal
, which is the largest orthodox cathedral in western Europe.
Not far away, is the bay, beside which sits a large undercover market where we saw more fish than we've ever seen in our lives (they did have other food, too!). There were also tiny eating areas scattered throughout - including one which sold only soups.
We walked on around the bay for ages. It made such an impression on us because we've never experienced anything like it. Compared to Australia, where we only really see snow
in the high country, it was incredible to see such deep snow throughout the town (at sea-level) and to see the frozen Baltic Sea (still thick enough to walk on if you know the safe places). It was really interesting to see people walking their dogs on the ice, or using it as a short-cut home with their groceries! It must be nice not to have to get the boat out!
We'd been warned against walking on the ice, so when we found a footbridge across to one of the little islands, we went that way instead. We found a cafe and sat inside watching the kids playing outside in the snow-covered playground (having the time of their lives).
On the way home, we climbed to the top of the hill in Kaivopuisto
park for a stunning view over the Baltic - Ali's pedigree snow boots proved their worth as she walked up the icy slope without any trouble, while John slipped and slid (one step forward, two steps back!) the whole way! It was great watching the little kids whizzing down the slopes. They all had the same design of thin, round plastic sheets (with hand-hold) to
ride on - no bigger than their bums (do we get those in Australia?).
There are more photos below