Published: September 11th 2011September 11th 2011
It's Dan writing this update. Well, a couple of weeks after our trip to London we had our work summer party, also known as Høstfest (harvest party). We had a nice evening with all our colleagues from work and we were amazed at how much Danish we could speak... after a few drinks. There were lots of food, music and dancing until 2.30am when we went home to wake up the next day with a very bad headache. But, it was a lot of fun.
Good news, we both passed our Danish level 2 exam and we are continuing to understand more of this language every day. We are both very excited about learning Danish and look forward to our next exam early next year. How time flies!
On to our trip story. We flew to Helsinki, Finland last weekend. We both took Friday off work and took the train to Copenhagen airport. We arrived in Finland around midday and took the bus from the airport to central railway station. Our hotel was located only a couple of blocks from the station.
After a quick lunch at a nice pasta restaurant near our hotel we
visited the Museum of Finnish Architecture where we spent some time learning about Finnish history and the Swedish and Russian influence in their culture and architecture. It is one thing that we noticed about Helsinki, there were lots of very interesting buildings all through the city. We then went for a walk around the city and just looked around at a few coffee and designer shops that Jes would later plan to visit for a bit of a shopping spree.
Later that evening we had a relaxing couple of drinks at a nice pub near our hotel where we found the elusive Palm Belgian amber ale that we spent so much time looking for in London. I was happy!
The next day, we walked to the markets near the Ferry terminal and spent some time looking at the various foods and items for sale. We decided to go back to the markets to have lunch, but first, we caught the ferry to Suomenlinna.
Suomenlinna is a huge sea fortress built over six islands in the Gulf of Finland. The fortress was built in the 1700's when Finland was part of Sweden, in order to protect the kingdom
from Russia. Today, there are people that live permanently on the islands and there are several museums that one can visit. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to us, some of the museums are only open until August and it was the 3rd of September when we were there. Nevertheless, we visited the main Suomenlinna Museum which included entry to a 30min movie about the history of the sea fortress. We then spent a couple of hours walking around the islands which are joined by bridges. The place is now a beautifully landscaped open area and very popular with both, tourists and locals.
We caught the ferry back to the city around lunch time and, as planned, we enjoyed a nice lunch at the markets by the ferry terminals. I had a traditional serving of fried Vendace with grilled potatoes and vegetables and Jes had a serving of grilled salmon, also with potatoes and vegetables. They were both delicious and I was surprised that Jes actually enjoyed her meal as she's not much of a fish eater. We had our lunch next to a couple who happened to be from, guess what? Brisbane! They were an older couple who were traveling on a
cruise ship and were spending the day in Helsinki. After a nice chat with the Aussie couple we left the markets and headed to the shops where Jes bought a few nice things from Marimekko to take home with us.
On Sunday, we took the bus to the Seurasaari open air museum. One thing we must say about Helsinki is that they seem to have a very efficient and easy to use public transport system consisting of mainly buses and trams around the city, although I heard they also have a subway system, but we didn't try it. Seurasaari is also popular with tourists and locals alike as it offers lots of green areas and forests for people to go walking or running. The main attractions are several houses that have been brought in from all over Finland. These houses date back to as far as the 1600's. Seurasaari was similar to the Norsk Folkemuseum in Norway, but a little smaller. Still, it was interesting to see what life was like back in those days.
And that was the end of our tour of Helsinki. We had a very relaxing weekend there and enjoyed walking around in such
a clean city. Finnish language is quite different to Danish/Norwegian/Swedish, but most of the signs were written in both, Finnish and Swedish, so it helped us a lot in knowing what was available around us as we can somewhat understand written Swedish now.
Back home, Jes and I have started riding our bicycles to work and today we went on our first long bike ride (well, 11Km is long for us, at the moment!)
We hope you enjoy the photos. Hope everyone's doing well. Our next weekend trip is Zagreb, Croatia in 2 weeks and we are very much looking forward to that. Until then, take care everyone.
Jes & Dan
There are more photos below