September 12, 2011

Helsinki For The Day

Dun dun duuuun!

It was the last weekend before regular season. The last few days of freedom before the crazy schedule takes control. I'm ready for it all. Bring it on! And I'm pretty sure the hubs is ready for it all too.

But before hockey could take over our weeks, we decided to take advantage of the weekend and head to Helsinki for the day.

I know, I know, we are pretty dang lucky. Exactly an hour train ride from our home and we were right in the heart of Finland's capital city.

And the weather was gorgeous! I feel like I am totally jinxing myself by saying this, but we somehow manage to always get great weather. Every time we plan to go somewhere, it seems like it's going to be bad weather. And then we get there and the sun starts shining and it all starts warming up.

That's it. We're probably getting thunder storms on every vacation from here on out. I'm ok with that. After this weekend's sunshine and clear skies, I'll take it!

We didn't have too many specific plans for Helsinki. We love zoos (yes, we are 7), so had to make sure we ended up there. And heard that the markets by the harbor were really nice, so we wanted to see them too.

Easy trip into the city, off the train and wondering around, making our way down to the water. Stopped by the Helsinki Cathedral, or the Tuomiokirkko. Beautiful and massive cathedral was completed in 1852 as a tribute to Nicholos 1, the Tsar of Russia.

In front of the cathedral is Senate Square, complete with a statue of Emperor Alexander II. He was the emperor of Russia, the King of Poland and the Grand Duke of Finland. Talk about an over achiever! And even though he was Russian, Alexander II is still regarded as "The Good Tsar" in Finland.

So of course I had to get my Alex (gasp, you found us out!) to stand in front of this Alex and do the same pose. I like to call it the "WTF??!?" pose. Looks about right, right?!

Sorry, hubs, hate me for this?? Note, the jacket around the waist was intentional, as in to be funny. Not serious. K? K.

The cathedral is literally a block away from the harbor and the Kauppatori, or market square. I am not sure if they have something every day there in the summer, but it was a Saturday and the market was hopping! Rows and rows of fresh fruit and vegetables, Finnish souvenirs, photographs and water colors, and furs. So many booths filled with pelts and furs!

I don't think that would fly back in North America. I can just see some crazy PETA lady running up and spray painting "Fur is Murder" all over these beautiful pieces.

That top funny picture is a shot of a bag of snow least that is what I called them. I'm so artsy, right?! Every booth was selling these peas by the liter. Practically everyone walking around had a paper bag of these things. They would snack on the sweet goodness while browsing. They were yummy. So fresh and so healthy!

While in the market, we stopped for a quick lunch. And yes, the hubs totally made fun of me for taking pictures of my food. There is nothing more I can't stand than people who take pictures of their food and post it in albums on facebook! Like, I don't care what you ate at that random restaurant last night.

But I had a good reason to take a picture with that plate. So I was allowed to take one :) That there on the plate is a reindeer bratwurst!! So I guess seeing my first reindeer was in casing and grilled to perfection. And boy, was it delicious. Tasted like a regular bratwurst, but with a hint of venison. Sooo good. You have to try one if you ever make it to Helsinki.

There is only so much time you can spend walking around the market, looking at fun but useless stuff before the hubs has had enough. Men don't do markets so well, haha. So we left dry land and headed for the zoo!

Yes, the Helsinki Zoo, or the Korkeasaari, is located on one of the many islands that makes up Helsinki. The ferry ride out to the island zoo is worth the trip alone. You get to circle around the city's waterfront and watch the sailing lessons out in the water. Beautiful!

The zoo itself was also a treat. It sits right on the water, so not only do you get a great view of the animals, but also of the Baltic. And of course, we got to finally see the real deal. Reindeer!

These are actually forest reindeer. A little smaller and thin-legged than the bigger dudes.

Although I think he was a little camera shy. Or maybe mad because I just made a snack of his cousin or uncle or someone he knew. Sorry buds!

And after a good walk around to all the animals, we were back on the mainland. Walked down the Esplanadi, a central park/walking area that runs through form the harbor to 'downtown' Helsinki.

What a nice, green pathway through an otherwise big and bustling city. I could not believe how many people were out and about! Granted, I have a feeling that everyone was out taking advantage of what is likely to be the last nice and sunny day for a while, but it was still really crowded there. Like NYC crowded.

The Esplanadi. Doesn't really do it justice for just how many people were out in the streets.

The hubs and I finished off the afternoon by having pizza and beers at a local restaurant's patio. What?! Italian food isn't what you think of when you think of Finland?? Haha, we were craving it, so back off. :)

We weren't in the city too long, about 8 hours total. But in that time we were able to see a lot and really enjoy our day there. 

If you ever get a chance to come to Finland, you will of course find lots to see and do in Helsinki. It is such a neat, clean and vibrant city. Well, at least it is that way in the summer months. And you will not be disappointed by the friendliness of the people. That I can guarantee any time of the year.

And make sure to be super cool like me and get your picture taken in one of these good ol' touristy items.

Yep, I'm alone in there. The hubs just rolled his eyes when I ran up to the cut out. What?! I look good in my tradition Finnish outfit ;)
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  1. Ok, snow peas? You have snow peas there? Holy crap, now I've got to go to Finland! I'm so snow pea deprived. Second, my husband and I are on a 60 minutes downloaded from youtube marathon and last night we watched an old segment on Finland and the tango. It was from the 80's and HILARIOUS, if you haven't seen it you should check it out!

  2. i need to start traveling w/ yall b/c im total opposite...i get CRAPPY weather everryyywhere i go!!! (10 bucks says if you come to bergen you would too haha!)

    no wonder the finns are so skinny and pretty...if i munched on snow peas all day i would be too. and having said that, ill make myself a bowl of ice cream...

    i think helsinki looks awesome! i hope to visit there sometime soon while im living in northern europe! and keep taking photos of food! i get it :) (but when american people take photos of their hot dogs and burgers and post it on facebook i wanna scream!!!). reindeer sausage?! go right ahead!

  3. Don't lie... we know he ties his sweatshirts around his waste still... LOL ;) Glad you had a good weekend Tex - have a good week! And best of luck to hubs on his season!

  4. You ate Rudolph?!!! Kidding... that looks delicious. Actually, all the food in Finland is sounding pretty good. I forget reindeer are real sometimes since Santa isn't and all. I mean, HE IS HE IS!

  5. that photos looks awesome... my favorite is the "with love from finland", kind of looks like some sort of seat you might be sitting on... much respect... enjoying the shares.


  6. I am proclaiming ´tsar´ as the funniest english word in the world. No doubts.

  7. @Marie - and they were yummy! I loved that everyone was just tooting around eating them. I have never heard of it! Ok, have to look it up :)
    @Megan - well I am never traveling with you then! haha, just kidding. Yeah, you might sol in bergen :) No kidding, so healthy, huh?! Exactly, I felt like I got a free pass this time
    @Heather - haha, ok, you caught him. Totally into that 80s look. It was a nice weekend. Thanks! I will pass on the good word :)
    @Alex - haha, oh no. It was Blitzen, haha. No presents for me this year! It was very tasty. Haha. What?? He isn't real??
    @iZombie - Haha, it was for kids, or midgets, so I had to squat. Glad you liked it!
    @Susanne - lol, well, if that is the one thing you got from this post, then I am happy, haha.

  8. I feel like everything you ever write about your husband sounds just like mine. Sometimes you get them on a great day and they take 100 pictures with you in cut-outs and then every other time there's eye rolling and 'Really?'s being thrown all over the place lol! I'm so jealous you ate reindeer - sounds kind of gross but I love trying new things! Looks like a beautiful vakay!!

  9. Nothing wrong with eating Reindeer, a bit like venison I should imagine.

  10. I had one of the best meals of my life in Finland, just outside Helsinki -- I love it!! And, my Canadian used to eat Reindeer on Christmas Eve because his uncle would go hunt it. I kind of think there's something wrong with his family... :)

  11. I've had deer sausage but never reindeer sausage. Sounds tasty. I hope you didn't to to the reindeer petting zoo with reindeer breath. Yikes.

  12. It's funny, Helsinki reminds me so much of NYC. Except the clean and neat part.

  13. Finland looks gorgeous! Just like in Germany, you gotta take advantage of those (few) sunny days! :-)

  14. Alexander sounds like a bit of a swot to me like. Honestly, just stick to one thing mate!! Looks like you had a fabulous time :-) LOVING the photos!!! Also, I'd have been disappointed to think you'd NOT got a photo in a cute Finnish cut out. I judge your hubs for not getting a photo personally. haha!!!

  15. I just noticed your post on trigirl's blog and thought to myself, I wonder why she hasn't posted in so long. Oh. Maybe cause I JUST realized I'm not actually following you. This whole time I thought you just hadn't been posted. Honestly.
    Fur is murder made me laugh btw.

  16. Ohh! Waitaminute. I see the problem now. Where's your little 'follow' button?

  17. Wow. Clearly I'm having issues but it's not just me. I asked the boy to look too and apparently the laptop is having issues. I think it's time to call it a night.

  18. Well lookit you, using all kindsa Finnish in your post 'n' all :D

    So anyway, looks like Helsinki is beautiful and fun! So glad you're enjoying your time there!

  19. Oh I do like your outfit. Very cute bonnet. :)

  20. hahaha funny post as always:) Helsinki is a nice city!

  21. @Erin - haha, maybe it is a hockey thing, but afraid it is an all guy thing. Too funny, glad I am not alone. It was really good! I'm all about trying new things too. I mean, why not?!
    @Tony - exactly like venison. Supposed to be really healthy for you too. At least that is what they say :)
    @Sarah - Haha, hunting Rudolph on Christmas, that is kind of wrong. Too funny. I bet you had a great meal there, there are sooo many great places to go!
    @SFlaGuy - It wasn't as gamey tasting as deer sausage, which is my favorite treat! But still really good. Haha, now that would be in bad taste, lol
    @Copyboy - Um, yeah, that's pretty much right on. I still can't believe HOW busy it was!
    @Jan - it is gorgeous, and so right. Have to make the most out of days you can go outside and enjoy!
    @Missy - haha, over achiever! It was a perfect little day trip. I felt like I would have let down a lot of readers if I hadn't of done that, haha. Judge away!
    @Vapid - ewww, doesn't blogger suck sometimes like that. Or maybe it isn't blogger, it is GFC. Either way, glad you made your way back! :)haha. Sometimes that darn thing shows up and sometimes it doesn't. Grrrr. I will have a look at it too. Thanks for letting me know!
    @TriGirl - and I will let you think I really knew those words without looking them up, haha. Really fun city.
    @Shannon - thanks, I dressed all fancy for sight seeing, haha.
    @Mrs K - now, the next city we really want to visit is Stockholm!! :)

  22. I the only one kinda feeling bad that you ate Reindeer? Poor Rudolph : (
    Oh and my vote goes for that last picture to be your christmas card, Haa haa. You could photo shop the reindeers head in the cut out next to you. It could TOTALLY work!

  23. I love this post! Reindeer bratwurst!!? If I hadn't just started my new diet I would be all over that! :) Looks like you are having fun!

  24. Haha. I love that you ate a reindeer and then expected the one in the zoo to be nice to you. Reindeer know, okay?

    It looks like you guys had a great time and What Great Weather! Enjoy it while you can!

  25. Reindeer bratwurst, huh? Some people have all the fun ... a bit of a dearth of reindeer, let alone bratwurst downunder in OZ!! BUT ... I won't be envying you during that LOOOOOOOONG COOOOOOOOOLD winter!!

  26. Looks like a fun little trip! I'm cracking up at the "intentional" shirt around the waist. Yea for tourists haha!

  27. @An Irish - I know, I'm bad. Sorry! Haha. I like that you said photoshop a reindeer's head and not my husband's. Hey, he had a chance to be in the pic, but nooooo ;) haha
    @Hannah - well, if you feel like cheating on your diet, cheat good with a reindeer bratwurst, haha. Thanks girl!
    @Kyria - dang it, I should have known that! Seriously, we are soaking it up. Or did. Looks like it has already turned.
    @Red - haha, thanks sooooo very much for reminding me ;)
    @Meri - I love being tourists. So dorky and so much fun. And hey, who can say anything?!

  28. Please forgive me for being WAY behind, we barely have internet! I'm borrowing an internet stick!

    "There is only so much time you can spend walking around the market, looking at fun but useless stuff before the hubs has had enough. Men don't do markets so well, haha. So we left dry land and headed for the zoo!"
    -Are we married to the same person?!?!??

    It will be REALLY hard to leave Italy, but I'd like Scandinavia to be our next stop! Shall we meet up there?! I say YES!!

  29. "So I guess seeing my first reindeer was in casing and grilled to perfection."

    Sorry to rain on your parade, but the first reindeer (a whole herd, in fact) you saw was spread out in a pile of large pelts in the third picture.

    Should PETA get pissed about them, they should also get pissed about leather jackets and eating beef. More, in fact: Those reindeer have it pretty good compared to average cow and it's not like they're raised just for the fur. I'm fairly certain no part of their bodies was wasted after they were killed. Except maybe the blood.

    As for the other furs, I actually have no problem with fur farms (or trapping) as long as the animals are treated well before they're killed. Sadly that is not always (ever?) the case.


Whoomp, there it is!