Travelled: 198 kilometres from Tampere to Helsinki in Finland.
Visited: Helsinki, two hours public transport ticket €2.90 each
Stayed: Helsinki free parking, near the cemetary. Bin and water nearby. N60.17200, E24.9034
Our original plan as we left Tampere was to go on to Hameenlinna around 80 kilometres further south. We took the leisurely route along the 130, which is prodominately at 80 kph rather than the freeway that has now replaced it. It takes a less direct route following the lakes edges for much of the distance.
We stop for a coffee in a little picnic area in Sääksmäki, adjoining a restuarant that look’s abandoned. Having a wander about we find a 1915 English 75mm Howitzer sitting in the corner. A bit of a shame, it should be in a museum somewhere. Whilst we find an interesting museum in an old fortress and a beautiful park in Hameenlinna, finding a half decent overnight stop eludes us.
We sit in the railway station carpark thinking, do we want to stop here ? There is obviously building works all around, then there’s the sound of trains passing. We decide it may be better driving into Helsinki on a Sunday afternoon rather than a Monday morning so we continue on.
An easy hour later we are rolling into Helsinki. Looks good in this photo but we are soon in the local traffic and lots of roadworks.
We will spend 3 days in Helsinki, so the following pictures are a bit of a mixture of our time in the city.
Safely parked for the next 4 nights. No sooner do we park than we hear someone say ‘G’day how yah going’. We meet Brian and Pam.
Brian and Pam have been travelling in their Hymer for 5 years. Coming to Europe each year for 6 months. Anyway as you imagine we have a good old nag over a few drinks later in the evening.
Our first morning in Helsinki and we go for a walk. How this variety of Hydrangea manages such beautiful flower heads in this weather we can only wonder. Our free parking spot is on the Hietaniemi. A headland of cemeteries and parklands. We ride into the city the first day, but the public transport from here is excellent as well. After breakfast we ride our bicycles into the city (about 15 minutes), locking up the bikes. We then walk along the Pohjoisesplanadi, the main tourist boulevard to the tourist office. Across the Market Square, the Havis Amanda mermaid fountain dedicated to the re-birth of Helsinki. Apparently its always windy in Helsinki so give it a wide berth if your walking downwind.
Across the Market Square we catch a sight of the unusual tram.
Still in the Market Square, Pam leans on a concrete turtle. Looking across the quay. On the left the white and black office building, apparently one of the most hated in Helsinki given it lack of traditional style. On the right the timber structure the public pool and sauna centre. Walking up the hill from the quay, the Uspenski Cathedral comes into sight The Uspenski Cathedral is the largest Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia. Consistent with Finland’s relationship with Moscow. Consecrated in 1868, whilst the Czar was still the Sovereign.
The Uspenski is closed on Monday but I’ll add Tuesday photos of the inside now.
The Uspenski is all gold and the Saints. Lavish and elaborate it is such a contrast to the Lutheran Churches we have seen throughout Scandinavia. A second look from the side. It’s very busy, every corner filled with some relic or other. The Presidential Palace in Helsinki, soldiers on duty and the Finnish flag flying apparently indicating the President is in. We walk back to the Market Hall, near the quay for lunch. Pam loves a soup, normally I can take it or leave it but the Finnish do the best soup. The bouillabaisse was full of salmon, prawns and mussles…nice bread as well. Another view along the market hall, post soup. Halli-Senate Square with the Helsinki’s Lutheran Cathedral. Inside the Tuomiokirkke Cathedral. Its theme is mostly white, simple and without lavish decoration as all these Lutheran churches seem to be. The priest is going through a wedding procedure with this young couple. The dome of the cathedral looking up through the chandelier hanging from it’s centre. Pam stops to check out the hot-dog stand. Helsinki Central Railway Station, has a bit of a soviet ‘strength of the worker’ style look I thought.
Late one afternoon we take the 15 minute walk from our parking spot to the Temppellaukio Church or ‘Rock Church’. Surrounded by medium rise apartments the church is carved into the rock. From street level only the entrance is visable. The dome of church. It appears to be lined with laminated timber in a circular pattern. A recording of some music was being played, the acoustics were stunning.
We have done our 3 days in Helsinki (one in Tallinn) and enjoyed it immensely. Our free parking spot was great as well. So on to Sweden (again).
Michael and Pam