Category Archives: Finland

Day 4: Helsinki

Blue skies again but a bit colder today.

Started off at the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma – unfortunately our visit coincided with what seemed like thousands of marauding teenagers on a school excursion. It was going to be this way all day so we bravely pushed on…

Evading the crowds…

Hottie on a staircase

A bit of a disappointment overall- only two small exhibitions, but great architecture.

Other highlights of the day:

  • Parliament House and walking into the wrong entrance (no we are not Finnish MPs!)
  • Temppeliaukio Church – an amazing place quarried out of natural bedrock.
  • Helping an old and infirm Finnish man home who told us about his travels to Australia and how Sweden was too decadent a place to live due to capitalism 🙂
  • Finlandia Hall – a fine piece of work by Aalto
  • Olympic Stadium – took a lift to the top of the 1953 iconic, modernist stadium tower – 72 vertigo inducing metres high – great views over Helsinki
  • Aalto House – a short tram ride to the classy but modest home and studio of the influential modernist architect. Just the two of us on a 40min tour with the guide – a really fascinating insight into the work/life balance of someone at the top of their field.

Finlandia Hall

Olympic Stadium Tower

Inside Temppeliaukio Church

Aalto’s living room!



Day 3: Helsinki

Very early wake time again (when does this jet lag thing wear off???) Blue skies this morning again…we are lucky indeed.

First stop was the Alvar Aalto designed Academic bookstore – what a classy place – had my first decent coffee in the Aalto cafe.

Aalto Academic Bookstore

We visited the Marimekko flagship store (oh be still my beating heart…) giant beanbags strewn about for lounging outside. Waked away with some 60’s design fabric (1/2 the price per metre than it is in Aus) and an amazing retro style top – happiness is mine…

Marimekko Mecca…

Also visited the iittala store – lovely lovely shiny things a fraction of the price at home (oh how we are gouged on these things).

We dragged ourselves away from retail temptations to get on the ferry to Suomenlinna Sea Fortress – a UNESCO world heritage site. Lots of amazing photos and another great lunch (smoked salmon soup).

One way to stop a cannon firing

Holding the fort..

Got the tram around Helsinki just as the rain started to set in. Now it is getting cold!

Jet lag kicking in a little later – starting to improve – now back to the box we call a room for an early night.


Day 2: Helsinki

Weather still superb today, early-mid 20’s and blue skies.

We woke up waaay too early (still working on Sydney time), and got out and about in the city. Fortunately there are a few events on at the moment otherwise Helsinki pretty much shuts down on a sunday.

Lots of trudging about on foot, saw the amazing Helsinki Cathedral, visited the Helsinki Design Museum (only one floor open, a bit of a let-down) and the Museum of Finnish Architecture which was pretty fascinating with regard to the history of the city.

Helsinki Cathedral

Had a very delish lunch at a cafe between the two museums called the pavilion – which included an artists market as well.

Oh Yum

The way to a man’s heart…

Hiding the jet-lag bags under my eyes

This afternoon saw the jetlag kick in BIG TIME – we dragged our sorry you know whats around the Amos Anderson Art Museum, which specialises in 20th Century Finnish Art – some great stuff though seen through a fatigued haze.


Day 1: Goodbye Sydney Hello Helsinki

Bangkok Airport – tilt shift effect

Arrived in Helsinki a little sore, tired and very sorry for ourselves after many hours of flying, in addition to obnoxious fellow passengers who thought I was their personal servant (turn that air con off, turn that light off!) and a very hot and steamy night (I’m talking about weather here you gutter minded people) in Bangkok.

Staying in the heart of Helsinki in a budget Omena Hotel – room is much smaller than what was shown online – misrepresentation online, how unheard of! – also no thermostat control and unable to open the windows so it feels like we are in a hot airless box. At least it has the location going for it.

Weather today was unexpectedly amazing – 23-25 degrees, blue skies till 10.30pm, although we staggered around the streets in a jet-lagged haze (our bodies having undergone the equivalent of an all night rave party). Tried to revive with what attempted to pass as a latte..oh campos I miss you so.

Had some fun buying a few supplies at the local supermarket – much lurking around the chocolate aisle and we made right tits of ourselves (unintentionally) by not knowing you need to weigh and price all your fruit and veg before taking to the check-out. Avoided the ‘we are not amused’ glares of other shoppers as we held them up!


Streets of Helsinki