Even after only one day, we already love Helsinki. Hei (pronounced “hey“) in Finnish means hello, just as it does in English. So right out of the blocks, we could recognize a greeting … baby steps.
Helsinki, the largest city in Finland is celebrating its 200th Birthday as the Capital of the country. It’s also the cultural and financial center as well, and consequently, has an active, hip, big-city vibe. Trams rattle past, cafes hum, bikes zip by, and the city center bustles.
Its far northern location means that autumn’s cool temperatures and changing leaves have arrived. And this far north winter comes quickly. Arriving here from hot, humid Georgia, USA was a wonderful change of weather for us.
Helsinki is called the “Pearl of the Baltic”, and for the geographically challenged, this T-shirt fashionably shows the location.
At the beginning of the 20th Century, Helsinki expressed some of its optimism and hope for change in its architecture. Its well known collection of Art Nouveau (Jungen) buildings signaled a desire for a change from the turmoil of the late 19th Century. The new-style buildings represented a more equal and beautiful world, and as this decorative carving shows … more fun.
This Finnish sense of humor is still evident today. This restroom is not only for men and women, but for men and women who really gotta go.
We haven’t been here long enough to experiment with many of the local specialities, but the salmon we saw in a couple of market stalls looked wonderful, and we’ll be returning tomorrow.
We’re not so sure about the deer meatballs.
All in all, we had a very nice first day. Helsinki is the perfect combination of history, contemporary culture, interesting architecture, and cool autumn weather.
James and Terri