Revisiting our Day in Helsinki. Despite the chill, it was a pleasant day. Helsinki felt more like a large town rather than a city. We sauntered around the touristy sights and just enjoyed the friendly vibe along the charming districts.
The popular Esplanade Park, fondly referred to as “Espa” among locals, is the most famous park in Finland and the green heart of Helsinki. People come here to see and be seen, to listen to music and watch performances, and to enjoy picnics. Overseeing visitors is the Statue of of Johan Ludvig Runeberg (1804–1877), Finland’s national poet and author of the Finnish national anthem.
Located at the South Harbour at one end of the Esplanade Park, the Market Square is Helsinki’s most international and famous market. The booths here sell traditional market foods and treats, as well as handicrafts and souvenirs.
Apart from Nokia, Angry Birds and Marimekko, I gathered some interesting facts about Finland. So the Philippines has 7,641 islands vs. Finlands’ 179,000 islands not to mention 188,000 lakes. Crazy! And yes, they do have a Santa Claus who holds office in Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland up in the Arctic Circle. His Official Residence still remains a mystery but you can visit him in Santa Claus Village. He receives about half a million letters a year from around the world. And his elves do sort them out and write back. Finland remains one of the top 5 countries with the most effective educational system (with Singapore, Japan And Korea) using the simplest strategy as noted https://fillingmymap.com/…/11-ways-finlands-education-syst…/ . Lastly, it was just fascinating for me to learn how Helsinki remained intact – avoiding USSR Bombardment in WW2 when neighbouring countries suffered massive losses. The Finns used fires and searchlights to trick Soviet bombers into dropping bombs outside the city. Little did they know that Helsinki was preserved and to this day, its original buildings are enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.
Original Buildings just as they were erected.
Apart from the sightseeing, we were also able to check out Helsinki’s ‘everything store’ – The Stockmann. It dotes a good line of Finnish souvenirs and Sámi handicrafts, as well as textiles, jewellery, clothes and lots more. After all, Finland is among the world’s top five innovative economies.
Walked down Bulevardi to visit the Old Market Hall. This institution has served its customers since 1889. Merchants sell everything from cheese, fish, shellfish, vegetable, fruit and cakes to spices, ramen and sandwiches. Was hoping to catch the flea market outside, but it was probably too cold for everyone.
Wandering by the Swedish Theater. Sharing a photo of the Theater’s interiors. This year marks its 150th anniversary. It is well worth a visit, if not for the performances, for the stunning architecture.
Coffee and Pastries by Cafe Ekberg
Excavated directly into solid rock, the Temppeliaukio church is situated in the heart of Helsinki, at the end of Fredrikinkatu. Because of its special architecture, the church, completed in 1969, is one of the main attractions in Helsinki. The church hall is covered with a dome, lined with copper and supported on the rock walls by reinforced concrete beams. The interior walls are of rugged rock and rubble wall. Before noon, the light spreads from the row of windows surrounding the roof periphery to the altar wall, where an ice-age crevice serves as the altarpiece. Due to its excellent acoustics the church is a popular venue for concerts.
On researching more about Finland, I came across this fascinating article by http://www.momondo.co.uk/inspiration/facts-about-finland/. Such trivia made me fall in love with Finland even more – This Land of the Midnight Sun.