Finland - Helsinki
Part of the Finnish Tricity
What if you were to take a road trip through southern Finland? The starting point may be in the capital of the country, Helsinki, and then, overwhelmed with the desire to discover as many attractive places as possible, we can move forward. There are several options - a ferry ride from Gdynia to Helsinki or a Via Baltica trip to Tallinn. From there, run not only much more often, but also the price is a bit more attractive (depending on the carrier's offer, the cost of a trip of 4 people and a motorhome can be around 200 euros), not to mention the travel time - two hours.
Helsinki is situated on the Gulf of Finland, extending over the peninsula and neighboring islands. Together with Kauniainen, Espoo and Vantaa, they form the Helsinki city complex - something like our native Tri-City. The central place of the center is Senate Square ( Senaatintori ) and the 19th-century Lutheran cathedral located in its center, with a richly decorated facade and austere interior, which can be reached via steep granite stairs. In front of the building there is a monument to Tsar Alexander II. The square is surrounded by a multitude of charming classicist buildings, while above it, in the distance, you can see the domes of the Orthodox Ouspensky Cathedral. He, in turn, unlike the cathedral, has very rich interiors, where you can admire, among others exhibition of icons.
Many tourists delight more than the splendor of the cathedral Temppeliaukio kirkko - Rock Church, i.e. a church carved inside a large granite rock. Its dome is made of coiled copper wire, which makes it shine from afar. It looks amazing, a bit like a flying saucer. The church stands on a large hill and it often hosts classical music concerts (the acoustics are significantly increased due to the roughness of the walls).
The beauty of nature broken with modernity
Helsinki tempts tourists not only with its monuments. Both locals and visitors of the city enjoy walking in the Sibelius Park ( Sibeliuspuist ), named after the Finnish national composer. There is a monument in his honor in the park, contrasting with the surrounding nature with its original structure consisting of 24 tons of steel pipes. It is somewhat reminiscent of a large, silver organ - possibly those with a lot of imagination can see a modern vision of a tree in it. The second green place is one of the largest parks in the center of Helsinki, Kaivopuisto, dating from 1840.
Another non-historic attraction is Linnanmäkiz, a Helsinki amusement park with a wooden roll-coaster. The next - the ZOO, which has been in existence for over 130 years. Another place worth visiting is the Olympic Stadium. Concerts and matches are held here, and it also offers a wonderful view of the entire city and part of the coast.
Helsinki, the sea and the sculptor's pout
The capital of Finland is surrounded by the sea on three sides, so many, if not most, areas of the inhabitants' life are related to the sea. Boat trips to the adjacent islands, as well as are on the agenda. Huge transport ships and luxury yachts arrive at the port. Of course, the dishes of Helsinki cuisine are also typically "sea" - being here, you must try the delicious fish dishes, as well as the city's specialties, which is ... reindeer soup. Along the coast, near the port, there is a market square where you can buy fresh fish, sold by fishermen straight from the boat. It is said that Helsinki has the largest sobering-up center in Europe. The city's nightlife is very varied, but it's probably best not to check it out.
The most important district in Helsinki is Kruununhaka , where the oldest houses date back to the 16th century. And the oldest stone building in the city is the Sederholm House, a remarkable monument. Also of interest is Suomenlinna - an 18th-century fortress built by the Swedes. Currently, it houses several museums.
In turn, the main promenade of the capital is Esplanadi. Walking along it, we pass the Town Hall and a fountain with a figure of a naked girl standing a bit further. There is a funny story connected with it explaining why the character is facing the bank, although it was originally facing it. The bank manager was a patron of the sculptor, but at some point he stopped supporting him. Then the author of the statue turned the figure 180 degrees, which was a very telling answer to the director's decision.
The largest department store in Europe, Stockman, stands at the end of the pedestrianized street. It has nine levels, two of which are underground, and is so huge that you need a guide not to get lost in it. Fans of shopping in galleries will be delighted.
A camper to Helsinki
Caravanning enthusiasts will surely be interested in the offer of a 4-star camping located in Vuosaari, in the eastern part of Helsinki. This is Rastila Camping Helsinki (Karavaanikatu 4), one of the most popular holiday destinations of this type in Finland. It is open all year round, has 165 stands with access to electricity and places for emptying chemical toilets. There are also saunas and a restaurant at the guests' disposal. The center of Helsinki is easily accessible by metro - the stop is close to the campground. Here we will pay 13-19 EUR / day for a stand for a vehicle, access to electricity costs 6-9 EUR / day, while an adult will pay 5 EUR for accommodation.
After visiting Helsinki, we can go to other regions. There are many interesting places waiting to be explored, so don't waste your time - on the eastern side of the city lies the tempting Espoo, while from the west there is a road to the town of Kotka. In the north, the Moomins invite you to visit, not to mention other attractions, including Rovaniemi, the home of Santa Claus, hundreds of kilometers away. Where to start? Kotka sounds inviting, so the next point of your trip will be a nice city. But that's a completely different story that needs more space.
A writer by profession, a passion of a cat. One day he will see what is behind the Urals - good to Vladivostok. So far, when he can, he enjoys the sun of the countries of southern Europe. And it's also fun;)