Continuing my round-the-world trip from Toronto to Tokyo to Beijing, I was in Helsinki for my shortest stay ever: 3 days. I’m often stayed in the west suburb of Espoo, but a short stay with a large potential for jet lag made an apartment in town more practical. In the city centre, it’s a close walk to the subway and bus station at Kamppi. There’s always something happening on the plaza.
On this day, there was a carnival. A magician would do tricks for you.
Old and young lined up to win prizes at putting.
I don’t often ride the metro in Helsinki because it doesn’t run to the suburbs. In town, though, it’s quick, and I can charge the fare on my mobile phone to run down the prepayments that I accumulate every 6 months to keep my phone number active.
One stop west is Ruoholahti. This area is near the sea, on the southwest side of the city.
Across the street, the northwest, is a mall.
Across the street to the northeast is the Nokia Research Centre.
On this short visit, I had suggested that I might try some more traditional Finnish cuisine. Kolme Kruunua is a restaurant started in 1952, housed in a building that dates back to 1926, where the poet J. L. Runeberg had lived in the 1830s.
My hosts, Anssi and his wife Outi, suggested that I try the herring, reputed to be the best in the city.
Visits to Helsinki are a change in scenery to me, more than vacations. I like to observe everyday life, such as schoolchildren bundled up in snowsuits out for a walk.
I’ve seen the Kosmos restaurant listed in tour books since my first business trip to Helsinki in 1999. I’ve never had the reason or opportunity to go there.
Karlos hosted me for dinner, and was ordered more adventurously than me: he ordered the reindeer tartar.
I’ve been to Helsinki at least twice per year for the past five years, so I’m very comfortable in Finland. There’s still a few experiences that are new to me on every visit, and I look forward to them.