Thursday, July 2, 2015

Finland Part 2: Helsinki

We boarded the train in Oulu for the 300-plus mile trip to Helsinki.  It was a rainy morning.
Oulu Station
We had decided to take the train because we wanted to see the Finnish landscape.  And, of course, traveling by train is just plain fun!  As we traveled south, the weather cleared a bit.  And the countryside was beautiful.  Interesting houses, lush green fields, plentiful lakes and extensive stands of birch trees.   

 Helsinki Station is rather grand:
Helsinki Station
We had booked a room at the GLO Hotel Kluuvi, just a block from the Esplanade Park and several blocks from the South Harbor.  It was a great location.  
GLO Hotel Kluuvi
After we checked in, we walked down to the South Harbor and climbed up to the Upenski Orthodox Cathedral, which is perched on a huge granite boulder:
From the base of the big granite boulder
The next morning we explored the Market Square:

We walked around the Harbor area, and watched a thunderstorm roll in from the north.  We took shelter in a very cozy coffee shop on the waterfront:
 After the storm passed through, the day was beautiful!
We visited the Flagship Marimekko store.  And I admit I went a little crazy.  We also chanced upon a artists' co-op called Okra.  The big carrot outside caught my eye and lured us in.

I went a little crazy in there, too.  But it was sooooooo much fun!

We ate dinner in a little gastropub called Bryggeri.  And walking up the alley to get there, we got our first glimpse of Helsinki Cathedral:
After dinner, we walked down the alley to see it:
Helsinki Cathedral
As we wandered through the Esplanade Park back towards our hotel, we stopped to listen to a Dixieland band playing in the bandshell.  The songs were old standards and very familiar, but the patter was, of course, in Finnish.  It was a little disorienting.  And it was a slightly bizarre end to our trip to Finland!

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