Our shipped docked in Helsinki, Finland, around 10:00AM. After packing up our stuff, we de-docked and headed for our hotel to drop off our bags. Neither one of us got much sleep so it was going to be a long day.
After dropping off our suitcases we headed for the city center. Helsinki is a rather modern city when compared to the rest of Europe. With no medieval past and a bit of a Russian influence, there are unique buildings and sites to enjoy…
Like the President’s home…
…and some guy just swimmin.
Our first stop was a sweet little farmers market and Christmas market where wool products, sweaters, reindeer jerky, moose sausages, and other local treats were being sold. Then, just a couple blocks east sat a church M had been interested in visiting. It was a Lutheran church with Russian influence. We took some photos of the outside and inside, finding the simplicity refreshing.
After the church, we decided it was time for some lunch. Luckily Helsinki is much cheaper than some of the other locations on our trip. So we searched around for a budget-friendly option. Eventually landing on a great place called Bryggeri Helsinki. We enjoyed a burger and some fries, for only $10 euros, with complimentary salad, soup, and coffee. We later discovered this is pretty common with Scandinavian restaurants lunch specials.
After lunch, we headed back out and visited the Old Market Hall. It is an enclosed warehouse that has been turned into a cute little food court. There we found plenty of local specialties, like reindeer jerky, some Asian fusion, and a couple cute cafes. We vowed to return.
We still had some time to kill before we were able to check into our hotel so we visited another church, this time an Eastern Orthodox Church that caught our eye.
Beautiful on the outside and lavish on the inside. We noticed there was a case filled with jewelry many people were kissing and praying to. Unfortunately, we still don’t know why this seemed to be such a popular relic.
We took our chances and returned to our hotel hoping our room would be ready. Fortunately, it was and with an upgrade! A nap, some modern family, grocery run, and we were in for the night.
Our stay in Helsinki was short, but we had just enough time to rest before our next long journey.
We had come to Scandinavia in January for a single reason…which will be revealed later. But basically an issue came up and we had to change some things with our schedule. So first visited the train station to adjust our trip.
We then revisited some of the markets to pick up our Helsinki Finland stickers and postcards. It started to rain a bit so we rushed into the Great Market Hall we visited the other day for lunch.
There we found a lovely little restaurant serving some yummy soup! I enjoyed some meat goulash and while M ordered the seafood soup. It was all so lovely and reasonably priced.
We had about 8 hours to kill until our night train, so we did what any red-blooded American would do with 8 hours to kill.
Spent it in Starbucks overdosing on sugary coffee.
A few hours later we traveled to the train station, picked up some Burger King, and boarded our train for the north. A bit snug but we made it work. Fortunately, it turned out to be one of the most comfortable overnight train rides.
Hotel: Hellsten Helsinki Senate
As mentioned in our earlier posts, during our Scandinavia trip we have been staying in hotel/apartments to save money on cooking. This one was pretty cool cause they gave us an upgrade. We had a living room, two full bathrooms, bedroom, kitchen, and porch. The only issue is this place was pretty gross. The chairs had BAD stains. The kitchen had two built-in stovetops that did not work. Which they must have known since they included a portable 2 burner stove. Only one of those burners worked. All of the dishes were in terrible condition.
All of this considered it made us really question how clean the place actually was. It was fine for a night, but do not expect to use the kitchen. Then again, why not stay at a hotel if you cannot use the kitchen?
***One Way We Saved Money In Helsinki: When we began planning our Scandinavian adventure we quickly realized it is a very expensive part of Europe. In preparation, we took to the internet to find a few ways to save money. With each post, I have decided to list one of our tricks!
One way we saved money in Helsinki was really researching everywhere we ate. Some meals we did not have a kitchen to cook in, so for those cases, we checked out trip advisor and looked for those cheap eats. Trip advisor is loved in Europe, so you can actually find a really great priced place with enough reviews for you to make a decision.