We’ve been in Helsinki on last December to visit my beloved friend Erica – who is italian – and her finnish fiancé.
This has been the first time for Luca in Finland, and the second time for me: I’ve been in this magical country once before – in summer 2014 – to visit these amazing guys when they were living in Tampere and it was simply stunning. I’ll never forget the everlasting sunlight of summer, the pink and red sunset that became dawn, having a sauna at 110° degreess and then swim into the lake at 5° dregrees at Rauhaniemi beach. Such a dream came true!
My friend Erica usually says that December is not the best month to visit this city because there’s no chance to see snow, daylight is the shortest of the year and the weather is horrible – chilly, wet, with grey sky and bad light – but in the end we had not so low temperatures and we enjoyed Helsinki a lot.
I think that if you had the chance to fall in love with a place in the worse time of the year, this place is really worth it. And so Helsinki has been!
You know, it’s really weird to wake up in the morning and find out that it’s still dark outside – even if it’s 9am – and my first thought has been to stay in bed and sleep all day long… But we made it – with a lot of hot coffee and tea, just like local people are used to do!
In fact Finland has the highest rate for coffee usage per person in the world, and we found out why living there for less than a week!
For example this was our first view of Helsinki in the morning from our apartment. But after a super sweet and hot coffee we started to wander around.
Our apartment was pretty located in Kamppi district which is really nice and close to the city center.
Our first stop has been at the Kampin kappeli – aka the Chapel of Silence – which is a little chapel totally made of wood, where you can appreciate the clean and minimal style of the finnish architecture, the most beautiful smell of warm wood – that reminded me the traditional sauna – and the most charming silence in the world.
Senaatintori, the Senate Square with the Helsinki Cathedral and the Christmas Market. I loved it so much.
Wandering north of the Senate Square, where you can find a lot of beautiful art nouveau buildings:
This area is really nice and it’s full of cafes – even a Moomin themed one – second-hand and vintage shops and the most stylish lawyer firm I’ve ever know.
This is the finnish design at its best!
Then we returned to the city centre, walking along the harbour. I’ve never seen iced sea before and it was really charming.
The Uspenski Cathedral placed in the middle of the Katajanokka island – one of the many island of the Helsinki archipelago. In fact this city is made up a lot of small islands.
Love locks bridges are everywhere, even in Helsinki.
More views of the city centre.
And finally we had lunch at Vanha Kauppahalli aka the Old Market, which is a nice place where to eat and it’s really convenient – prices in Helsinki are always high for our Italian standards. There you can have a delicious lunch with 15 euros.
After a delicious and warm soup we moved to Ullanlinna, the southern part of the city, and continued to walk. You can basically discover the whole city of Helsinki by foot if the temperature is not so low. We were lucky and it was just zero degrees.
More and more beautiful art nouveau buildings with pastel colours facades.
This seems like an industrial building but it’s a church – Mikael Agricolan kirkko -instead.
Luca waiting to enter to the Brewdog pub, but it wasn’t opened already at 2pm.
One of my favorite part of Helsinki has been the Design District, which is full of cool shops, specially along Fredrikinkatu: they’re totally worth a visit. I’d love to buy basically everything – and to get broke obviously.
A beautiful flower shop.
Kauniste shop: I adored it!
A very particular computers shop.
In the afternoon we met with Erica and we had a delicious tea in a Japanese inspired tea house. Then we had dinner with her fiancé at Lappi Restaurant – which serves lapland food – where we tasted the dried reinedeer heart that was totally awful: the worse meat I’ve ever tasted. But the other food was really good anyway.
So our first day in Helsinki ended with delicious food and the best company.
Stay tuned for more updates about what’s coming next!