A January 2005 trip
to Helsinki by seethesun
Quote: Helsinki is one of those places where the appreciation comes AFTER you leave. It may not be the top choice on most people's travel list, but for those who care to stop by and discover its quiet charms, Helsinki leaves the visitor with lifelong impressions.
I spent the coldest 6 months of my life in Helsinki, Finland as an exchange student. Coming from Malaysia which has an average temperature of 33c, winter in Helsinki was no joke. It can dip as low as -20c although the average winter day hovers around -5c. The wind factor definitely did not help.
Winter in Finland can be quite depressing as there is hardly any sunlight, especially in January. Skies remain grey throughout the day and by 4pm, it is already pitched dark. Snow starts falling as early as October. If you’re visiting in winter, be sure to come with a good pair of winter boots that prevents skidding on ice. Though winter may not be the best time for sightseeing, my personal opinion tells me that there is a wonderful world of gems to be discovered during this season. For example, only in winter you’ll get to ski your worries away in one of the many ski resorts just outside Helsinki, roll in the ice after sauna, skate on a frozen lake, or experience the magical "aurora borealis". For an off-the-beaten-track experience, I urge you to visit Helsinki for one winter.
It is definitely one of the most recognized and photographed sites in Helsinki.
As poor students, we relied on the weekly English service every Sunday at 3pm. Though I’m not a Christian, I followed my friends to church just to listen to the soothing words of the father and to meet other foreigners staying in Helsinki. There is a very small community of Asian foreigners working and staying in Helsinki, and Temppeliaukion Church provides the perfect meeting place. Not many people know this, but if you happen to be in Helsinki on a Sunday, try to attend this afternoon service and stay back afterwards. There is an underground cafeteria here, and I swear they serve the best coffee and cookies in town!
The church is situated on Lutherinkatu 3. Take Tram 3T and walk up the scenic cobbled-stone slope that leads to the church.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 17, 2005
Helsinki, Finland 00100
+358 9 494 698
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 17, 2005
Suomenlinna (sea Fortress)
About 100m from this lively and colourful market is the lonesome figure of Havis Amanda. A symbol that embodies Helsinki’s status as the "Daughter of the Baltic", this fountain is largely left there, freezing for 364 days of the year. On May Day (Vappu), it is a tradition amongst Finnish students to congregate here, bathe her, and dress her with their graduating caps. One can only imagine the amount of UFO (unidentified floating objects) at this fountain, as Finns are well known for getting really "happy and high" on their graduation day.
To get here, walk along Esplanadi Boulevard toward the harbour.
Kauppatori (Market Square)
Helsinki, Finland 00130
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