helsinki was a breath of fresh air. it is surrounded by water and is very clean. it is relatively small but offers a lot to do, experience and see. thank you to my friends and their cousin, Tess, a long-time helsinki resident who showed us around this beautiful city.
located on a hilltop facing the harbor is uspenski cathedral. its striking golden dome is one of the symbols of russian influence in finland.
esplanade park is at the heart of the city. this promenade led us to the senate square where the university of finland, presidential palace and helsinki cathedral are located. this evangelical protestant church mounted on top of plight of steps has a commanding view of the city and the harbor. in the center of the square is the statue of alexander II, known in finland as the good tsar.
a short walk from the senate square was the market square, helsinki’s most famous international market. here you feel the pulse of the city; casual, upbeat and lively. called kauppatori, it is flocked by tourists and locals. street food are fresh and yummy! we were told that it is not uncommon to see juha sipila, finland’s prime minister sip coffee or have lunch in one of the food stalls on weekdays. kauppatori is not to be missed when in helsinki.
a house of worship and at the same time a popular venue for concerts is temppeliaukio church known as the rock church was built directly on solid rock. inside, the walls all made of rock and granite glow when bathe in natural light from window glass panes that surround the copper dome.
st. henry of uppsala, a catholic church located in the embassy row
narinkka square, one of the busiest squares in helsinki is the home of kamppi chapel of silence, a house of worship for prayer and meditation.
our gracious host, Tess Zurbano Ruutu (far left)
it is known that the people in scandinavia are generally the happiest. finns are relaxed and cheerful. they embrace simplicity, have lower expectations and are conscious ecologically. sauna is big in finland. it is a culture not a luxury. their common way to relax and rejuvenate the mind and body.
lunch was open-faced meat and vegetable sandwich. delicious!