Helsinki II

Between May 2018 and September this year, I’ve been to Helsinki three times. That’s actually quite frequent for a city that far away from Utrecht. Hamburg’s more accessible than Helsinki – I can travel by rail rather than by air – and I’ve only visited the former twice.

Since I’ve not really been post-processing my Helsinki photos I’ve decided to use this entry as a reason to get started on them. (I have this peculiar first-in, first-out mindset when it comes to photos, so photos that are made first ought to be post-processed first and published on this site accordingly. All this way of thinking really does is impede me from actually post-processing any photos.)

The next few posts combine what I saw during all three of my visits, with my most recent trip to Helsinki being a couple of weeks ago at the end of September. This was followed by a few days in Stockholm – my first time visiting that city! But that’s another story altogether.

There’s an earlier post about Helsinki I published some time back, if you’re interested in reading it. The photographs featured in that post were made on the same day as the ones in this post.

In the Punavuori district there is a really tall smoke stack that can be seen far away. It’s also a good landmark because there’s a large supermarket right next to it. You’ll see this smoke stack for sure if you disembark from a Tallink ferry arriving in Helsinki from Tallinn.

While walking away from the ferry terminal I saw this interesting building. I think I found it fascinating because of the ‘spike’ on the top of the dome-like structure. It reminded me of those old military helmets that had a single spike on them. Sights like this were the reason I enjoyed walking through Helsinki so much. There’d always be something interesting to see if I looked up or behind or around the corner.

From Punavuori I made a turn somewhere and headed over to the Eira district, where I saw many beautiful houses. From there, I walked along the waterside, past a large field and in the direction of Kaivopuisto (a very well-known park in Helsinki).

Not far from the park I saw this beautiful scene: trees with their flower blossoms, amid colourful buildings and under a blue sky. The park itself was nice to experience, although I didn’t make too many photographs the first time I was there. (I did, however, visit the park when I visited Helsinki a second time later that year, in the autumn.)

Ah, the city centre. It’s a busy area with many shops and buildings all around. On the far right of the photo you can see the large sign of the Stockmann department store. In the area is also a large bookstore called the Academic Bookstore (or Akateeminen Kirjakauppa in Finnish).

From here you can easily walk down to the market square and Helsinki cathedral. The market square is also where you’d take the line ferry to the island of Suomenlinna. I’ll be writing about all of the above places in later posts so stay tuned!

During my first day in Helsinki I explored the city entirely on foot. Looking back, that was an insane amount of walking I did, all because I refused to pay for a public transport ticket. From the city centre I decided to walk to where the Finlandia concert hall was. Before going there, though, I took a break and enjoyed a cinnamon roll and passion fruit cheesecake at a café.

(There will also be a post about cinnamon rolls, by the way.)

I’ll share my images of Finlandia in a separate post, since I’ll want to do some research on the building before writing about it. Not far from the concert hall was where I made this next photograph. It was quite cool seeing everyone chilling on the grass and enjoying the sunny weather. One sees the same scenes in the Netherlands too, because sunny skies are few and far between in this part of Europe and the world.

At this point in time I had to make my way back to the ferry terminal. Google Maps said it’d be at least 30 minutes, so I got underway. I took a different route to the terminal than I did when I arrived earlier that day, so I got to see another part of the city.

I recall entering a small souvenir shop selling (mostly) Japanese items and run by what I assumed was a Japanese lady. There was a little wooden figurine that I wanted to buy as a (Finnish) souvenir, but at €20 for something less than half the height of a Smurf the price was mildly prohibitive.

After some time I arrived in the Punavuori district once more, and made a photograph of this bridge. I actually saw it again a few weeks ago, during my third visit to Helsinki. It’s always nice to see something familiar.

This building was along a street leading straight to the ferry terminal. Its glass balconies casted deep, lovely shadows as the sun hung lower in the sky. It was really an image begging to be made. This was the last stretch, and so after a few hundred more metres of walking I finally found myself at the Helsinki ferry terminal.

The ferry terminal has a large glass façade, which serves as a giant mirror to show travellers just how many of them there are. (Or maybe not.) See if you can spot me in the reflection!

As quickly as I got off the ferry, I got back on it. Having bought a surprisingly delicious prawn salad for dinner, I settled in my seat and enjoyed the smooth, two-hour journey back to Tallinn in Estonia.

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