Helsinki

Well, I don’t have much to say honestly. Maybe it’s because it was pretty chilly and annoyingly windy. Maybe it’s because my back feels like it’s breaking (or it could be my stomach, I’m strangely totally unsure). Maybe it’s just Helsinki. They’ve got: a main road that’s kind of like the Champs-Elysees, but it’s totally not, but the same general idea on a smaller scale, meaning this one is still pretty massive. They’ve got docks everywhere to get from island to island. They’ve got no true pedestrian thoroughfares but plenty of nice streets to walk along. They’ve got a San Fran like trolly car system…they’re everywhere. The people are nice and for the most part, they are good looking, but so much different from Sweden. Oh Sweden.

Helsinki does have some cool and highly rated restaurants, but at the end of the day, you are dealing with a ton of reindeer, a super ton of salmon, and most specialties were designed to be hearty and preservable…inhospitable country and all. Their meat pies are interesting, as is the super traditional creamy salmon soup, which is kind of like potato soup with giant chunks of salmon in it. They also have a “delicacy” which is basically fish, meat, and bread mashed together to make a kind of too environmentally resistant cake. Finnish bread is a joke. They should not call that disastrous slice of rye anything other than “sustenance”. Reminds me of that lambas bread that Frodo ate, fills you up but it’s not real food. I did have some nice chats with people at a few bars, and met up with some 50 year old or so hostelers (they were staying in a 6 cot hostel room…see shoestring travel above). Super nice folks though, tons of beers, and tons of talk about “‘Merica”. This dude from Algeria was the sweetest guy I’ve ever met. Why are you here I ask, “I go, Helsinki”, he says with a smile.

Finnish saunas are fine, kind of like the last sauna you went to, except with many more naked Finns in it.

Market square was cool and they do a big open air market every day in the summer. The food stations were my favorite. Most of the “trinket” stations bothered the shit out of me because it was just like a cruise stop in Mexico or the Caribbean, like some factory in China is also churning out the “Helsinki Tourist Crap Crate”. They all had the same crap. I mean who buys this shit. Yup, I bought something. I couldn’t sleep one night and walked around downtown heading towards this Market area. I had the entire city to myself and then almost at once all of these food stands started popping up all along the shoreline…very cool.

The food hall next to the market square was also cool. Had a nice breakfast (fish omelet of course) there amongst the fish mongers, and bakers, and artisans. Cool atmosphere.

Notes to self:

-One of Frommers MAJOR suggestions of things to do while in Helsinki is…take a trip to Estonia. Seriously? On the list of best things to do in your capital city is go to another country? Ouch.


Hotels

GLO Hotel Kluuvi (May 2015)