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Honeymoon in Iceland - Day 0: Helsinki

Long story short, we will cover the road, a midnight walk and our thoughts on Finland's capital, Helsinki.

Road impressions

I will start in a more spiritual note. We travel because we are curious and from the desire to discover new things, new costumes and new people that are different from us. We travel to enrich ourselves and to open our minds, but most of the times we simply travel to discover our true inner selves

Each journey or destination shapes our personality and reveals “the other”, an alternative, an option. Today I have added something truly precious inside of me.

Do you know how it is to discover a new color? Not any color, and I am not simply talking about a new fancy name brought up by a renowned designer, but something that is so intense that you feel the absolute urge of immortalizing it with any price.

That is what the 4th of September 2015 has presented us when we took off from the International Airport of Budapest on a reddish sunset symphony. Somewhere on the horizon a red flare decided not to let go or to say “Good Night” and as soon as we gained altitude it simply seemed as it opened its heart to us in the most intense and vivid blood color that I have ever witnessed up until now. I can already feel the magic of the northern countries as they slowly but surely build fantastic memories even though I’m still only 300 kilometers away from home.

After a safe and extremely smooth flight we had one of the best landings and welcoming messages from the funny-phlegmatic Finish captain: “enjoy your evening in Helsinki ... or wherever ... (long break) you are going”. My favorite pilot!

We got off the plane full of excitement and eager to meet our first nordic country as we made our way to Finland’s capital, Helsinki.


Hello, Helsinki!

We resupplied with some snacks from the 24-7 supermarket available in the airport and started wandering around, trying to figure out from where we can get a bus trip to the city. To get some fact out of the way, we landed in Helsinki at 22:30 and our flight to Reykjavik was scheduled at 8:45 in the morning, as such we had about 10 hours to kill visiting the capital.

The plan that we agreed to at home was that in case of good weather we would go sightseeing in Finland’s capital, taking in consideration we had shuttle buses every 30 minutes; a much better option than to try and sleep in the cold and drafty airport. Talking about it, the last bus from the airport to the city is at 01:10 and the earliest trip back leaves at 5:00 o’clock in the morning from the city central station.

So, we found the right terminal, bought the ticket and departed with the 23:40 bus. I don’t think 10 minutes passed until it started raining… Panic! What are we to do in the city if it’s pouring outside and the next bus back is in 5 hours? But we were in luck as the rain completely stopped until we reached the busy city center and we had a not so cold night there.

Shall we proceed? I’ve started the GPS app on my phone, so we wouldn't get lost and went on discovering the city.

We know bad things about the Nordic weather and good things about the people living there and I think most people agree with me on this fact. This being said we started off with some unrealistic expectations for a Friday night!

We had a pretty big shock that left us amazed and not in a good way because we have never seen so much chaos before… a lot of drunk, almost comatose, young people moving from one club/party to the other in some sort of Brownian movement, music roaring loudly at every corner and garbage everywhere. From the outside, after being on the road for almost 14 hours with a starting sense of fatigue, we smiled and laughed at what we saw. In some way, I felt like a student again and the whole atmosphere resembled more like a university campus gone wild than like a prestigious capital. In any case, I strongly recommend visiting Helsinki if you are a party man and you’ve got the energy and money for it!

To be fair, at about 5 in the morning, public workers started making their appearance with big water trucks and began making everything shiny and clean once more. Most probably the dawns of a new day will find Helsinki as a whole different city than what we have experienced.

Leaving anthropology aside let’s get back to our midnight walk, after wandering on quite a few Finnish streets I can honestly say that the city is really interesting. Helsinki is a modern city with many appealing shops and stores, in terms of aesthetic looks at least, because the prices are aligned at the Nordic living standard, which is pretty high. There are ample boulevards with buildings that sometimes have a glass architecture, sometimes it’s minimalist-industrial or old, typical European, filled with a lot of history. There is a little bit of everything here.


Useful stuff

As we were browsing the internet, just before we left, on the topic of what we can do in Helsinki during the night, except for partying, we stumbled upon a great guide for discovering the city by foot, without an actual (human) guide:

  • Discover the historic city center - 6 km route
  • Relax in the green heart of the city - 6 km route
  • Delight your senses in the design district - 2,5 km route
  • Enjoy the smell of the sea - 6 km route
  • Explore the colorful street corners of Kallio - 4 km route

The complete guide with maps and detail can be found on the city’s official web page.

I will not end up with a final conclusion for one of the most famous northern cities without further exploring its beauty, secrets and surprises in a more extensive visit, hopefully with more daylight hours, but all in all I’m glad I managed to visit it even if only for a short night time period. I do recommend the city to everyone as it is the kind of place that can deliver a vibrant nightlife and at the same time offer an extensive array of cultural possibilities.

Next stop, Iceland!

Hope you found the information helpful and accurate, but remember, if you have any questions drop them in a comment below!

Honeymoon in Iceland - Day 0: Helsinki Reviewed by Alex on 09:38 Rating: 5

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