From St. Petersburg to Helsinki for a day.
On Monday, October 28, while still living in St. Petersburg, I decided to take a day off at work. My last working week began in the Northern Capital, at the end of which I was to move to Moscow. I was not particularly eager to go to the capital, it was sad to move. To somehow level out premature melancholy, from my last few days in the best city of Russia, I decided to get the most. On Monday, for example, on the day rushed to Helsinki – the capital of Finland, to which of Peter Well, just a stone’s throw away.
2. A view in the opposite direction from the vocal building. Right in the center are the metal structures of the amusement park.
3. In Finland there are two official languages: Finnish and Swedish. Because of this, almost all the inscriptions are duplicated everywhere. Finns are mostly fluent in both these languages, and in addition they also speak excellent English. Sometimes it all seems like you are in England – especially when you’re in stunning English, with almost no accent, suggesting a way some grandmother, accidentally met on the street. Or just as confidently and ideally the cashier in the subway tells you what transport tickets are in the city, and which one suits you better.
4. All, enough to admire the railway indastralalom. Aye-da inside the station, and then into the city to walk.
5. Railway station square of Helsinki. The realization of how everything around here is different, comes suddenly, like an avalanche from the mountains came down. After all, some three and a half hours, and the reality has changed so much. After all, you’re not flying on the plane!
6. Despite the fact that this station – everything is clean, no messy parking, congestion or homeless people. Immediately you realize that you are in one of the most prosperous countries in the world.
7. Helsinki Railway Station is in the very center. To come here is much more convenient than to fly to a remote suburb of Vantaa by plane or by ferry, which approaches the southern docks. From the station square within the line of sight and five-minute reach – the largest malls in Finland. “Forum”, for example.
8. The central street. Helsinki is one of the few cities in which even in the most seditious weather is cozy. The rain and wind inherent in any Scandinavian capital here are reduced to nothing by light cafes with huge windows, as if hugging you houses.
9. First of all, I’m looking for a good cafe to have breakfast – I ran out of the house early in the morning and decided not to rattle with plates to not wake Lenivka. Immediately ran out of the apartment, barely dressed, only grabbed drinking yogurt. By the way, pay attention to the road markings – on the cobblestone pavement it is not painted, but laid out with pebbles of white color!
10. Behind the back is the railway station. In the opposite McDonald’s do not want. Probably, it’s no secret to anyone that only in Russia in McDuck can you eat more or less delicious. In Europe, this brand is exclusively third-rate. In McDonald’s in the West, there are a lot of freaks, absolutely poor service, and not food, but shit, as Lebedev would say.
11. Having found out some local wy-fi, I go to Foursquare – I search for places where to have a bite or where to go recently only with the help of this service. The system of ratings and reviews, recommendations, pictures – everything is just there at the height, for travels, forkservik is simply irreplaceable. For a few minutes I understand that it’s better not to find breakfast nearby than in a small cafe, which is in a bright building right in front of me.
12. On the next picture you can even see the inscription “Caffi” on the first floor. Forswerk sent me there exactly. He remained satisfied. For quite inexpensive I was offered unlimited oatmeal (I did not know that porridge in English was porridge, for some reason I was associated with sausage, and I was waiting for a meat of what, and I was showered with oatmeal ^^), frash and latte . Beauty!
13. I ate slowly, sat at the window and admired the residents of the capital hurrying to work and study. Helsinki are very cool: they dress stylishly, themselves pretty, smiling and polite. Miss the girl at the entrance to the cafe or just hold the door – just a wide smile and “Kitos” – thanks that is. It’s quite easy to talk to an outsider: the Finns are open, friendly, friendly and, once again, they speak excellent English!
14. Having a bite, I go for a walk. It’s only the end of October, but the leaves have almost all fallen, nature in Helsinki has prepared for the winter.
15. The center of Helsinki is an extremely pleasant place. In the capital of Finland, there are more than one million people, but there are very few cars. Paid parking, convenient transportation system, developed bicycle infrastructure and love for a healthy lifestyle do their job – Helsinki does not sink in congestion and exhaust fumes. Here you can breathe a full chest, the air here has a special taste of freshness, coffee and excellent baking.
16. Turn on the Esplanadi – the most expensive street in Helsinki.
17. Esplanadi – the most expensive restaurants, boutiques and hotels. This is the place of hangout of local bohemia. There are even more stylish gentlemen, expensive cars, magnificent houses.
18. The street leads from the quarter of shopping centers to the harbor of the Baltic Sea, where cruise liners and ferries stop.
19. The architecture on the Esplanadi very much resembles St. Petersburg or Paris. No, of course, Paris – what Petersburg! Here everything is as if with a needle!
20. Through every hundred meters adjacent pedestrian streets with shops. The further from Esplanadi – the cheaper. A quarter will be Zara, another one will be H & M.
21. In the middle of the Esplanadi – a wide boulevard with benches and greenery.
22. It’s a pleasure to walk here. It seems to me, it is rare in what country to raise children will be just as pleasant as in Finland.
23. I probably photographed this house ten times – how beautiful it is!
24. The closer I get to the sea, the better the weather becomes – the clouds are getting rarer and less often, the sun begins to peep out.
25. In the middle of the boulevard is a glass pavilion.
26. Something like a bohemian summer cafe. Petersburgers from time immemorial traveled to Finland to rest. In the summer time, high imperial ranks were held here at dachas until the Revolution of 1917. Much was built especially for them in those ancient times.
27. Art (nymph) and seals. Seals. All right – with an emphasis on the essence of the northern country in which we are 🙂
28. Esplanadi rests on a spacious area, located on the shore of the sea harbor. Here is the palace of the President of Finland. See, the blue from the left? Yes, just a piece is in the picture – but it’s nothing, we’ll take a closer look at him.
29. I come to the water itself, and I notice how majestic the ferry enters the harbor, it is twenty meters high, probably! The vessel sails quite slowly, and manages to charm not only me, but also other rare strolling along the shore harbor. A gentleman in black coats and a hat lay dreamily ahead of me.
30. The ferry belongs to the Finnish shipping company “Silja”. Silja today covers a lot of Baltic ports, among which are St. Petersburg, and Stockholm.
31. Terrible Nordic sky.
32. To understand the scope. My sincere respect to the captain and the helmsman of this miracle vessel. What kind of pro need to be to fit such a hulk into such a narrow harbor and moor it to the shore.
33. You can admire the sky indefinitely.
34. Ferry and houses on the island.
35. The ship turns slowly, trying to moor to the right bank of the harbor. At some point, it seems that the ship occupied the entire water surface of the harbor, barely dodging the island. A fascinating sight.
36. And here is the presidential palace. Did not expect that everything is so simple? 🙂
37. Stella with a two-headed eagle is dedicated to the Russian Empress Alexandra. Finns piously honor their history – therefore, there are more pre-revolutionary Russian monuments here than in Russia itself 🙂 The Market Square is called, by the way, or Kauppatori in Finnish 🙂
38. Well, everything, the ferry practically moored. We leave further.
39. From the railway station along Mannerheim Street, I went to the Esplanadi, got to the Market Square, and now I moved on – to a small quiet islet, adjacent to the center, called Katajanokka.
40. From the mainland the island is separated by this narrow canal.
41. The main attraction is the majestic Orthodox Cathedral, built in pre-revolutionary times right on the cliff.
42. But I’m not here for the sake of Orthodox churches, but for the sake of these red houses, which is one of the best coffee houses in the capital of Finland, and from the embankment which has a wonderful view of the city.
43. The water in the canal seems to be as thick as milk!
44. On the bridge – hundreds of locks. Local lovers honor the same tradition as Russian ones 🙂
45. Looking back, towards the center.
46. The island offers a magnificent view of the embankment of the mainland and the parking of yachts.
47. On the island embankment is very good.
48. Slowly stroll, admiring the old ship moored opposite, which is more than a hundred years. Now inside the museum.
49. You can not take your eyes off the delightful houses with turrets on that shore.
50. You inhale the full lungs of pure sea air, dissolve in the noise of the surf and the cries of seagulls. You refuse to believe that you are about three and a half hours’ drive from St. Petersburg. It’s like a parallel reality.
51. And at the shore of the real sailboats are moored.
52. A house on the water with engines. It is difficult to call this box a ship, but it’s possible to swim from point A to point B 🙂
53. No nose, no stern 🙂
54. At the facades of coastal restaurants – marine stylistics.
55. The island behind the embankment is built up by apartment buildings in the post-war years. Each house is painted in its own color – individuality in everything and it’s easier to tolerate the bad weather!
56. Bredu on the island embankment on. In Helsinki it’s still early – except for me there is not a soul around practically.
57. The organization of traffic is simply the height of perfection! The place is for everyone: for cars, for bicycles, and for pedestrians.
58. There is no Starbucks in Finland – therefore, coffee houses of local brands are distributed in the country. Plus for a tourist who is here in search of something special – something that he does not have in his homeland.
59. The embankment, meanwhile, does not end – I try to keep it.
60. Some unusual ships. Military?
61. Falling in the nature gives even more greatness to all that I see – to the sea, islands, ships, the already heavy November sky and loneliness.
62. A small harbor with colorful buoys. In 2012, Helsinki was named the European capital of design and fashion. Even now it is seen in many ways 🙂
63. So, it’s time to return from the island to the big earth.
64. Although, you know, I do not want to. It’s very good here. Ideal place for meeting well or walking alone with thousands of thoughts in your head, in search of inspiration.
65. Autumn landscape.
67. It’s amazing how different it is here.
68. So you go and watch – then to the boats at the piers, then to the cafes of the embankment, then to the water surface, then to such cozy and clean streets with residential buildings.
69. And here is the cafe “Johan & Nystrom” here, on the embankment, which forskverik advised me as the best in Helsinki. The inscription on the board at the entrance: “Save water – take a shower together!”
70. Inside are warm and pleasant interiors. They cook there really excellent coffee, and also make excellent teas. Barista girls are fluent in English (you already understood that this is the usual situation for Helsinki), you can chat with them pleasantly and find out what is interesting in the area. And trust them to taste, and they will cook you the most-most delicious drink – such as you are more likely not to have ever tried 🙂
71. At heart – a sense of peace, absolute satisfaction with the environment and the city. But time goes by, so I left the warm coffee shop, and continued my walk. He crossed the bridge again to the mainland and for the last time glanced at the island with its red brick houses and the cathedral rising on the rock.
72. Helsinki Street. The Nordic character of the cold Scandinavian country is well traced in the asceticism of the streets, the utmost simplicity and practicality of everything around. This is the essence of the northern peoples, which we love so much. Everyone after all at home there is at least one thing from Ikea, and Ikei products are filled with just this whole essence 🙂
73. Leaving the island, I go to the very embankment promenade, which has already shown you from the side in a couple of photos above. It’s very cool here. It seems that you are somewhere on the French Riviera: on the left are beautiful houses in such a brilliant imperial style, to the right – a pier with dozens of yachts, then – the sea and islands. I think that in the summer one of the most pleasant places in Helsinki is here.
74. From yachts and water the promenade is not separated by any fence. So here you go, admiring the splashing waves and boats, whose noses sometimes appear on the footpath.
75. Many benches, a whole row of trees.
76. I walk along Pohjoistranta street (Finnish is so beautiful!), An island with a steep coffee house and a special atmosphere is left behind.
77. Road signs in Finland, like in almost all other countries of the Eurozone, are carefully detailed. The zebra road is not just a schematic little man, but a real long-legged dandy in trousers and a cap.
78. From the promenade halfway to the right a narrow path runs through an artificial mound. If you go on it – you’ll come to a tiny, almost perfectly round green island, on which the park is located. There, in such bad weather, it’s deserted, quiet, calm and nice. From the path there is a beautiful view of the promenade and the palace buildings on the waterfront.
79. Everywhere around the berths for yachts.
80. Here is a piece of islet. Before him go for about five minutes along the mound.
81. On the island itself there are no cars and asphalt – only the paths of granite crumb near the shore, shops and lanterns.
82. Sad, cold, wet late autumn is felt on this island best – better than anywhere in Helsinki, in St. Petersburg, better than in the whole world.
83. I was the only one at that moment on the island.
84. Cafe closed for winter.
85. The dark gray sky, it seems, is even heavier than in St. Petersburg.
86. But in this severe nature there is a beauty and a special charm. I want to walk, plunging into thoughts and zipping up the jacket to the very gates. Hide your hands in your pockets and wander, gape, looking at the dying. well, or falling asleep nature. Imagine yourself somewhere in fairy tales, in dark lands, where the winter is coming for a long time – no one knows when she will leave.
87. Ducks are bored alone.
88. Cafe on the other side.
90. Loneliness is also sometimes useful.
91. Another island. There, by the way, is a city zoo. It occupies the whole island, and, they say, it is very interesting there.
93. Old cheap apartment buildings, with built-up islands of Siltasaari, Hanasaari and Sompasaari.
To be continued.
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While the continuation of the story about my one day in Helsinki is still being prepared, I recommend reading the notes from our joint trip to the Finnish capital with Lenivka in November 2012:
05.12.2012 First time in Helsinki, part 1. Walk in the center and the suburbs, first impressions. 05.12.2012 First time in Helsinki, part 2. Hostel, church in the rock, city stories and sketches.
And here are a few more posts about other trips to Finland:
01/14/2013 From St. Petersburg to Milan – for 45 euros. The secret of cheap flights through Finland. 08/07/2013 We flew to Dusseldorf via Lappeenranta. Feedback on RyanAir. 09/04/2013 To Finland – on bicycles. As we crossed the border on bikes and rolled out the whole day along the bordering Finnish town.
All articles about Helsinki are easy to find by the tag “Helsinki”, about Finland – by the tag “Finland”, about all my foreign trips – “Travels”, respectively.