September 2019: As part of a larger two-week trip to Southern Russia, South Ossetia and Italy, I spent a day in Helsinki, Finland on a stopover via Finn Air enroute to Moscow. Finland is a fascinating country in northern Europe, recently voted as the happiest country in the world, that is sandwiched between Russia and Scandinavia. It often is mistaken with Scandanavia, but the language is completely unique from both Scandinavian and Russian. Finland is an outdoorsman’s paradise that is mostly forested and with almost 200,000 lakes.

The intent of my short trip was to see Helsinki and to meet my friends who just happened to be traveling in Finland at the same time. I will be back to Finland again in the future to visit the northern forests and lakes and to explore them in more detail and hopefully to Lapland, the far northern region of Finland where the reindeer herding Sami, indigenous people live.

 

 

Location of Finland-despite being next to Russia and Scandanavia it has managed to fight off invasions from both its Viking neighbors to the west and its large Russian neighbor to the east and on the most part avoid becoming gobbled up by the Soviet Empire.

 

 

 

Helsinki, the capitol of Finland is an easy city to visit from the airport. There is a direct 30-minute-long train that leads into town and Helsinki is very walking friendly and easy to explore. There is a lot of beautiful Art Deco style architecture, old churches and restaurants, cafes located along the waterfront of the Baltic Sea. The city has a relaxed, clean and friendly atmosphere. Although it isn’t the oldest and most interesting European city I have visited, I enjoyed being in one of the lesser visited countries of Europe even if my visit was a short one.

Train from airport that also goes deeper into Finland.

Art Deco Style at Train Station

Old City

Easy to walk streets

Old City

Modern Art Sculptures in Streets

More old City and Interesting Architecture

It was a lot of fun meeting my friends from work and having a few beers with them down at a waterfront cafe before I had to take the train back to the airport and continue my trip to Moscow.

 

Me on the left with my friends from work in Helsinki

11 + 10 =

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