Helsinki is the capital of Finland and is only a really short distance from Tallinn. I was invited earlier in the week by a friend from the Tartu trip to go to Helsinki with him and a few other friends. Early Saturday morning we hopped on the 2-hour ferry boat to get to Helsinki. We spent the day wandering though the city, trying to discover all that Helsinki had to offer.
Helsinki is not as charming as Tallinn, but that does not mean it isn’t worth seeing. It’s just a bigger city that has been forced to modernize. They do still have some beautiful churches perched atop high hills and even underneath a rock quarry.
Another sightseeing stop we made was to a weird sculpture we saw on the map. It was a bunch of huge pipes that looked like they were floating above the ground. After a quick google search, I learned that this is a monument to Finnish composure Jean Sibelius and is supposed to resemble the pipes in an organ.The monument was unveiled in 1962 and has been attracting numerous tourists, like myself, ever since.
One of the main fun things we had planned for the day was to attend an ice hockey game. After purchasing our tickets right when the window opened (we were warned that they sell out very quickly), we decided to check out some of the other things in the area. The Olympic arena dated back to 1938 when Helsinki was supposed to host the event. However, due to WWII, they didn’t actually hold the olympics there until 1952. There was a great tower at the Olympic venue that allowed visitors to have a fantastic view of the city.
Once we finished with the tower, it was time to head back down to the ice hockey stadium. We cheered on the home team in a packed stadium. They were winning until the end, tied, overtime tied, then lost in the 5th round of shootouts. To say this was an exciting game would be an understatement. The fans yelled chants as us foreigners attempted to clap along. Once the game ended, we, along with the sad but loyal fans, headed back home. We managed to navigate our way back to the harbor via tram without getting lost, ate a snack in the ferry terminal, and safely arrived in Tallinn. It was a very long, but adventure filled day.