I never thought that after living in Finland for so many years I could become a tourist in the city that I visit almost every single day of the week. But there I was, standing next to the Central Railway with my small travel bag.
I must thank my husband for this amazing opportunity, and the gift card he has received from the Radisson Blue hotel. Of course, we could use it in some other city in Finland, like Vasa for instance, but I thought it would be an interesting experience to stay in Helsinki.
We stayed in Radisson Blue Plaza. A nice modern hotel located in the heart of Helsinki. We got a good size room; it had a bed, working table and a sofa. Simple and cozy.
We left our bags in the room and headed to the lounge zone that offered free tea and coffee.
I was checking a book about Finland, drinking cappuccino and thinking what we should do next. I had zero ideas, so I asked my husband for advice. “We’ll do same things we usually do when we are on a holiday”, he replied. “We’ll go for a walk, get to know the area and check for a place where we could have a beer… or few”.
“And sightseeings!”, added I excitingly.
“I guess… But first beer”.
And that’s exactly what we did.
Finnish National Theater, the oldest Finnish speaking theater in Finland:
We made our first beer stop in Hemingway’s:
And as soon as I made the photo above, I realized our mistake. You see, when we are abroad, we are always drinking local beers. So, by ordering Irish and Belgium beers we acted like our normal selves in Finland, not like tourists. Beer was good, nevertheless. But if I had a chance to re-do our order, I would for sure take some Finnish beer. Most common options in restaurants are Karhu, Koff (Sinebrychoff), Olvi, Karjala, Aura, and Kukko. My favorite from these is Koff.
As for the bar… let’s just say there were more beer drinkers, than beer lovers, if you know what I mean.
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Before going on a hunt for the next beer place, we decided to walk around and visit a couple of touristic attractions. Closest and the most recognized was Helsinki Cathedral; one of the most beautiful buildings in Helsinki, in my opinion.
I got pretty excited when I saw the opened doors. I have never been inside, and I really wanted to see how it looks. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed. Although I don’t know why I had so high expectations, since all the Lutheran churches look almost identical. I guess I was misled by the impressive façade.
When we came out, I’ve noticed another church behind the Cathedral. It was much smaller and older. As it turned out, it was a Russian Orthodox church The Holy Trinity, built in 1826.
It surprised me a lot, because up to this day I was absolutely sure there is only one Russian church in Helsinki, Uspenski Cathedral. Well, as they say, life to live and life to learn.
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After visiting Havis Amanda, a nude female statue (located next to Market Square)…
We both agreed that it was finally time for a second beer. And this time we chose local brewery-restaurant Bryggeri.
While having our second beer break, we discussed our dinner options. Even though I normally prefer a local cuisine when I’m abroad, I wasn’t really in the mood for Finnish food. And I must admit… Finnish cuisine is not really my cup of tea. They have some good dishes, of course, like loimulohi (“blazed” salmon) and poronkäristys (sautéed reindeer with mash potatoes and lingonberries), my absolute favorite. But overall Finnish food is too plain for my taste, it’s basically flavorless.
It doesn’t excite me, it doesn’t make me cry from happiness, it doesn’t make me want to lick my fingers and plate after I’m done. And yes, I am well aware that licking plate in public is an ill-mannered behavior. But if you (as an adult) hadn’t had a desire to lick your plate after a delicious meal, then you my friend have no ideas what the word “luscious” even means.
Anyways, that’s the reason why we have chosen restaurant Belge instead. Belgium food served with Belgium beer. Perfection made in heaven.
Desert would be a great way to end this beautiful day. But we thought beer will do just fine, so we went to the beer restaurant Kaisla.
Hope you enjoyed it!
Related blog posts: What to do in Helsinki in the Summer