Thursday, 18 September 2014

Hopping on/hopping off in Helsinki

I slept in this morning. The outcome of two busy weeks in NYC, the overnight flight and the time zone changes no doubt but also an indication of how quiet it is in Helsinki. People are not noisy; not in the streets in daytime anyway. Are they rowdy in the evenings; or after a drink or two? I don't know but my CBD hotel, with its double windows, provided no early morning noise to go with the daylight to wake me.

I took it pretty easy really, doing some more walking and two round trips on the sightseeing buses viewing things from afar. Imitation tourism I suppose but it was sufficient for me today. It is also the reason some of the photos I am posting have reflections; they were taken from behind glass, the upstairs windows of the buses.

The south harbour was glistening in the early sun and there were three cruise boats berthed today, not just the one from yesterday.

Helsinki's south harbour

Lutheran Cathedral at Senate Square

My new favourite shopping centre principally because it provides clean and, significantly, free public toilets not readily in evidence elsewhere.

Galleria Esplanad
At lunch a cafe called Picnic attracted my attention because of its clientele. They were either young, or older ladies or working men in their flouro jackets all of which suggested an inexpensive establishment. I selected what I thought was a cheese and tomato roll but it turned out to be chicken and cheese in a BBQ sauce. Never mind, it tasted fine and was chock full of its ingredients even if my photo suggests otherwise. But I draw your attention to the plastic packet on the plate. This was offered as free 'bubble gum' which goes with the meal. I thought that to be unlikely but, hey it was free, so what the heck.

'Picnic' lunch

So what about the 'bubble gum'? Well the product is (apparently) Professional Taysksylitolipurukumi and the packet says it is 100% Xylitol. I had no idea what any of that meant until I opened the packet and tried it. Well, thankfully it wasn't bubble gum - which doesn't appeal to me - but a pellet of strong peppermint chewing gum that freshens the mouth after the meal. Not a bad idea really.

A familiar brand in faraway Finland.

Fosters in Finland

On my third trip today the bus packed with German speaking passengers.


who all but disappeared when we reached the stop where their cruise ship was berthed.


Hietalahti Flea Market

A statue of the great Finnish Olympics athlete Paavo Nurmi graces Helsinki's Olympic Stadium

And then back on the streets...

Don't ask me, I have no idea


  1. Bugger...I had been so busy at work that I haven't been keeping up to date with your journey and only just discovered I had missed your entire trip to Finland!

    The xylitol used for chewing gum in Finland is evidently comes from birch trees and is good for you.

    I thought that the MCG is in much better condition that the Helsinki olympic stadium...the last time I saw the latter, there were lots of cracks on the facade.

    The flea market you visited in like one block from where I stay when I go to Helsinki...if I am in the city, I am there almost every day. Lots of interesting soviet stuff.

    1. I liked what I saw Ad Rad but it was a very fleeting visit; a rest stop really.