Day Trip to Helsinki

Tallinn is just a short (2 hour) ferry ride away from Helsinki so we decided to take a day trip and add Finland to the list of countries we've visited.  The weather wasn't looking good for the journey but we made the most of the time anyway.
We bordered the Tallink shuttle.  In addition to passengers, the ferry also takes vehicles including 18-wheelers bringing goods to Finland.
Before we knew it, we had arrived in Helsinki!
We walked out from the port and into town, admiring the architecture along the way.
Laundry, doubling as an art installation, was strung between buildings along a single intersection.
We made our way to Wanha Kauppahalli, the Old Market Hall.
Typical market fare like fruits and vegetables were on display alongside more exotic offerings like reindeer kebab.
The Old Market Hall was a lovely place to warm up from the cold outside.  We visited in mid-May but there was definitely a chill in the air.  Nearby, there was also an outdoor market but only a few brave souls were around that day.
I was pleased to see this display of flowers tumbling onto the footpath.
In the distance, we could see the Uspenski Cathedral.
One of my friends from college now lives in Helsinki so we took the opportunity to catch-up over a spot of tea at a cafe near the Temppeliaukio Church (unfortunately closed for renovations).
We tried a Finnish treat -- these muffins flavored with butter and cardamom.
We took a long walk around the city centre including a look at the old train station inside and out.
Walking through the main shopping district, I discovered these two faces built into the stone which made me smile.
We paused outside the imposing Helsingin tuomiokirkko (Helsinki Cathedral).
Even though it was a fair distance away, we hiked up and over a fairly steep hill to Kaivopuisto.
We were rewarded with beautiful views of the surrounding gentrified neighborhood.
We also saw some rather unique geese frolicking in the park.
We stopped at Cafe Ursula along the water for another quick warm-up over tea.
We then hiked out of the park and past the oldest Catholic church in Helsinki.
We also passed some stunning architectural accents in the neighborhood around the Design Museum.
We walked back to Stockmann in the heart of the City Centre.  Crowds were out in full force as the Finnish National Hockey Team had just won the World Championship vs. Sweden (making it an even sweeter victory).  Thousands of people were prepping for one heck of a party.
Unfortunately, we couldn't stay for the festivities because we needed to find some dinner and then head back to the ferry.  We retraced our steps a bit and passed the laundry exhibit, this time bathed in sunshine.
Statues in the park were also basking in the sun.
We opted for a traditional Finnish meal for dinner (albeit slightly touristy) at Lappi Restaurant.
We started with a beer while waiting for our table.
Lappi serves food typical of the far north Lapland region of Finland.  Once seated inside the dark, rustic interior, we enjoyed traditional mushroom soup.
...and reindeer fillet!  It was actually quite good and tender and tasted a bit like beef.
Heading back to the ferry, we saw more people waving the Finnish flag with national pride over the hockey victory.
It was nearly 10 pm, but the sun was still high in the sky as we boarded the Tallink Shuttle for Estonia.
The Estonian flag flapped in the breeze.
After a very full day (we'd walked over 13 miles), we watched as Helsinki receded in the distance and a bit of a rainbow formed against the cloud formations.
The sunset on yet another perfect adventure.

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Sidewalk Safari: Day Trip to Helsinki
Day Trip to Helsinki
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Sidewalk Safari
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