Ten days holidays before a one year break. Sounds a bit exaggerated, doesn’t it?
Well, five days in the Finnish capital and five in the Estonian one gave us the opportunity to relax from the busy weeks in Zurich, reflect on our plans and ideas and – as you may have noticed – update our pre-hike posts.
We arrived in Helsinki quite late, managed to catch the right bus into town and the connection to our host’s address. When we finally rang Helena’s and Lauri’s dorbell, it was already 22.30h. A friendly couple greeted us a bit hesitantly – for one second we thought we had missed the address. That passed as soon as we entered the charming apartment, were offered food and drinks and despite the late hours spend some time chatting with our hosts.
When we went to brush the teeth, another surprise: There was a sink, a toilet, a shower – and a sauna! A private sauna in a two-room apartment!
Our visit to Helsinki would have been an ordinary sightseeing tour, if it hadn’t been for our hosts. Helena and Lauri for the first four days and Heini and Olli on the last one not only made us feel at home, they also gave us valuable tips on where to go and what to do, answered all our questions on Finnish culture, politics and life and were great company for eating, talking and going out. We enjoyed home cooked Finnish food, Finnish breakfast and a Sauna evening! And during our walks in the city we discovered something nice: Finnish people are cool and reserved for about 60 seconds; if you continue smiling and talking to them, they are the nicest people in the world!
By a pleasant coincidence, we had met Arnaud, a Swiss living in Helsinki when we were still in Zurich. Even better, he was directing a play in English which première was in the week we were there. So we could combine a stroll through the hip area around Nokia’s old cable factory, now a cultural center, with a theater evening to see “Don Juan On Trial“.
To get to our second hosts on our last full day in Helsinki, we shouldered our backpacks, picked up the hiking poles and walked. Still within the city’s boundaries, we crossed a natural reserve with several bird observation posts.
After we dropped our backpacks at Heini’s and Olli’s place – feels so good to exchange them for a small day pack! -, we headed back into town, this time with the sole purpose of finding a cozy café and stay there. Thanks to Heini’s recommendation, we discovered Cafe Regatta.
Cinnamon buns fresh from the oven and all-you-can-drink coffee (they PAY you 5 cents from the first refill onwards!), what more can you ask?
On our farewell day in Helsinki, we met Carolyn and Marian, our friends from Zurich, for lunch at the market square. In the early afternoon, we made our way to the West Terminal and checked in for the ferry to Tallinn.