The day began with a farewell to my older son who was leaving on a Finnair flight to Rome this morning to meet up with his friends and embark on a sailing holiday along the Italian coast. This meant I had most of the day to myself before my husband was due to arrive later.
I’ve spent so much time in Helsinki and can find my way around with ease so a day on my own isn’t a problem. How should I spend my time? As it was a glorious day I decided to take a walk by the sea in the centre of town so I boarded a bus into Kamppi and wandered through the delightful Esplanade Park to the market place. In summer, this area is always bursting with life and crowded as it’s so beautiful and attracts day trippers taking Baltic cruises as well as visitors off the ferries from Stockholm and Tallinn.
After browsing around the market stalls and buying some strawberries, I continued along the waterfront passing the tour boats and ferries to neighbouring islands and heading towards the Finnair Skywheel (Ferris wheel) when I noticed something new from last year. Nearing completion is the Helsinki Pool (Helsinki Allas) a sea spa on a giant floating terrace which will feature large swimming pools, a sauna, restaurant and cafe.
It’s due to open next month and looks impressive, the above photo shows one of its sun decks which has recently opened. The wooden design and use of steps means that you wil be able to sit on the steps admiring the breathtaking views of the market place and harbour. With a hot, sunny day like this and stunning views across Helsinki harbour, who could wish for more!
Here you can see a view of the Finnair Skywheel with the new Helsinki Pool upper sun deck and bar on the left of the photo. Just look at those inviting bean bags ready and waiting for your afternoon snooze in the sun! Moving on, I crossed the small bridge by the Uspenski Russian Orthodox Cathedral with its gold plated onion domes gleaming in the sunshine. Tucked in the corner you will see this cafe/bar on a boat where you can enjoy a drink whilst taking in the views.
It’s a pleasant walk to then follow the path round to the right, passing the old former warehouses which have been transformed into upscale bars and cafes. There are stunning views looking back from here showcasing some of the city’s beautiful waterfront Jugend / Art Nouveau architecture with castle like features and strong use of granite and sandstone.
My walk continued past Helsinki Casino which was hosting a wedding reception on its outdoor terrace as I passed. Considering I’m just minutes away from the hustle and bustle of the market place it’s so tranquil here and so lovely to be able to view the small islands across the bay, one of which, Korkeasaari is the home of Helsinki Zoo. My walk then took me along the northern shore of Katajanokka, the summer home of the Finnish ice breaking fleet which help to keep the ports open and functioning normally during the winter months when the sea is frozen. Katajanokka is also home to a hotel converted from a former prison – the prison closed its doors in 2002 and re-opened as a hotel five years later.
Strolling along a little further I then turned inland to catch a No.4 tram from its terminus back into the city centre.
There was then time to enjoy a cup of coffee and a cinnamon bun (korvapuusti) before taking the train to the airport to meet my husband whose flight arrived ahead of schedule which was pleasing.