Friday, September 6, 2013

Helsinki. Last Hours.

Enjoying lunch at Kauppatori.
After spending the morning exploring more of Helsinki, we were back at the Hotel Finn to finish up packing and check out of the hotel.  Since we weren't actually leaving Helskini until later on in the afternoon, we stashed our bags safely inside a storage locker at the hotel.  A side note about the staff at the hotel.  We've only been here three days and two nights and I don't think we've seen the same face behind the reception desk the entire time we've been here but every single person has been so warm and friendly.  Who says Finns are reserved have not met these folks!


Heading out the front door, we momentarily debated whether or not to head back to Kiasma but at the last second, decided not too. By now, the desire to spend time inside an art museum was no longer there.  It was simply too beautiful a day to imprison ourselves indoors.  Instead, we decided to spend our last few hours in Helsinki where we started - back at Esplanadi.


I was surprised to see the woman street performer again.  I still can't believe she drags her piano to this spot every day!

A statue of Johan Ludvig Runeberg, a Finnish poet, erected by his son.
Pigeons love him as well though not for his poetry.

Back to Kauppatori.  This time I took photos instead of just drooling over food. :-)

It's not a large market but there's some nice variety of things for sale.

Beautiful colors of heather.

Greetings from Lappland!  How cute! Quite a few vendors selling food and other items from this remote region of Finland.

I will miss the varieties of the berries here and oh, how colorful they are!

Greedy me. Time to eat.  I secured the table while Bro stood in line to place our order.

Bro had a salmon platter for his lunch.  I had the vendace with the classic garlic mayo.

As were munching on our lunch, we could hear the sound of live song and music in the distance.  We had passed the stage on our way from Esplanadi to Kauppatori.  After lunch, we headed back to catch a bit of the performance.  A lunchtime performance in the park.  What a great way to take a break from the daily grind.  There were plenty of people gathered about enjoying the entertainment which from what we could tell was for the charity of a school in Sierra Leone.  Okay, that is a wild stab in the dark since we couldn't read the Finnish on the placard, just a semi-educated guess based on the photos.



Stage center was an African man, dreadlocks and all doing the singing.  The band and his three female back up singers were remarkably (or perhaps not?) all white, with the exception of one of the drummers.


It was a nice beat.



We watched the performance for a few minutes and then continued on our stroll.  I was truly enjoying a relaxing time in the park.

A living statue to entertain the crowd.

Of course, at the other end of Esplanadi from Kauppatori is this small building.  Recognize it?  I did.   It's the ice cream kiosk that we bought cones from two days ago.  Déjà vu and I see another licorice ice cream cone in my future! :-)


Bro couldn't resist either.  His is a lemon and licorice flavor ice cream. 
Sounds odd, but it was incredibly delicious.  We must try to replicate this combo.

Then there was my black beauty!  Dark, creamy and full of licorice flavor.

By now, it was reaching time for us to head to the ferry dock.  We bid Esplanadi good bye and headed back to the Hotel Finn to retrieve our bags from the storage locker.



We retraced our steps back to the ferry dock.  For some reason, the walk back seemed so much shorter.  Just as we neared the dock, Bro decided he needed a post lunch nap so he took his socks and shoes off and laid down.  Uh....hello??  Ferry to catch??


Actually, we had plenty of time so a short break was fine.  Unfortunately, we weren't exactly in the midst of the most scenic of surroundings so just around the time I was beginning to get bored, I rustled Bro to his feet.

For some reason, it hadn't dawned on us that we would be on a late afternoon ferry to Tallinn and that the ferry would be packed with either Estonians heading back from a week of work in Helsinki and/or Finns going to Tallinn for the weekend. In any event, it was long line of people waiting to board the ferry.  We took our spots.


We quickly scurried on board and ran as if we knew where we were going.  Luckily, we managed to secure a table next to the window.  We settled in for the short ride back to Tallinn.

Bro + free Wifi = no iPad for me.

I find it so odd when people board a ferry and then immediately head over to get food like the food is so good on a ferry.

Me bored.  Me take photo reflecting off the mirrored ceiling.  Not NatGeo worthy?

The familiar towers and spires of Tallinn.

Flash forward and we're back in Jurgen's apartment in the heart of Tallinn.  It was good to be back to a familiar place.  We're leaving tomorrow so we had to do our best to clear out the fridge of the stuff that we had bought at Rimi.  It was one last dinner of smoked chicken with pasta.  Bro fell right back into chef duties while I did the laundry.  We were back to a familiar routine; it was as if we had never left.


Tomorrow we leave Tallinn to continue our Baltics roadtrip so after dinner, we had to repack our bags and food.  Yes, my mushrooms were still drying on the windowsill and there were still apples left.  Darn!

It was a really short visit to Helsinki but I'm really glad we diverted from our Baltic route to go there.  We both both had a wonderful time there and it was just enough of a taste of Finland tthat I would love to one day go back and see more of the country itself.  Maybe on a roadtrip through Scandanavia :-)

Goodbye Helsinki and goodnight from Tallinn!