Of course being down by the water was beautiful on a summer day! The sun was shining and glittering across the small waves crashing against the boards that formed docks for all sizes of boats. Everything from sailboats to dinghies to a small charted cruise ship lolled in the water. Past the buoys the open water expanded out and past an island just in view. There are many islands off of Helsinki that I would have loved to visit, if I had the time available. After sitting by the water for a bit and remarking how incredibly empty and deserted the city felt, Chris and I walked down the main promenade past designer restaurants with designer price tags and found a little Spanish café to have dinner. Sipping sangria I was surprised to find that it was almost 7:30, but the sun was still out and shining. Long summer days of sun help to keep the temperature at a pleasant 75 degrees in Finland during August.
After dinner, I met up with another new friend from the hostel I was staying at and we headed to the center of town for a beer at a Czech restaurant called Vltava. After that, I experienced a little bit of Finish nightlife when we headed to a popular bar, but I didn’t stay out long because the “punk” attire popular by most Fins and the “drink specials” were a bit of a depressant. Paying $12 for a beer was not on my agenda of things to see and do in Helsinki. Plus after a short night of rest the night before and a long plane flight and bus ride to Helsinki, I was more than tired. I went to bed early so that I could get up and explore some more the next day before heading to the airport for the continuation of my flight.
My main destination for the morning was the Kiasma contemporary art museum, a must see while in Helsinki! The outside of the museum is a piece of art in and of itself, an interesting architectural presentation. The inside featured a variety of exhibits with excellent commentary which fully enhanced the experience. Because I do not prefer contemporary art with no meaning, the museum’s curated commentary helped me to understand what I was seeing and the message behind it.
After visiting Kiasma and spending a little more time walking around and experiencing the city, my time was up and I had to head back to the airport on the bus. Typical Finnish goods were for sale in all of the airport store, included reindeer meat! I’m not sure I would like to visit Finland in the dead of winter but if I did, I would make sure to have a reindeer sighting in the wild! My short 24 hour layover just left me with a list of at least 10 more things to come back and do if I get the chance to return to Finland in the future.