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This is My Helsinki

Chapel of Silence
Kamppi Chapel
The Kamppi Chapel or the Chapel of Silence is a non-denominational space for calm and reflection. The Chapel maintains a staff who can help anyone unload the cares that infest the mind and body and provides information about the services offered by the Helsinki Parish Union and the Social Services Department of the city. They're open daily.

This beautiful wooden structure was designed by K2S Architects Ltd. The curved exterior wall is made from treated spruce wood planks and oiled alder planks line the interior walls. Light pours down the chapel from a skylight above the ceiling. The unadorned chapel is exactly the place to find peace and quiet. 

"Silence is the only voice of our God." Herman Melville

Rock Church
Temppeliaukio Church
Natural light streams into Temppeliaukio or Rock Church through concrete beams anchored on rock and crowned by a copper dome. Temppeliaukio is a Lutheran Church. It is also a venue for concerts.

There is a 3 euro entrance fee to the church.

Temppeliaukio Church
Temppeliaukio or Rock Church simply rocks!

Helsinki Cathedral
The Helsinki Cathedral, an Evangelical Lutheran cathedral, was built between 1832-1852 and dedicated to Tsar Nicholas I of Russia, Grand Duke of Finland. It was designed by Carl Ludvig Engel in the neoclassical style and rises above Senate Square. Its green dome can be seen from the South Harbor.

sibelius monument
Sibelius Monument
Hollow steel pipes in wavelike motion form an abstract presentation of organ pipes in this monument to Finnish composer and violinist, Jean Sibelius. Finlandia, the Karelia Suite, and the seven symphonies are among his notable works.  

"Music is, for me, like a beautiful mosaic which God has put together. He takes all the pieces in his hand, throws them into the world, and we have to recreate the picture from the pieces." Jean Sibelius

 Kaivopuisto Park
What I love about Helsinki is the abundance of parks and lakes in the city center. This expanse of green at Kaivopuisto leads to the sea and Ehrenströmintie, a walking/jogging trail that follows the coastline. Don't pay attention to the cafés with enviable views of the islands or else you'll get distracted from your fitness regimen. :)

Market Square
The fruits are berry, berry good. Market Square is a cultural experience not to be missed. The market reveals a lot about Finland. There are Russian dolls, fur rugs, heavy jackets, souvenirs, arts and crafts, fresh produce, seafood lunch specials and so much more. And its right on the harbor where you can take a boat to Suomenlinna Fortress for 5 euros roundtrip.

OODI Library and Laulupuut
The Helsinki Central Library OODI is set to open in December 2018. It's on Kansalaistori Square in the same area as the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma and the Music Center. I'm looking forward to its opening as much as the locals are. It promises to be an incredible space for library services as well as a center for performances and exhibitions and "will function as a living room for residents". 

The three-part sculpture in the foreground (above image) is called Laulupuut (Song Trees) and is the work of Reijo Hukkanen whose inspiration for this ouevre comes from a Finnish poem, The Pike's Song. The tallest of the three sculptures bears the head of a pike.

The view from Kaivopuisto
The World Happiness Report 2018 produced by the United Nations ranked Finland the Happiest Country in the World. It isn't hard to imagine why the Finns are the happiest considering the beautiful natural environment they live in and their exemplary public services system. Traveling is about engaging the people of the places you visit. Happy people are easier to meet and can add to a memorable travel experience.

Where to stay:
Crowne Plaza Helsinki
Mannerheimintie 50
Tram 2, 4, 10
Crowne Plaza is right across from the City Park, Töölö Bay and Finlandia Hall. The rooms are spacious and the staff are friendly and efficient. There are several restaurants and grocery stores close to the hotel. The taxi fare from the central train station to the hotel is approximately 10 euros. 

Holiday Inn Helsinki City Center
Elielinaukio 5 
Next door to the Central Railway Station. Easy access to transportation, walking distance to shopping, restaurants, museums and Music Center.

How to get around:
From Vantaa Airport to City Center:
Take the train from the airport to the Central Railway Station in Helsinki. Signs at the airport lead to the train station. Buy the ticket from ticket machines near the tracks which accept credit or debit cards only. Station attendants can help you if you have any problems using the ticket machines. The fare was 5 euros in June 2018.
By tram:
Trams are handy to get around the city. Only credit or debit cards, the Helsinki card and a tram ticket which can be purchased from R-kioski, a kiosk that can be found all over town. I bought my tickets at R-kioski at the train station. The current tram fare is 2.90 euros (June 2018) and is good for 2 hours travel within the city.

Where to eat:
The best meal I had in Helsinki was at Market Square by the harbor. There are food stalls with tables and chairs for proper dining. I ordered their grilled salmon with mixed vegetables for less than 15 euros. There are several items on their menu or you can check out what they're cooking. Try also the Kauppatori or Food Hall at the harbor. There are restaurants and food counters to choose from inside the hall.


Images by TravelswithCharie


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