As my semester in Russia approached its final weeks, our group set off for a long weekend. The first stop was one day in Helsinki, a short train ride from Saint Petersburg.
We arrived in the evening and rushed to Vapiano for dinner. I loved introducing my friends to one of my favorite restaurants. Vapiano is a European chain restaurant, with some locations globally, with incredible Italian-inspired dishes without the Italian prices. I enjoy picking fresh herbs, located on the tables, for my food.
After stuffing ourselves with Italian food, we wandered towards to watch the sunset. Helsinki welcomed us with a stunning blue hour.
The next morning, the group started with a bus tour of Helsinki. I usually turn my nose up at bus tours, but with only one day in the city I accepted it was the best way to see as much as possible of the city.
A few friends and I found ourselves at Ekbery, one of the most popular cafes in Helsinki. for lunch per our tour guide’s recommendation. To be honest, the price to taste ratio wasn’t the best. Although Helsinki is an expensive city, I expected better-tasting food than I received.
The next stop was Suomenlinna, Helsinki’s sea fortress.
I confused the international ferry station with the Suomenlinna ferry station. A few extra kilometers wouldn’t normally concern me, except we were already running late to the last ferry of the day and it had started to rain and hail. Thankfully we reached the correct ferry as they were closing the exit and watched as the gray skies turned to blue. Suomenlinna greeted us warmly.
At least at first. The weather quickly turned on us again. Most people took cover in tunnels or shelters, but my friends and I were already wet so we laughed, yelled, and sprinted our way through the complex. We stopped at a few walls, tunnels, and streets inside the fortress before continuing back to the ferry.
We ended our day walking around the historic center, visiting the Helsinki Cathedral, and warming up inside our hotel.
Although I enjoyed the city, one day in Helsinki was plenty for me. It’s an expensive city with not a lot of things to do that I’m interested in. I hope to explore Northern Finland one day because that seems to be where all the adventure is!
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