So, we reached berry land and I went bonkers over the different types of absolutely fresh berries available there. I regret not trying the Helsinki berries (yellowish) because they did not have any samples to taste and I wasn’t too sure about getting half a kilogram of something that was yellow. We bought all the other ones available; raspberries that melted if you held them for too long, strawberries that were the size of plums, blackberries that I thought were only a bunch of smartphones and delicious blueberries that I had only tasted the canned version of on cheese cakes. As a person who loves fruits, I felt that this was the place I had to visit every year because the above mentioned berries officially became my favourite fruits.
After the ferry ride from Tallinn to Helsinki, we checked into a hotel that had no porters to help with the luggage. We, Indians, carry our homes when we travel so we need porters. Anyway, we were five families so we managed to get our luggage up and after we freshened up, we were on our way to explore the town my ex-general manager belonged to. I used to have a full time job once upon a time, remember?
At the Senate Square, the Helsinki Cathedral, formerly known as St. Nicholas’ Church, stood out. It was beautifully adorned in white with its four small green domes and the large one in the center. The twelve apostles have been erected in large zinc statues along the Cathedral’s roof. Check if you can notice them in the pictures. The inside was a simple setting from the 19th century.
Let me tell you that if you are planning to take a kid in a pram, please do because the trams there are specially built for wheelchairs and strollers to get on and off easily. It impressed me how even the bus drivers always stopped an inch away from the pavement making it easy for us to push the pram in without having to lift it. Hopefully, our country will get this organized at least when I’m old and in a wheelchair because I know it is not happening anytime soon during my pram-pushing days.
There was another thing that I loved eating there in Helsinki. While we looked for some craft beers, we found a little underground restaurant (Bryggeri) which looked quite dull for our taste. I like bright and colourful restaurants. We ordered a cheese plate for our vegetarian friends and some chicken for us. The cheese plate had a good combination of hard bread, cashew nuts and jam along with it. When all this mixed in our mouth, it was delectable. I’m going to get the ingredients and try this combination at home.
We took a ferry to the Suomenlinna Island and quickly visited the Suomenlinna Church, the King’s Gate, the dry port and the fortress. My friend and I relived our youth by climbing the walls of the fortress and sitting on the topmost embrasure of a window. While enjoying the paparazzi below us, we suddenly heard a noise behind us. What could be living in a lonely place high up in a fortress? We froze. My friend assumed it was an animal that was waiting for his prey. I did not want to guess if it was an animal, a ghost or a murderer so we decided to get out of there. While we were leaving to climb down, she saw it was a man whose sleep we apparently disturbed. With a sigh of relief that it wasn’t something we had to run from, we slowly got down.
The SkyWheel is a 40 meter high Ferris wheel that gives you a 360 degrees view of Helsinki. We could see the Helsinki Cathedral as well as the Uspenski Cathedral which are 500 meters away from each other. On the other side, we could see the cruise liner which brought us from Estonia to Finland. Behind us, the brown building with a black roof is Wanha Satama – the Old Harbour which is a historic venue for different kinds of events. I could only see the Japanese Restaurant ‘Furuma Cuisine’ and wondered what the whole building was used for as I could not find it anywhere online. Credit and gratitude goes to Mr Jari Heikka for solving the mystery for me.
We left Helsinki after the custom guys took away my sunscreen lotion and my newly purchased L’Oreal Multivitamins shampoo we do not get in India or Kuwait. Without thinking, I had hesitantly packed them in the baby bag because all this time, every airport customs had let the medicines, sunscreen lotions and creams go. Anyway, with a heavy heart I learnt my lesson and got ready for Sweden, hoping to find some berries there too.