Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Helsinki, Finland

Welcome to...

At the tail end of our trip, we flew from Copenhagen to Helsinki via SAS. Painless flight. Painless transport to and from the airport. We actually had an hour bus ride from the Helsinki airport to city center, but we got to see more of the country that way, so it worked out perfectly (finnair bus)! Once we got to the city center, we took the tram to our hotel. Helsinki has an awesomeeeeee tram system. It's cheap and efficient. Runs all the time, to everywhere. I think the tram system may have been my favorite thing the city had to offer!

There was nothing we were DYING to see or do in Helsinki, but we hadn't been to Finland yet and it was a good stopover before Tallinn. Of course, once there, we realized we really only needed a day, didn't need to spend the night. But we had to take the ferry to Tallinn which was two more hours and we'd already reserved our hotel, so whatever. We decided to stay and enjoy the gorgeous weather and perfectly blue skies. 

We headed to the Tourist Office, in hopes of a map. Instead, I found a way around the Russian Visa Requirement. One of the reasons we wanted to do a Baltic cruise originally was because of their 2 day stopover in Russia. I REALLY want to go! But outside of a cruise, I've found it nearly impossible. The Russian Visa requirements are expensive and time consuming. Apparently, Helsinki and Russia both recognize this and are trying to boost tourism. They now offer a ferry to St. Petersburg. It's overnight. You can go for 1 day/2 nights, or 3 days/4 nights. I am SO Bummed I didn't know about this before. We definitely could have fit it in our trip perfectly! AHHH. However, I did send the information to a friend who is also dying to go... maybe they'll take advantage of our poor research.

Bummed that we were walking around Helsinki and not St. Petersburg (spoiled, I know), we saw all the sights, ate a pastry, had coffee, saw more sights, had dinner, etc etc. Bought a magnet for the collection. The normal.  We enjoyed our trip to Helsinki, got to soak in the sun for 24 hours, and gladly got to add another country to our list. But more than 24 hours is too much, especially compared to Copenhagen. 

The next day, we took the ferry to Tallinn, Estonia. (Yes, my posts are slightly out of order, seeing as I haven't even posted about Oslo, Gothenburg, or Copenhagen yet. But I took the fewest pictures in Helsinki, so I have less to weed out!)

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