Hello Helsinki

By Stephen Ewashkiw | August 3, 2013

4634 km so far.

It is great to be back in Helsinki with a day off. We rode our bikes for the first time in a few days so we could see the city. Helsinki isn’t very big, compared to London or Los Angeles, but it is spread out.

With bike paths covering the city, seeing it by bike brings everything closer, and makes for a really enjoyable day. There are so many bikes around the city, you might have to have a sign like this one.

No bike parking, Helsinki.

No bike parking, Helsinki.

We went downtown, tooled around Töölönlahti, a beautiful bay which has the Finlandia Concert Hall on its banks, and some breathtaking views of the city.

helsinki water view

Töölönlahti in Helsinki.

There was a Steve McCurry exhibit showing and we spend a couple of hours immersed in the world through his eyes. He is the photographer who shot The Afghan Girl for National Geographic. He has a special skill for putting his subjects at ease and capturing a moment that seems timeless and intensely personal. If this show comes to your city, I recommend visiting.

(Don’t miss: Helsinki is on our list of the most romantic cities in Europe. Check out the full list!)

The Finns we met on the ship the other night told us there were great vegan cupcakes at Niia’s Cupcakes in The Forum, which is the main shopping centre, so we obviously had to check it out. Niia’s exclusively bake vegan, which is such a fantastic treat for us. And the cupcakes were delicious. I wish we would have time to go back a few times before we leave to city, but I think this will be our only opportunity.

For Those About To Rock

There is a lot of rock in Helsinki. The landscape is similar to northern Ontario, and any part of Canada covered by the Canadian Shield. Pink granite rock appears between small clutches of pine trees, like a whale slowly rising up from the sea to take a breath of air. The pink streak flashes in the light, while most of its natural colour is muted by the lichen and moss of various shades of green that cling to it for dear life.

The Rock Church, actually called Temppeliaukion Kirkko, is set into one of these massive granite beasts. They blasted out a cavern within which a church has been built. It makes for an impressive setting, and has beautiful acoustics, which were being highlighted by a violinist while we visited.

Playing classical music in the rock church, Helsinki.

Playing classical music in the rock church, Helsinki.

We then headed to Sibelius Monument, a striking monument to the composer that resembles organ pipes, set on yet more granite, along the coast. I stuck my head into one of the pipes and sang the SoHam Mantra. The reverberations and the vibrations rang in my ears, echoing and echoing.

sibelius monument helsinki

The Sibelius monument, Helsinki.

As we checked out the monument, we noticed a couple checking out our bikes. They are German and headed in the opposite direction to us, on a very similar route. Having started in Berlin, the have cycled to Helsinki via Copenhagen, Malmö, Stockholm, and Turku, all of which we are about to visit.

Lovely couple, if you’re reading, please drop us a line and let us know how your trip goes.

Wave Babies

Jaakko was playing in a soccer tournament on the beach today and recommended we come down. We never found him, as he had gone home before we got there, but the beach was something to behold. It was smaller than any LA beach by a long shot, but was absolutely packed with people.

And by people I of course mean beautiful, tall, blonde people.

girl on beach in helsinki

Beach time, Helsinki.

There was a DJ on the beach, with speakers pumpin’ choons old and new. There were several 5-a-side soccer pitches set up and teams playing 30-minute games.

It was a lot like the many beach ultimate tournaments Jane has played in in LA. We watched some people, we watched some soccer, and we practiced some yoga. I do love doing dropbacks on the beach.

Jane’s note: This scene was so familiar to me it was a little taste of home, but it also made me miss my LA ulti friends a lot. Shout out to Sandy Cracks! I miss you.

Another hot dude, Helsinki.

Another hot dude, Helsinki.

We spent a nice evening at home, sharing dinner with Jaakko. I also spent time preparing my yoga class for tomorrow. I am teaching in a park overlooking the sea tomorrow morning, and really looking forward to a park practice. I miss my LA Meadow classes terribly, and this will be a nice substitute.  

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  1. Comment by stone

    stone September 3, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    Once you go Crack you never go back!!! Great blog I’m just now reading this post as I spent the weekend catching up on 2 months of posts.

  2. Comment by Roxy

    Roxy August 6, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    Crack Attack!!

    • Comment by Jane

      Jane August 9, 2013 at 2:15 am

      :) Glad at least one of you is reading this!

  3. Comment by Cassie

    Cassie August 6, 2013 at 9:03 am

    Great photos!

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