14 Nov

I survived my first big trip! In Finland and in Europe. I have never travelled with friends and stayed overnight anywhere. For the most part I had a great time, I loved Helsinki to pieces and after only a day there I had decided that I would live there once I graduate. Maybe I got a little caught up in the city-induced euphoria that I often experience, but we’ll see how it pans out…


The current World Design Capital was founded way back in 1550, to compete with Tallinn for Baltic Sea Trade. The marina is still filled with boats and the market square and market hall still lie near the water’s edge. The capital of Finland was originally Turku, but it was moved to Helsinki after Finland became part of the Russian Empire, because it was thought that Turku was too close to Sweden.

This year it celebrates its 200th anniversary as the capital of Finland. According to it has a population of 600,000, 72 museums, 1053 restaurants, 53 hotels and 14 universities.

Helsinki is the third European city that I’ve visited and I was very pleased with my experience there. I’m going to write up the reviews of the places I went so keep an eye out for those. We spent two days in the city and I spent around 10 hours walking through the city on Saturday.

Our first sunrise on the first morning of the trip

Helsinki Cathedral

Alexander II in the Senate Square

Happy 200th Birthday Helsinki! (shame about the construction though eh?)


Another important port town Tallinn was a great trade link between Western and Northern Europe and Russia. Like Finland, it was under Swedish rule for a long period of time, followed by a period of Russian rule. It has a tumultuous history of invasion by Germans and Russians, and it suffered extensive bombing during the war. It was only declared an independent democratic state in 1991, not that long ago at all.

On Sunday morning we took the ferry to Tallinn from the port. I must admit that, although the Old Town of Tallinn is very pretty, it’s not somewhere I intend to go again if I can help it. I didn’t get a very good vibe from the place – any charm had been erased and plastered over with ‘souvenir’ signs. We only spent one day there and I was glad to leave, sadly. I expected a lot more from the city.

This was our first (slightly unimpressive view) of Tallinn

One of many similar streets near the hostel

Fat Margaret’s Tower

All in all the trip was an experience that has further changed me and I feel as though something inside me spent four days rapidly developing, something good and promising. The constant fear which nags me is continually shrinking and I feel as though this weekend blew away a big dirt clod of it. I spent so much time by myself, map in pocket, asking questions and generally just exploring in my own time, something which I have only really done once before.

It’s nice to be back in Oulu though (although it seems much smaller) and I have a ticket for a concert in Helsinki in a few weeks in case I get bored.

Hopefully the reviews will be of some use! I hope everyone else had a good weekend too!


2 Responses to “Helsinki-Tallinn”

  1. Ajay Kaul November 14, 2012 at 10:00 pm #

    Thanks for the pics and the accompanying description – great post!

    • saramay91 November 15, 2012 at 9:14 am #

      Thanks so much, that’s so kind of you! I appreciate you stopping by =)

      Over the next few days I’ll be adding a bunch of posts about my trip, so if you’re interested keep an eye open for them =)

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