5 days in Finland
I'm back in work after 5 glorious days in Finland last week. I'm happy to be back at work, diving into some design work, feeling refreshed and re-energised from my trip, but I'm also missing Finland once again. We spent most of our time in Espoo catching up with friends and family and enjoying obscene amounts of cinnamon buns, coffee and, of course, enjoying sauna. We crammed a lot into 5 days, here's a brief overview of our 5 days in Finland...
1. WednesdaySo we arrived late Thursday night. After a midnight feast of macaroni box, we headed off to the 24hour Prisma to buy a few bits and pieces, mostly tasty snacks to scoff before we headed to bed. The following morning we took Gapu for a walk around Espoo, calling at the local Alepa for more tasty snacks! In the afternoon we went to Helsinki University where Tuomas was giving a lecture. I sat in the back with his parents trying to understand extremely advanced mathematics. The post-lecture pizza and drinks helped me recover. We headed home for a nice sauna and to meet the new family dog, Reko, a white lab who was a bundle of energy and cute beyond belief.
2. ThursdayWe pre-booked a train to Tampere, a city known as the 'Manchester of Finland' due to it's industrial roots. We enjoyed some meatballs on the train. One thing I love about Finland is the quality of the public transport. Nothing but top quality. We headed straight to Pyynikin, home of the best munkki (doughnuts) in Finland (possibly the world!) before heading over to the observation tower. The fair ground was closed for maintenance over the winter months, which meant it was pretty quiet in the tower. We had a panoramic view of Tampere and could see for miles.
We made our way back into the city centre via the park, a few little craft shops nearby and by the Finlayson building. We made sure to take time to take in the beautiful surroundings before we headed to Hesburger for some food and drink.
Last time we came to Tampere we stayed in the Torrni hotel, one of the finest I've ever stayed in, so we went back to the top level bar for some (very expensive!) drinks and cinnamon buns. The view is stunning from that height and it brought back pleasant memories of our last stay there.
We had an hour or so before our train so we headed to Stockmann to check out the gorgeous home section. I don't think I'll ever get used to how beautiful Scandinavian design is. We stumbled upon a record store where we both zoomed of to our favourite music sections (Me: Madonna, dance, Tuomas: Black metal). We got some supplies for the train and then had a pleasurable journey home to Espoo where we spent most of the evening watching live Ice Hockey on TV (from the nearby Hartwall Arena) and playing with the Gapu and Reko.
3. FridayWe went to Helsinki in the afternoon. The weather was wet and windy but once it got dark, Helsinki was lit with beautiful Christmas trees and fairy lights. I had a few hours to kill on my own so did a tour of the design shops including Tres, Stockmann, Granit and the new book shop that had opened. Again, I was surrounded by stunning design that led to me taking snaps to take home for inspiration. The new art museum in Helsinki is a fascinating building of which you can only see the top through a series of hills. Very unique. After meeting a friend for a few hours we hopped on a tram and headed down towards Loyly.
We spent Saturday morning having brunch with a friend and playing board games (an extremely cute Finnish tradition). We hadn't been to the nearby Selo shopping mall yet, so we decided to go and have a look around. I spotted a few design books I want to get in the future. As this was All Saints Day, we bought a candle and headed over to Espoo cathedral to pay our respects and watch a bit of a theatrical play in the church. We don't have anything like this in England. I thought it was a beautiful way to remember those who have passed on. Seeing all of the hundreds of candles lit up around the cemetery and church was beautiful.
Our last morning was spent having a long and lovely lie-in before heading out to the forest with the dogs for a final walk. I picked up a copy of Nordic Living magazine for the plane ride home along with an ice hockey reflective key ring for the dark winter nights. We enjoyed a lovely lunch with the family before heading over to Tuomas' brother's apartment near Helsinki where he and his finance had prepared a delicious blueberry pie which we had with coffee before heading out for a short stroll. We made our way to the airport and headed through to the waiting lounge. We boarded the plane and I read most of Nordic Living before landing in Manchester. I was sad to leave Finland but I don't have to wait too long before I get to return.