My travel quest never get satisfied even when I am blessed to have beautiful travel opportunities. My last trip was to Italy a couple of months ago with my better half. I was busy managing my home, blog and my family after the trip and was thinking of staying home for a good reason. My son is going to write his twelfth standard board examination!!! In India, however cool a parent you are, somewhere this thought drops into your head to stay at home and be with him to motivate for the best result possible. Though I am still not sure how I am helping him academically, I had made up my mind not to travel for few months.And then one text from my bestie changes everything 😀
Ranjana is a ravishing ,intelligent and unrealistically energetic cabin crew in one of the most reputed International Airlines. Her text was about asking me if I would like to travel with her to Finland on a dreamy price of ticket. How on earth can I not join her on this trip when my heart knew it will be one of the best trip I will ever have in my life.I felt like a kid who just wanted to take off with her to explore the Nordic region and have a blast with my friend.I said “Yesssssss!!!” .
Planning the trip
- First and the foremost thing was to make arrangements for the smooth functioning of the home in my absence. Thanks to my house helps, supportive hubby and mom who took over my responsibilities for those days.
- Now comes the financial calculations which turned out to be positive .
- I had to apply for schengen visa and had only very few days in my favour. I approached an agent and gave the needful documents .To make the process faster, my friend had asked help from the Finland embassy too. Now the visa reached in my hand a day prior to my journey due to many technical difficulties explained to me by the agent. My heart almost skipped a beat when visa finally reached my hand and yeahhh the good news is I am travellinggggg!!! 🙂
- No one in their real senses would visit Finland in November as it’s the coldest month there. But then Badasses are always welcome ;D .I packed a good number of winter clothes to survive.I live in Jammu and my flight was from Delhi International Airport. So a day prior to my flight, we boarded the over night train to Delhi .
As always , whenever I am on the move, I totally get absorbed in the sights, sounds, colors ,flavors and people around me. It’s hard for me to talk when I am in this trance state of mind as I am busy registering and feeling the thoughts that ignite in me. I met Ranjana’s colleagues in the airport and was really happy to get a glimpse of her work life and have some hearty conversations with the other crew . It was amazing to see that every single crew I met seemed completely satisfied about the Organization they are working for. It’s very rare to be found in today’s world. I was curious to know the reason of their satisfaction. It was the human approach of this Organization towards the crew and other employees .Their needs are taken care in the best possible way when it comes to travel, accomodation ,opportunities of growth, health care and most importantly dealings with the customer – Employee equation. When building blocks are strong and placed accurate, the building is the strongest .
I am convinced that their Organization understands this basic fact and pays utmost care to it. Ranjana and her colleagues did more than what they could to make the trip special for me. I felt so pampered when I got a chance to sit in the cockpit while landing to get the gorgeous view of Helsinki down below the silver clouds !
We landed at Helsinki Vantaa International Airport and the welcome sign board made me feel adventurous ,proud and worried all at once .The Emigration process was easy and happy.
Helsinki is the capital of Finland which sits on a peninsula in the gulf of Finland. Time difference between IST and Finland is India + 3.5 hrs. The local language is Finnish but most of the localites speak English.According to U.S News and World report, Finland comes in top list of countries whose education system is ranked the best in the world .Finland is the third most expensive country in Europe. The city’s rhythm is slow yet at the same time super active in terms of quality of restaurants and night clubs . The local food includes different kinds of sea food,sausages and soups. My Indian palette was surviving on Burger king and HesBurgers.
Main Tourist attractions in Helsinki
The places which attracted me in Helsinki are Kampii /Rock church , Sibelius park and the Helsinki market square.
The Temppeliaukio church is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city; half a million people visit it annually. The stone-based church is located in the heart of Helsinki. Maintaining the original character of the square is the fundamental concept behind the building. This amazingly brilliant choice of form has made it a favorite with professionals and lovers of architecture.The most interesting part of the church is its glass and copper dome. The hall is lit by natural light flowing in through the glass peripherals of the dome.
The Sibelius monument built by Eila Hiltunen is dedicated to the Finnish music composer Jean Sibelius (1865 – 1957) IN Helsinki.The sculpture was unveiled in the year 1967 and is a classic example of perfect abstract art. The monument consisits of 600 hollow pipes connected together like a wave .It represents the essence of the music os Sibelius.
HELSINKI MARKET SQUARE
The Market square is a central square in Helsinki which is located at the border of the Baltic sea to the south.The presidential palace and Helsinki City Hall are located adjacent to Market square.From spring to Autumn, the market square is active with vendors selling fresh finnish food and souvenirs. I visited in the peak of winters and still could find some souvenirs.The outdoor cafes were inviting . Surrounding the square are the harbour itself, ferry services ,Uspenski Cathedral and the market hall.I took the ferry service from the market square to visit Stockholm , the capital of Sweden. This story will be covered in another blog post soon.
- City buses are the cheapest mode of transport to move around in Helsinki. Taxis are available but I found them expensive.
- From the airport to the Hotel, you may find the free Hotel buses.
- If the weather was a little warmer, I would have used the e – cycles to cover the city center.
Sauna is not a luxury but an integral part of finnish culture and necessity.I stayed in Hotel Holiday Inn and therefore had no access to the home saunas of Finland. The driver who showed me around Finland told me that Finnish moms even give birth in their home saunas. Whether it is birth or death, Saunas have a big role in their life style.I wasn’t lucky enough to experience the Northern lights but something tells me that it’s in store for me 🙂 .
Even in the thickest of winters , Finland offered me the warmest of memories I will always Cherish. It was a trip worth all the efforts .