Today we spent an excellent day in Helsinki, Finland, a city that surprised us with its liveliness and vitality. We chose to try a “Hop On, Hop Off” Bus instead of walking throughout the city. We have been extremely tired at the end of each day because of the considerable amount of walking that we are doing. Our choice turned out to wise. We were able to see all the major sights on my walking tour, but without all the walking that it would have entailed.
Some of the most memorable sights were the Temppeliaukio Church, usually referred to as the Rock Church. This place of worship was carved out of a stone hill so that most of it is underground — very unusual, and the Sibelius Monument, a tribute to Finland greatest composer, Jean Sibelius. The monument was extremely controversial when first displayed since it is very modern, a large grouping of steel pipes, resembling organ pipes set within a copse of trees. Finns demanded that there be some visual recognition of Sibelius so a bust was added near the pipes. I thought the ensemble was very appropriate.
Another very impressive sight in the city was Senate Square, which contains the immense and stately Lutheran Church of St Nicholas. The church is an example of classical architecture and it actually resembles a state capitol building, except for the religious statues. All in all, Lee and I loved Helsinki and would highly recommend it.