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Helsinki – rediscovered

September 20, 2006
 
The Mr. and I just hosted some guests from Australia, a former teacher of mine and his wife. These lucky folks made Finland a stop on their 7-week around-the-world tour. They were here in the capital area for four days and we did our best to show them some of our favourite spots – and of course the "must sees" of Helsinki.
 
Now the Mr. and I were challenged to think "accessible" because one of this pair was sporting crutches, so we had to think about her in designing our four days of fun and sightseeing. I’ll call her Mrs. SM for the sake of simplicity.
 
Since the AESM summit was on at the same time, we avoided the capital for the first two days. So we gave them a couple hours to get a grip on Finnish time and then we headed to Fiskars. The history of the village of Fiskars is steeped heavily on the manufacturing of metal products; but these days it is a haven for Finnish artists and designers of anything and everything: textiles, wood products, contemporary art, ceramics, glass… The company Fiskars also has a factory shop and museum.
 
We also checked out the ruins of the Raseborg castle in Snappertuna. for 1 EUR you can go and check out these ruins that are administered by the Finnish Board of Antiquities. http://www.nba.fi/en/
 
We took a little hike in the Nuuksio National Park and boy were there LOTS of people there that day – lots of students, people with kids, birdwatchers… Mrs. SM commandeered a picnic table and happily read a book and watched the ducks while we took off into the bush. The colours have just started turning, so the forests won’t be in their full fall colours for week or more. (That is if the weather stays cold at night…) I was amazed at how the dry summer weather had sucked all of th water our of the forest; normally there are plenty of brooks and small streams running thru the forests in Nuuksio, but they were completely dry.
 
As for the nation’s capital we split the tour into two days and they really enjoyed it. We checked out Temppelinaukio Kirkko (aka. the Rock Church), the Lutheran Cathedral (aka. the White Church), the Ateljee bar at the top of the Sokos Torni Hotel, Suomenlinna and the Finnish National Museum. They liked the really old history at the Finnish National Musuem* because they said there is nothing like it in Australia. It was my first visit there too!)
 
Oh yes and being from Australia there was no way they could miss the newly opened Aussie bar in Kamppi, so we definitely made a stop there too. Of course our visit to Helsinki wasn’t complete without taking them to Zetor – the tractor bar. We made sure they had a chance to try different kinds of "Finnish" foods and drinks.
 
There was so much more that we could have done, but we didn’t have time.
 
* The Finnish National Museum has FREE admission on Tuesday evenings from 17.30 -20.00.
 
And here’s a cool fortress link that was just published the other day: http://www.fort.fi/english/index.html
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