Saturday, July 28, 2012

Helsinki, Finland, Day 2 - Sibelius Park, St John's Church, Gaijin Restaurant

9am Woke up and had breakfast.  I had forgotten to turn on the air conditioning during the night.  Not even sure if I slept much if at all.  The music stopped last night but it was still pretty warm.  It was at least 20 degrees outside.  Helsinki looks more like Helsinki and less of a apocalypse town compared to the last time I was here.

Here's the view outside my window.

Straight ahead is Esplanadparken.

Zoomed in view.

Breakfast was the usual scandinavian style of breakfast.  I had smoked herring, sausages, baked beans, some rice pie, cinnamon roll, watermelon, grapefruit, coffee, blueberry soup, strawberry soup.  I have to say, I prefer juice over soup, especially when it comes to fruits.  At least in this case.  And coffee.  Coffee was badly needed.

12pm Time to explore.  And today's weather was good for it.  Took a walk to Kampi where they were having a hockey tournament in the square just outside the centre.  We could've sat down in the audience and watched the game, as there was a parade stand with seats but we went inside Kampi for sushi instead.  Or rather, I did as I was hungaaary!!  There was a stall selling sushi, so I opted for that.  On the lowest level there's a mini food court area of sorts that has various stalls selling different food.


And guess what I spotted right opposide the sushi stall?  Why, it's Singapore Hot Wok.  Everything on the menu was 9.90 euros.  There was no Laksa, but there's Beef Kuay Teow, Singapore Kuay Teow Goreng, Nasi Goreng, and a few others.  I can't vouch for its authenticity but it seems like some people like the food there.  I had to go to the bathroom shortly afterwards but there didn't have a 1 euro coin, thankfully the nice cashier girl working in a pizza stall gave me a token and I was able to enter the toilet fortress without paying.

If there was laksa I would have ordered!

After lunch we took a walk to Sibelius Park.  My GPS on my camera was acting up for some reason, so there were points where I had no GPS but then it started to work and all was good.

Interesting looking collage, wonder what story it tells?

Ad for exhibition centree weegee.

Along Runeberginkatu

Park along Södra Hesperiagatan.

Park along Södra Hesperiagatan.

Along Merikantovägen

Along Merikantovägen

Swans having a break from eating.

Along Merikantovägen

Duckie taking a well deserved break.

2pm Arrived at Sibelius Park.  There were all these tour groups that had arrived so we sought shelter on a nearby bench until they fled.

Sibelius Park is famous for a steel monument comprising mainly of pipes which is supposed to represent a forest.  Apparently the steel pipes echo with the movement of the wind, how cool is that?  It was built in 1967 by an artist named Ella Hiltunen to honour Finland's most famous composer who is Jean Sibelius.

Jean sure had a much bigger head compared to mine.

The interior

Part of the steel structure

The steel monument in all its glory.

We took a walk back to Kampi afterwards to get a salad and some drinks.  I got a goji berry with banana drink, and that tasted pretty good.  We also had a look at the shops afterwards on the 2nd floor. Some items were really cool, like a rubber duck toothbrush holder, solar powered toy cars and superman comic stained glasses, and just lots of nifty well designed trinkets.  Just a pity many products are made in China!  If they weren't made in China I could have perhaps considered purchasing them.  After window shopping we went to get a yoghurt from the ground floor, I had a blackberry yoghurt with pieces of strawberry and kiwi fruit, nom.  Then it was time to get some rest in the hotel and prepare for dinner!

6pm Dinner was at Gaijin, which features Asian cuisine.  Only a 3 minute walk away from where we were.  I originally intended to have dinner at Farang but they're closed during the summer.  The restaurant was quite packed, and extremely noisy.  It was hard to have a conversation.  But the food is pretty good, even though it's insanely pricey.

That's 3 euros for one cod dumpling!  Also had a duck dumpling and that was similarly priced.

Grilled XO beef, with rice, kimchi and cucumber.

Drunken chicken cooked in masterstock

The restaurant, after some people have left :)

They also have tasting menus, but some of the items have pork in them and since I'm not a huge fan of pork I skipped them.  I think what we picked was pretty good so I'm happy with that.

8:20pm Done with dinner, and took a walk and exercise the food baby.

Diana park also known as Kolmikulma Park.  The sculpture is Diana or Tellervo.

Strange looking artifact.

Flowers along the window sill.

Mega pebbles!

A short walk after and we reached St John's Church, designed by a Swedish architect built in the Gothic Revival style.

One of the entrances to the church.

Taken from the soccer field (has no grass!) next to the church.

Located next to the church is the design museum along Högbergsgatan.

Design Museum

Me in front of the design museum

Large chopsticks?

Tree before processing, and after processing.

What do you do with a 13m pylon?  Use it as a design structure of course.  This sign's located at the base of the pylon.

9pm We headed back to the hotel to rest.  At vanha kirkkopuisto (Old Church Park), there were still many people just sitting around and chatting.  Mostly kids.

Vanha kirkkopuisto, or Old Church Park

Vanha kirkkopuisto, or Old Church Park

9:36pm Back to the hotel.  Unfortunately the air conditioning in the room broke, and we could not switch rooms because it was fully booked.  So we had to make do with a fan.

Helsinki at night from the window.

Before I finish this blog entry, I have to say, seems like almost every Finnish person here has a tattoo.  Even teenagers.  Also, plenty of Russians here.  Makes sense since Helsinki is close to the border of Russia I guess.  But the tattoos, it almost seems like it's a cultural thing.  My mum would kill me if I had a tattoo.  She almost killed me for even having a fake one a long time ago.  All in all it's been an interesting day.

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