At KTH, the winter semester spans from September to January, which leaves December the month with no exams, few assignments or lectures. Let’s why my classmates and I decided to visit Helsinki at the start of December.
Planning the trip
As we plan to make use of our weekend, Helsinki stands out from the options. Helsinki, the capital city of Finland, has close relationship with Sweden in history and culture. How to go to Helsinki from Stockholm? Examining the map of nordic countries gives us the obvious conclusion that “normal transportation” by train or by bus do not work in this case:
So how about ferry? There are a few companies, such as Viking Line and Silja Line, which operate ferry cruise line between cities in nordic countries. We booked an economic cabinet, which cost only 100 Kr person of a round trip Stockholm <-> Helsinki!
Finland is on your right hand side!
On the ferry
We left Stockholm at 4:30 PM from Slussen. It was a starry, clear sky with chilling but free and cheerful air: it is my first time to leave Stockholm since I moved here!
Stockholm masked by night
There are restaurants and bars on board, so that you don’t have to starve — only notice that they are more expansive than those in the cities.
A restaurant on the ferry
And another thing to bear in mind is: there is one-hour time difference between Helsinki and Stockholm (i.e. at this moment it is 8:20 PM in Stockholm but 9:20 PM in Helsinki). It is especially important because you need to be back one hour earlier in the next day in Helsinki, in order not to miss the departure time of the ferry!
A clock showing time in two cities on board
Day trip in Helsinki
Helsinki has much shorter history and fewer residents than Stockholm, but they resemble each other in the appearance, as both of them stand on the coast:
Just like in Stockholm, people in Helsinki are busy preparing their Christmas decoration and shopping in Christmas markets!
Christmas booths at Senate Square
The first sight we visited was Lutheran Cathedral, which is the most representative landmark of Finland. It was built from 1830 to 1852 in neoclassic style, and the white color makes it distinctive from surrounding. Standing in front of it, the immediate feeling is our smallness.
A group photo before Helsinki Cathedral (though no one’s face is recognizable)
As a replenishment, we took a “proper” group photo in the city center
For me, the most unforgettable experience in Helsinki is visiting the Temppeliaukio. It is also named as the “Church of Rock”, because it is built in a gigantic solid rock!
Interior of Teppeliaukio, photographed from the first floor
The original stones that act as wall of the church could be touched by bare hands. Natural light sheds in from skylight of the copper dome ahead, let the hall to be enlightened and bathed in the scarce and gentle winter sunshine (if there is any……).
The only dissatisfaction about our day at Helsinki is the limitation of time: as the ferry arrived at 10 AM in the morning and left by 4 PM.
If you are interested in visiting Helsinki after reading this blog, you may visit the following websites to gather more information: