Monday, April 30, 2018

Europe (2017): From Warsaw to Helsinki, the Capital City of Finland

If you ask me how many days should you spend to travel around Poland - I would say at least for a week so that not only you able to cover both Krakow and Warsaw, but Gdansk (one of the oldest cities in Poland) and Wroclaw. Unfortunately for me, I was pressed for time and therefore, only managed to spend four days in Krakow and Warsaw and yet, I found it's still insufficient enough.

HOW TO GET TO WARSAW FREDERIC CHOPIN AIRPORT 
My flight from Warsaw to Helsinki was estimated to depart at 9am. Therefore I decided to leave my hostel earlier. Luckily the bus stop is located just right in front of Dream Hostel and I don't have to  worry about catching up the bus. Took bus #175 heading to the airport using the 24-hour ticket I bought a day before. The trip took about 30 to 45 minutes, depending on traffic and hence, it's advisable to plan your journey well. 

2017 Europe Warsaw Old Town Bus to Airport
#1: The bus stop in the Old Town "Plac Zamkowy" but then, this is not the bus heading to airport. (For illustration purposes only)

After taking everything into account, I decided to fly with airBaltic from Warsaw to Helsinki. Of course to be frank, it's the most expensive ticket I ever bought throughout my Europe trip. One way ticket cost me RM600 - it's really painful one but then, it saves a lot of my travelling time with a short transit in Riga.  

2017 Europe Warsaw Chopin Airport & Air Baltic
#2: Flying with airBaltic from Warsaw Frederick Chopin Airport

2017 Europe Riga International Airport
#3: Short transit at Riga International Airport. Riga is capital city of Latvia and I wish someday I could visit this country "finger crossed" 

FROM HELSINKI AIRPORT TO CITY CENTRE 
Landed in Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport around 1.35pm and after collected my red little baggage, immediately I walked to the airport train station (just follow the train icon signboard) heading to the city. Bought the ticket from the machine before entering the platform and from the machine itself, choose the one that state "regional" and it cost 5 for a single trip. Please take note that the ticket bought from the machine is valid immediately and therefore, once you done straightly heading down to the platform and wait for the trains P and I

2017 Europe Helsinki Airport 02
#4: Helsinki Vantaa International Airport and it's airport train heading to the city

2017 Europe Helsinki Central Station-1
#5: Helsinki Central Railway Station - Besides taking trains here to airport, it is also the main station for commuter rail and long-distance trains to the neighbouring cities. 

HOSTEL IN HELSINKI
In Helsinki, I stayed in Hostel Diana Park. Alright, one thing I like to stress here is the reason behind I pick this hotel it's not mainly cause of its name which similar to mine but because I came this hostel from one of my favourite travel blogger, Kaki Berangan. After reading all the reviews here and there, instantly I booked cause at that particular moment only one bed is available and if I don't make a move, for sure it sold out quickly. At the end of the trip, I glad I made a wise choice due to its location, location and location. 

2017 Europe Helsinki Hostel Diana Park
#6: Hostel Diana Park, less than 10 minutes walk from Central Railway Station

Date Stayed: 21 September - 23 September 2017 (2 nights)
Room Rate: €34 for a bed in basic 4 bed mixed room (Booked via Hostel World)
Directions: Trams number 6 and 3 in front of Central Railway Station and stops at EROTTAJA in Bulevardi street which is the street next to the hostel.

SIGHTSEEING AROUND HELSINKI ON FIRST DAY
As usual, I always randomly wandered around the immediate vicinity without travel farther away on the first day. It's like get to know more about the respective city first, before kicking off on the following day. 

2017 Europe Helsinki 01 Sightseeing
#7: Tram - the most convenient and scenic means of travel around Helsinki besides bus

2017 Europe Helsinki 03 Sightseeing
#8: Some random buildings nearby Central Railway Station

2017 Europe Helsinki 02 Sightseeing
#9: International Grand Market was held while I was there and I stumbled upon few Asian stalls like Thailand, Philippines and even Malaysia. Price wise, like expected - pricey! 

2017 Europe Helsinki 04 Sightseeing
#10: Finnish National Theatre - it is the oldest Finnish speaking professional theatre in Finland.

2017 Europe Helsinki 05 Sightseeing
#11: Forum - a shopping centre and I did window shopping here until day turned into night.

EXPLORE HELSINKI'S ATTRACTIONS & LANDMARKS ON SECOND DAY
I met two friendly and helpful guests who stayed in the same room as mine and they gave me few suggestions of where I should visit in Helsinki. Obviously, I didn't do my research beforehand. One of them suggested to visit museum but too bad, I'm the type that not into history so I purposely skip them. The following are some of the interesting attractions they suggested earlier:  

Sibelius Monument
This abstract monument is dedicated to Jean Sibelius, a Finnish symphonic composer. Resembling organ pipes, Sibelius Monument is made of welded steel with over 600 pipes and with the bust of the composer on one side. This unusual but fascinating sculpture is built in Sibelius Park.

2017 Europe Helsinki Day 2 01 Sibelius Monument

2017 Europe Helsinki Day 2 02 Sibelius Monument

Old Market Hall
Unlike our local market which is wet and dirty, I kinda love to visit Western countries market. The Old Market Hall of Helsinki was recently renovated and it houses Finland's best collection of gourmet food boutiques. Here, you can find everything ranging from cheese, fish, vegetables, fruits, spices and even coffee and tea. 

2017 Europe Helsinki Day 2 02 Market Square 01

2017 Europe Helsinki Day 2 02 Market Square 02

2017 Europe Helsinki Day 2 02 Market Square 03

Suomelinna 
Suggested by my roommate, Suomelinna is a World Heritage Site and can be accessed by ferry only. It was once the greatest sea fortress in the Baltic built by the Swedish at great expense to protect their eastern flank. Today's Suomenlinna is still living in its own time with only old buildings with lots of old fortifications, catacombs and cast iron cannons. Entry to the island itself is free, but not for the ferry ride which the fare cost €5 for 12-hour tourist return ticket. The HSL ferry from Market Square is the cheapest and most convenient way of getting there. So if you have an HSL Day Ticket, it includes the ferry travel and you don't have to pay any additional fee.

2017 Europe Helsinki Day 2 03 Suomenlinna 00

2017 Europe Helsinki Day 2 03 Suomenlinna 01

2017 Europe Helsinki Day 2 03 Suomenlinna 02

Uspenski Cathedral 
Striking with its deep-red brick walls and green and gold onion domes, Uspenski Cathedral is an Eastern Orthodox cathedral dedicated to the Dormition of the Theotokos (the Virgin Mary). Its names come from the Old Church Slavonic word uspenie, which denotes the Dormition (death). This eye-catching cathedral which built on the hilltop can be easily spot from the Market Square.

2017 Europe Helsinki Day 2 04 Uspenski Cathedral 01

2017 Europe Helsinki Day 2 04 Uspenski Cathedral 02

Helsinki Senate Square
Senate Square and its surroundings make up the oldest part of central Helsinki. Landmarks and well-known buildings surrounding the square are the Helsinki Cathedral, the Government Palace, main building of the University of Helsinki and Sederholm House, the oldest building of central Helsinki dating from 1757. It seems like this place is the popular among the tourists because by the time I was there, it was crowded with foreign tourists especially. 
2017 Europe Helsinki Day 2 05 Senate Square

Market Square (Known as Kauppatori in Finnish)
It's a central square in Helsinki and it's must-see zone for most tourists in city centre. This open-air market sells fresh fish and produce from all over Finland. I even came across few stalls selling souvenirs and traditional treats such as reindeer burger. 

2017 Europe Helsinki Day 2 06
Market Square is also the site of the Havis Amanda fountain. 

2017 Europe Helsinki Day 2 Reindeer Burger
I can't believe I have the guts to try this unusual meat and it cost me €7 (approx. to RM36). My verdict? Let your imagine run wild. 

TOTAL DAMAGES IN HELSINKI
Here are the total expenses I spent throughout my 2 days and 2 nights trip in Helsinki:

PARTICULARS
AMOUNT
RM
Airfare
airBaltic from Warsaw to Krakow

Accommodation
Hostel Diana Park – 2 nights

Transportation
Airport train to city centre
HSL Day Ticket

Food & Beverages

Others
Souvenirs – magnets, postcards, stamps

-


68.00


5.00
9.00

27.60


59.05

606


352


26
46

141


302

TOTAL:
1,473
Exchange rate: €1 = RM5.12


One way to describe Helsinki - expensive! Initially I plan to include Rovaniemi which is known for being the official hometown of Santa Claus but after browsing through the airfares flying out from Helsinki, it's absolutely cutting throat. Maybe next time *another fingers crossed again*


Previous Posts on my 2017 Solo Trip to Europe

4 comments:

  1. oh no, I cannot imagine that those cute reindeer become patty of burger.

    ReplyDelete
  2. OMFG I would try a poroburger. Frigging love the interior of that cathedral. So beautiful the architecture, I could only dream to be there at this moment, I can't seem to save enough to travel these days. Thank you for sharing. I know it's really hard to pronounce polish words even names.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Lovely!All shots looks amazing! Beautiful buildings all around!

    ReplyDelete
  4. We often see deer meat being served during Chinese course dinners, so I think Reindeer meat is similar.

    There is so much to see and do in Europe. Definitely one month is not enough to see all. I think both my late parents went to Europe on their own for 2 months. They felt that it was too long until everything looked almost identical to them. Better to travel like your style over many trips.

    ReplyDelete

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