Atop pine-scented Finnish forests, my reindeer encounter was a beautiful experience - especially for admirers of wildlife, like moi: with a touch of Nordic magic at the Nuuksio Reindeer reserve ✨, I saw first-hand one of Finland’s places where one can actually touch and feel the velvety antlers of Santa’s🧑🏿🎄(Richo-claus) reindeers 🦌🦌🦌! These majestic animals are endemic to Nordic Nuuksio, and they enjoy the native moss abundant in this area of Finland all year round.
We savored traditional Lapland coffee and home-made buns in a traditional Lappish Kota (teepee) with rustic wooden tables and benches set-up around a cozy open fire 🔥 inside the tent, just like in Lapland…
* Este blog es dedicado a mi tía Luzma - que le gusta también viajar (y hasta de maestra en Australia 🇦🇺 ) … la más dicharachera de las muchachas y siempre viendo el
lado positivo de las cosas! 👍🏻
… me acuerdo cuando tenía 19 Y llegué de mis viajes de Japón: que le puse a mi tía Luzma ver todos mis Videos de camcorder en esa época todo se movía en los videos) la pobre le daba muchas náuseas - y varias veces fue al baño, pero seguía viendo mis videos.
Espero que ya con estos Videos no te den más náuseas, gracias por siempre ser tan linda con todos. 🙏🏻
… So back in Helsinki 🇫🇮,
like my last visit around years back - beautiful Nordic capital city; but this time it seemed a bit brighter and lighter for some reason (it was probably me that was brighter & lighter lol). It’s funny how visiting the same place twice, sometimes there is a little twist the second-time around - a bit of a different experience, probably due to something that changed in myself, or the circumstances around a particular visit (i.e., last time I was in Helsinki, was during a vacation from a horrible job: Investment banker - market data manager 🤮, and some of that job’s baggage 🧳 came along with me unexpectedly.
Anyway, so I visited the usual Helsinki-sights: Mannerheim, Parliament House, National Museum, Finlandia hall - and my favourite: the water front and Market Square Area! 🇫🇮
Welcome back to Helsinki, muchachos!
… more on 🦌🦌🦌 Nuuksio Reindeer Park:
“Experience a touch of northern magic in Finland's southernmost reindeer park in Nuuksio. The reindeer came from Finnish Lapland to Nuuksio at Christmas 2013 and two more reindeer came in spring 2019. A small white reindeer came to our park in February 2021. White colour is rare and white reindeer cope more poorly in nature than other reindeer due to the white colour. A white reindeer is said to bring good luck in the herd. We have now seven reindeer at the park: Male Niila (born 2012) and Usva (born 2018) and five females: Taika, Lumi, Nella (all born in 2013), Tähti (born 2016) and Helmi (born 2020). Tähti is the mother of Usva. The herd has an exact hierarchy, the oldest reindeer with the biggest antlers is the leader. In the spring, when they drop there antlers, the ranking may change momentarily depending on whose antlers are the first to drop. Reindeer antler is the world's fastest growing bone, new antlers grow up to 2-2,5 cm / day. When the summer arrives they lose also their thick winter coat, which means they might not look the "prettiest". They still are as healthy then as they are at any other time of the year”. *
And 10 Top Things to Do in Helsinki 🇫🇮✨☺️
The Market Square
Probably the first place that travellers will see when arriving in the old town of Helsinki will see – if you’re not too busy savouring a delightful cup of famous Finnish cafecito – is the harbour and Market Square. This port area is one of the epicentres of life and commerce in town, and a veritable landmark of Helsinki as a whole. It’s here that locals gather to sell their best products, presenting fresh fish and Finnish specialties like reindeer horns, handmade jewellery, wooden mugs, and reindeer hides. The Baltic Herring Market at the beginning of October is the best time of year to visit the square, and the nearby Market Hall is open all year round for local flavours and unique souvenirs.
The Chapel of Silence
Kamppi Chapel of Silence is a sanctuary of quietude in the midst of Helsinki’s lively city centre. The chapel is tiny yet warm and calm, and the thick wooden walls, made of Nordic spruce, work to enhance the depth of the silence inside. Stepping into the main room reveals wooden benches and a fascinating altar holding a thin, metal cross and a bowl. What’s more, the building is constructed in an amazing circular shape that represents the height of architectural innovation in true stylish Scandinavian style!
A swell pub and a delicious restaurante with an atmosphere set to bold combinations of rock fusion and contemporary jazz music, Juttutupa’s history goes all the way back to 1884, giving it the distinction of being one of the oldest joints in town. It was once even the host of revolutionary socialist meetings led by Vladimir Lenin, while today it entertains crowds of local patrons and travellers alike, who enjoy dishes such as juicy burgers and pizza at the long, communal dining tables.
Helsinki City Museum
There is arguably no better place to understand how exactly the city of Helsinki became what it is today than the City Museum, which won Finland’s Museum of the Year award in 2017. In five separate buildings on the Cathedral Square, a complexity of exhibitions range from traditional Finnish costumes to displays of 19th-century home décor, complete with early prototypes of refrigerators and irons. The centre also takes a look at the cultural life of the city and the incredible female presence in the political and economic environment of the last century. Virtual reality technology combined with old photographs also allow visitors to feel as if they have literally stepped back in time to Helsinki’s past.
Helsinki University Botanical Gardens
Revealing a year-long explosion of colourful plants from right across the globe, the Kaisaniemi Botanical Garden is an exuberant oasis of life right in the middle of the city. Its history is worth mentioning, as it is the oldest scientific garden in all of Finland, inaugurated by the botanist Peter Kalm in Turku in the year 1678, finally being transferred to the care of Helsinki University in 1829 as a result of a major fire. The garden is home to a whopping 800 species of plants in total, and is the perfect place for an afternoon stroll or to escape the Finnish winter.
Suomenlinna, the ‘Fortress of Finland’, is located on a series of small islands just 20 minutes away from Helsinki’s south harbour by ferry. It is a fine example of a fortified military structure, hailed by UNESCO for its cultural magnitude. Initially named Sveaborg when Finland was a part of the Swedish empire, it represented a major strategic point that was important for control of the city and defense of Southern Finland. Don’t miss the impressive dry dock, a real technological feat of engineering, and don’t leave without exploring the island’s greener parts or the impressive museums!
With a profound accumulation of boutiques, workshops, antique shops, galleries, and restaurants, there are plenty of opportunities to discover the unmistakable simplicity of minimalistic Finnish design in this district in southern Helsinki. In short, the Design District unravels the subtle power of Scandinavian design and décor though awe-inspiring collections of handmade products, simple-cut clothing shops, and functional architecture alike.
Café Ekberg, widely regarded as the oldest and classiest café in Helsinki, and indeed all of Finland, dates back to 1852 and boasts a large, 90-seat guest room for the pleasure and delight of its patrons. Don’t leave without sampling the on-site patisserie’s Napoleon cake, which can either be sided with a strong coffee or a delicious hot chocolate with a wisp of creamy foam. It’s a great place to enjoy an early start, or a late wind-down, with abundant breakfast options, oodles of handmade pastries, biscuits, and cookies.
For the Finns, the sauna represents a place of meditative refreshment; a divine delight dating back to the VIKING period. Besides the obvious stress relief, there is a multitude of health benefits on offer: it improves cardiovascular performance, helps weight loss, soothes muscle and joint pain, and helps with insomnia. Kotiharjun Sauna is one of only three traditional public saunas left in Helsinki, and is an excellent spot to experience Finland’s sauna culture, where locals and visitors alike sweat it out side by side.