Helsinki and Tallinn

On October the 30th, I went to Helsinki by bus. First, I was at the wrong bus station but because I was on time, I was still on time at the good bus stop in the end. After a trip of 3,5 hours I arrived in a dark and more or less quite Helsinki around midnight. I had a nice conversation with a Finnish guy about life, work, study and fun things about Finland and the Netherlands. I took the bus to my hostel that was located about 3 km outside the city centre. I found my hostel and could still check-in because I arrived before 2:00. There was a really kind guy, how welcomed me really warm (ahum!). After getting used to the sounds, movements and atmosphere in the hostel I felt asleep.

The next morning I was surprised about the people spending a night in a hostel. I was expecting mainly young people being there because of a journey. This was not the case there were people from all ages, on their own or in a group, there for business or travelling. It was interesting to see how all those people acted.

Friday I woke up early and went into the city, after collecting my breakfast in a supermarket. Helsinki is not such a big city and in the centre you can reach everything on foot: the distances are not that far. Since the weather was great on Friday I just walked around in the city centre and explored it. I visited churches, unfortunately the outside of the church was most of the times way prettier than the inside. Especially the big cathedral was boring inside, in my opinion. Although it was amazing to be there on my own in the morning, that gave and impressive felling. The city has lovely alleys going up and down, beautiful buildings and the statues show an enormous charisma. I also visited an island near Helsinki called Suomanlinna (castle of Finland). It was incredible how silent it was over there, and it really looked like the time has stood still there. I was there about three hours and got back really relaxed.

Saturday was a national celebration day in Finland and because of that, most shops were closed so I decided to go to Tallinn on that day. There is such a difference between the two capitals. The old city of Tallinn is beautiful the buildings and alleys are great. It feels cosy but there are a lot of people and it feels kind of fake because, the old city is only about tourism. You barely hear Estonian and the only shops which are there are there for the tourist. There are a lot of souvenir shops and places where you can buy amber. The churches in Tallinn are beautiful, they are fully decorated and woman are cleaning there they whole day to make sure everything is shining. You have to cover your hair as a woman and it is not allowed to take pictures. I also went a little bit outside the old town and there it was just business as usual. People were not speaking English and you become just one of the many. That gave me a better feeling. I went with kind of a small cruise ship to Tallinn, a lot of Finnish people go there to get cheap alcohol. The take a lot of alcohol on their way back. It was really fun to see how people behaved on the way back. Quite a lot of them were really drunk and in combination with live music and karaoke that gave a good atmosphere and funny moments, to watch. Overall, I have had a great time in Tallinn but still I have no clue about the Estonian people, language or culture. Both in Helsinki and Tallinn I mainly heard Finnish and Russian. There are a lot of Russian visitors in both cities, since it is close to Russia. 

On Sunday,I was back in Helsinki and it was raining a little bit. I visited the National museum of Finland. It became clear to me that because of the geographical location of Finland they were always in between two fronts. They are influences by both and there were expectations too from both sides. This must have been hard for a nation and its inhabitants. After that I explored another part of the city and about 18.00 it was time to go back home. It surprised me that I really wanted to go home. I had a nice conversation with the person next to me in the bus and after finding my bike back in Jyväskylä I felt that I was exhausted but happy with my experience in these totally different but beautiful cities.