Finland came at an unexpected time. I connected with the community college in my local area, they were setting up a trip with administrators, students and teaching faculty. The trip was coordinated with EF College Study Tours http://www.efcollegestudytours.com/. The trip was scheduled for Helsinki, Finland and Stockholm, Sweden. As this was my first time going to Europe, I was excited on many levels. The unexpected part comes with my boyfriend at the time proposing a month later, and me booking our wedding a month after my return from this trip. Our honeymoon was booked for Mallorca, Spain, so ultimately I was to make two trips to Europe in 2016. The wedding went off without a hitch, it was an amazing celebration that included our children and our extended family. Unfortunately our honeymoon had to be pushed back a year, but it all worked out in the end, as I’ll have continuous content for my blog.
Our group stayed at the Sokos Helsinki, this was an amazing location being that there was a large mall and several restaurants connected to the hotel. Using the sauna for the first time there was an experience in itself. We were warned everyone gets naked for the sauna, but I didn’t expect people to be so open and comfortable with their bodies. The food there was amazing, other things we tried upon arrival was walking around and going to the market. It wasn’t time yet for dinner so we all had fresh fruits from the local vendors. The strawberries were amazing, I had never experienced strawberries like this before, they were juicy and sweet and natural. Our dinner the first evening was “catch of the day” a lovely salmon with vegetables. It was the best salmon, I’d ever tasted. I also enjoyed the street food from the market, which included fried sardines, potatoes and vegetables.
I’ll be making another trip to Helsinki within the next two years, my children really want to visit, so here’s some information to give you a head start.
Best Time to Arrive: May, June, July and August for mild weather and January for the Northern Lights in Lapland, Finland.
Where to stay: Crowne Plaza Hotel and Hotel Helka
Where to eat: Casa Largo and Sea Horse
Where to shop: Stockmann’s Department Store and Marimekko
Where to visit: Temppeliaukio Church (Rock Church) and the Sibelius Monument