Posted by: Debra Kolkka | June 10, 2022

Happy in Helsinki

I am back in Australia now. I like to stopover in Helsinki on my way home from Italy. It might seem a little out of the way, but until recently (it is no longer possible to fly over Russia and you wouldn’t want to)  it was a shorter flight. Even without the shorter flight, I love Helsinki and enjoy being there for a few days.

The weather was patchy for my recent stay, but I don’t mind cool days. There were a few showers but it didn’t stop me covering a lot of territory in the city. The centre is compact and flat, making it easy to see a lot.

Late spring is a lovely time to be in Helsinki. There are flowers and green trees everywhere. A lot of care is taken with flower boxes all over the city.

Oodi library is a stunning building, inside and out. There is an outdoor terrace on the roof…a great spot to enjoy a coffee on a sunny day.

The grounds around the building are impressive as well. Nearby is the music centre, opera house and art gallery, which is now under scaffolding.

The giant pike sculpture makes a statement.

The nearby Toolonlahti area is great for walking in beautiful surrounds.


Right now the Barnacle geese have fluffy chicks to take care of.

I also spotted this little bird that was not bothered by my presence at all.

On June 4th the National Parade for the Finnish Defence Forces’ Flag Day filed through the city, beginning at Tuomiokirkko, Helsinki Cathedral. The parades have been held annually since 1952 and fall on Carl Mannerheim’s birthday. He was Finland’s most famous military leader.


I found the tanks in front of Tuomiokirkko quite disconcerting in view of the war in Ukraine. Seeing tanks roll down city streets seems ominous. I prefer Tuomiokirkko without tanks.

Esplanadi is gorgeous in spring. The lovely park that runs down from Mannerheim St to the harbour is always full of people out walking, especially when the sun is shining.

Helsinki has great restaurants and shopping. This lovely area is in the Kamp shopping building.

I stocked up on Marimekko, iittala and Arabia and other Finnish designs. I stayed at the excellent GLO hotel, right in the centre of the city. It is great being close to everything.

I have relatives in Finland. A young cousin has opened a tiny restaurant in Helsinki called Bona Fide. The food is modern Finnish, inventive and delicious. Somehow I forgot to photograph my fabulous food. I recommend it if you visit the city.

I am happy to home in Brisbane for a few months. I will miss Bagni di Lucca and our lovely mountain house and garden, but I will be back in September for more Italy.




  1. Helsinki looks gorgeous- I love all the flower boxes. I’m glad you’re home safe & sound. Enjoy your time in Australia.

    • It is nice to be home for a while. Lots of things have changed and I am still getting used to it, but it is all good.

  2. Beautiful time of year to visit Helsinki, Considering your heritage, do you speak any Finnish? I found the pictures.of military hardware upsetting before you also said so, Finland is so close to Russia. Stay safe.xx

    • I speak a few words of Finnish, enough to be polite with greetings etc. My grandfather tried to teach me, without success. I love Finland and really enjoy my visits there.

  3. Welcome home. It must feel a little weird after so long. Enjoy your time till you head back again.

    • It is strange. I keep going to wrong door in the car, but after a couple of days I’m fine.

  4. Beautiful flowers already, but it is sad to see the military vehicles on the street. Let’s hope there will be no use for them…

    • The gardens in Helsinki are beautifully colourful. It is a delight to walk around the city. I felt strange seeing military vehicles in the city. I understand that it happens every year, but it has different significance this year.

  5. Welcome back. Helsinki looks very pretty with all the flowers and I do love Marimekko.

    • Helsinki is gorgeous in summer with its flowers. I love Marimekko! I have been buying it since the 1960s. It is a lot of fun to see the design shops in Helsinki.

  6. Wonderful photos of the city gardens in Helsinki. Welcome home & hope we see more of your fabulous Posts.

    • There will be some posts on Australian things. I also have a few more to do on Sicily and other places we visited.

  7. Looks like there are lots of beautiful green spaces to enjoy there! The flowers are gorgeous! Enjoy your months in Australia.

    • Helsinki looks lovely with its spring, summer flowers. I am looking forward to a few months in Australia.

  8. This post makes me miss Helsinki. It looks so pretty with all of those blooming, colourful flowers!

    • I’m always happy to visit Helsinki, especially in spring and summer…but I love the snow too.

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