We spent one last day in Helsinki, and it turned out to be a great day! We had planned on taking a ferry to a sea fortress in the morning and then spending the afternoon at an outdoor pool/sauna. We woke up to drizzly weather and not a lot of motivation, but we decided to stick with the plan and hopped on the train into downtown. And we are so glad we did!
First we took the ferry to Suomenlinna, an 18th century sea fortress that is a UNESCO world heritage site. It was windy and overcast, which made it a great day for feeling the strength of the fortress and the admiring the beauty of the islands. We walked a lot, explored some, ate a delicious lunch followed by some Finnish sweets, and learned a bit about the history. The girls enjoyed looking around and had some great questions. At some point we did jokingly say I should title this post “It’s Closed!” since the pizza place we wanted to eat at was closed, the submarine Steffen wanted to tour was closed and the library Hannah wanted to check out was closed (a combo of coronavirus precaution and the summer season ending), but we ended up having a really good time there.
After a few hours of exploring and hiking, it was time to relax! We headed to Allas Sea Pool, a very cool urban spa with saunas, heated pools, and a seawater pool. We didn’t take photos, so here is one from their website. Much to my surprise, we all really loved it! The girls love swimming and we wanted them to experience a sauna since it’s such a part of Finnish culture. We had so much fun getting way too hot in the saunas, then coming out into the drizzling rain to play/cool off in the heated kiddie pool until we were ready to sweat it out in the sauna again. After two turns of this, Steffen braved the super cold seawater pool after the sauna and before the heated kiddie pool. Hannah, Olivia, Charlotte and I eventually followed suit and we had a new routine. It felt so good and was really fun to experience all together!
By that time, we were starving and agreed that the girls could pick the restaurant since they had been good sports at the Finnish restaurant for lunch. Hannah had spotted an Italian place very close by, so we headed there and later praised Hannah on finding a gem. We all agreed it was amazing! If you ever find yourself in Helsinki, we highly recommend it. Vaelsa Ristorante e Taverna. My mouth is still watering thinking about it…
And that marked the end of our time in Helsinki. And in Finland. We had a really wonderful time exploring the nature, meeting the lovely people and learning a bit about Finnish history and culture. And I’m so glad we ended our time in Scandinavia with such a fun day all together.