The weather was nice yesterday… for the first time since our arrival, it didn’t rain! So I had the urge to go out and explore Helsinki alone. Armed with videocam, digicam, and my sweet Holga 135, I went out and clicked away… I hung on to my city map (and kept an extra one in my pocket- just in case)… It wasn’t very easy navigating my way to the tourist information and City Museum.. yes it was just about 10 blocks away, but it was hard reading maps with streetnames like Kalevagatan, Mannerheiminite, Pohjoisesplanadi, Aleksanterinkatu, Keskuskatu… I must have looked disoriented and hopeless as I peered closely into my map, that an old Finnish man approached me and asked if I needed help. For a split second, I wondered if I should talk to him or not, but then I needed anybody’s help… so “YES!”. He was very kind to help me figure out where I was in the map (told ya Finnish people are very nice and friendly!).. so I finally found the City Museum and the Tourist Information Center.
HELSINKI CITY MUSEUM (Free Entrance)
It was a small museum, but very informative. I loved the old stuff displayed… we were only a few people so sometimes I would get a creepy feeling when I’m alone in a dark corner, surrounded by old stuff (though not as old or ancient as I wished), and some mannequins in old costumes… It was different in a way, that there’s an area dedicated to some “not-so-old” stuff… things I kinda not expected to be displayed in a museum, like some not-so-old dentist chair and bicycles? I must have missed reading the special story behind it.. hmm… Anyway, it was a good trip…
SEDERHOLM HOUSE (Free Entrance)
The map says “Visit the oldest house in central Helsinki from 1757″… very interesting… it’s just near the huge white Lutheran Cathedral. I was expecting a really old house… but when I got there, it looked so new to me! The walls were newly painted… everything was intact… it was nothing like a 1757 house… the old soul in me was disappointed… (I grew up in the Philippines in an ancestral house made in the 1800’s, great condition, but it has maintained its antique look) so it hurts me that they have made this supposedly 250-yr. old house look new. But anyway, it’s still pretty… the house led to different rooms, showing pictures of Finnish festivities and celebrations. Apparently, Finns had lots of them (and they loved eating)! The house was like a maze, and again, gave me an odd feeling, being the only person in the second floor, amidst the old furnitures and costumed mannequins… so I walked around the rooms, hearing only the thuds of my boots (and an occasional suspense movie soundtrack in my head) and then… EEEEEEKKK!!! At the end of it was some huge, black, monstrous-looking creature (uhmm let me correct that, it was a HUGE, BLACK MONSTER, period.) hanging in the hall!!! I shrieked loudly (I was alone, remember?)… and was embarassed to see a Finnish man behind the wall… why the heck did they hang it there?!? Whatever it was, it’s my first time to see such a thing, maybe it’s a Finnish monster… Haha, I think I got it on my videocam, together with my shriek… hehehe…
KORKEASAARI ZOO (12 Euros with boatride)
Well, the port was just a couple of streets away! So I thought, why not check out the schedules for the boat trip to the zoo… and what do you know, I arrived exactly on time and had only about 5 seconds to decide if I’m coming or not.. and so, Miss Spontaneous jumped on the boat… And then it struck me, “why am I the only passenger here?”… The pretty Finnish assistant told me, “No, no! There are other guests!” and pointed to the lower dock… and there I found a couple sitting at the very end (obviously not wanting to be disturbed) hehehe… Oh well.. I should enjoy this trip… so we arrived at the Korkeasaari Island Zoo.. there were about 6-8 other people in that huge zoo… so just imagine going around (most of the time alone coz the other people are somewhere else)… sometimes there were beautiful peacocks walking around (at first I thought they accidentally got out of their cage, but I realized it was normal when I saw 3 of them perched on the restaurant porch).
Of course they had camels, leopards, tigers, lions, etcetera… but what I really loved were the reindeers!!! As in SANTA’s reindeers!!! I loved watching them… (Ohh I haven’t mentioned, Santa Claus lived in Lapland, which is in North Finland… so I’m in the home country of Santa Claus!)
Going back to the zoo… ok, a couple of huge cages away was supposed to be some kind of owl. (Now I really have to tell you about my bird phobia… I had horror experiences with my pet lovebirds when I was a kid -i saw the birds die horribly- so I grew up disgusted with birds or anything with feathers, having nightmares, and for some reason, I usually encounter dead ones)… Anyway… so this cage was supposed to have some kind of owl.. but I couldn’t see any… so I looked around some more (some animals are shy).. and I saw a big rock on the ground.. and saw something… I peered closer… and eeeekk… it looked like a mutilated bird.. so I thought… no it can’t be… it must be my imagination acting up again… I tried to convince myself that it wasn’t what I thought it was.. and ended up staring and staring at it… and it really was “that”… I don’t know… maybe it was the owl… or maybe it was the owl’s meal?! Ughhhhh!!! Well, there’s a saying that “what you resist, persists“, and the things that you absolutely abhor shows itself to you the more you resist it… It IS happening to me… !!! Ok enough of that, I must be grossing you out… Well, it was another experience to laugh about with my husband. Aside from the fact that I got lost in the zoo. I was diligently following the map and looking for the seals, when I got lost… It felt like I was in Blairwitch project hehe… it came to a point that it wasn’t interesting or funny anymore.. Later on I found out that I was walking on the other end of the island… behind the zoo! So the only way I could find the port entrance was to trace the edges of the island, praying that I’d end up back where I started… I was very thankful that I found my way back to the port, coz I read just now that the zoo island was 22 hectares. Whoaaah!!! Hehe… you must be thinking that I didn’t enjoy those trips… true I had some creepy moments, but well, that’s why it’s called adventure… it’s something to look back to and smile about.
And so, I rode the ferry back to Helsinki. BRRRRrrrr… it was sooo cold.. but it was something I should embrace and experience while I’m here… so I sat on the top deck, and however uncomfortable, decided to enjoy the cold 10ºC air …