On a whim, I booked a day trip to Helsinki, which lay north of Tallinn across the Gulf of Finland. I woke early and walked to the Tallinn’s port. Many people were already there anxiously waiting to board the ship. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure I was the only person from my hostel who was awake at this hour. Guess that just goes to show you the difference in travel styles.
It was a great day to sail as the sky was blue and a cool breeze blew. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it was warm, but it was comfortable and I was excited to visit another new city.
When I arrived in Helsinki, I followed the mass exodus off the ship and made my way into the city center. It felt like a good 20-minute walk, especially because I like to take in the architecture as I pass by.
In the city center, I headed into the tourist information office to pick up a map. I’d been using one saved on my phone, but a physical map is always easier to see. By the time I got my bearings, I realized I was still early for the day’s walking tour, so I meandered through a street market and decided on some breakfast. I had a salmon soup with bread that was very delicious.
After breakfast, I headed to the meeting point and joined the walking tour group. I really appreciate these free, often student-led tour groups that allow you to tip the guide what you see fit. Europe, especially northern Europe, is pretty expensive when you’re coming straight out of southeast Asia.
The tour took us through the main areas of the city, and our guide provided us with basic historical information. I’d never really put much thought into Finland so it was great for my introduction to be through such a user-friendly channel. As part of the tour, we went inside one of the famous churches of the city.
Midway through the tour, we stopped at the street market for lunch and a bit of chatting. There were a few Australians who were over for the weekend from London, a handful of Americans on holiday and the rest were Europeans from other countries.
By the end of the tour, I wanted to stay a bit longer and experience the city at night, but unfortunately, I had a ship to catch. After saying goodbye to my new friends, I made my way back to the dock for my journey back across the gulf to Tallinn.