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Old August 12th, 2009, 08:32 PM   #1
hkskyline
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hkskyline's 2009 HELSINKI Photo Series #1

Helsinki Surprise
My trip to Finland was extremely random and not originally on my plan. I had a week in Europe as a transit point between Canada and Hong Kong, and was searching for a cost-effective side trip. I didn't want to stay in ultra-expensive London for too long. If I had to pay a fortune a day, I might as well see a new place.

While I searched for cheap hotels, I realized one of the hotel loyalty programs had a special. Looking through what was available in Europe, the only larger cities featured were Porto and Helsinki. Having been to Lisbon last year, I chose Helsinki.

1. Finnair has a significant network to Asia. But I flew in with easyJet from London.



2. The Central Railway Station is quite clean and tidy. The architectural style is quite interesting. It's not totally Art Deco, but something of a hybrid?

















10. Rautatientori is a huge square next to the railway station. But I think it's too big and not intimate enough with its surroundings. Hence, it doesn't seem too busy in there.



11. Europe has some really modern trams.















18. I ventured north and headed across Kaisaniemi Park looking for the lake.









22. These trains look a bit aged though ...





24. Here's the lake. A number of boats were parked onshore along the waterfront. It seemed quite serene.

















32. Don't look back.



33. I knew there must be some nostalgic old trams. Come to think of it, I don't think I actually rode on one of these whilst in Helsinki. I walked everywhere, and the hotel was right in the heart of town.













39. Here's another big square. Again, it seems deserted. Being blocked from the buildings by streets on three sides really kills the street life.













45. Helsinki is surrounded by plenty of water. Water has a wonderful calming effect, and makes cityscapes ever more pretty.







48. I try to visit at least one touristy local market in every city I visit. Hakaniemi Market was tidy and organized, and had plenty of one of my favourite foods - smoked salmon.





















With some mental sustenance from all that looking, in the next part, I will take you around the city centre a bit more.

I've uploaded most of my Helsinki photos on my website : http://www.globalphotos.org/helsinki.htm
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Last edited by hkskyline; August 12th, 2009 at 08:38 PM.
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Old August 12th, 2009, 11:36 PM   #2
Mr Bricks
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Nice pics man. Not the most interesting part of town on these pics maybe, but great nonetheless.

I agree with you about the Central Railway Square. Except for hot summer days and weekend evenings itīs quite dead (except the bus station of course). They do hold event there from time to time, and in winter an ice skating rink is erected in the square.

The other square you mentioned ("Hakaniemi Square") is simply boring. Whereas the Central Railways Square is surrounded by beautiful architecture Hakaniemi Square is home to some of the worst eyesores in the city. A complete waste of space.
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Old August 13th, 2009, 10:55 AM   #3
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HK Skyline

How is it that you are whizzing all around the world visiting these places? You must have been to virtually every corner of the globe. Whatever you do for a living, I am jealous.

Great pics though.
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Old August 13th, 2009, 12:52 PM   #4
Pule
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I was gonna ask the same question.
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Old August 13th, 2009, 04:06 PM   #5
Bristol Mike
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A third that question but hey - great pictures all round, that train station looks nice.
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Old August 13th, 2009, 04:35 PM   #6
isaidso
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All of a sudden not one, but two Helsinki threads. I suppose I won't have to post mine now.

hkskyline:

Those trains do look a little dated, but I think you'll find the Pendolino train ultra luxe! Some well traveled British tourists said it was easily the most luxurious and modern train journey they had ever taken. It was a rather glowing review considering that they frequently travel first class rail all over Europe.
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Old August 13th, 2009, 04:49 PM   #7
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Nice pictures. Btw, those particular trains are commuter rail trains.
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Old August 14th, 2009, 07:24 PM   #8
hkskyline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iskandar View Post
HK Skyline

How is it that you are whizzing all around the world visiting these places? You must have been to virtually every corner of the globe. Whatever you do for a living, I am jealous.

Great pics though.
For trips within Asia, usually it's for business. For Europe and beyond, usually it is personal. This year's flight ticket prices have dropped tremendously. I was originally planning to fly from Hong Kong to Toronto direct, or with a stop in Vancouver. But after some checking, a routing through Europe was only slightly more expensive, and doing a short trip within Europe was extremely attractive despite a longer flight.

So it seemed a bit random, but a cost-effective side-trip.
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