HELSINKI by foot all day and LOVING it here . . .

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I had the most spectacular day. Jet lag gone, a good night’s sleep,the sun is shining, a cup of tea and a walk by the sea before breakfast and I was out the door at 9am. Took the tram into the city centre and wandered to the cathedral – stunning bathed in the morning sunshine. I really enjoy walking around the cobbled streets and the architecture here is amazing. Couldn’t be happier than strolling around gazing up at the spires and domes and window boxes of the old and the new buildings. I had a morning coffee at Cafe Esplanad but I was wishing I could eat the gorgeous pastries and buns. Every cafe has clear and cold water on tap to help yourself. It’s lovely water. All the tables on the pavement face to the street so you can watch people go by. Finns are very casual and I noticed that the clothes are not wearable advertising for the companies. Logos are very discreet. All the young people wear Converse sneakers. People seem to prefer plain colours with a bright scarf or shoes or bag. Simple and nice fashion on the streets here. I wandered down to the open air markets by the docks and had lunch with a woman from Melbourne who had just arrived today and a Finnish woman from the country. We ate Finn style – little fried fish with a creamy garlic sauce and I had grilled salmon from Lapland with hot potatoes and veggies and more garlicky sauce. So so delicious. It was lovely having a conversation with other solo travellers. Next I found the knitting wool store. I follow the owner on Instagram and she has a small farm where she keeps sheep and spins and dyes the wool gently using plants and mosses for some of her colours. I bought a mittens kit and they provide the instructions in a number of languages including English. I visited the Ateneum – the Art gallery of Finland to see the Tove Jansson exhibition. She was an amazing artist and writer and was the creator of the Moomin books. They have been translated into many languages and every Fin has a favourite Moomin character. The exhibition included her childhood drawings and letters, film of her dancing at the beach, photos from her family album, self portraits, anti war pictures she did for Garm – a Swedish magazine – landscapes, still life and of course her wonderful Moomins. I have fallen in love with this artist and plan to read more about her life work when I get home. Now I am back at the flat with the view and sorting my photos and gathering my mementos. One more morning here and then off to my next adventure in Iceland. Continue reading

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