|inside the city Helsinki|
Traveling in Scandinavia has educated me a great deal about the history of Nordic countries. How they were formed and reformed through the centuries of changes. Royal monarchies seem to play major roles ruling the countries till the parliaments were formed, but their fairy tale stories continue. Finland is the only republic established in 1955 and it is the only Nordic country joined EU and uses euro for the trade. It is more convenient to shop here since no effort is needed to identify three different Krones used in Norway, Denmark and Sweden. We had to put money in separate envelops and even so, we often messed up with exchange rate and handed out wrong money.
Typical Russian Lutheran church is like gold and this one is like jade. I have seen enough glitzy glamour along the way and towards the end of the trip, this church is like fresh spring which delivers soothing and refreshing soul water. I so enjoyed the peace in a sacred ground without the bondage of chocking wood carvings and paintings.
Looking down from the church, there is Senator’s Square. Crowd starts from church front all the way down to the street. I don’t know the name of the street, but I would call it Street of Excursions. There is a long line of tour buses. It was not even a weekend day. I bet local people also swarmed out to embrace the sun. If you only get 4-5 months of decent weather, you know what sun means to them.
Mostly contemporary architecture is shown around town among a few classic buildings. I think it has something to do with the late development of Helsinki to be the capital city. Locals are complaining that their brand new opera house does not have character because it is all straight lined and geometrically structured.
Inside the church, there is this magnificent classic pipe organ erecting on rock wall. The royal blue and purple pews and their diagonal placement add soft touch to it and make a supreme and sacred sanctuary for the believers. I would love to come to a church like this one every Sunday to worship His Majesty and adore this architectural excellence. No columns, no carvings, no ceiling paintings, I feel so free and up-lifting. What a relaxing place to enjoy a concert, too ! Finns claim that they have good designers and this church is a sound proof.
|Porvoo, old town|
Countryside Helsinki is very similar to small towns in Oregon. Lakes, rolling hills, barns and simple farmhouses. It is the same ever-lasting natural and peaceful environment in the country that inspire me to pick up my camera and go for it tirelessly.
The picture on the right was taken in old town, features the ordinary residential houses by the lake. The houses are not as colorful and picturesque as what we saw in Norway, but the reflection of the houses and white clouds is quite amazing.
At mini town square, there was the city hall and the booths with local artist’s art and craft displays. They have lots of fur, leather and porcelain. Porcelain designs are really one of the kind and all hand-made. I certainly appreciate the place like this selling real stuff, not tons of souvenirs made in China. It reminds me of the Saturday Market in Eugene.
I heard Finns say Hey as hello and later I found out Hey-Hey means good-bye. Simple and practical. I like it.
Sauna is popular here, Finns have a winter sport that they are really up to it. They would steam themselves in a sauna till they sweat up and jump into freezing cold lake to cool it off. Then, back to the heat and out for the chill. I guess they believe the extreme temperature changes on the body will strengthen the body somehow. Just like how silversmith wrought the iron, isn’t it? For this reason, they have boats called ice-breakers (see below). This boat has built-in attachments to break the ice and open the frozen water for the ‘extreme’ swimmers….
No drama to speak of, but it resembles where I am and the extended countryside. Beauty is in the nature and the subtlety. As I close up my writing, I am still thinking of fishing….
|pipe organ inside Lutheran church|
|Retro and colorful|
|Rustic (cast iron, wood stove)|
|restaurant (left) and gift shop (right)|