Of all the places in the Baltic we went this summer, I have to say that Finland is where I felt most at home. I like to think about whether or not I could live in places that I visit, and I could for sure live in Finland. It is so clean, probably the cleanest of all the Baltic capitals we saw, and the people are so nice! They also love nature and there are more saunas than cars in Finland. Every family has one, it is the cool thing to do there.
The first stop was to the Sibelius Monument. Jean Sibelius is the most famous Finnish composer and the key figure in the entire European music who enjoyed tremendous popularity during his lifetime. Jean Sibelius was the author of unofficial anthem of Finland, which was forbidden during the reign of Nicholas II. The funny thing about this monument is that the Finns hate it. They don’t like it at all, they are not fond of abstract and modernism art which is likely totally why it is tucked away in a place that you have to walk up a hill to. I actually thought it was pretty cool.
The next stop was Seurasaari Open-Air Museum which is an island in Finland that is a national park. It was founded in 1909 consists of Finnish peasant architecture, including buildings brought from various parts of the country. There are outhouses, swings, church boats, a tar-burning pit and the wooden Karuna church (1686). The founder of the museum, Professor of ethnology Axel Olai Heikel, is buried next to this church. The church is four photos down.
We stopped at the Rock Church or Temppeliaukio Kirkko. So cool! The interior was excavated and built directly out of solid rock and is bathed in natural light which enters through this huge dome. The church is used frequently as a concert venue because it has awesome acoustics. The acoustic quality is created by the rough, virtually unworked rock surfaces. How cool is that?
These roads below were used frequently in World War II, now they use them for biking and jogging. 🙂
Last stop was the capital building and square. It was really pretty. And if you climbed the steps you got some gorgeous views.
The other awesome thing I learned about Finalnd – free college education for anyone who wants to go. Totally sending my kids there if I ever have them. 🙂