Breakfast photos with ridiculous presentation is a must in our family. So booya! The breakfast to end all breakfast photos! Such yummy. Much wow. That cheese. The berries duo. *clutches heart* I miss you.
While munching on breakfast, I noticed that it was really cloudy outside so we checked the weather report on tv. Soo….cloudy in the morning and rain by mid afternoon. Okay…Even with the gloom and doom that the weather is giving us, we said ‘Screw it!’ and decided that this day would be the day that we explore Greater Helsinki come rain or shine.
Next thing we know, we packed our things for the day and started out the door….And then bam! Cold and windy air smacked me in the face..AT FULL FORCE. The Finnish weather does not like me…either that or I brought the South East Asian rain to the North. Sunshine, I miss you already…
On our way to Temppeliaukio Church, which is about 15 minutes walk away from Kamppi (not that far), we decided to stop by a souvenir shop. Now, just so you know, there are several souvenir shops if you’re walking from the Kamppi Shopping Centre to the church. However, if you’re on a ridiculous budget and looking for dirt cheap magnets for souvenirs, then I would definitely suggest this particular shop called Tonttu Souvenirs. Cheap stuff. Much good. Bought 10 really good fridge magnets for 10 euros each. Which is cheap considering that magnets go for about 3 to 4 euros on average based on our survey of souvenir shopping.
But if you have the Helsinki Card, then there’s another store that you could get discounts at. Just look for the shop called ‘Anne’s Souvenir shop’. We didn’t buy anything else in this shop because, in comparison to Tonttu’s, we were on a budget and couldn’t offer to spend on souvenirs too much at that point. It was Day 3 after all. And we had about another 10 days to go! Hehe.
Temppeliaukio Church – The Rock Church
Lo and behold! Temppeliaukio church, better known as the Rock Church. Why is it called The Rock Church? We’ll let Wikipedia answer that for you here. HAHAHA because that way you get to learn much more about the place than I could possibly explain. Woohoo! Knowledge!
Unfortunately for us, we had to pay 3 Euros each for the entrance fee as the church does not accept the Helsinki Card during peak seasons which is from June to August each year. Oh well, what can you do? Lucky for us, there weren’t as many people in the line than usual. Only because most tourists came on tours so their tour leaders would have paid their entrance fees beforehand.
That architecture, me loves! How the heck did they do it? My tiny mind was in awe.
Look at the UFO looking ceiling. I’m feeling the ‘close encounters of the third kind’ kind of vibe going on this church. #beammeup #aliensareamongus #illuminaticonfirmed
If you’re looking to get a great shot of yourself and most of the church, I would recommend that you take one from up top. There are fewer people up here most of the time and you’d get a great view of everything.
Don’t mind this shot. My aunt took it mid blink (i think). Either that or my eyes are ridiculously small. Even I can’t tell anymore. HAHAHAHAH ahhh…gotta love the Asian genes. Embrace the single eyelids! Anywho, give yourself around 30 to 45 minutes just sitting in the church and enjoy the amazing feat of architecture. It’s not every day you get to sit in a church inside a huge rock.
Important note! If you’re coming over during the summer time, around July, do check whether there are any activities at the church. While we were in Helsinki, the Rock church and several other churches in Helsinki have activities in the evenings. It’s usually free from what I can recall and they almost always feature classical music being played in the church. So do check that one out whenever you can. We missed out during this trip since we were really tired by the time we got back each day. That and the fact that we were jet lagged the whole trip. I’d be asleep by 8pm Helsinki time since it would have been 1am back home.
Random sightings to the Sibelius Monument
As soon as we were done with exploring the Rock Church, we decided to head over to the famed Sibelius monument, also located in the Töölö neighbourhood. We opted to once again walk over to the monument from the Rock Church. It’s a pretty amazing neighbourhood to walk through. There are several shops to browse through and even places to just sit and relax with families, i.e parks for children and all that jazz. I highly suggest that if you’re looking to explore Helsinki with family, this area of Helsinki would be those ‘off the beaten path’ type of thing. Well, at least it was for us.
We took loads of pictures on the way to the monument. The weather was so gloomy so some pictures didn’t come out as nice as I would like to but hey! I still love ’em. Hehehe Here are a few that we took which includes another butt shot and a half.
Boat loads of boats. Wonder who owns them…
Then this happened. I think I found the hiding spot of the fairies under all these. Or it could be an entrance to Moomin land. Or even the white mushrooms waiting to ambush the dark mushrooms in a battle of Fungi land. Who knows? But I’m leaning on the last possibility of wars in Fungi land. Could be made into a book….
We also stumbled upon these flowers in the Töölö neighbourhood while walking towards the Sibelius monument. I swear that nature in Northern Europe is on a whole other level. The contrast between the sky, sea. the greens, and flowers all seem to stand out and compliment each other. It’s just THAT amazing. I feel a deeply philosophical though coming but I’m gonna keep that to myself at this point. hahaha
The Sibelius Monument
We finally made it to the Sibelius Monument! Yaaassss!! All done by noon too! Woohoo!! *pats self on the back* Visiting this monument is a must if you’re in Helsinki or if you’re a classical music aficionado. It’s like the holy grail. Well…maybe not like the holy grail. But it is a pretty cool place.
There were already loads of people at the monument (as expected). We even saw the same group of tourists from the Rock church half an hour earlier. So…what did we do? Snap Snap away!
PROCEED WITH THE TOURISTY PHOTOS!
Here’s a two in one shot of me and my aunt! Proof that we’ve been there.
Of handmade earrings and freshly pressed juices
One we took the photos and just gazed at how in the world the Finns made both monuments, we walked around the area a bit. We went into this small house that was located not far off from the monument. It said ‘Monument’ so we were thinking that it was most probably an information centre or something like that. But it wasn’t. HAH!
Apparently it’s a small shop that sells souvenirs of the monuments and other Sibelius related merchandise like CDs and such. If you have a little bit of cash to spend, this would be a great place to get some souvenirs for yourself. Plus I got these babies!
They’re the most beautiful pair of handmade earrings that I’ve gotten for myself. Sure it’s slightly around 45 euros but they were worth it. And I deserve to spend on myself every once in awhile. *internally cries* I’d recommend this shop if you’re all for handmade stuff like earrings, cufflinks, and bracelets with the Sibelius theme going on. The lady in the store even showed us how she makes them in the store! Sweet as!! It blew my mind at how intricate and how dedicated she was in making them. Kudos to you, lady!
With all the walking we’ve been doing in the morning, and the fact that it was slightly after noon, we were thirsty as heck. I finished my water that I brought along as we were walking over to the monument so drinking tap water would take a while. So we decided to get some freshly pressed juice since…well…why not? Best to try the fruit juices here as we wondered whether they tasted different. Boy, were we surprised!
The best pressed juice i’ve ever had in my life!! So fresh and yummy!! Imagine the heavens opening at the first sip. That was practically me. I kid you not. I heard hallelujah. But then again, I have the same reaction every time I eat something yummy. Heheheheheh.
We enjoyed our juices while randomly sitting at the benches near the monument but had to get going as the sky looked like it could rain at any given time. So we finished up the juices, said our thanks and goodbye to the lady at the juice cart and made our way back to the city centre.
So…where else would be going after this stop? Well now..stayed tune for the next update which is, give or take the next 2 days seeing as I’m recovering from a terrible stomach flu. Hihihi.
<to be continued>
Sneak peak of Part 4.2 of the Nordic Trip Series!