Helsinki – a place I call Home
“Where thou art, that is home.” ~ Emily Dickinson
Helsinki is quaint. Helsinki is full of character. It is quirky. It is beautiful. It is where I journeyed across oceans to be wedded 14 years ago. It is where our little family was born.
This city will always have a special significance and place in my heart. For all these reasons and more, Helsinki is home.
But if there is one thing I love best about Helsinki, it would be this. It’s the perfect city to get lost in. Especially for someone as hopeless with maps and rotten with directions as I am.
Because getting lost means meandering through cobbled streets leading to unexpected and delightful little nooks and crannies. Discovering a secluded park bathed in sunshine. It means soaking in the old world charm.
After all this time, there is still magic in getting lost in this city.
Come, let me show you some of my favourite little bits that make Helsinki a place I’m happy to call home.
Helsinki is a city of unexpected gems – usually in the most unexpected of places. Grotesque and leering gargoyles. Small, subtle carved works of art tucked away in a hidden corner. Massive granite and stone scupltures. It is a city that unfolds its charms to the discerning of eye, the unhurried observer.
For a modern and one of Europe’s fastest growing cities, Helsinki has kept a beautifully enduring elegance. The city centre is a showcase of Neoclassical architecture at its finest and is home to the largest concentration of Art Nouveau buildings in Northern Europe. (By the way, notice how chairs are lined up to face the sun? That’s how much we love the sun!)
If you love cafes, then you’ve come to the right place. Finns are the biggest coffee drinkers per capita in the world. Naturally, cafes are the lifeblood of this city.
For me, the one most endearing quality of Finns is their shyness.
Helsinki is classily understated with a touch of rustic charm. Old wooden cafes and ice-cream kiosks from a bygone era lovingly preserved. We often come here as a family at the weekends and stop for an ice-cream along the way.
Art finds expression in the Boulevard Park. There is nothing quite like finding refuge in a park on a peaceful, quiet afternoon.
Helsinki – JFK – Nagoya – Shanghai Pu Dong. This tree was decorated by the flight attendants of Finnair for the Helsinki World Design Capital 2012. I met this lovely flight attendant who was so kind as to let me take her picture. (I hope you had a great flight to JFK and I hope you like this photo! Happy travels.)
Well, that’s all for now from my little corner of the world. I hope you have enjoyed seeing where my feet have brought me this time. And as we say in Finland and your first introduction to the Finnish language…Tervetuloa! Welcome!
Loved it – thanks for taking me around with you. I do so admire societies which marry the old with the new, rather than jettisoning the old to make way for the new. And Helsinki proves that it is advantageous to persevere with the difficulties of a marriage. Great post 🙂
In Helsinki, the chopping down of one tree can cause a mini-revolution! 😀 Such is the deep respect for its environment and the preservation of its natural heritage. I deeply admire this aspect of a society too. From your own photos, I can see you have a deep appreciation for fine architecture. Thanks for the this great feedback! Always good to hear from you! Sharon
I’m not surprised they care for the preservation of the natural environment as well :).
Beautiful photos Sharon. It makes me want to visit again as so much has changed since I was there last some decades ago.
Oh it certainly has changed in the last 10 years since I was here. It’s a small city as capital cities go but today I can say it can hold its own title of a world class city. You must come visit again some time. It would be great to meet you! 😀 Sharon
So lovely! I envy how the city has kept its history alive… Thanks so much for the beautiful tour!
And thank you most kindly for taking time to see this city from my eyes! So great to hear from you! Sharon
Such a beautiful city. I can see why you love it. Terrific photos!
Dear Maureen, thank you. I am blessed to call this home. Sharon
Once again, my dear friend,your stunning photography leaves me speechless. You have captured the soul of urban color, warmth and humanity. A city as cities could be… Much much love to you!!
And as far as cities go, Helsinki is one of our favourite simply because it is small and manageable and is classily understated with a strong old world charm. It was a pleasure to share with you this face of Helsinki too. Thank you so much for your warm words which always leave me feeling happy to see you here dear friend. Oh hugs, Sharon
Thank you for an amazing photo tour! Helsinki looks beautiful!
Dear Cathy! Thank you so much for coming by and a warm welcome to you! Thank you for leaving me this great feedback and I look forward to getting to know you! Hugs, Sharon
Beautiful photos Shaz. Thank you for sharing your part of the world. hugs. Have a wonderful day. Renee 🙂
Dearest Renee, it is always a pleasure to see you here! Thank you so much for enjoying the photos. Thinking of you with warmth in my heart.. Hugs, Shaz
Sweet Shaz . YOU are so kind. You are most welcome. hugs, Renee 🙂 ♥
What a beautiful city! I love the colors and the architectural details that you have shown in these wonderful photos.
Dear Pat, I am always thrilled to hear from you and I am glad I could show a little of the beauty of Helsinki here. Thank you for your kind feedback! Sharon
Really love these photos. Just tweeted them on.
Oh Tom, that’s really so good of you! I very much appreciate your kind gesture. Always a pleasure to hear from you. Sharon
What exquisite photos and what a fabulous city! I really know nothing of Helsinki, (and very little of Finland, for that matter), but this is like one stunning tourist promotion for them both. I particularly love gargoyles, also one of the wonders of NYC where I lived for many years. All you had to do was look up – much like here. Sharon, thanks for so beautifully showcasing your home. I’m ready to pack my bags and come visit! Jeanne
Well then, just come! 😀 Helsinki is perhaps one of Europe’s best kept secret and I thought I should get the word out. Thank you so much for your great feedback Jeanne. I’m glad you enjoyed this. Hugs, Sharon
Your photos truly capture the elegance of the place. I love them. And I would love to live here especially that I am also a fan of cafes.
Oh I’m sure you’ll love the cafes here especially since it’s not your usual chain franchise. Each cafe is a unique nook some dating back for a 100 years. It’s kind of nice to know that we’re sipping coffee in the same spot others did a century ago or eating a dessert from a hundred year old recipe 😀 I’m sure you’ll enjoy checking out the cafe scene Down Under! Keep us posted on your discoveries! Sharon
What a beautiful view of the city you have captured!..I like Helsinki for short visits, I’m not sure if I could get used to living there 😀 but definitely you are very convincing as a city ambassador :-D.. hugs!
My dearest Rosa, there goes my dream of ever getting you to be my neighbour in Helsinki!! 😀 I shall try my best to lure you here – you better watch out!! hehehe. The Tourism Board should pay me for this fine service I’m doing!! Thanks for your comment and I shall reply you soon. Are you coming by Helsinki soon? We miss you all. Hugs xx Sharon
Thanks for sharing your city. Makes me want to visit. Welcome back!
My dear Barney, so very good to hear from you! I hope you had a good summer. I still remember those kids who sold you lemonade. Did they make a fortune from you?!! 😀 I came back one post earlier. Take care and I’ll be catching up soon. Sharon
Sharon, I adore the rich building colors! If you had to pick two things (aside from hubby and son) that you love most about living in Finland, what would those be?
My dear Diane, top on my list would be the clean pristine nature and safety. Even in the big city, nature is nearby and Finland has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. I value these very much and it’s a wonderful feeling to walk about in freedom and security. Thanks for the really good question! Sharon
Is English commonly spoken?
Thank you for an enchanting tour…and beautiful photos!
Oh I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed the tour Viv! It is nice to be able to call different parts of the world home. Thank you so much for leaving me this great note! Wishing you wonderful days in the desert. I have enjoyed your enchanting world. Sharon
Dear Sharon – The photos are beautiful, and make me want to go there! How fortunate you are to live in such a beautiful place. Thanks for sharing a bit of where you live. 🙂
My dear Carol, always a pleasure to see you here! Wanting to come here must surely be the greatest compliment! I hope you get a chance to come visit one day. Summer is the best. Sharon
Love it, beautiful pictures! I’ve been but only for a weekend, didn’t see all of this! Lots of love all the way from me
Dearest Anne, thank you and I am still thinking of your last post about following your heart and listening to your body. Always so good to hear from you! Hugs to you my dream maker. Sharon
You are so sweet! Glad to have met you, lots of dreamy clouds, Anne
Sharon, you are really lucky to call this beautiful city, Helsinki your home. Loved this place. The colors of the building, the stone work everything is making it look beautiful. I am sure this city must be full of joy and peace. Thanks a lot for sharing these beautiful pictures.
Dear Arindam, I would like to think of myself as a world citizen and to be able to truly call each place I find myself “home”. I do appreciate many things about Helsinki – the safety, the cleanliness and the absence of corruption. At the same time, I do miss a strong and vibrant community and family spirit so very alive and strong in your country. And so there is always present in each place a perfection and an imperfection. One material. One spiritual. I do so much believe there is work both in spiritually deprived nations as there is work in the materially deprived nations. Work of a different kind. I am happy we get to contribute towards our world wherever we are. Sharon
Thank you so much Chillbrook! It is a pleasure to hear from you! Thank you once again for nominating me for the photo contest. I tried to scramble and put together my photos in time for the deadline but in the end I gave it a miss this time. Maybe it was your photos that left me feeling inadequate with mine!!!! 😀 Lots to catch up. Sharon
Oh, Man! Now I want to visit! I had never really thought of Finland as a destination. When is the best season to be there?
Summer! Summer! Summer! 😀 It’s a really easy and comfortable destination. I lost track of your other blog. Could you please send me the link to follow? Thank you! Always good to hear from you. Sharon
Your photos are so lovely Sharon! I enjoyed seeing a little of Helsinki. It looks so pretty. Thanks for sharing! 😀
I’m glad you enjoyed the little photo tour Cathy! Sharon
Lovely! It looks wonderful!
Thank you Anette! Always good to hear from you! Sharon
I think so. Helsinki is very nice place and attractive especially for architects and designer.
Hello there! I hope you are enjoying your stay here in Helsinki so far. I thought you like to try some of my favourite cafes for lunch or tea one of these days. They are all along the Esplanaadi or close by.
Fazer Cafe (Kluuvikatu 3 00100 Helsinki)
Esplanade Cafe (Esplanadi 37 00100 Helsinki)
Strindberg Cafe (Esplanadi 33 00130 Helsinki)
Kamp Cafe (Esplanadi 29 00100 Helsinki)
See you Sunday! Sharon
Thanks the info. See you. 🙂
What a wonderful city!!
I’m glad you enjoyed the photos of Helsinki! Sharon
Just charming Sharon…I was under the impression that you lived far from the city…thanks for sharing all those colors and details…xomeryl
Thank you Meryl! Living in Finland does give that impression sometimes especially since I post a lot of nature photos! 😀 I live about 20 mins away from downtown right next to the sea and a forest reserve. But Helsinki is a rather small and manageable sized city and the best thing about it is that we are never truly far from the nature. Sharon
Okay I’m sold, Sharon. Your beautiful homeland is definintely going on my bucket list. The colors are so vivid and the artchitecture appears understated but incredibly inviting. Thank you so much for sharing! Beautiful photographs!
Hi Becky! Wow, I’m honoured to know I somehow wiggled Helsinki into your bucket list! 😀 That’s great. I do hope you get to visit this part of the world one day. Lots of American tourists come here in the summer and they do a cruise of Scandinavia – Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark. I believe the Nordic countries are unique from the rest of Europe and it’s especially clean with pristine nature. Yes, you described Helsinki accurately – understated. It’s never loud or garish or bold. Quiet statement. Simple beauty. Thank you for writing, it’s always lovely to hear from you! Sharon
Sharon, Another beautiful post! I have been to Helsinki twice and acquired great memories, but never saw the city as you have through your lens. There is so much I am learning from you… your gentle and exquisite presentation style. Fae.
Well then Fae, you must come for your third visit to Helsinki! It would be lovely to take you round to my favourite spots. 😀 Thank you so much for your kind words. They warm my heart…Hugs, Sharon
Sharon, One of the WordPress bloggers whom I follow just came back from The Baltics. Here is his video of Helsinki.
Shaz–I don’t know how to put it into words, but I feel a beautiful energetic shift…a calming…whenever I read your blog and look at your photography. Many, many blessings to you dear one! I hope to visit your magical city one day…in the meantime am daydreaming of Helsinki! Love-Julie
My dear Julie, it is always such a pleasure to hear from you and you clearly are very in tuned even to the subtle nuances in words and images portrayed. I am glad you feel the calm and peace of this post. Thank you for the beautiful blessings which I cherish. I hope you get to visit Helsinki one day. I think you will enjoy the simple quiet life here. Hugs, Sharon
When can I come :)? Loved, loved, loved the photos and your words. Amazing.
Just come 😀 I’m glad you liked this little city. It ain’t Rome but it’s a gem nonetheless. Do a cruise to Scandinavia next hols! Sharon
Love the buildings and all your beautiful photos!
Hi Lee! Thank you! Hope all is good and thinking of you! Sharon
I just loved this introduction to a beautiful city, that I’ve never had the pleasure of visiting. Your descriptions give the reader a sense of sharing in the wonders of the place, and your photos are wonderful. This post was a real pleasure.
My dear Shimon, please take this as a personal welcome to Helsinki. It would be a wonderful pleasure and honour for me to take you round and show you this little gem of a city. I am glad you liked this and as always, so very good to hear from you. Yuen
I’m sure that I would enjoy a visit very much, and it would be a great pleasure to have you show me the city… but I think my traveling days are over now. I do a little traveling in my own country… but that is enough for me.
A very beautiful city! Thanks for sharing the way your eyes see the world!
Dear Mark, it is indeed a wonderful thing to be able to call different parts of the world my home. And I am learning that home can be in war torn Afghanistan and home can be in modern Finland. Home is where I am and how I may serve. Always a pleasure to hear from you. Thank you. Sharon
This looks like a place I would like to visit full of charming nooks and crannies to explore. I love the gargoyles and statues. Thank you for this delightful post. 🙂
I’m happy to hear you like nooks and crannies to explore too! 😀 So lovely to hear from you and I must commend you for some beautiful photos you’ve been putting up. Charming in every way. Sharon
I didn’t know Helsinki looked like that, I have only seen pictures with big, massive and not so welcomming houses. Your post is great with all those lovely photos. Now I dream about going to Helsinki, were I have never been.
Welcome Neighbour! I hope you will be pleasantly surprised when you come. Let me know when and I’ll take you for a walk around town 😀 Sharon
Great set of photos praising Helsinki.
Hello Matti! Thank you so much for visiting. Do you live in Helsinki? Always good to hear from you! Wishing you a nice autumn. Sharon
To be honest dear Sharon, I haven’t known so much about this city and I have been learning now with your beautiful post and photographs. These are amazing and I really wish one day to visit there… Thank you and also Thank you for the music I am listening now. Have a nice day, love, nia
My dear Nia! So lovely to hear from you! I am glad you enjoyed this post and I hope one day you will be able to visit Helsinki. I will be happy to take you round and show you my favourite places! I’m happy we share the same enjoyment for the Piano Guys 😀 They are great. Btw, I just saw on the news the blast in Istanbul. I hope you and your loved ones are fine. It is my dream to also visit your country especially historical Istanbul. With many hugs to you, Sharon
It does sound wonderful. And your pictures are beautiful!
Thank you so much! It’s great to be able to call different parts of the world home. I wish you and your family a wonderful day. Your post about your daughter touched me deeply and homes should be as yours. With hugs, Sharon
Awh, thank you. And I’m glad. Fondly, Betsy
Thank you for a personal tour of Helsinki. The pictures are beautiful and I enjoyed the story of your city.
My dear Brenda, always a joy to see you here! Thank you for your kind words. I am glad to share a bit of my city. It is amazing to know that where we find ourselves we can always find home. Wishing you beautiful days. Sharon
Wonderful post! Now I want to visit your fair city. 😉
Thank you so much and I’m sure you will Ruth!! Have a wonderful holiday and see you when you come back! Sharon
Those are lovely images, Sharon! Is it very cold up there in Helsinki?
Hello my dear Subhan! Well, it can get pretty cold in winter (up to -20 C) but I must say Finland has some of the best heated homes in the world so it’s actually rather comfortable indoors. Summer is short but spectacular. Are you planning a visit! 😀 I would recommend summer. I am constantly in awe at the work you put up. Always a pleasure to have you here and I wish you success and blessings in all your endeavours. Sharon
Sounds like you really enjoy living there Sharon. Happy weekend.
My dear Aditix, thank you for your message. I like to think that where I am in the world is where I am supposed to be and to bloom where I am planted! As a European living in Scandinavia, I am sure you appreciate the great strides we have made in areas of material civilisation, education and basic human rights. However, it is at the same apparent that this external progress is not matched by the spiritual, social and family progress which are oftentimes lagging behind. So, I think as in different parts of the world, needs of a different kind exists even in the most outwardly progressive of nations. What do you think? Sorry for a long reply to your short and sweet comment! 😀 Always good to hear from you! Sharon
Always good to hear from you too Sharon, I enjoy visiting your inspiring blog. You are right about blooming where planted. And I am sure you make Helsinki and the rest of Finland all the more beautiful with your presence. Hugs from Aditix.
Spectacular! Just added Helsinki to my bucket list!
Hello Lisa and a warm welcome here! Thank you for visiting and leaving me this note. Well, I must say I am most happy to meet you and your wonderful zany sense of humour. So Erma Bombeck meets Wisteria Lane 😀 Well, I’m a huge fan of Erma and I am a Desperate Housewife of a different sort so I think what you say would be right up my alley. I look forward to getting to know you. Sharon
Likewise! Thanks for taking the time to write such a lovely reply!
How wonderful! The photos are great! You are very fortunate to be there! Thanks for sharing!
Hi Carolina, I believe I am fortunate in one sense of having to experience material civilisation. Perfection would mean an equally high standard of spiritual civilisation. And I think that is the balance we try to create wherever we are in the world we happen to make our home in. Always a joy to hear from you Carolina. With love, Sharon
Great thoughts Sharon… I have been thinking lately about the idea of home too and I wonder often about what makes/means “home” for/to all of us? any ideas?
“My home is the home of peace. My home is the My home of joy and delight. My home is the home of laughter and exultation. Whosoever enters through the portals of this home, must go out with gladsome heart. This is the home of light; whosover enters here must become illumined.” – Abdul Baha.
For me that sums up my home and how I try to build it. But on a greater level, our home is anywhere we find ourselves. We try to transform it and contribute towards its betterment – materially, socially, spiritually. I would love to hear your thoughts too Carolina!!! Hugs, Sharon
Those are pretty incredible words, Sharon! I am thinking about the meaning of “home”. For now I have no answers… just lots of questions… If and when I get more clarity I will be totally happy to share it with you. Hugs. Carolina
I don’t think alot of people really appreciate what is very close, what is real ‘home’. Your home city does look like an endlessly fascinating place. Thankyou for sharing some of it’s gems.
Always so good to hear from you Finn. I am learning that where we are is home if we make it to be. It always looks greener on the other side when actually all we ever need we already have. Thank you for coming by and I’m happy you enjoyed this little photo tour of my city. Sharon
Thank you for sharing these images of your hometown. I find the architecture fascinating, and I love little cafes! A delightful post!
I am glad you were charmed by this little city. It’s quite a little gem of a city and I too appreciate the architecture and especially the little cafes! Thanks so much for coming by Fergiemoto. Sharon
The absolute best blogs, to my view, are those showing me other parts of the world. I love that. I really enjoyed your Helsinki pics. Better than any book – very now, vibrant, alive.
My dear Noeleen, I can’t thank you enough for coming by this way and leaving me this really great comment! I have wanted to make time to check out your blog properly because I think it is extra special. I look forward to getting to know you and Daniel. With much love and deep admiration, Sharon
How beautiful, Sharon! I have always heard of the beauty of Scandinavia, esp. expressed in subtle manners. And despite the cold climate it appears everyone up there is so happy and content. I don’t know anyone Finnish, but I have many a Danish friends who often make me jealous with their daily adventures.
I have always wondered, though, what is it like to be a minority in a country that is so homogeneous? I have lived in towns in the States where the population is very homogeneous, but I think the larger heterogeneity of the country help. Then again, race relations in the States is ever so different than anywhere else in the world. I’d love to hear your experience and insight.
Thank you for sharing a beloved city with us. I can see why you love it so.
Wonderful photos that show Helsinki in a human way that captures the imagination and captivates curiosity. Thank you for the tour of your home.
I have nominated you for the “One Lovely Blog Award”. Congratulations!
many hugs, from Romania
Hi, dear Sharon,
Helsinki is such a beautiful place, a wonderful destination! Thank you so much for sharing the pictures! 🙂
It is a great post!
Hugs from Romania
What a beautiful place! Its a MUST for one of our vacations! Thanks for these beautiful photos Sharon. Yaz
What a truly stunning part of the world you live in Sharon, you’ve convinced me to add Helsinki to my list of ‘must-see’ destinations! 🙂
Beautiful town! A lot of history!
Stunning! Now I have another place I want to travel!!
What a great post and view of Helsinki. Though I’ve never been to Finland, I was born in Thunder Bay, Ontario in Canada. It’s known for having the largest population of Finnish people outside of Finland.
Your images are surely inspiring…there is such a beauty and special old and new charm, that attracts me. In your images there is such a soothing peace, one day will have to visit!
Beautiful post! thanks for sharing!
I thought that i was following you, but i quess when i had computer programs a few months ago i lost more than i realize, for i lost the beauty of your mind and hearts beautiful words and wisdom…i cannot lose that treasure!
Hi Sharon, so nice to have you stop by for a visit. Helsinki looks like a wonderful place to go crazy with a camera. Lol! So colorful! It is a pleasure to meet you and I look forward to keeping up with your lovely blog.. Thank you! Roberta
Hi Sharon, Thank you so much for your very kind words when you stopped by my blog and visited and subscribed. WOW, looking at these photos, I’m ready to jump on an airplane to Helsinki ! Beautifully done and I’m excited about us sharing our worlds with each other. Have a wonderful day ! Bella
Sharon, what a gorgeous place you call home! Though I’ve made it to the other Scandinavian capital cities, I regret that I haven’t yet paid homage to Helsinki. Your vibrant photographs and charming prose will certainly encourage me to do so – hopefully in the coming months!
Wow ! I really want to visit Helsinki after having seen these pictures ! Wonderful !
beautiful city …and great pictures…
these photos are beautiful…& your words make them even more so…
It is truly a beautiful place… 😉
Elizabeth!!!!!! So very good to hear from you and thank you for coming over and leaving me a wonderful trail of likes! 😀 I really appreciate it! It’s been a while and I need to catch up with you too. Hope all is good and so many hugs to you! Sharon
Truly enjoyed this visual tour of your lovely home, Sharon. Never been up there yet but I hope one day soon. 😉
Beautiful pictures! Are you still in Helsinki? I live there too! 🙂 You managed to somehow elevate those (to me) everyday scenes to a new level, it all looks so good in your photos!
Why hello, hello my fellow Helsinkiläinen!! What a wonderful surprise! When I read your bio and you mentioned Northern Europe, little did I imagine we’d be in the same city 😀 So good of you to drop by. Yes, I’m still in Helsinki. I would love to visit Latin America one day. Keep in touch and have a lovely day despite the gray skies! Hyvää Vappu 😀
Hyvää vappua to you too! Chilly weather but hoping for the best! Cool to meet you 🙂 I was intentionally kind of vague in my bio, because I’m new to blogging and wasn’t ready to “reveal all” quite yet! Though I might update my bio someday, since all my experiences so far here on WordPress have been really positive! I’m looking forward to diving into your blog when I have a bit more time – I really loved your tangerine wisdoms -piece! See ya later! 🙂
Beautiful streetphotography. Maybe in the future a nice place for a visit.
Thank you so much for visiting. It makes me happy that you enjoy the photography as much as I have enjoyed taking them. And a warm welcome to Helsinki one day soon! Sharon