After our long layover in Dallas, we met up with my mom before the long haul to Helsinki. She’ll be joining us in Finland before heading to London to visit friends.
We flew Finnair and the flight attendants were so very kind—especially after spilling blueberry juice all over me and my headset not working. A wet rag, many apologies and a new headset fixed all. Otherwise, it was a fairly uneventful and relatively quick 10hr flight. In-flight entertainment included Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris. It was so lovely, uplifting and captures all that is good in people. A sincerely delightful way to cross the ocean – especially when accompanied by red wine from Portugal and Finish chocolates from Frazer’s.
As we neared landing and lifted the shades, a brilliant stream of sunlight filled the cabin. I started to question my decision to leave my sunglasses at home, and then we began our decent through a thick, seemingly endless layer of clouds to snow-covered ground. Helsinki Airport was a breeze and the taxi to our hotel was fast. We were fortunate to arrive with one room ready for check in where we could easily stow our bags before walking around.
We wandered down the icy, slushy streets, through parks, a cemetery, and down the main Esplanade until we reached Kappeli’s, where we stopped for perfectly poached salmon and potato soup, coffee and Lincoln got a danish. It’s a popular spot for a meet up over a warm drink to escape the cold with piped Christmas music and soft conversations.
We continued down to the harbor and strolled through a mini Christmas market and saw the Allas Sea Pool and Sauna – a heated outdoor swimming pool, sauna cabins and a plunging pool into the Baltic Sea. By 3pm the gray sky had shifted to midnight blue and the whipping wind off the harbor blew us back up the street to the comforts of our hotel.
The Lapland Hotel Bulevardi is inviting, cozy and quaint. We have two different rooms – a twin room for my mom and Lincoln and a Double Room for us. Our room has a giant soaker tub, separate shower and a wooden sauna. The sauna is awesome, but didn’t do much for my already drooping eyes.
We moved up our dinner reservation to 5:30p and fortunately I had the foresight to book at the hotel restaurant – Kulta. Dinner was delicious! I ordered a salad with shrimp; Bryan had sautéed reindeer over mashed potatoes with lingonberries; Lincoln had the reindeer burger; and Mom got the catch of the day – ocean trout. Lincoln had a mocktail made with juniper berry juice and a few other juices and mom had a cranberry and lavender cocktail – both were really tasty. Unfortunately, I didn’t capture any pictures of it! Sorry.
We made it to 30hrs of wakefulness before falling into our beds. Day 1 is in the books. See you tomorrow!