We slept from 7pm – 9am with several long periods of wakefulness, but man did it feel good to sleep!
Breakfast is included with our stay and it is a fantastic spread complete with porridge, omelet bar, scrambled & fried eggs, various breads and spreads, yogurt, cereals, salad, meats, cheeses, smoothies, juices, coffee and tea.
Fueled up, we headed back to the streets to explore. First stop, Oodi Public Library. It has interesting architecture, multiple floors, lots of public work spaces and great little nooks. It also has gaming rooms you can rent, musical instruments and studios you can reserve, sewing machines for use, 3D printers you can have something printed on, a children’s play area and two cafes.There are pieces of art on display on bookshelves – including some cool cowboy boots. There is a fantastic spiral staircase in the middle that I sent Lincoln on for a workout.
Next we walked past the train station which has a Big Benesque clock tower with lovely art deco style. We stopped off at Senate Square which is where the Christmas Markets live. The markets are cute little huts set up in rows with picnic tables and tall tables set up in the middle for eating and drinking. They even have little heated huts with benches. We sampled a few different pastries, donuts, savory hand pies and Glogi (mulled red wine) while browsing through the different wares for sale. The Helsinki Cathedral sits at the top of the hill, overlooking the markets.
We wound our way through the various streets until we made it back to the Esplanade for window shopping and people watching, before ducking back into the hotel for a rest before dinner.
After getting ready for dinner, we had a glass of wine in the lobby lounge before grabbing a taxi to dinner. The streets really do get quite slick at night, so it was easier than skating our way.
My brother and his two sons, Brahm and Henry, are flying to Helsinki today to meet us for the rest of the trip.
We’re all headed to Shelter for dinner. A farm to table dining experience with a pre-fix tasting menu of 3, 4 or 5 courses that can be paired with wine. Their website tagline is Loose Lips Sink Ships! We were seated by the open kitchen, so it was fun to watch them work. Bryan and I started with a Buckthorn Berry Aperol Spritz. Buckthorn is a tiny, orange berry that grows along the sea. It’s super high in vitamin C and very tart. The waitress brought us a few berries to taste, and I would describe it as a cross between a cranberry and a persimmon. The cocktail was well balanced, though, and yummy.
I opted for a lighter dinner selection of Artic Char to start, Roasted Pumpkin over a date risotto for my main and crème brûlée for dessert.
Bryan and Lincoln opted for the Shelter Menu – a 4 course tasting menu with Black Salsify (a root vegetable in the carrot family but more earthy than sweet), Soup with an emmer wheat croquet, Finish Beef Tartar with truffle mayo, pickled shiitake mushrooms and Parmesan as starters. Then Bryan chose the catch of the day – Sea Cod with cauliflower purée and Lincoln selected the Venison sirloin with celeriac purée, carrots and Dijon sauce for their mains. For dessert Bryan had the crème brûlée as well and Lincoln opted for the Malt cake with baked apple ice cream and white chocolate.
Henry and Kelly both selected the surprise menu of 4 courses where the chefs select what you will receive. They started with a different Beef Tartar followed by Steamed Golden Beets, radish and whipped goat cheese for starters. Then Braised Iberico Pork Cheek with potato cake, greens and mushroom butter for their main and finished with the Lemon Crème Brûlée as well. Henry shared some of his pictures with me! Unfortunately, sweet Brahm wasn’t feeling great after all of the traveling and he and Kelly ducked out early to grab some rest.
We cabbed it home and Henry skated the short distance to his hotel. Lincoln and I popped in the sauna for a bit, and I completely dozed off after he got out. Not sure how long I stayed in there, but couldn’t have been more than 20min. I did guzzle down four glasses of water after, so perhaps a bit longer?? Sleep eluded us for most of the night unfortunately, but we did grab a few hours here and there. Another day of slow-paced exploring tomorrow and Eve and Liz will join us!
Up Next…Helsinki Day 3