I wanted that authentic Nordic winter experience, and boy did I get what I asked for during a weekend in Helsinki. This is part seven of an eight part trip report from my recent travels to Estonia and Finland. This report covers multiple walking on ice experiences and Helsinki’s natural winter wonderland.
- KLM Business Class B747-400 JFK – Amsterdam (AMS)
- KLM Crown Lounge AMS & Estonian Air Business CRJ900 Amsterdam (AMS) – Tallinn (TLL)
- Swissotel Tallinn
- Tour of Tallinn
- Crossing the Frozen Baltic Sea – Ferry from Tallinn – Helsinki / Helsinki – Tallinn
- Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Helsinki
- Walking on Ice – Helsinki – Tour of the Winter Wonderland
- Tallinn (TLL) – Las Vegas (LAS) – Estonian Air / KLM / Delta
The Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel had a fantastic location which pretty much allowed me to walk all over the city without having to use any transportation. First up, one of the main ports which I had only seen in complete darkness the night before. The water was completely iced over and had fresh snow on top of the ice, adjacent were several boats docked for winter:
A stop for a fresh salmon lunch @ €12 EUR inclusive of salad and a drink. The salmon was fantastic and who doesn’t love meeting new friends while eating outside in the dead of winter…
More winter scenes on the way over to Sibelius Park…
Arrival at Sibelius Park on the western coastline of the city, rocking chair on skis anyone?
I continued into a more residential area of town and came to another harbor, this one had absolutely no visible moving water.
Even with the weather, tons of locals were still out for their daily jogs!
My first walking on ice experience. There were no other tourists and the only locals were several yards out ice fishing. I ducked underneath a rope that restricted entry onto the water and made my way towards the ice. With no experience, I sort of just hoped for the best. Unfortunately, the locals had entered on the other side harbor. Some sections were extremely solid, while others gave way a few inches (pretty scary as your boot sinks down a bit)! I decided that the best route was following some of the older visible footsteps. I set a goal of making it to the center where the seasoned ice fishers had set up camp.
In fact, I walked all the way from the tree you see below to the bridge in this picture! Quite proud of my accomplishment, I was ready to get back to the pavement…a very wet experience for your feet as you climb over the gigantic snow dunes that block access to the water.
As I continued walking and entered another park, I decided it was time for some more exhilarating ice walking. The dogs seem to be perfectly comfortable with it so why not me…
Locals ice swimming near the Sibelius Monument on the city’s western coastline
Regatta Cafe in Sibelius Park, they surely don’t let the weather dampen their al fresco dining and drinking…