I wouldn’t consider myself the most spontaneous person in the world, but with life changing so much lately I’ve become decently good at ‘going with the flow’ and saying yes to more things. So when I was asked a couple months ago to be a part of a Chicago blogger trip to Finland (www.visitFinland.com) to explore the country and promote the re-launch of the direct flight from O’hare to Finland – I was SO EXCITED! Each blogger/creative on the trip had their own unique blogging genre – which made the group diverse and interesting. Between the 5 of us, we covered everything from food to style to photography to travel [you can see their feeds here: Kessara / Dan / Kit / John]. Our grouped clicked extremely well and I can confidently say I made 4 very good new friends and had the experience of a lifetime.
Here’s a recap of what we did, saw, and ate during our time in Helsinki!
Finnair launched in May and it is a seasonal flight and about 8 hours long. We had the to experience Finnair’s business class which included lay-down seats(!!), a delicious menu, and champagne for all! I’ve never traveled like that before so it was so awesome to get that experience, I felt so spoiled – we were literally served breakfast ‘in bed’..
Our Hotel in Helsinki, Finland was pretty unusual. It was a renovated prison from the 1800’s – so I may or may not have been joined by ghosts while I slept at night – not sure. The history of the hotel and the breakfast gave us a great authentic experience for the week. We were right along the Baltic Sea and close to the heart of Helsinki.
My striped Henri Bendel tote was the perfect bag for traveling:
A few random facts about Finland…
-During the trip the sun didn’t set until about midnight and it started to come up around 3 AM! (Hence the nickname: land of the midnight sun – the sun doesn’t drop below the horizon at all in June + July!)
-The Finnish people are pretty shy and very humble. Awkward silences are not awkward for them, at all.
-There’s no such thing as the death sentence – murderers go to prison for 12 years (6 for good behavior).
-SO many blonde people. Tall, blonde people.
-Saunas are very popular there – majority of Finnish people have a sauna in their home (there are 2.2 mil in Finland).
-Coffee in Finland is incredible (and strong!) – I was never disappointed the entire week! Finns are the world’s biggest coffee drinkers, drinking 12 kg of the black substance annually, twice more than the Italians, and three times more than the Americans.
– There are exactly 187,888 lakes and 179,584 islands within the territory of Finland. Both are world records.
The food situation in Helsinki was incredible and by far the best I’ve ever experienced. Every day we were taken to some of the best restaurants with the finest dining and greatest atmosphere. I was blown away with the 4 course meals – but floored when we experienced 6 courses(!!). I went way out of my comfort zone in the food department last week – reindeer heart, sliced beef tongue, beef tartare, lamb….
Touring Helskini was awesome – the city was quaint and clean. There was a huge Lutheran church located in the center of market square – that was surrounded by restaurants, cute coffee shops, a sea-side market, a beautiful park, and lots of unique shops and restaurants.
Outfit for Day 1:
The weather was in the 50’s and 60’s so pants, sweaters, and layering was the way to go! We walked several miles every day, so these Tory Burch flats were a great purchase for the trip!
The Chapel of Silence is a chapel located in the middle of the town’s square and is intended to be a place where people can have a moment of silence and prayer in the midst of the busiest area in Finland. The chapel welcomes people of all religions – and how cool is the architecture?!
We took a 20 minute ferry ride to the archipelago off the coast of Helsinki. The island is a peaceful destination that was formerly used by the Finnish Defense Forces. The island now offers visitors the chance to enjoy its beautiful scenery and preserved historic fortifications.
We spent one morning touring the Marimekko Fabric Factory – all my Target lovers out there may be familiar with Marimekko’s popular prints sold at Target. The company’s headquarters are based in Finland! The company is known for their bold & bright prints which are supposed to brighten up the lives of the people living in cold, cold Finland!
The next two days were spent just a train ride away in a Finland’s oldest city, Turku! More pictures coming soon..
Things I Packed: