Remembering Helsinki: Part 1

First Things First!

Remembering Helsinki: Part 1
Source image via Drew Coffman @

A short disclaimer: as I’m planning this series of posts to be long and sustainable, I will not write long texts and bury you under them, preferring to end my posts at the most (traditionally) interesting spot.

Remembering Helsinki: Part 1

When I was young, I mean, much younger than today, I used to think that North is just a, well… North. It’s a part of the world. It’s cold there, various polar bears lurking here and there and aurora borealis occurs sometimes, and mountains, and icy seas, and the Vikings, and stuff, you name it. For me North was something like South today: I wasn’t interested in it. As time went by, I began to experience the intense feeling of interest in the North type of living, in people and their way of thinking, in their culture and languages. How’s it happened that our closest neighbours are living happily in Norway and Finland while we are not that content with our feelings and emotions? Maybe it’s not about surroundings, but the particular things in their heads?

Lacking the skills of mind-reading, I decided for myself to go to the mysterious North and see everything with my own eyes. Looking ahead as the story goes on, it would be honest to write that this particular thought has entirely changed my life and mind by planting seeds of Northern love into my soul which I still trying to grow and cultivate.

I was lucky enough to be born in the town which is close to Finland border: something about four hours by bus. So I decided to start my adventure by visiting Finland. I chose Helsinki, the capital of Finland as my starting goal. Why? I still don’t know exactly. Maybe because it’s far from the border, there is a seaport exists and massive ships. And nature is different from what I used to see from my window day by day.

Also, it is impossible to make a one day trip to Helsinki as the capital is far away, and you spent six hours just riding to it. And then you need time to walk here and there, do some urban exploration and then ride back home. I have a simple rule: “it is not counting as an adventure if you haven’t stayed for the night in a foreign place.”

Things I’m writing about took place 4,5 years ago. It was my first trip to Helsinki. I’m visiting Helsinki often since then. I’ve fallen in love with this beautiful city.

I still remember that cold November morning at the gas station. We just crossed the border and had spare time to do our morning duties. It was cold and foggy. Winter, still quite far away from Russia, slowly covered Finland with the touch of whiteness.