Heyo~ If you didn’t read my post about my day in Tallinn, Estonia you can read it here. But also if you wanna know why I went to Finland in the first place you can start reading here!
We saved exploring Helsinki for a later date because we knew that we would be almost too tired to travel to any other countries towards the end of our trip. We basically pushed through the first half of our trip and hoped that we would wake up early enough on this day to see everything that we wanted to in Helsinki.
We woke up around 6am and headed straight to the Moomin Cafe that we passed by on the train to the ferry terminal the previous day. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve always wanted a huge collection of Moomin mugs so this was definitely a priority on this trip for me lol There weren’t many vegan items that I could choose from, but my friend tried this traditional Finnish pastry (?) that was made of rice and bread. The cafe felt kind of like a daycare which was bomb because everything was super cute!
Afterwards we took the bus to Ville Valo’s dad’s shop aka Aikuisten Lelukauppa. I was THE MOST excited for this part of the trip tbh (other than seeing HIM play live in Helsinki). I’ve heard so many good stories about meeting his dad and I’ve always wanted a pair of HIM handcuffs ever since I was like 12 (judge me now gdi) We found the place pretty easily after I fell out of the bus LOL since the outside is like aggressively red. The door behind the door (idk) had a “Don’t Mess With Texas” sticker on it and we walked in. There wasn’t anyone in the store so I didn’t know if we were supposed to be there for like a hot minute, but Kari appeared from the back & said hi to us. I was like 😳😄😵💀🤗 all at once and asked him if I could get a shirt of his store. He gave me a girly fit and while he was looking for it I freaked out when I spotted the handcuffs and he realized that we came there because we’re HIM fans at that moment. We told him that we were there to see HIM at Tuska and where we were from (me California currently and my friend Las Vegas). I don’t remember the full conversation that we had with him, but he is the nicest man that you can meet in Helsinki I swear! He’s like funny and can hold a conversation. We eventually told him that we were raised in Texas & he called me a “Dangerous Woman” because I grew up 15 minutes away from a town that his friend is from where they hold executions 😅 He has a huge map on the wall of his shop where he marks every shirt that he sells, and also he sold us like every piece of HIM merch that he had lol We spent at least 30 minutes there talking to him (he really loves the movie Taxi Driver) and he gave us like hella discounts and free stuff lol If you’re a HIM fan I HIGHLY recommend visiting Kari and getting an infamous Aikuisten Lelukauppa shirt!
After jumping around like an excited dope for like 10 minutes back to the bus we headed to Temppeliaukio Church aka the Rock Church. It wasn’t too difficult to find and we stopped by Annie’s Souvenir Shop (which is apparently pretty popular?) to get more Moomin mugs lol There was an organist playing at the church and it wasn’t too busy. We chilled there for a bit while I contemplated if I would simultaneously combust at any moment then headed to the Sibelius Monument!
The Sibelius Monument was confusing to reach because there was construction in the area. We took a bus to the stop that Google Maps told us to get off on (bless Google maps & the screenshot function btw), but had to walk through a park and through construction barriers to reach the location. Also, if you haven’t visited Finland yet just know that the car drivers actually honor the “pedestrians have the right-of-way” logic and will get angry at you if you don’t cross to the other sidewalk while they are driving towards you. When we arrived at the monument it was FULL of tourists (& seagulls lol). There’s like literally no way that you can get a photo with just the monument & yourself and it’s understandable because the monument is beautiful! I felt like a kid at a shiny playground that was surrounded by ajummas being extra for their instagram photos 😂
We walked back to the nearest bus stop & passed by a park. I only mention this because there was a group of people playing a game where they could see who could throw a rain boot the farthest? Idk but we creeped on them for a while and could not understand this random game.
There were around 3 attractions situated closely together that we wanted to visit, but we didn’t go to all of them. We walked into the National Library of Finland and took pictures that we probably weren’t suppose to 😬, we walked around Senate Square and watched even more ajummas being extra for the gram, then we walked through a random subway tunnel that had pretty tight art on the walls. I think we got lost in between all of this, but eventually made our way to the record store that was recommended for us to visit by the guy at the Tuska record stand to find a Paara album.
Helsinki is a pretty small city and the area around that record store had like every store that I wanted to visit lol There was the Tiketti Gallery, Tavastia, (record store), and some other cool stores. They didn’t have the Paara CD at either of the record stores btw 😑 but we did see more HIM photos and other photos of Apocalyptica, Amorphis, and Lost Society at the gallery.
We headed back to the hostel around 7pm I think and chilled for a while before we headed out to The Riff. The Riff is a rock bar that Jussi69 of The 69 Eyes owns. We took a bus there from the hostel and stayed for about 2 hours. It was a Tuesday night so there weren’t that many people there, but I loved the atmosphere! They had old guitars, drum heads, and other instruments that popular Finnish rock bands gave to the bar all around the walls. There was also a Heartagram Lounge that I didn’t know existed as well as the Hate Lounge that was reserved for Alexi of Children of Bodom.
I had a version of the Moscow Mule there and before we left I also had a shot of Jussi 69’s Chili Liquorice shot. I, like many other Americans, don’t have a liking to liquorice so I didn’t take it all in one shot out of hesitation to the taste. Surprisingly it was super good! If I wasn’t such a light weight I would have ordered another! On our walk back to the hostel a guy shouted something to me in Spanish and I’m not gonna lie, I was a little lit, so I shouted back “I’m not Spanish gdi! I’m Native American!” and everyone on the street that heard me laughed at me😅 There was a small kiosk (I think they refer to them as a grill?) outside of our hostel & I was really hungry that night so I ordered fries. I tried really hard to say the word in Finnish and the kiosk lady told me I made a nice try😅 On a ranking on fries that I’ve eaten around the world Finnish fries are towards the end just because the taste was so plain even with ketchup 😛
We slept and the next day we had to leave early for our flight back to the states. But we did have another layover in Stockholm before our trip ended and I’ll post about that next week!