SUNDAY COFFEE WITH JEB



Seniors Settle Into Helsinki, Finland

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 Senior friends, pour yourself a cup of coffee ad let’s head up north to Helsinki, Finland’s capital. You will find this popular tourist destination sitting on a peninsula in the Gulf of Finland.

Its central avenue, Mannerheimintie, is flanked by institutions like the National Museum, that traces Finnish history from the Stone Age to the present. Also on Mannerheimintie are the imposing Parliament House and Kiasma, a contemporary art museum. Ornate red-brick Uspenski Cathedral overlooks a harbor. The population runs right at 630,000.

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 Helsinki is sure to leave a lasting impression on its senior guests. This charming city boasts an array of attractions, historical sites and grand structures that sit next to the city’s other half, the ocean itself which stretches along the Gulf of Finland, the easternmost projection of the Baltic Sea.

Seniors Enjoy This International Metropolis

The “Daughter of the Baltic” has been the Finnish capital since 1812, when it was rebuilt by the tsars of Russia along the lines of a miniature St. Petersburg, a role it has played in many Cold War movies.

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Today, Helsinki pulls off the trick of being something of an international metropolis while still retaining a small-town feel. The best time for seniors to visit Helsinki is in summer, when Finns peel off their overcoats and flock to outdoor bars and cafes to enjoy the sunshine. The city is officially bilingual, with an 86% Finnish-speaking majority and a visible 6% Swedish-speaking minority.

Helsinki is among the world’s northernmost capitals and the lengthy winter, from November all the way up to March, is dark and freezing. You can find several quality tours of the city both on foot and by water.

Seniors Find Beautiful Seaside City

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Helsinki is a vibrant seaside city of 300 beautiful islands, great green parks and many historic buildings. Helsinki was founded in 1550 by King Gustav Vasa of Sweden as a trading post.

The Ateneum is Finland’s best-known art museum and the home of Finnish art. The Cathedral, by Carl Ludvig Engel, rising on the northern side of the Senate Square is the stage of national and academic festive services and one of the most popular tourist sights.

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Lonely Planet notes that Helsinki is a “quirky adventure”, the capital of a country with watery geography,  that “entwines so spectacularly with the Baltic’s bays, inlets and islands”.  TripAdvisor suggests seniors check out the Fortress of Suomenlinna, the Rock Church, and the Seurassari Island and Open-Air Museum. 

While Helsinki can seem a younger sibling to the Scandinavian capitals, it’s the one that went to art school, scorns pop music and works in a cutting-edge studio. Despite being a capital and a popular tourist destination, Helsinki is considered to be a safe city.

So visit with your  travel agent and make plans to visit this exciting city way up north. -jeb

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