INTRODUCTION TO HELSINKI
Often ranked amongst the most livable cities in the world, Finland's capital of Helsinki is not one to rush through. Romantic ancient buildings meet modern masterpieces like the Kiasma contemporary art museum, and somewhere in between sits the Lutheran church of Temppeliaukio built into a rock with a copper roof built to create dynamic acoustic experiences at their many music festivals. The food in Helsinki seems to be incredible no matter where you go, from the local harbour-side markets to the casual cafes and of course, the elaborate restaurants. Just be warned that obscure words are likely to appear on the menus, think lihapyörykät meatballs, poronkäristys sauteed reindeer and fried baltic herring. The city's festival line-up proves the Finnish affiliation to fun, even boasting its own Samba Carnival quite similar to the Brazilian affair. And then there's Flow Festival which boasts names like Kendrick Lamar, Lauryn Hill and Patti Smith, and Helsinki Festival featuring contemporary dance performances, live world music, and plenty of circus tricks. For never-ending views of the city you'll want to ascend the notoriously steep steps of the Helsinki Cathedral, an activity almost as exhausting as blowing into one of the pipes of Sibelius Monument, standing in homage to the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. If your body's left aching from days of sightseeing and adventure, rest assured you can sooth yourself back to life in one of the country's whopping 3-million plus saunas on offer; a pretty good ratio considering the population of Finland is not even 6-million. Waste no time diving into the dynamic hub of Helsinki.