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Lapland in Winter




26th of February 2002
Helsinki -
warm temperatures and wet snow

The youth hostel was as you would expect a youth hostel should be - it was old, shabby and not very clean. Placed in the 1939 built Olympic stadium, you could enjoy the nostalgia and the dust of this (not very glory) time. Outside the youth hostel it was also not more comfortable. The snow from yesterday changed to a wet, slippery snow slush. It was overcast and sometimes a sleet shower passed by -  so not the best weather to get a positive impression of Helsinki.

Helsinki is a quite small European capital and most of the buildings are build in the 1930th. We visited the nice "Rock Church" Temppeliaukio and the Russian-Orthodox cathedral. After that we took the ferry to the fortified island of (UNESCO World Heritage Site). The bay of Helsinki was full of a kind of ice mash and it seemed that the ships were driving through a big sea of porridge. At the island you can see some old wood houses and the remains of the fortification - but all in all we were not enthused.

When we went back with the ferry (built in 1952) we saw a huge column of smoke at the city centre of Helsinki. It seemed that the whole main square was burning and you could see everywhere police and fire-fighters. But when we went out of the ferry we saw all the people smiling. We found out that a warm water pipe broke and that the smoke was in fact steam, caused by the warm water flowing over the main square.

In the evening we watched a Verdi opera at the architectural very nice opera building, built in 1993.

27th of February 2002
Good bye Finland

After we visited some more sights, Alois and me flew to Gothenburg (Sweden) in order to visit a friend of us. Bernhard flew on the next day back to Vienna.

All in all it was a wonderful vacation and Lapland kept what it promised: Northern Lights, lonesome huts, a lot of snow, difficult road conditions, reindeers ... and all this in only two weeks of holidays.



Original log of our journey.
Only in German!

(word file, 35KB)


Welcome to Helsinki - the capital of Finland.

View to the city centre.

Fur trader in front of the Russian-Orthodox cathedral.

On the ferry to the Suomenlynna fortification.

View from the ferry to the city centre. A warm water pipe was broken and the whole city centre disappeared in a huge steam cloud.

View to the protestant cathedral.

If you want to see more pictures of our Northern Lapland Challenge, visit the NLC webpage of Alois Holzer:






(c) stefan eisenbach | | stefan [at]