What to Do in Helsinki, Finland in November

The first notable thing we saw after getting off the Tallink Silja ferry at Helsinki, while walking from the West Harbor towards downtown Helsinki, was this statue. A bit grotesque, but I’m no art critique either.

This Bad Bad Boy is 8.5 meters in height, and his face shows surprise and shock, as if caught while urinating. It was part of the Mutatis Mutandis exhibition, which finished in October 2016, and since then, the statue has been moved to the city’s West Harbor (just outside the building housing of the Helsinki Computer and Game Console Museum). The artist Tommi Toija created this Bad Bad Boy statue.

In its new location away from the port, we walked about 5-10 minutes before we spotted him.  Again, I’m no artist, and I’m glad I don’t make my living from writing art critiques.

Bad Bad Boy in Helsinki

A more pleasant sight were these colorful seals, with a herring in their mouths.

Seals at the West Harbor Helsinki

More art and modern design is presented here. This is a wall of hundreds of tiny plaques, which you find walking from the West Harbor to the eastern shore of Jätkäsaari. The art project is called Horisontti, and bears the names of donors to the Keep the Baltic Sea Clean campaign.

After what seemed an endless walk trying to find the old part of Helsinki (good luck), or the modern downtown shopping area, we struck on the Stockmann department store. It was a nice warm place after a good 25-minute walk, especially being around the port area of Helsinki in November.

Stockmann shop window in Helsinki

Next, we looked for one of the Christmas markets. We found one in front of this white Lutheran church (construction was 1830- 1852).

Lutheran church in Helsinki

At the Christmas market, my friend and I shared a reindeer kebab. I had my share with all the extras a kebab can have – chili peppers, red onions, and sauce. The taste of game and the meat texture will make this a unique experience, and …remain unique.

We took another stroll through the lit streets of Helsinki.

Speaking of lit – most pubs were full by 5pm on Saturday. We could not leave Helsinki without having a pint, so we had it sitting outside.

Helsinki is a cool place to visit for a day – there are some good museums (which we didn’t go to) to visit, but we were more interested in shopping for souvenirs, its people, and the local culture.

Where to find Ocean Glass in West Cork, Ireland

On each trip to the sea, I always look for ocean glass (a.k.a. sea glass, Mermaids’ Tears). In County Cork, I got lucky in the town of Schull.

Schull, Ireland

Schull, Ireland

Right next to the ferry port, there is a tiny beach area, and there was a lot of ocean glass among the rocks and pebbles.

A large group of Spaniards, I suppose they were students of English, were lounging around. Then one of the young men helped me in my search. He brought me a new glass shard – he probably thought I was cleaning up the beach area. I politely accepted it.

Ocean glass from Schull, Ireland

Ocean glass from Schull, Ireland

This was the only place, where I could find any ocean glass in West Cork.

Longshore Fishing at the Baltic Sea

It was interesting to see the longshore men bring in their catch one morning. It came in many different colored plastic containers, and together with the ice, looked quite heavy when getting hauled up and stacked. I took quite a few photos, and as time went on, more and more onlookers gathered around.long shore fishing

One morning, they only came in to spread out their nets for mending.

mending fishing nets

fishing net

The port in Maasholm was the most fascinating place any time of day. The sky constantly changed its color, some tourists stopped at the ice cream parlor, the seagulls were ever-present (but not annoying), and there was a constant breeze.

Maasholm Port

The evenings were especially lovely. There are beautiful walkways around most of the peninsula. Sometimes we did not walk that much; we only carried a bottle of red wine to the nearest bench, gazed out onto the water, while others passed by.

Walking around the Schlei Estuary

Walkway around the Schlei Estuary

Two Weeks at the Baltic Sea

Every morning, I came down to the Maasholm port. It was an usually hot July at the Baltic with temps mostly in the low 30s (90F), while the rest of Germany was getting drowned in rain storms and flooding.

There was nobody about, and I loved it.

Yachthafen Maasholm

Most evenings would see me reading by the window overlooking the Schlei Bay.

Reading by the window

We visited Germany’s smallest town, Bad Arnis. There is the main road with a few shops, which were mostly closed before peak season. The port had plenty of boats in it though, that is for a “town” of only 350 residents.

Arnis port

The “Bad” in Bad Arnis stands for spa town. There are hundreds of them in Germany. More about that on: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_spa_towns_in_Germany

Smallest town in Germany: Arnis

Besides eating fish every day, I also had wanted to try the currywurst up north. The color of the sauce really surprised me. In central and southern Germany, currywurst sauce is usually reddish-brown. This one had the coloring touch of a Danish tartar sauce. It tasted authentic though.

There is a great Danish influence in this part of Germany. If you are history buff, then you might know this part of Germany had been Denmark/Danish territory a couple of times in history.

Currywurst - Danish

Holiday Weekend in Biarritz

Biarritz is buzzing with people on the weekend. But there is plenty of room for everyone as the beach and promenade stretch out for a few miles.

Some areas are quite busy whereas this corner looked abandoned.

La Grande Plage in Biarritz

What had looked like a bunch of seals at first glance turned out to be a group of surfers. There are plenty of schools down there by the beach.

Watersurfing at the Grande Plage

The Grande Plage is lined with beautiful hotels and villas.

La Grande Plage in Biarritz

Heading down to the Port Vieux (Old Port)

Most tourists are young couples and families with older children. All our walks are up and down the hill (good for your legs) and this explains as to why there are neither strollers nor toddlers to be seen anywhere.

There is a lot of walking involved when visiting this coastal town. A good parking spot is hard to come by.