Not only is¬†Helsinki packed with nice places and neighbourhoods and caf√©s and museums, it also has an incredible location making it super easy to experience Finland and its beautiful nature without really having to leave¬†the region. With water all around the city exploring the area by boat is by far¬†the coolest thing to do (go¬†and quickly make¬†some Finnish friends!)¬†and Nuuksio National Park, less than an hour away from the city, seems like the perfect picture book Finland.
Hopping on a wooden boat and exploring the shoreline and Archipelago around¬†Helsinki and Espoo was possibly the most amazing¬†thing to do during my trip. The weather was perfect so we¬†spent the whole day on and by the water. We took the bus to Nuuksio National Park and it seemed¬†like we had¬†just left the city when the signs of the park showed up. Hiking along the lakes, having Finnish pastries with view over the valley and green everywhere – really, it felt like a mix of Yosemite National Park and how you expect a real-life Nils Holgersson scenery to look like. Suomenlinna Island is so close to the city center it is a neighbourhood of Helsinki. Taking the ferry to the island of the Finish fortress was definitely the best idea and seeing all those beautiful old buildings on the island which have incredible views over the shoreline suddenly set future living standard reaally¬†high.
Even though we only did some day trips during my journey to Finland it still felt like I have seen so much of the country, so many different sceneries and landscapes and characters.¬†The Archipelago around Helsinki with all its tiny islands can be easily explored by boat or even bus and with all those red little houses it could not be any more Finnish.
Back in Amsterdam, this¬†unexpected summer come-back that came with the beginning of September¬†is¬†not making the semester start the most productive one. Reading in the park seems like a great idea but often turns out to be more of a sleeping¬†in the park, using the text sheets to cover your face from the sun. But oh well,¬†at least it made the return to Amsterdam very, very easy and those last hot days and warm summer nights spent cycling around the city, swimming in the nearby lake and picnicking outside will be over¬†so soon the end-of-summer-nostalgia has already set in. And that even though I’m still sitting here (in the sun) with my laptop (in the shadow) trying to avoid a heat stroke. How much I will miss this.