Hello there! Hope you are well. Summer has well and truly started here and in fact we are experiencing a bit of a drought. Our farmers are in serious trouble and people are actually begging for a bit of rain. The general public have been encouraged to leave water out for squirrels and hedgehogs, as they have been found dead in big numbers in places where there are no lakes. Although drought is never a good thing, but we have been enjoying the weather very much. We decided to spend a day in one of the island around Helsinki and we chose Seurasaari.
How to get there?
Seurasaari is relative easy to reach and definitely worth a visit. We took bus number 24 from the centre of Helsinki and it took us right to Seurasaari. There is also a ferry during the summer months, which I desperately wanted to take but their timetable didn’t work for us.
What is Seurasaari?
It is a national park on an island, sometimes called Helsinki’s green livingroom. One can’t argue against that. It definitely is green. Plus you come out as refreshed as you would after watching your favourite tv series on your couch. Luckily nature is never far when you are in Helsinki. The admission for the island is free, but if you wish to visit the open air museum, you have to purchase a ticket.
What does one do in Seurasaari?
The museum features some 35 locations, such as cottages, farms and manor houses. They all represent rural living in Finland in different parts of the country, in different eras. The one pictured above is from Lapland and it is build up on a tree to avoid bear intruders taking over your home. Very fancy.
Our favourite building
The most impressive building in the island is the old church, pictured above. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I’m sure we this is one of the oldest buildings in Helsinki. It was stunning. You could almost feel the long history inside. On the outside it looks more like a barn but don’t let that typical Finnish minimalism fool you, that is in fact a church and I bet you won’t find anything like it anywhere else in the world.
And here it is from the inside. For me there is something so Finnish about this church. First of all, it’s wooden and as we know everything is made out of wood in here. Secondly, the Finnish minimalism is evidently present. Thirdly, the building has withstood the test of time. And it is still fit to serve the purpose it was once build for. Of course it doesn’t compare to Sistine Chapel in the Vatican and it might not be a architectural masterpiece but it is impressive in altogether different reasons. You have to see it for yourself.
Guides dressed in traditional costumes
The dwellings range from humble wooden cottages to larger estates, like the manor house pictured above. Some of the locations even had guides dressed in traditional costumes according to the period and geographical location of the house they were presenting. Sadly we weren’t able to film them, but that was a nice touch and they were very friendly and provided interesting facts about the houses.
A real life history lesson
Many of the houses are open and complete with furniture. There were many interesting looking items and I had no idea of what most of them were for, but guides were able to answer our questions. This truly was a crash course in Finnish history and you really get a sense of how people lived up and down the country. We wish we had reserved more time for the visit.
After taking in all that history, we were starving. There are two cafes and one restaurant to choose from and we needed a proper meal and headed straight to the restaurant. I had a salmon salad, which was very tasty. Eating outside in the terrace with a sea view definitely added to the experience.
I hope you all get a chance to visit Seurasaari, because it is well and truly worth a visit. Next week, as it is midsummer, I thought I’d give you another opportunity to ask me any questions you might have. People seem to want to know how we have settled in here and our top tips for a visit to Finland. So please comment on any post or fill a contact form in any language. You can our pre move Q&A post here
As you might have seen already on Instagram, we have been out and about getting material together for future blog posts. We have some weird and wonderful things coming up. We have an Instagram competition going on at this very minute, so don’t miss out on your opportunity to get some Moomin stuff sent to you. And a video on our trip to Stockholm and Seurasaari will be added very soon. Meanwhile have a wonderful week and speak to you soon!