Well it’s been a busy first week and a half in Finland. I’ve seen some gorgeous things in Helsinki, including the Helsinki Cathedral, Senate Square, countless gorgeous facades, dozens of beautiful parks filled with blonde Finns baring skin in order to soak up enough sunlight to last the winter, one impressive monument to a great person after another, spots soaked in historical significance, paddle boarders slowly moving down picturesque waterways…and everything bathed in delicious sunlight.
Two of my favorite things in the city so far have been the Ateneum, the national art gallery, and the National Museum of Finland. The main exhibit at the Ateneum was a retrospective on Tove Jansson, the fascinating creator of the Moomins. The exhibit was huge and comprehensive, covering her “surrealistic paintings of the 1930s, modernist art of the 1950s and more abstract works in the 1960s and ‘70s, as well as her satirical anti-war illustrations for the magazine Garm, her monumental paintings for public spaces, and of course her enormously popular and internationally renowned Moomin characters and stories.” (via)
The National Museum was one the highlights of my trip so far. For a history nerd like myself, it was paradise. There was an extremely detailed exhibit on the early history of Finland, from pre-human times to medieval times. There were countless artifacts in great displays, including all kinds of goodies from the Viking Age, which obviously tickled my fancy. There were several rooms dedicated to art from the churches, including dozens of wooden figures and two entire pulpits from the late medieval period. I was not expecting so many great exhibits, and unfortunately we were short on time and had to move rather quickly through the rest of the museum, which was filled with excellent displays and information on Finnish history and culture all the way up to the 1970’s.
I’m taking it easy this weekend, enjoying two days of relaxing and getting my introvert on while my boyfriend works. Tomorrow, we leave to drive north for a few days. We’ve made a few trips outside Helsinki, but I’m really looking forward to seeing a bit more of this beautiful country.