I have chatted with my friend that often when women take off for the weekend, we have the longest list of things that need to be accomplished. A lined water-proof fall jacket for one, rubber boots for another, underwear for the whole family, indoor gym shoes for our oldest, socks for myself and the list goes on and on. When we return home from our treasure hunt we are not necessarily well rested and possibly a bit crabby because so much money was spent, even if it was due to necessity.
This time we decided to take our girls on a treasure hunt around Helsinki. We were not necessarily hunting for material things (even though a few things were found) rather for experiences and to enjoy the last days of vacation from school. School starts here next week. Our entourage included two ladies and five little ladies. Each with their own personality and lots of nervous excitement and anticipation.
When we arrived in Helsinki, we had seven hungry bellies. We decided to try the Muu milk bar and coffee shop which is situated in downtown Helsinki in the basement level of the Kluuvi shopping center. They serve a soup daily and smoked fish salads. We ordered the European perch soup for all of us. The lunch comes with a salad, organic bread made in their own wood-burning oven, farm-fresh milk and a cup of coffee or tea. The only down side after we had paid for our meals was that the soup was nearly gone. We arrived a little after two in the afternoon. Fortunately the staff was very nice and everyone got something to eat. The kids ate the soup and the adults had smoked fish salads. The potato rieska (flat bread) was a favorite.
Now we were ready for an adventure. We headed to the harbor and took a ferry to the Suomenlinna sea fortress which is also an Unesco World Heritage Site. It is an affordable place to visit since there is no admission. The ferry over costs five euros for adults and two fifty for children (round trip).
The fortress was built in the 1700s to defend the Eastern part of the Swedish empire. During Russian rule Suomenlinna was used to defend the sea passage to St. Petersburg. It is full of cannons for the girls to climb on, tunnels to explore and walls to run on.
Sunday morning we headed to flea market in Hietalahti. Usually kids get told to only look and not touch. Flea markets are meant for digging and touching, except for glassware. We even found a few treasures to take home with us.
Kids can sometimes be picky eaters but we thought exposure to different tastes is always a good thing and so we had lunch at a Nepalese restaurant, Kantipur. After we ordered, the kids asked many questions about Nepal and the paintings of Himalayan scenery. The ladies had Bhendo Khursani or lamb in a ginger, capsicum, soy and spicy chili sauce. The little ladies had Kukhurmo Korma or chicken in a tomato and cream sauce. The little ladies really impressed us! Quite a few of them cleaned their plates. Lunch was served with fresh Nan bread which was popular with everyone. “When would I make Nan bread at home?” was the next request.
Kids are great because often they don’t need toys, they come up with games to play in almost every setting.
The bungee jumpers had a captive audience.
Although we didn’t find the new backpack for school we did find a few keepsakes to put into our pockets and many experiences richer, we headed home ready for a new school year to start.
“In wisdom gathered over time I have found that every experience is a form of exploration.”
― Ansel Adams