07.12.2016 - 18.12.2016 34 °F
24-hours from leaving our house to landing in Helsinki; 9:30pm and -10F. We hoisted up our backpacks and we were off on a new adventure.
After a great, and free breakfast we went to the tourist information office to find out what we might want to do for the next 2 days. The lady gave us info on where she eats lunch for a reasonable price and gave us info on concerts.
We also found that everything is within walking distance to our hotel; the Christmas market, concerts, shopping and a ton of restaurants. There is a different restaurant every few feet.
We decided to go to a 6pm concert at the Rock Church. The lady at the tourist office said that the music would consist of pieces composed by Finnish Composers. We thought that might be fun. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temppeliaukio_Church
We were at the Christmas Market checking out items and drinking Gluhwein when it was time to walk to the Rock Church. As we walked it started snowing, so nice to experience when walking thru a European city at Christmas.
The concert was exactly what we’d wanted to experience, yet so different than what we expected. The music had a jazz and big band edge. There was a singer and he sang various songs, none of which we understood. We did recognize the music “Little Drummer Boy” but it was all Finnish, of course.
The singer spoke between many of the songs. One song, after he spoke we understood that he had invited the audience to join in. Many knew the words of the song “Beautiful Savior”. As it was being sung in Finnish, we couldn’t think of the words in English. But it was beautiful anyway. This version attached is performed by the St. Olaf Choir, which we heard several years ago .https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QJ4TkIcSkk
The audience also sang along to a Sibelius piece. We were unfamiliar with the piece, only knowing a few of the pieces by the composer. It again was moving, everyone around us singing. Here is a sample of the piece. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIt3nx2uMEc
The last piece was the Christmas Carol “Silent Night”. Again, it was probably introduced to the audience but we didn’t understand what was being said. Everyone sang along, in Finnish, of course. But we were happy and warm inside the rock church while it was cold outside.
We walked back to another part of the city where we found a restaurant. We ordered bowls of steaming hot Cream of Salmon soup. Our insides were warm and full. We fell in love with Helsinki!