One of the best things in Finland is Finnish cuisine. Although it’s difficult for me to select just one thing which is ultimately the best if pressed to make a choice, I will choose the Finnish salmon soup.
Boris and I have a whole grading system for the establishments in Helsinki and around, which serve the salmon soup. Sometimes the place we love would stop serving the salmon soup or do not serve it every day, or the quality degrades. However, for the past several months, our Number One salmon soup place is a ravintola by the pier of Suomenlinna, right where the passengers disembark for the ferry.
I do not know why it is almost never too crowded. Perhaps, because people think that the first place they come across can’t be the best. Or maybe they do not like salmon soup as much :).
But we made a choice. Sometimes, when we do not even have time to walk around the island, we come there just for the soup – after all, it’s only 15 minutes of the ferry ride. For 10 euros you get a quart of soup as thick as a stew, yummy like nothing else, as much of the freshly baked baguette as you want and a cup of coffee or tea.
The only close to that experience I can remember is being in Prague in September :). So many tourists on the streets, it’s difficult to walk. Weekend or weekday – does not matter. Lot’s of people everywhere. Lots of bicycles. People, cars, and bikes are trying to get from point A to point B and back without even pretending they are following the rules :). If it were by me, I would choose different dates to come here.
The city tries to survive this tourist invasion. Honestly, I can’t even blame anybody. On the big scheme of things, that’s their city; it belongs to people who live there, not tourists. My local friend commented on the poor quality of service here in Amsterdam, and in Holland in general. And sadly, I have to agree with her. But once again, I can hardly blame anybody.
In addition to really wild traffic on the sidewalks, the next problem we’ve faced was the operation hours of most of the places where you can eat. Being not just American, but also from the North, and even for a person from the North an extremely early riser, not being able to get breakfast on Saturday before 9 AM was a real problem. I am up by 5 AM regardless of the day of the week, so you get the situation :). On Saturday morning, although my sleep time was adjusted for the previous 31-hour day:), I was up by 6-20. We tried both breakfast places recommended by our host, but one was closed till 9, the other one was opened by 7-30, but they said, that they might have some breakfast “in an hour.” A couple of other places where just opened (about 8 AM), but took our idea to have breakfast in such a time on Saturday as an insult :).
Finally, one place close to the central train station was opened and had decent food, good coffee, and even fruits 🙂
Most of the time we travel, we enjoy trying some local street food, and I have some “calorie budget” allocated for that. One very satisfying experience was baked potatoes: