• Photo Diary: Holiday in Helsinki

    Our UO Instagrammer (and this week's US@UO featuree!) Sarah Kunst took a trip to Helsinki over the holidays to visit two of her best friends, and documented the whole thing for us to share on the blog! From amazing old tea shops to galleries built in castles to lingonberries galore, here's her travelogue. 

    Sunrise flying over Norway en route to Helsinki.

    A snowy forest view out the car window on a day trip to Turku, the oldest city in Finland. The two-hour drive looked like this the whole way: this is winter.

    Escaping the cold with tea and a lingonberry pastry inside a cafe.

    Amazing boots in Lokal Gallery (which is heaven: a gallery where everything is for sale?!) in the design district.

    Peeking through an alleyway to spot a pop of color. 

    Lingonberries are similar to cranberries in size and tartness, and are really popular in Scandinavia. Sold fresh in the outdoor market, they are ready to scoop out for baking or eating fresh.

    Amazing Belgian waffles! Handpressed in the outdoor market, let's just say I ate...quite a few of these during my trip.

    Four Instax shots: views of different Helsinki angles, interiors, and color, plus shelves of loose tea inside an amazing old tea shop.

    Aforementioned tea shop: maybe it was because it was meticulously hand-scooped out by the owner and perfectly steeped at the end of a freezing day, but I swear this was the best tea I've ever had. 

    Bikes! Between public transportation and hugely-popular bicycling culture, it's easy to get around in Helsinki. People bike year round, even when it's freezing and snowing. Inspiration to get out and explore.

    Another indoor market with tons of craft materials — these are stacked up tubes buttons in any colors, shapes, or size you could ever want. 

    Handmade Scandinavian ceramics at Lokal Gallery.

    An antique book and map store in the design district: I spent way too long in here and left with a pile of new materials to read and draw inspiration from, including a few photo books on Scandinavian architecture and a guide to interpreting dreams.

    Standing on The Bridge of Love, a lock bridge in Katajanokka that's Helsinki's version of the Pont de l’Archevêché in Paris. 

    Treats! Another snack break, this time for red velvet cupcakes served up on vintage plates.

    More Instax snaps — me freezing on Suomenlinna Island, a sea fortress built on six islands; to the right, out for a light-filled night on Aleksanterinkatu, Helsinki's main shopping district.

    A gallery inside Turku Castle filled with artifacts from the building's history.

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