HEL Yeah! I

HEL Yeah! I’m Heading to Helsinki, Finland for a Week!

Last year, Visit Helsinki [HEL] (alongside Visit Finland, Finnair, and so many other travel organizations) launched the #HelsinkiSecret Residence campaign in which they aim to invite social influencers worldwide who are interested in living like a local in their city.

Naturally, I expressed my interest for this, especially because I haven’t been to Finland yet. So… imagine my delight when I was notified in November about how I was one of the chosen residents! They asked me if I would want to stay during February 22 to 28, and well of course, I said YES in a heartbeat.

Right then and there, I became so excited at the thought of exploring a new destination for a week! Besides, not only will my accommodation, meals, transportation, and activities be provided for free but I will also have the chance to bring along a companion. Yep, it is that awesome. HEL yeah! (As for my +1, surely, I chose to tag Jonas along; my oh-so-favorite travel partner and partner-in-crime.)
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HEL Yeah! The 5 Reasons Why I’m Excited to See Helsinki, Finland

#1: The Winter Snowscape & Activities!

Hel YeahPhoto by Jussi Hellsten / Visit Helsinki
I am currently based in Belgium and as the recent weather reports would have it, we have zero snow for the past winter months (at least, up here in the north, Flanders). Therefore, you can say that I’m truly ecstatic on how I’ll soon be staying and seeing a blinding white kind of landscape when I land in Helsinki! (You see, ever since I experienced my first real ‘winter wonderland’, I have been somewhat “spoiled” — whenever the winter months are upon me, I start asking, or better yet: demanding, for snow… I bet in a few years, I’ll be like most of the Europeans I know who wouldn’t wish for the cold snow.)

As of late, there have been several travelers who have already managed to experience the #HelsinkiSecret Residence and I have seen photos of how lovely the city looks like while it is draped in snow. Plus, they have even been able to enjoy some winter activities too like skiing, doing a snowmobile safari, and meeting reindeers along the way!

#2: The “Secrets”

HelsinkiSecretPhoto by Jussi Hellsten / Visit Helsinki
A part of the fun by staying in the Helsinki Secret Residence is that we don’t exactly know yet what we will be doing there for a week… which absolutely adds an element of surprise to this affair!

Rest assured, their team will be preparing a Helsinki Survival Kit upon our arrival which will collate all the hand-picked local tips, experiences, and items that are suggested especially for us. This is because while I was conversing with their coordinator, she asked me about Jonas and I’s preference when we’re traveling and what we are expecting to do during our stay in Helsinki. I guess they’re going to base their suggested itinerary for us on my response, as well as on the contents of this blog and how I travel. All in all, I’m eager to see it!

#3: The Week-Long Stay

AallonkotiPhoto from Aallonkoti Website
I really can’t stop saying “HEL yeah!” for this trip because I can’t contain my excitement at how amazing everything has been planned for.

First of all, in order to try and be a part of a local lifestyle, I believe that a traveler would need at least a week in a new destination. Visit Helsinki thought about this very well, and that’s why they are offering their residents the chance to do not only that, but more!

By “more”, we won’t actually be just staying at any place. We will rather be accommodated in a typical cozy Finnish home and it will be in the centrally-located Aallonkoti apartment hotel. By the looks of it, such will surely be our new ‘home away from home’!

#4: The Food

Finnish CuisinePhoto by Sampsa Parnanen / Ampeeri Filmi
Dubbed as the “New Nordic Cuisine”, I have been told about how there are a lot of good restaurants and food-related events in Helsinki.

This will be my first time in trying out Finnish cuisine too so I’m excited for the kind of dishes that they will be introducing to us. As per my research, the must-try food during my stay this February would be: runeberg tarts, pea soup and laskiaispulla (shrove buns).

NOTE: One of my readers have recently told me about their food brochure called as ‘Food Helsinki? HEL YEAH!’ which can already tell me a lot about Helsinki’s food culture — and that’s quite interesting! Nevertheless, if you’re Finnish, please feel free let me know of dishes that you think I should try. I’d love it if you would!

#5: The Culture & The Whole City in Itself

HelsinkiPhoto by Jussi Hellsten / Visit Helsinki
We might not know yet about the things that we will be doing in Helsinki, and we honestly don’t know a lot of things either about the city (yet), but that doesn’t stop me from prying around as I search for facts and things-to-do!

What my search has told me so far is that Helsinki will be an historical and wondrous place. I tried not to pry too much though… so that I will still be surprised once I’m there; however, as some sort of “gist”, below are some interesting facts that I’ve learned:

  • A traditional Finnish sauna is a must-do as it is apparently an important part of the Finnish culture.
  • The Finnish have a huge affinity towards coffee and they seem to love drinking coffee a LOT! Regrettably, I’m not much of a coffee person; but who knows? Maybe I’ll be converted once I’m there.
  • Helsinki was chosen to be the World Design Capital for 2012. This would mean that the city has great sense of design in areas of architecture, fashion, and so much more.
  • Contemporary music prevails in Helsinki. Other than jazz music and dance music, they are really known for their love of metal music!
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Overall

I. CAN’T. WAIT.

And it’s pretty clear! Now, as I post this article, it would mean that my flight to Helsinki is set for tomorrow. If you want to follow my adventure, keep an eye out on my social media channels (I will be using the hashtag #HelsinkiSecret). You could also follow my adventures LIVE on Snapchat! (My username is iamaileencom)

Top cover photo by Jussi Hellsten / Visit Helsinki

How about you?

  • Have you been to Helsinki before? Or any part of Finland? How was your experience?
  • Do you have any recommendations for Helsinki?

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37 comments

  1. You're making me excited to go to Helsinki too! The week is looking amazing, have a great time!

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    1. It's my 1st day today and it has been epic! I'm falling in love with this city. I bet you would too :D

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  2. I would love to go on a week-long vacation like this! Usually, I'm the one who plans every little detail so it would be nice to have someone else do it for a change. Plus, the city looks like a winter wonderland from a fairy tale! HEL Yeah I would do this!!

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    1. You can still try to apply for their HelsinkiSecret Residence, Mia! :D You could be chosen for the next months. And yeah, much like what you're saying, it's nice to go on a chill trip like this.

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  3. Congrats Aileen!!
    I am sure that you are going to enjoy Helsinki a lot.
    I was in Helsinki the past month thanks to #HelsinkiSecret Residence too, like one of the firsts residents and I enjoyed Helsinki a lot. Walk in to the snow, go to the sauna, drink glögi...
    Helsinki is a amazing city and the people is so nice. If you like to read my experience about the #HelsinkiSecret Residence you can visit my blog and read my late posts!

    I hope you have fun in Helsinki!!
    Bests,
    Andrea

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    1. That's awesome Andrea! My trip with them just finished and much like you've mentioned: it has been really amazing! Thanks for sharing your blog too; I'll definitely check it out!

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  4. I hope, you´ll have a great time. I am sure it is a fun place though I am scared of the weather conditions :)

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    1. Going by how they have prepared this affair in detail, I think I will have a great time! Thanks, and yeah I hope the weather won't be too bad but I think it's fine going by the updates :D

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  5. Congrats Aileen! You'll have an amazing time! It's super cold there in Feb so pack a lot of warm clothes, but it's such a magical time of year - the air literally glitters, it's amazing! Can't wait to follow for your updates :)

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    1. Thank you so much Meg! For sure, I'll be packing a lot of warm clothes. I appreciate you sticking around :D

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  6. That's going to be a really great opportunity to see the city! I've been to Helsinki, but only for a short time. It's a cool place. We did a food tour there and absolutely fell in love with one of the grocery shopping centers there. It has EVERYTHING. There's also a foodie market that's really cool. HAVE FUN!

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    1. Wow, really? Now I'm even more excited! Thank you!!

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  7. Awesome Aileen! I am so excited for you:-) Have a great time in Helsinki!

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    1. Thank you so much Lotte! I'm excited for all the adventures ahead. Mch love!

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  8. That apartment, it will definitely be a home away from home. Enjoy your trip Aileen.

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    1. Indeed, I'm looking forward to it all :D Thanks Karla!

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  9. Ahh how exciting! It's such a perfect time to go too to enjoy winter at its best. Have fun on your adventure!

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    1. True that! Though I hope it won't be too cold haha. Thanks Erica!

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  10. What an incredible experience! I'd love to visit Helsinki! Can't wait to follow along!

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    1. Thank you Rachel! I'll surely be sharing with you all my experiences over there :D

      Reply

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