Saturday - Juhannus, Midsummer Day
Just as people warned, Helsinki was shut down and emptied out for this Juhannus celebration marking the start of summer. We did find an open brunch spot, where the waitress had brought her toddler along to play behind the bar while she waited on the handful of customers that arrived. Seeing place after place closed up when we walked back to the apartment, we decided to check out public spots that might still be open.
First stop was the Kallio Church, right across the street from the apartment, designed by Lars Sonck and built between 1908 and 1912. Happily the door was unlocked, and even better, the organist was practicing, so we were treated to a private concert while we explored the Finnish national romantic and art nouveau style interior. Later research mentioned that the melody of the seven church bells we often heard from the apartment had been specially composed by Jean Sibelius and the tower we could see from all parts of the city was 213 feet high. Stop number two was the Central Railway Station by Eliel Saarinen, designed in 1904 and completed in 1919. Not only was it contemporary with the Kallio Church, it was also cited as an important structure in both the art nouveau and Finnish national romantic movement. Photos tell the story.