After our climb up to Pulpit Rock, we finally arrive at the Scandic City Hotel Stavanger at about 1.30am, cold, exhausted but utterly and thoroughly satisfied! Needless to say, I fell asleep almost immediately!
Breakfast the next day at the hotel was quite a fantastic and indulgent affair. Basically, there wasn’t anything that would classify as breakfast food that wasn’t on offer here and better still, it tasted amazing! My favourite thing to go for when I have breakfast is either pancakes or waffles (for breakfast, it doesn’t matter which) and so I quickly wolfed this down with fresh fruits, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages and a few slices of some cheese whose name I can’t remember… and yes, my breakfast plates always tend to look a bit chaotic but I like to think I make it work.
In all the food fuelled frenzy and distracted by the contents of an envelope telling us what the next destination would be, I forgot to take any photos of breakfast. Which was probably for the best as our taxi was ready fairly quickly to whisk us off to the airport to catch flights to our next stop – HELSINKI!
Okay, a little confession here – once we realised we were going to Helsinki, I quickly googled the Scandic hotels available in Helsinki where I noticed that Hotel Scandic Paasi in Helsinki was usually ranked either number 3 or number 4 of all hotels in Helsinki. Immediately I started hoping that was where we would be staying.
Lo and behold! It was!!! #YASSSS!!! 🙂
I quickly chucked my things into the room and proceeded to take an inordinate amount of photos!
And whaddya know, the room had a sauna! (Another clue from before! – the “Loyly” one)
Now every Nordic person will probably let you – a sauna is Nordic essential however in most cases, these tend to be shared facilities in hotels and so to have our very own was just fantastic! (Literally, everyone we spoke to about it in Finland was like “Whaaaaaaaaaaaaa?! No way!“… It’s that big a deal up here and we thoroughly appreciated it!)
Each room here has a theme – this one was circus themed and not just randomly, back in the day, there used to be a circus nearby and the room is themed after that. Just look at the wallpaper…
One of my favourite things about the room was the little egg like coffee table! It’s so cool and yet so practical! I really really want one!
Finally, a log deluge of of “Ooohing” and “Aaahing”, it was time for us to face up to our next challenge – you can probably read it below but essentially, we had 1 hour and €30 to find the most authentic Finnish that we wouldin the Helsinki design district.
I almost forgot to mention – the hotel is built from three different and unique buildings. We stayed in the old, listed building. You’re not allowed to change anything in the building and even the painting had to be done after initially protecting the walls underneath prior to painting it.
We got given direction by the ever helpful Minna (the hotel manager) – who, by the way, is so in-tune with my sweet tooth that when we eventually left, she gave us soooooooo many sweets, chocolates and other Finnish candies that my luggage quite literally doubled in size! I like Minna – A LOT!!! 🙂 She gets me!
And so off we went, with little notes to cheer us on…
Rain was threatening to pour down from the skies but we took no notice! I remembered seeing this cathedral before at night last time we were in Helsinki so we stopped here and carried on exploring the city by foot while slowly making our way to the design district!
It’s safe to say I was a bit distracted when we were supposed to look out for the gifts for this part of the challenge! I usually watch stuff like this on TV and think I would be so good at it, needless to say, I was definitely not counting on the distracting sight seeing and picture taking on my part!
FYI, these photos below isn’t just me taking wine-addled wonky photos. The building look like they’re slanting because they’re on a mini hill.
Finally we made it to the design district and we hotfooted it to the stores. Lloyd and I started off looking together but pretty soon, we realised it would be such a waste of time to do it that way so we headed off into different directions in search of our Finnish gem!
I remembered the cafe below from our first trip to Helsinki as well. I had a humongous cake here and it’s the first time I ever remember thinking “I can’t finish this cake” and had to leave without a good portion of the cake still on the table. This usually never happens and I was tempted for a second to pop in to see if I could order the largest slice of cake here and finish it but I very quickly remembered I’d already spent about a good portion of the hour gallivanting across the city so it was time to focus!
These Scandic bikes are all over the city by the way! I think you can rent them from the hotels and make your way around Helsinki. Our hotel, Scandic Paasi rents them to you for free so that’s a huge bonus in my opinion! 🙂
I eventually found my thing. It’s an Alvar Aalto glassware collection piece and it’s very iconic in Finland (and beyond). It’s a tourist favourite here and I even remember seeing them in the UK. Lloyd went with a Moomin related item which I will have to show you in another post.
Finally, I made my way back to our meeting point (just outside the Cathedral) t0 meet Lloyd who had also gotten his authentic Finnish design item and make our way back to the hotel for the next item on our agenda for Helsinki! 🙂
(Don’t forget – you can have your own Nordics 48 hour experience with Scandic by telling them where you would like to go to and why. Click here to go to the Scandic website and enter now.)