Saturday 29 December: Arriving in Helsinki in late afternoon. We walk into town but UsaKousa stay in the bag, it's wet and windy. After briefly looking into shops, it's time for dinner. Unfortunately a couple of restaurants we've wanted to check out are closed for Xmas/New Year, but we find a nice modern North Italian restaurant, Sasso.

Olives, onions and oil/vinegar for the bread. Note the wooden labbit forks (obviously order-made, as they have the restaurant's name burnt on them.)

A very bad photo - should have used flash! - of (1) scallops carpaccio, with (2) lobster foam and (3) avocado & rice. Very light and delicate, yet full of flavours of the ingredients.

Black pepper glazed tuna on potato cakes, with orange/carrot purée & basil hollandaise. Just what we needed! Oh, and the Pinot Grigio is exceptionally good. We're happy.

Fish-shaped bread in the window of a bakery on Unioninkatu, on our way back to our hotel.
Sunday 30 December: After a long sleep-in, we're woken by sunlight - hurrah! A visit to the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, to check out Carnegie Art Award exhibition of 26 young Nordic artists. Mostly paintings that don't impress us, but Jesper Just (DK)'s 16mm film Vicious Undertow is very dark, atmospheric and superbly constructed & edited. The museum space is nice, and they have a very good shop.

Buy some takeaway salad for supper, then a quick swim & sauna back at the hotel, and relax with a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. It's started raining again in the evening...

Monday 31 December: Another dark, grey day.

Our first stop; Hakaniemi market hall right near our hotel.

A stand selling traditional pies and quiches.

Fishy pies.

Marinated herring.
This (apparently famous) soup stand looks good - but I'm not hungry. And when I come back later, it's already closed :-((
The Cathedral is lit up in preparation for the New Year's celebration this evening.

The old market hall by the harbour.

Fish roes, marinated fish and fish salads.

Salmon cured different ways.

A stand selling reindeer and other meats.


Nori Sushi is closed by mid afternoon.
Onwards to downtown...
(Below) the state alcohol shop's logo. We stock up here on drinks for the evening.

(Right) a shop selling all sorts of cute things from toys, objects, postcards to clothing. Inside it's full of Japanese tourists ;-)

Swedish Bear Beer. (Beer is sold in supermarkets.)

Various fruit-flavoured cider, also from Sweden.

Our selection for supper & evening snack: warm, baked salmon, cured whitefish on rye bread, salmon & prawn quiche, a pie with rice stuffing, green salad and a piece of herb bread.

Plus a bottle of Soave Classico, a half-bottle of Veuve, plenty of mineral water (and last night's left-over bottle & various Hilton freebie sweets) - we're sorted for the evening!
We have a great view of the firework display at midnight from our window. Unfortunately the main firework display is over by the time I get round to taking this photo, but there is a little one still going on - top right, above the champagne bottle ;-)
Click on the links below to watch a short (1:40) highlights of the fireworks:

Large (320x240, 4.2MB)
Small (176x128, 1.2MB)

(You can see the top of the Cathedral's dome on the bottom right corner of the image.)
Tuesday 1 January: We're flying home in the late afternoon. At the airport shop, we see this cranberry jelly and... wild game jelly???
Souvenirs for ourselves: sea buckthorn & cloudberry jellies (not tried yet), and "nordic berries" flavoured vodka (very nice.)