The Finnish capital is a city that takes pride in its cultural heritage and stunning landscape.

 

T he temperature is below zero, but the sky is navy blue. I am out for a stroll in Helsinki and soon I find myself along the seafront and decide to head out to the islands that form part of one of the most magnificent archipelagos in the world. And with the sea frozen solid, I can walk on water. The snow underfoot echoes my footsteps with a comforting crunch and, while the groaning of the ice is slightly daunting, the air is fresh and the snowy landscape serene. A few minutes later I am rewarded with splendid views of the “White City’s” skyline. What a perfect backdrop for a spiritual experience or a musical epiphany – particularly now that the soundtrack in my head has switched to Sibelius’s Lemminkäinen Suite. 

When I return (by boat) on a balmy summer evening six months later, I am in for a different treat. There...