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Why Motocross Junkies Need To Check Out Helsinki This October

By , September 9th, 2014

Motocross withdrawal is completely natural as the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series wrapped up a few weekends ago. Symptoms include clothing free of track grit, hearing phantom growls of dormant four-stroke engines and waiting patiently until the gate drops for the next race to start — in January. We’ve got the cure: a family trip to Helsinki, Finland for the FMX Gladiator Games! And when the riders finish etching their gnarly grooves and ridges into the track, throttle your way around Helsinki and check out the sights.

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FMX Gladiator Games
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Gladiator Games
Photo by ČTK CC BY

Take your family to Helsinki Finland on October 11 to catch the FMX Gladiator Games for a night of high-flying mayhem in the motorized rodeo realm.

Hartwall Arena’s dirt trenches provide the perfect terrain for James Bond stuntman and Guinness world-record holder for the longest motorcycle ramp jump, Robbie Madison, to soar from 33-foot jumps.

Robbie will share the track with 12 other superstar riders coming from eight different countries for a day and night showing.

Insider tip: Average hotel rates for the Gladiator Games weekend in Helsinki are $165.31 per night, down 8 percent from last year’s average October rate.

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Esplanade Park
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Esplanade Park
Photo by portraitinfinland CC BY

If Central Park and Fifth Avenue in NYC had a love child, it would be this meticulously groomed strip of land sandwiched between two parallel streets, known as the North Esplanade and South Esplanade. Lined with high-end designer shops, restaurants, remarkable architecture, and places to sprawl on the lawn to soak up the sun, there’s something for everyone.

Insider tip: Is the October weather (which hangs around 40 degrees Fahrenheit) too chilly for your liking? Then head inside to the posh Savoy restaurant or order some Arctic char off the “Sibelius” menu at Kappeli. And for our personal favorite tip, grab the best cinnamon roll in the world at Café Esplanad.

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Old Market Hall
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Old Market Hall
Photo by La Citta Vita CC BY

San Franciscans will find comfort in the food selection available at this savory foodie temple, much like they do in their backyard at the Ferry Building Marketplace. This is where the Legion of Fishmongers serves up some of the freshest and most exotic fish of the aquatic world. And make sure to stop by the Scandinavia Café and ignore your carbs-are-the-enemy diet and ask for a “munkki” donut.

Insider tip: Pick up a traditional Karelian pie or salmon sandwich, some souvenirs, and keep a watchful eye out for those ravenous seagulls eyeing your lunch!

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Helsinki Cathedral
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Helsinki Cathedral
Photo by inspiringtravellers CC BY

Feel the need to renew your vows after a romantic motocross getaway at this majestic neoclassical structure? Well, at least make a pit stop, and leave your tire treads at the door. From Senate Square, hike the grandiose steep staircase which leads to the Lutheran cathedral, offering stellar panoramic views and overlooking the statue of Tsar Alexander II.

Insider tip: Check out the cathedral’s crypt (entrance behind the cathedral) and catch a glimpse of the always changing art exhibitions on display.

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Suomenlinna Maritime Fortress
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Suomenlinna Maritime Fortress
Photo by Riku Kettunen CC BY

Green vegetation covers the tops of this colossal sea fortress like one of Mother Nature’s well-knitted beanies, keeping it warm during the winter months. Take a ferry out to the fort, learn about the fort’s historical significance, take selfies while you’re straddling a cannon, grab a bite at a café on the premises and walk off those calories on a guided tour of this architectural landmark, which was included on Unesco’s World Heritage List in 1991.

Insider tip: If you’re training for the polar bear plunge, then jump into your skivvies and submerge as much of yourself as possible in the Baltic Sea. Hint: Blue lips mean you’ve been in the water for too long.

*Feature image by Éole Wind CC BY