Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Photography at Kaapeli

If you are interested in photography then the Finnish Museum of Photography (Suomen Valokuvataiteen Museo) at the Cable Factory (Kaapelitehdas) in Salmisaari might be something for you. They host several exhibitions. One of them is quite interesting to get a better idea about the diversity of Helsinki and the people that live here. Its name is East-West-Ballte (Itä-Länsi-Battle). Two groups of young photographers are trying to show the differences between the east and the west of Helsinki. They took pictures of the people, their homes, their hobbies, streets, everything that gives an idea about their lifestyle. They put the pictures in contrast to each other. It is a small exhibition but really nice to see and interesting if you want to get a better understanding of Helsinki.

They also have three exhibition of K-G Ross on display. His pictures are all from the 50s and in his pictures he focuses on the people rather than landscape and architecture. On exhibition shows shootings for the Finnish fashion label Marimekko. In another one he captured life on Helsinki’s streets on the 50s. The third one deals with the mafia and its role in Sicilia.

Furthermore the museum shows exhibitions from Octavian Bâlea and Timo Kelaranta.

Ticket prices are 6 €/4€. 
HelsinkiIn ranking: The ticket is worth 5 €.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Moving to Helsinki IV

During the last days I gave you some information about what to consider when moving to Helsinki. With those small hints you should be better prepared and ready to take a look at the recent offers on the market. But where should you search for places?


Here are two really useful websites where you should be able to find a lot of offers and where you hopefully will find your new home.

And here is one more maybe quite interesting website for you. You should know that the biggest landlord here is the City of Helsinki itself. They offer apartments for reasonable rental prices. Find out more about how to apply to those under the following link:

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday walk around Uunisaari

On a beautiful sunny Sunday like today one of the nicest areas to go for a walk is definitely the seaside at Kaivopuisto. There is no straight bus or tram connection to get there but the trams 3B/T and 10 as well as the bus line 14 get you pretty close there. During the winter a bridge connects the land with the small island Uunisaari (oven island). Here you can have a short break in the café (open Saturdays and Sundays) before walking to the island Liuskasaari that is connected through a mole. At the moment the whole bay is frozen so you can even go for a round tour that ends at Café Carusel. But be careful. The last week has been quite warm and the ice slowly starts melting. So stay on the paths that the experienced locals made.
Here some impressions from today:

path on the ice

Restaurant Boathouse (just open in the summer)

the "open" sea

the ice slowly starts melting

mole between Uunisaari and Luiskasaari

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Korvapuusti Deluxe

One of the most traditional Finnish pastries is Korvapuusti (slapped ears). It is a cinnamon roll that is served with coffee.You will find it in basically every café. Today I tried some kind of deluxe version of it at Arnolds (the Finnish Dunkin' Donuts). They call it Spinny and you get it for 3,20 €. It is covered with a tasty sauce, they warm it up for you and it's just great! This sweet delight is of course not the healthiest snack. But come on, it's weekend.
For those that want to make their own Korvapuusti I found this recipe.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Moving to Helsinki III

But where should you move? And how is it with the additional costs for an apartment? Here some more tips:

As in every bigger city there are differences depending on the location you choose. If you are searching for something with a low budget take a look at the area called Kallio. It is still pretty close to the city center, has great bus, tram and metro connection and offers a vivid nightlife. Especially for students it is a great choice. I wouldn’t recommend it for families that much though. As in most other cities too, the further you are away from the center the cheaper it gets. If you don’t mind living a bit further away you should also consider checking out Espoo and Vantaa. What? Never heard of them? Espoo is in face the second biggest city in Finland. But never mind. Those two cities are surrounding Helsinki and the prices here are a bit lower. But before you take any cheap offers always check how well the area where you want to live is connected to the center. You can find the connections on the website of the local public transportation company HSL. As your destination type in "Rautatientori" (Central Railway Station) or "Kamppi".

Additional costs:

Of course the bigger the apartment and the more people live there the more you have to pay for electricity and water (and maybe gas). One important thing you should know is that for water you pay a fixed price every month (between 10 and 15 Euros). You can use as much as you want. Maybe that has something to do with the huge amount of water that Finland holds (lakes and the sea). The price also includes the warm water. That means that in case the apartment has a normal radiator the heating is also included in the water fee.

To find out about the prices for internet and phone you can check from these companies:

DNA/Welho (mobile, internet, TV):
Sonera (mobile, internet, TV):
Saunalahti (mobile):

You should know that in Finland most people don’t use landlines anymore. And the prices for calling are reasonable. So don’t bother trying to get a landline yourself.

To be continued!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Moving to Helsinki II

And here comes part two of useful information for finding a place in Helsinki:

Rent or buy:

In Finland it is very common to live in your own place. In contrast to most other countries and especially bigger cities renting is quite exceptional here.  But since I assume most of you interested in this topic are from abroad and are probably not planning on staying in Finland for ever I will focus on the rental market. The information here might still in most cases also apply for buying apartments.


Yes, size matters. Especially when it comes to living space. I guess the most challenging thing in Helsinki might be, to find a place where you want to live alone. Of course there are those small one room apartments but most likely they are very expensive compared to what you would pay if you live in a bigger place together. So if you come here as a student and are not planning on staying at university housing consider sharing an apartment with one or two classmates.

To be continued...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Moving to Helsinki I

Ok, the last days you had to read a lot about the weather here. Sorry for that! But now something useful. I want to open a new service category for you. Over the next days I will provide a bit of information to people who are planning to move to Helsinki or are already living here and searching for a new place to stay. Knowing where to find the apartments is one thing. But I think it is also quite useful to have some basic information about the apartment market in this city. That’s why I listed down some things you should know. Today I'll start with :
the price level

First of all you have to arrange yourself with the fact that Helsinki is probably one of the most expensive cities in Europe or even the world. There are so many rankings for the most expensive cities in the world that all come to different conclusions but let me tell you that Helsinki is quite often among the top 10. For an apartment in the center with one bedroom you pay an average rent of around 900 € per month. In Berlin you could probably get three bedrooms for that price. But also the living expenses are a bit higher here. It is quite obvious when you go out since especially the prices for alcohol are quite high. But also at the supermarket you will see a difference (especially with foreign products like cheese from the Netherlands). You’ll find a pretty good overview over the general price level here.

Stay tuned for more!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Esplanadi in February

On this picture you can see Esplanadi Park. I took it last Sunday. My plan is to now take one picture from the same position every month. I think that might show the different faces of this city pretty well.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A new (sunny) day has come

What a difference to yesterday the weather is. We have beautiful sunshine today. Amazing how dramaticly the weather can change this city's face from one day to the next.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Snowy Sunday

It has been snowing the whole night through and doesn't seem to end.
Good day to stay inside and have a lazy day. Cars and busses definately have there problems today so you anyway don't get far outside. 

Well, I changed my plans then and went outside anyway. Here two impressions from the city center.

Aleksanterinkatu with snow. Quite rare picture since this street is heated from underneath.

What a cliché. I was already watching out for polar bears. I guess I just couldn't spot because of all the snow.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Best cafés in Helsinki

I already presented you my ranking of the best pubs in Helsinki. Today it’s all about the cafés.


1. Café Fazer (CITY Ranking not under the top 5): It might be one of the biggest tourist attraction and that is probably also the reason why Helsinki locals didn’t vote it into the top 5 cafés in Helsinki. It is also definitely not the cheapest place in Helsinki. For me it is anyway the number one. Fazer, located in Kluuvikatu between Esplanadi und Alexis, has by far the biggest and best selection of cakes, tarts, cookies, chocolate, sandwiches and whatever else you ever wish for for a nice afternoon at a café. Even if it is tempting to take more I would highly recommend to just take one piece of cake. They are really filling and together with a nice coffee or hot chocolate should be enough to make you happy. When you come there for the first time, try to cheesecake. It’s amazing. Also the interior at Fazer convinces with its luxurious but still simple style. Eventhough it is nice to sit next to the window and watch people passing by I would recommend sitting in the back of the café under the dome. While enjoying your cake try to avoid too private topics. Due to the interesting acoustics it is possible for the people on the opposite side of the dome to overhear your conversation.

2. Kappeli (CITY Ranking not under the top 5): Again one of those tourist places and again probably a reason it didn’t make it into the top 5. Kappeli is a restaurant, café and bar on Esplanadi. The beautiful and recently restored old building with a lot of windows has its very own style and atmosphere. I the summer you can sit outside on the terraces, enjoy the sunshine and listen to one of the many bands that play on Esplanadi. In winter you should come inside, have a got glöggi or just a normal cappuccino and enjoy the warmth while watching people outside fighting the cold in their fluffy winter coats. Kappeli is a place with great tradition. Opened in 1867 it already hosted few of Finland’s most famous and important artists like Jean Silbelius and Eino Leino. The history and the nice location also have an effect on the price. Kappeli is one of the most beautiful but also one of the most expensive places in Helsinki.

3. Café Java (CITY Ranking No 1): In the corner of Lasipalatsi at Mannerheimintie Café Java is located at the probably liveliest crossroad of Helsinki. If you want to watch the city life while having your coffee this is the place to go. Café Java offers a nice selection of pastry and hot and cold beverages. If you are hungry you can also create your own salad. Not just because it has lately been voted the best café in town it is almost always crowded. After noon it gets tough to find a table here. And waiting at the counter for your order might take a while. Especially during rush hour I would recommend you to go right upstairs. They also have a bar up there where you can place your order. And also the view is much nicer from up here. Compared to Fazer and Kappeli the prices are quite reasonable (taking into account you are in the center of Helsinki).

with material from CITY Magazine Helsinki 3/2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

ABI in the city

Who ever has been to the city center somewhere close to Esplanadi around one o'clock saw it anyway. For the once who missed it: Today was Abi day. That means that the students from highschools in the whole country where celebrating their abitur (a-levels). For that occasion they go around the city center in costumes on the back of big trucks and party as much as they can. The students where quite lucky with the weather choosing a day with mild temperatures of just around -1°C.
Here some pictures:

Since I've never seen something like that anywhere else (at least not with those kind of trucks) it kind of also counts into the category of weird finnish vehicles, I would say. What do you think?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Best Pubs in Helsinki

Hei guys,
the CITY Magazine made their readers vote for the best places in Helsinki. You can check out the result on their latest issue. I also took the time to make my personal ranking. Today I start with:

Best Pubs:

1. Teerenpeli (CITY Ranking No. 1) The beer restaurant, how it is called, is located in Kamppi just a few meters away from the big shopping center. They serve their own brewed beer. You can choose between six to seven different beers from their brewery in Lahti. (They already received lots of prizes for their beer.) I highly recommend you the Sauhusanttu, a smoky dark beer. It’s quite strong though and might not be everyone’s taste. But if you are new just ask for the bar tenders help for your choice of beer. They also let you try before ordering. Don’t forget to ask also for the changing season’s beer.  Apart from that they also have a big variety of bottled beer mainly from Belgium and Germany. If you come in hungry try one of their famous panimos (toasts). They smell really good and taste even better. The dark and cozy interior makes it easy to relax and chill out here. Teerenpeli is extremely popular on Friday and Saturday nights as a place to go before going to a club. So try to avoid entering there between nine and eleven. It might be impossible to find a table.

2. Stone’s (CITY Ranking not in the top 5): Stone’s, located in one of the side streets of Aleksanterinkatu, is a nice cozy place with dark interior that has more to offer then what meets the eye at the first glance. On two levels you can relax in comfortable booths or at small tables. They offer a wide selection of beer some of which I bet you’ve never heard of before. Ask the waiter to have a try before you decide on a beer. The screens in the pub might also help you with your decision. They monitor the beers consumption there so you know exactly what the most popular draught of the day is. Hungry? No problem. They also serve food. Get a snack like the tasty beer bacon meatballs for reasonable prices. You can save some money with your S-bonus card here since Stone’s belongs to the S-group. Like in most of the Finnish pubs they also have a big selection of board games. So go downstairs and play a round of Kimble with your friends.

3. Molly Malone’s  (CITY Ranking No. 3): The probably most original Irish Pub in whole Helsinki. Also located close to the metro station Kaisaniemi Molly Malone’s offer exactly what you expect from an Irish Pub. You get your tapped Guinness as well as Newcastle Brown Ale. But also other draught beers like Australian Fosters or Finnish Lapin Kulta are available. But Molly Malone’s has more to offer then what is obvious on the first glance. On weekends they open their second level for live music acts. And when you come up there you’ll be surprised how much space they have upstairs. With a second bar and numerous tables the airy room differs a lot from the narrow but cozy booths you find downstairs.

with material from CITY Magazine Helsinki 3/2012

Monday, February 13, 2012

ice desert

This is how the see looks here at the moment. I took this picture in the afternoon while waiting for the bus at Hanasaari. Not sure if it is already possible to step on the ice. Maybe better not risk it.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

WFV #2

And anotherone for the cathegory "weird finnish vehicles". Have you also always been wondering how on earth they manage to turn the football pitches into ice rinks? This question has been haunting me for more then a year now. But a few days ago I finally got my answer. Take a look!

It's a truck with a huge tank that melts snow and then sprays it over the whole area. Quite simple but cool concept. Still didn't figure out how exactly they get the snow on top of this thing. Does the poor driver have to use a shovel? Still a mistery to solve...

WFV #1

Hey guys,
last weekend I finally found out how they clean the tram tracks after heavy snowfall. Take a look. Funny thing.

4. Ravintolapäivä in Helsinki

Johannes Wienss und Kojo Owusu (v.l.) servieren Spezialitäten aus Ghana

Karneval des guten Geschmacks

Nicht einmal ein Jahr alt, ist der Ravintolapäivä schon zu einer guten finnischen Tradition geworden. Letzten Samstag war es wieder so weit. Weltweit luden rund 300 Restaurants zum vierten Restauranttag ein.

Mit exotischen Gerüchen, bunten Farben und afrikanischem Flair begrüßt das Paloni seine Gäste. Aus dem Designgeschäft ist für einen Tag in das Restaurant Piknik Ghanassa geworden. Koch Kojo Owusu hat für die Gäste Spezialitäten aus seinem Heimatland Ghana zubereitet. Zusammen mit dem Deutschen Johannes Wienss hat er ein Menü aus Bohnensalsa, Couscous und frittierten Bananen kreiert. Dazu gibt es ein erfrischendes Ingwergetränk.
Das Piknik Ghanassa war eines von 131 Restaurants in Helsinki, die anlässlich des Ravintolapäivä am vergangenen Samstag ihre Türen für Gäste öffneten.
Original Berliner Currywurst bei -17 Grad.
Das Konzept ist ausgefallen und einfach zugleich. Am Ravintolapäivä kann jede und jeder für einen Tag ein Restaurant, ein Café oder eine Bar eröffnen. Wer Lust hat, für einen Tag Gäste im eigenen Restaurant zu bewirten, meldet sich einfach auf der Webseite an. Name und Gestaltung der so genannten Pop-up-Restaurants ebenso wie Auswahl und Preise der Speisen und Getränke stehen den Teilnehmern dabei vollkommen frei.

„Nur heute geöffnet“
Der Kreativität sind keine Grenzen gesetzt. Und genau das wurde auch beim vierten Ravintolapäivä wieder deutlich. Die Auswahl war riesig. Und so verwunderte es auch nicht, dass es sich trotz eisiger Kälte hunderte Interessierte nicht nehmen ließen, auf kulinarische Entdeckungsreise zu gehen. Von amerikanischen Cupcakes, über finnische Spezialitäten wie Lihapulla oder Korvapuusti bis hin zu französischer Bouillabaisse, iranischem Naan-Brot und deutscher Currywurst wurde den Besuchern einiges geboten. Kaum ein Wunsch blieb da offen.

Auch das Cupcake Corner hat für die Besucher geöffnet.
Hunderte Pop-up-Restaurants weltweit

Doch längt nicht nur in Helsinki konnte am vergangenen Samstag ausgiebig geschlemmt werden. In vielen anderen finnischen Städten öffneten Pop-up-Restaurants für ihre Besucher. Selbst im Ausland fand der Ravintolapäivä viele Freunde. Und so verwandelten sich weltweit in elf verschiedenen Ländern Hinterhöfen, Wohnzimmern, Boutiquen und Galerien für einen Tag in Restaurants.
„Das ist ein tolles Konzept. Schade, dass das in Deutschland noch keiner aufgegriffen hat.“ findet der aus Düsseldorf stammende Koch Johannes Wienss. Doch das kann sich schon zum nächsten Ravintolapäivä ändern. Den haben die Veranstalter auch schon bekanntgegeben. Am 19. Mai soll es wieder soweit sein. Und den sollte man sich bereits jetzt rot im Kalender anstreichen.