Thursday, May 31, 2012

Helsinki celebrates

Today is the first day of the Helsinki week. It is arranged around the city’s birthday and lasts from May 31st till June 17th (so actually much longer than one week). This year the city has something special to celebrate. Apart from being the World Design Capital it is also Helsinki’s 200th anniversary as capital of Finland.

Lots of events are will take place in the city during the next two weeks. To get an overview and decide what you want to see you should check out the website of Helsinki Viikko. Here you find all the information you need.

The cities actual birthday is on June 12th which is also going to be the busiest day of Helsinki Viikko. You will read more about it later here on HelsinkiIn.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The west from above

The big electronics store in the western harbor doesn’t just provide a wide variety of electronics. It also has a sightseeing roof terrace on its top floor. If you happen to be in the area you should check it out.

Take the elevator straight to the 7th level. You don’t have to pay an entrance fee. It is completely for free. The terrace is surrounded by glass to make even the ones being afraid of heights feel save.
Unfortunately there is no café or such up there. If you don’t want to miss a good coffee up there though you should grab a take away at the café downstairs on the second floor and take it up with you. If you are interested you can inspect the MIG-21 that is displayed there.

The view is not as good as from Torni or Loiste but you can see the ferries leaving to Tallinn and easily spot important buildings from the center.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Trash and treasures

Are you into flea markets? Well, you might not know that there is a regular one in Helsinki taking place three times per week. In an old storehouse in the northern part of Helsinki you find the Valtteri flea market. It takes place on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. On those days it is open from 9.00 to 15.00. If you are searching for second hand stuff this is the place you most likely find what you were looking for. Amongst lot of good and still usable products unfortunately people also try to sell stuff that can just be called trash. Most useless stuff you fill find in the dissolved household department. But of course you can also be lucky. Prices here are really low and it’s worth paying a visit. You get there easily with tram line 9.

Good luck with getting good deals!

Monday, May 28, 2012

No cats!

„Do you have a cat? “, is what this poster is asking. Well, it seems like most Finns – at least the ones living in Helsinki – would have to answer this question with “no”.

In most other cities you always see some cats strolling around. Not so in Helsinki. Here you barely get to see any of those animals. The only time I ever got to see a cat here on the street was a few weeks ago. It was on a leach and walked by its owner. That’s another reason for me to believe that Finns are in general more dog people. And if they happen to get a cat by any weird circumstances they apparently try to train it to behave like a dog.

Asking a Finn why I don’t get to see any cats here I was told that first of all it would be way too dangerous for them in the city due to the traffic and second of all they couldn’t handle the extreme winter temperatures. Hundreds of cats in the streets of St. Petersburg – it has quite the same climate and the traffic in Helsinki is nothing compared to what you see there – clearly disprove those arguments.

This leaves me to the conclusion that cats probably just don’t fit the Finnish mentality. Being reliable, following the rules, carrying social responsibility as a part of a group - those are all highly appreciated values in the Finnish society and are all not really characteristics for a cat.

If anyone knows any other explanation, please let me know. Otherwise I will have to accept that Finns and cats are just not made for each other.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Cozy café by the sea

What could be better on such a beautiful Sunday than sitting in a café at the beach, sipping from your coffee cup and having delicious Finnish pastry while you enjoy the sunshine?

The definitely best, coziest and unique place for that is Café Regatta between the Sibelius monument and the old rowing stadium. The traditional red wooden cottage next to the water is easy to find. The simple wooden interior gives a cozy atmosphere right away. At the counter you get homemade Finnish pulla (pastry) and drinks. The prices are reasonable. You have to pay in cash though since they don’t have a card reader there.

If the sun shines you should definitely sit outside on the gorgeous terrace. You can take a seat at one of the small tables or sit down next to the bond fire they light every day. Here they even invite you to grill your own sausages and meat!

Regatta is really worth a visit!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sing, Europe, sing!

Today is the big final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Baku. Of course the weather today it pretty good and there are also lots of other things to do tonight then watching TV. Watching the ESC in Finland has one quite interesting extra to it though. Finland is the only country where the lyrics of all the songs are subtitled. For those of you who understand some Finnish it should be quite interesting to also follow what artists from countries like Serbia or Bosnia and Herzegovina are singing about.

Sweden's Laureen has good chances to win tonight.

Also quite interesting to know is that you can watch the ESC with two different commentaries. There is a Finnish and a Swedish audio line. It is really amazing through which trouble Finns go through to provide Swedish versions of everything for a minority of around 5 % of the society.

The show starts tonight at 10 p.m. on YLE 2. Have fun!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Bella Italia Suomessa

Just a few weeks ago Helsinki was hosting the French market at Lasipalatsi. Starting from today till Sunday the Italian market invites its visitors to freshly brewed Italian espresso, pastry or a good piece of original Italian parmesan.

The market is located in front of Kamppi shopping center and is open from 11.00 till 20.00 on all three days.

Buon Appetito!

Green Main Station

The color of the Finnish Railway Company VR has been changed from red to green lately. As part of their 150 year celebration they also made Helsinki Main Station greener. In association with Green Care, Tahvoset, Clear Channel and Skandaali they started the project Ihme Puutarha (wonder garden).

Gardening schools from all over Finland could compete for the best garden designs. The winners concepts where realized at the main station. The green exhibition wants to show that it is possible to make it green everywhere – even on asphalt and concrete. The idea goes hand in hand with VR’s new green attitude as being one of the most environmental companies in Finland.

You can see Ihme Puutarha in Helsinki till June 6th.