The frozen Töölö bay

5.03.2009 at 13:39 | Posted in Architecture, Go At Least Once, Leisure, Romantisch, Walk Route | 4 Comments
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by Edit Bajsz

If you get the chance, walk across the frozen Töölö bay before the ice melts.
People have created some paths on the ice and snow, mainly in the North-South direction. Basically, it’s a shortcut between Finlandia-house and Sturenkatu street, avoiding the steep climb on Linnunlaulu street.
But the reason one should walk there, is to get a new perspective of the city, of the surrounding buildings. I was wondering, why is this perspective so exciting. It would be the same from a small boat rowing on the Töölö bay in the summer. Then I realized, that now we have solid „ground” under our feet, and while on a boat we have to hold on tight, constantly balance ourselves, and it is quite tough to stand still, now we move on the ice as we usually do on the streets of the city: we can walk, stop for a while, look around.

tl-029

Also, our eye level is lower than usual. This, and the fact that the trees of the parks around the bay are not right in front of us, give a new kind of view over the buildings. The opera house can look pretty scary…

tl-032

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Penny Lane Boutique

6.09.2008 at 16:18 | Posted in Buy Stuff, Get Some Clothes, History | 1 Comment
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by Erik Johansson

Penny Lane is a must see for anyone who likes second-hand shopping. The boutique is placed in a most unique and beautiful two-story room. The ceiling is covered with a beautiful mirror and is encircled by a balcony-like upper floor. They have been around for 15 years and house mainly woman’s clothing (a lot of spectacular dresses on the upper floor), but there is also small section of men’s clothing. For instance, I found a couple of dress-suits for rent. If you ever find yourself in need of a masquerade costume, this is the place to go! They have fezes and all other hat-types imaginable. The shop is located on Runebergsgatan 39. See map >>>

Ski Jumping Ramp

5.07.2008 at 15:52 | Posted in Architecture, Leisure, Nature, Sports, Walk Route | 11 Comments
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This post is for all those who, like me, had no idea that Helsinki has its very own ski jumping slope. There are actually three of them grouped together on a hillside between the apartment buildings of Western Herttoniemi and the protected area south of Viikki. The wooden construction of the big one is rather vintage looking but well-kept and the perfect state of the slopes indicates that the ramps are in use. Despite the many warning signs I decided to climb to the top to get a better view for taking photos.

A bit further south form the jumping slope I found a small slalom hill with a ramp constructed to help skiers accelerate.

Hämeentie Food Shops

19.06.2008 at 11:56 | Posted in Buy Food, Buy Stuff, Show a Foreign Friend | 2 Comments
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Probably some of Helsinki’s most multicultural areas in terms of small (and big) immigrant shops are the proximities of Hämeentie street and the streets adjacent to it. There are African, oriental and middle eastern shops with an exciting abundance of spices, grains, sauces, herbs and other food products from all around the world.
Pictured here is the Vietnamese supermarket Vii Voan located next to Hakaniemen Kauppahalli. There works a friendly, old man who always runs off into the shop to show me where to find the particular ingredients that I’m looking for. I’ve recently been there to get some Korean kimchi for making kimchijeon and he found me five different kinds of it. After that I supply myself with basmati or jasmine rice and spices like turmeric, cumin, cardamom in a nearby Indian shop. Then there are also the dried beans, peas and lentils, the soya sauces and rice vinegars, the different teas and herbs and so on…
If you have curiosity for foreign foods I strongly advise to pay a visit to these places. The shop assistants tend to be very sympathetic and who knows, they might even share some recipes

p.s.
I also found a nice Arabic wholesale shop a bit further towards the shore, close to Kalasatama metro station.

Arkadia International Bookshop

21.05.2008 at 12:08 | Posted in For Coffee or Tea, Gallery / Art Space, Go At Least Once, Leisure, Show a Foreign Friend, Where to Read a Book | Leave a comment
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Barely two months ago Ian Bourgeot opened his bookshop with the idea of creating a meeting point and a sort of cultural centre in midst of the Töölö neighbourhood. Already now a plenitude of ideas and plans for the interior and activities in the place are waiting to be implemented. What you can always count on are tons of interesting books in English, French, Spanish, Russian and even Polish and… a hot cup of tea on a comfortable sofa. See map for Hesperiankatu 9 or visit arkadiabookshop.fi

Suomenlinna Tunnel

7.05.2008 at 15:49 | Posted in Architecture, History, Industrial, NotBeen but WannaGo, Strange | 7 Comments
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Although it is by no means a secret not everyone knows there’s a tunnel connection from the Suomenlinna island to mainland Helsinki. The 1300 metre long tunnel starts in northern Länsi-Mustasaari island and comes out in south-eastern Kaivopuisto by the Läntinen Puistotie street. Apart from providing the islands with hot water the tunnel serves as an emergency route for ambulances, fire brigade and police. The tunnel is nested 63 metres below sea level half of which is rock and half water. About 500 cubic metres of seawater seep into the tunnel every day and have to be constantly pumped out.


photo source

The Suomenlinna tunnel is only one of very many underground passages drilled in the rock underneath Helsinki. There are public transport tunnels like the metro tunnel from Sörnäinen to Ruoholahti, there are numerous sewage tunnels and there is also a system of tunnels connecting Helsinki’s central hospitals that can be used to transport soldiers and medical equipment. The water in Helsinki is brought from the Päijänne lake by means of a 120km long tunnel dug 10-100m deep in the rock.

Read Hugo’s comprehensive comment to find out more about underground Helsinki.

Taikalamppu Café

5.05.2008 at 15:14 | Posted in For Coffee or Tea, Go At Least Once, Show a Foreign Friend, Where to Read a Book | Leave a comment
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This café is a true rarity in Helsinki as it would be difficult to find an equally colourful and joyous interior anywhere near at this latitude. There’s a piano, chairs and tables in all colours and styles, drawings and decorations all over the walls and plenty of plants everywhere. The two windows and entrance are facing eastwards so during summer season it’s best to come during the first half of the day and enjoy your cake, coffee and newspaper outside in the sun. The name means ‘magic lamp’ (rightly so) and the address is Torkkelinkatu 21 in Kallio which you can see on the map here. Enjoy!

P.s.
Did I mention it’s cheap? How about some home-made cake with a chunk of ice cream for 2,50! Add a euro to that and you get a coffee too.

Heinähattu Pub

28.04.2008 at 0:18 | Posted in Beer/Drink Place | 2 Comments
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Heinähattu is a small pub on Kallio’s famous Vaasankatu street under the number 23. It has posters and magazine snippets plastered all over the walls and the music (rock) is played exclusively from a jukebox. I like to stop by for a Synebrichoff Porter (my favourite Finnish beer apart from sahti) which costs here 3,50€. The bottle is small but the beer is good and strong so it pays off.
Click here to get to the porter with the help of a map.

Mysterious Railway Link

24.04.2008 at 23:43 | Posted in Industrial, Railroad, Strange, Walk Route | 4 Comments
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I’ve spotted this mysterious railway track while riding the ‘Jokeri’ bus line number 550 between Itäkeskus and Oulunkylä. In one place the bus actually uses a narrow, old railroad bridge to cross the Vantaanjoki river (see photo below). The track doesn’t look like it’s often used but it seems to be well-kept and operational. It’s linking the metro line with the VR railroads (via warehouses in the Roihupello industrial area) so it could be used to bring metro wagons from production facilities but I also wonder whether it has any strategic meaning (e.g. to transport arms/equipment to the east of Helsinki).

Update: A lot of things got cleared out after a comment from Kalle.
See comments for an update about the history and purpose of these tracks.

Here’s a map showing where the track used to end in Herttoniemi.

Here’s the whole track in the year 1964.

The destruction of industrial Herttoniemi is documented here.

Try to find the track on a larger map.

Lemon Grass – Thai Cuisine

5.04.2008 at 17:26 | Posted in Go At Least Once, Where to Eat | 5 Comments
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Lemon Grass is one of my recent culinary discoveries in Kallio and a very valuable one. In fact there aren’t too many good asian restaurants in Helsinki so it was a pleasant surprise to receive a delicious Thai meal for the modest price of only about 10€. Kind service is always welcome too.
The place is located near the Hakaniemi metro station at Kolmas Linja 12.
Click here to see it on the map.

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