Oodi, the new neighbourhood library

Oodi, the new neighbourhood library

As an OD (Organisational Development) specialist, I find the new Helsinki library quite fitting well for me. It’s called Oodi which means ode in Finnish. However, this is not exactly a normal library. Although this library has lots and lots of books, it also has a cafe, a restaurant, a movie theatre, areas for concerts, recording studios, a kitchen, a gaming room and an immersive 3-D space whose walls can be illuminated with digital projections. There are high-tech equipments such as laser cutter, computerised embroidery machines and equipment to digitally sculpt wood. It is said that this library is the government’s gift to the Finnish people on its 100 years of Independence. 

So I’m so happy. The library has lots of creative spaces, including an orange reading room. There are also many books that I want to read and comfortable chairs I want to sit on, even the Eero Aarnio’s ball chairs! And best of all, it’s only a 13 minutes walk from my flat. 

All photos taken by arivitikainenphotography.com

Germany, again!

Germany, again!

It’s my second time in Germany this year. The third in just over a year. Can you imagine that? After all my reasoning to avoid Germany in my recent post, there was no hesitation in me whatsoever to be back again. Why has Germany become so appealing? Why do I have to be in Hamburg for the second time?

The difference between my last visits, I think, was realising that Germany became my visual home. It was here where I found my visual connections. It was here where I acquired inspiration to continue as a visual practitioner. I have been a visual practitioner for many years but it was the conversations that occurred here that made me realise and say, “Yes, I am a visual practitioner!”

One exciting thing was being able to ask advise on visual recording in quite a concrete way. It was wonderful to observe Malte von Tiesenhausen create a picture to inspire me in this work. He, himself, is very inspiring!

Another thing I realised was how friendly and helpful the Germans are. It was unbelievable how easy it was to talk to people and to ask for directions, for example. I was really amazed by this fact.

Will I be back in Germany soon? Sure, why not!

My perfect café in Helsinki

My perfect café in Helsinki

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After three years of searching for a perfect café in Helsinki, I can say this is my favourite one. Because I really did some research and even have a coffee blog for it called Helsinki Coffee Scene. I’ve been to many, many more cafés in Helsinki which many I felt not worth blogging at all until I ended here. Here is where I belong! This is the place where I sit, listen to music, draw and eat huge amount of cakes to celebrate birthdays of whoever is having a birthday that day. It’s my go to café. And the best thing about it, it is some 20 minutes walk from my flat or even longer for my shorter stride. This means I get a bit of a exercise rather than going to the nearest one which is some 3 minutes away. I have to get rid of those calories, you know!

The place is called Robert’s Coffee Jugend located in front of the Esplanade Park. It’s in a beautiful, spacious Jugend house with a high ceiling and comfortable leather chairs. The other thing about this place is that I really like their coffee. The savoury snacks are very tasty too, along with the cakes and ice-creams. I so love to be sat in this place at any time, and any weather!

You can find  my coffee blog here: https://www.arivitikainenphotography.com/blog

Autumn in Helsinki

Autumn in Helsinki

Autumn is my favourite season and Helsinki is one of the best cities to experience it. This is because Helsinki has a lot of parks and open spaces, even in the very centre of Helsinki where I live.

One of my favourite spots for an Autumn photo is under the tree beside the House of Parliament. This spot never fails to display the rich colour of Autumn because of the colourful leaves of this particular maple tree.

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Across the street from the National Museum is another open space with beautiful, vivid trees. It’s a wonderful feeling sat on the terrace, enjoying coffee and just be soaked in the surrounding beauty. Walking further is the Hesperian Park where a full Autumn bloom awaits. It’s amazing how nature reveals itself as season changes.

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Photos by arivitikainenphotography.com

Mountain, sea and sunset in beautiful Norway

Mountain, sea and sunset in beautiful Norway

There is no denying. Norway is beautiful. I have been to Hammerfest before and I know this to be true. This time was about exploring another part of Norway to enjoy the mountain, the sea and the sunset.

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The first day was an easy climb to Ersfjord in Kvaløya. Kvaløya is just some 15 minutes drive from the Tromsø city center. It was such a breathtaking beauty!

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Also climbed Brosmetinden on the same day. Brosmetinden is only 525 meters above sea level but it is very steep and the way is very rocky. It also didn’t help that it started raining resulting to low visibility. Basically walking through the clouds and I did like that!

Can you see me? The one and only! Felt like a weather forecaster in the last photo or at least checking the state of the rocks. Hello rocks, how are you?

Drove to the cold, windy, rainy and pretty Sommarøy island the next day. Beautiful but empty beaches because of the weather that day.

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But such a sunset drama unfolding. It was a spectacular sight!

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Left Sommarøy after a night there and took the ferry to Senja. The ferry ride was some 45 minutes from the Brensholmen to Botnhamn. Stayed in Skaland in Senja to explore the Husfjellet the next day.

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Husfjellet was such a hard climb because of the rain the day before. It was very steep, muddy which made it very slippery and was basically walking on the swamp. But what a lovely view on the top and a peaceful walk going down.

Then a magnificent sea sunset in Skaland where baby whales can be seen from afar.

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After two nights in Senja, it was time to head to Ersfjordbotn. But wait, one last look at the mountain I climbed the day before. This time it was very windy. I was about to be blown away literally!

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Stayed by the fjord in Ersfjordbotn. What a striking sunset view! Can you see me?

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The last evening in Norway this time was spent climbing (again!) to see a better view of the Ersfjorden and thinking of returning to Norway someday soon! One thing about this trip was to understand how the weather changes easily. It was an alternating sunny and rainy days. I also had to retire my red shoes because it was soaking wet!

(All photos by Ari Vitikainen)

Helsinki and the HAM

Helsinki and the HAM

Most of my travels include a museum visit. I love that feeling of serenity – that state of being calm, peaceful and having the notion of being unaffected by the world outside. I’m one with the art and I can stay in that state for hours. In Helsinki, the museums are almost part of my living room. I visit them as often as I can that sometimes it feels like I own those pieces of art!

The nearest museum from the flat is some 4 minutes away by walk. HAM stands for Helsinki Art Museum. They offer art activities on Saturdays and the workshop is always open if you feel like sketching or having a try at graffiti art. Also, Wednesdays are free entrance. Two large frescoes by Tove Jansson are on permanent display there. There is also a room with a sofa and a shelf filled with Tove Jansson’s Moomin books in different languages. There is a table with coloured pens and papers, and chairs.IMG_6953

And of course, a place to relax with colourful pillows.

 

 

 

 

So I was at this room, sat on the sofa, writing away on my Moleskine. I was writing a part of Tove Jansson’s poem which says, “I paint you on the wall and there you’ll be like you were when you loved me.” Then people started greeting me, like the lazy museum guard I was in my black t-shirt. (I always wear black t-shirt!) I guess I was looking like a permanent fixture! I moved to the workshop and a kid approached me to ask if he can write also.

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The mum said the kid was so inspired to copy what I did and he hanged his writing next to mine.

But the best place is the whole top floor where they have the graffiti exhibition.

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If I had to write a thesis again, it will be about graffiti art. These would be all my textbooks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And of course, it will be hand-written on a Moleskine!

The magnificent Mt Fuji

The magnificent Mt Fuji

850_3322After taking a very expensive Shinkansen ride from Kyoto to Mishima, it took a bit over an hour to reach Fujikawaguchiko on a Thomas’ Land bus. It was a lovely surprise to get on a Thomas’ Land bus. It was the cutest bus I’ve ever been!

850_3331Arriving in Fujikawaguchi, Mt Fuji’s presence can be easily felt. It is very domineering that there is no way to miss it. It is behind the bus station and it shows itself at the restaurant while eating a bowl of soba.

Then a further 25 minutes ride on another bus led to Lake Kawaguchiko where Mt. Fuji reveals itself in all its majesty.

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36518196_10156990265472137_1575591314970378240_nAnd by the Lake Kawaguchiko, I also saw the prettiest manhole ever!

Mt Fuji can also be seen from the guesthouse’s window while having breakfast and dinner. Even when taking a shower!

All photos by Ari Vitikainen @ arivitikainenphotography.com