Stood by the town hall in Hamina at 4 in the afternoon, I can’t help but think that it’s coffee o’clock! At this instance, the best move was to look at Google map and type in “the best coffee in town”. With no further delay, the result was Konditoria Huovila. Well, it was the cafe just right across the street from where we were standing with it’s tagline, “Joka hetki on juhlahetki”. (Every moment is a moment of celebration). How appropriate is that!
The Konditoria (confectionary) Huovila in Hamina was established in 1966 in a building constructed in 1888. The place is idyllic with many elements from the past. And the best part – the coffee was good and the sweetness of the cakes was just right!
Tammisaarin Kopparö is a huge camping ground located in the town of Raseborg, Finland. It is a fully equipped area making camping experience such a delight. The place is not only located by the river where guests can enjoy sauna and swimming, there is a beautiful forest trail. This trail is covered with blueberries, forest strawberries and wild flowers. Of course, there are squirrels too and deers.
It was almost 10:00 in the evening when we arrived in Hanko. The sun was peaking through the clouds after driving in the rain. Standing by the shore in a few minutes, I felt I already achieved what I came here for. The cool breeze, fresh air and the gentle sound of the crashing waves… The moon revealed itself too which ended the day in such grandeur.
The next day was even better. Sunshine, hair blowing in the wind, sand on my toes, watching the waves in an empty beach. It was Hanko Blues. Blue waters. Blue skies. It was a perfect beach day!
One of the highlights was to reach the southernmost tip of mainland Finland. It was a beautiful walking trail surrounded by nature. Also, that feeling of achievement to reach the tip, not peak though! Hanko is indeed a recommended holiday destination.
Located in Southern Finland, Lake Tuusula is considered the artists’ colony of Finland. In the early 1900’s, the Golden Age of Finnish Art, many masters left their imprint on the Tuusula Lake Road. Situated around this 6.0 square kilometres lake stood the houses of Jean Sibelius,Juhani Aho, Pekka Halonen, Eero Järnefelt, Joonas Kokkonen and Aleksis Kivi which are now turned into museums.
However, the main highlight was to visit the top of Sarvikallio. The cliff is steep but it gave an amazing view of lake Tuusula.
Suomenlinna is a popular island destination about 4 kilometres away from the Helsinki city centre. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and very popular among locals and tourists. It is a beautiful place to soak in the warm sunlight and breathe in fresh air. Personally, I just love to sit by the shore to watch the gentle waves rolling in.
I’ve been to Suomenlinna many times before but it was my first time to visit when it is covered in Bunias orientalis (Ukonpalko in Finnish). It is such an amazing sight in combination with the blue colours of the sea and sky. So beautiful! It is something not to be missed in June of each year.
If you fancy an afternoon tea in Helsinki, I 100% recommend to head over to Brasserie Kämp along Pohjoisesplanadi Street. You won’t regret it, I promise. It will be a lovely afternoon spent in a beautiful place. You will have a choice between the Classic Afternoon tea and the Grand Afternoon tea. Take the latter as the lobster and caviar are a must to complete the setting. There are 13 tea selection. I prefer the Jasmine spiced green tea from Japan with its fresh taste and deep aroma.
The times of COVID-19 opened up possibilities to visit the outskirts of Helsinki. Why we haven’t done this before, I don’t know. But the travel restrictions surely played a main role. Although these places are some drive away from my Kamppi neighborhood, it was worth the visit, especially to see 100 year old trees.
Vanhankaupunginkoski is a riverside nature reserve with waterfalls. It is a popular place for walking, picnicking, fishing and birdwatching. The breeze created by the waterfalls was such a refreshing treat on this warm afternoon.
Tullisaari is located at the southeastern part of Helsinki. I love this peaceful island with its beautiful walk path and a lovely picnic area facing the sea.
The sun setting behind a tree from 1830 was the most breathtaking.
Century old trees made me imagine children climbing on it over the years. I wonder how many things these trees have seen. They hold lots of memories.
The restrictions on foreign travels made most of us aware of the beauty surrounding us. Exploring nearby places became a thing to experience now, rather than to wait for it to happen in the future. As the lockdown in Finland eases and the summer holiday starts, we immediately planned a trip to Vallisaari on the first day it reopened to visitors. Vallisaari is an island in Helsinki located some 25 minutes by boat from the Helsinki market square.
I instantly felt that holiday vibe the moment we arrived in Vallisaari. It was fun to see the hanging tents from the other side of the shore. Can you see them?
The combination of the dense, green forest and the clear, blue water was such a relaxing sight. I enjoyed the long walk in the most diverse nature. The island is full of beautiful wild flowers bursting with glorious colours along with the birds singing beautifully in the background. They bought me a lot of inspiration for my fabric designs.
One exciting aspect of the trip was to spend the night on the adjacent island, Kuninkaansaari. We were the only ones on the entire island. It was my first time to sleep on a tent tied to the trees in the forest. It was such a perfect place to watch the sea, to admire the sunset and to look up the sky. Sleeping to the birds singing, insects humming and the gentle sound of the waves was such a nature’s gift.
And of course, I woke up listening to the same peaceful sound of the birds, insects and waves. And as the island came to life at 10:00, it was interesting to watch how everything was coming back to normal after months of lockdown. Deliveries from the mainland arrived to better supply the opening of another restaurant. The ice-cream shop will reopen soon too.
Another thing that left an impression on me was how friendly were the people there. I left feeling really good about the trip and will happily return.
Lenny’s show in Helsinki on Saturday was amazing. He was full of energy, yet, so relaxed and so in the moment. He was walking in the stage and connecting sincerely to his audience. There was no rush whatsoever. He even asked the audience, “You are not in a hurry, aren’t you?” His voice was mesmerising. It was the same as listening to his studio recorded songs which means that he has such an authentic voice. His song, Here to love, was so touching with a choir on stage.
I bought seat tickets just to be sure that I can see. Except for Toto’s concert where I was stood in the first row, I struggled with height issue in concerts. I remember being squeezed among the crowd of a Green Day concert. And if not for the generous people infront of me during the Duran Duran and the Mariah Carey’s concert, I will not to able to see a thing, even those were seated tickets.
However during Lenny’s performance of Let love rule, I decided to go down. As luck would have it, Lenny went down the stage too and kept on saying, “I want to see the people.” I saw the security near me looking all nervous. Lenny went across and up the hall. I knew that he will pass my way since the steps going up the stage was on the side where I was standing. People rushed to my side with phones ready while I decided to place my phone on my back pocket. I held out both my hand as he was coming close. I called softly, “Lenny”. And he reached his hand to me and I held it with both my hands. We were face to face. He was infront of me. He saw me. It was a very in the moment handshake. The people before me didn’t get handshakes while they stuck out one hand and phones on the other. I would not be in the moment and see him up close, if I was busy with my phone. I was the second to the last person who he shook hands with before climbing back the stage. The last person who was the guy next to me was not on his phone either. Well, talking about in the moment!
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.