Helsinki summer events – must see

Suvilahti Flow

It’s the first of June and Helsinki has experience extremely warm days in May – nothing like before! The weather has tuned us into summer mood and here’s the check list for Helsinki summer. Do not miss these opportunities to enjoy summer in Helsinki.

Mid-Summer and Helsinki is empty – 22.-24.6.
In couple of weeks all Finns tune into mid-summer. For majority it means packing to summer cottage and leaving Helsinki. However, it doesn’t mean you couldn’t enjoy the quiet city. Enjoy Seurasaari mid-summer festivities and read tips from past year celebrations.

Tuska – direct translation Pain – metal music festival that you don’t want to miss. 29.6.-1.7.18
Even if you didn’t have any favourites or hadn’t listened metal before, don’t worry, just get your blacks on and enjoy the genuine atmosphere. This middle of Helsinki event is real and must visit event. Read earlier post about Tuska ››

Flow Festival – 10.-12.8.2018 – Flow
Every summer we write about Flow. It’s just a must see event in Helsinki. Music, food, great atmosphere and real Helsinki experience in the city. Get your 3 days tickets asap as they are often sold out and tune into Flow.

More about summer events in Helsinki – have a look ››

Sunset Torni

 

Best Sledding Places in Helsinki

6B0D9E34-6602-48A9-BD0B-9DB86C11C0BBOne of the most fun things to do in winter is to go sledding! We helsinkias do sledding a lot – with kids, teenagers and with friends. During last seven days I have tried two different sledding hills in down town Helsinki and can recommend both for you.

First one is in Punavuori district, in the end of Bulevardi in the Park Sinebrychoff. The same place is one of my favourite places around the year – I have written the place before. In Park Sinebrychoff there is simply a great sledding hill, you can go very fast but it is also suitable for kids. Also surroundings are very nice with many old buildings. Here you see families as well as groups of friends having winter fun. There is also a small restaurant ”South Park” where you can have brunch, dinner or just some hot chocolate to warm up as well as art museum (yellow building in picture below). So you can actually spend a perfect winter day in the park eating, sledding and enjoying art!

 

 

Another great place for sledding is Park Alppipuisto near Pasila railway station. There sledding hill is not as wide as in Park Sinebrychoff but if you are not afraid you can enjoy sledding from very high and steep hill. I think Alppipuisto has more ”natural” feeling and you can enjoy winter scenery there in addition to sledding.

 

 

I as well as other Finns have sled at home.  However, if you are just visiting Helsinki, you have to buy or borrow a sled. For buying I recommend visiting XXL sport store in Kluuvi (in Aleksanterinkatu). I guess hotels don’t have sleds to borrow but if you are staying in AirBnb you host could borrow you one if you ask. You can also always go to Park Sinebrychoff and ask to borrow sled from someone (more people there, that is why it is best place borrowing one).

Anna

ps. yesterday was pretty cold so hot chocolate was very much needed after some sledding

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Walking on Ice in Helsinki

E0AFC870-CCB1-4A30-B5BF-91C7E4284EEDOne of the best ways to enjoy Helsinki during sunny winter days is walking on ice. So – if you are in Helsinki and sea has frozen you should definately do that! You don’t anything special expect normal winter clothing. Don’t worry, it is totally safe as long as you see other people doing the same and you follow routes many others have walked before you.

Today I walked late afternoon from work to home and walked on ice of Töölönlahti. Enjoying sun, snow and beautiful scenery I took these pictures. I also decided to walk tomorrow to work if sun shines – surely it is the best way to start your day.

Most common places for Helsinkians to walk on ice is Töölönlahti (go to Finlandia-talo and you will find the place) and in front of Kaivopuisto. In latter case you can also walk from island to island.

Enjoy,

Anna

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The Most Romantic Bar in Helsinki: BasBas

IMG_4050Do you hope for candle light, lovely old brick walls and delicious food combined with trendy Helsinkian? Go to Bar BasBas & Stuff  – you have it all there! Last time I visited the place I saw some Finnish top politicians, Finnish celebrity chef and local movie star there as well as non-celebrity normal Helsinkians. Nearby there is also great restaurant called Baskeri & Basso which Anne has written before – however, this time I write about the bar.

At Bar BasBas you can of course enjoy variety of drinks (there is wide selection of wines available) but also eat, not total dinner but small plates. I promise if you order many of those, it is enough for dinner. Food is super delicious and interesting – many seasonal delicacies. My favourite plate is Avocado-fenkoli bruchetta, shown down left in pictures below. I realize that is not seasonal at all… There is also a picture of lamb tartar – that is also must try if in the menu!

 

 

Even I said this is the most romantic bar, it is also suitable for friends and groups of people. You can’t make reservation, just pop by. Popping by possibility is exactly the reason I am going to visit the place tomorrow – friend is coming to Helsinki and I want to have dinner with her. We haven’t booked a table since we believe we’ll find table in BasBas.

BasBas is situated in  the back corner of Punavuori, exact address is Tehtaankatu 27-29. It is maybe 1.5 kilometre walk from Railway Station – trams go nearby so check www.hsl.fi and find out easiest way to get there!

Anna

 

 

Best Bakery in Helsinki

I believe Leipomo Keisari is the best bakery in Helsinki. They have several bakeries around Helsinki – I usually visit the one in Kamppi metro station near my home.  Why Leipomo Keisari’s bread is so delicious? Well, they must have the best sourdoughs! You see, when using sourdoughs you don’t have to use yeast at all (or only a tiny bit). And that surely have an great positive effect on taste! All baking looks also very pretty so to sum up – Leipomo Keisari is totally Paris level bakery!

It is good to know that Kamppi bakery is only selling out – you can’t sit down and taste pastries right away.  And how do you find Leipomo Keisari? It is in Kamppi mall – on ground level near Ben and Jerry’s and K-supermarket.

Anna

 

Hobby-horsing – a versatile hobby

Hobby-horsing is a very popular hobby in Finland. I asked Nekku to write a post about this versatile hobby, competitions and the stable she runs in Lahti, Finland. Enjoy hobby-horsing with Nekku!
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Hi! I’m Nekku from hobbyhorse stable Tähtiseinä located in Lahti, Finland.

In our stable we do many things. One thing of hobby-horsing is doing hobby horses. There are many kind of hobby horses and if I would tell them all it would too long list, so here are few of them:

  • horses by felting
  • horses from fabric
  • real kind of them…
Nekku_hobby_horse

One of Nekku’s hobby-horses (Picture by Nekku)

Also many fancier do a stable for their horses and the stables are quite different. Some of them are in bedroom (like mine), some of them are in play cottage. Some are big (there can be over 50 horses) and some are small (there can be less than 4 horses).

There are many different things to do with them. I don’t put them here because I don’t know them all and there comes new things quite often, but find more information from my pages and from internet.

We have also many kind of competitions, but most popular are Finnish championship and this year (2018) they are 28.7.2018 at Seinäjoki arena. The tickets costs a bit. There are sales tables, competitions and much of fun! Come and look!

To start this hobby, you will need a hobby-horse or you can try to find a club. And then start to ride with it!

You will find more information and a place to contact me from kht-tahtiseina.simplesite.com. Come and have a look!

Fun time with hobbyhorses!

What to buy in Helsinki – list for 2018

So you have gone through the main souvenir shops, grabbed some Iittala, Marimekko and Fazer with you and wondering if there is anything else you should buy in Helsinki? Oh yes! Check LivinginHel’s 2018 curated list for shopping and enjoy some unique Finnish products.

Joutsen
Joutsen (swan in Finnish) is a well known brand for its high quality down products. They have soft and comfortable pillows, duvets and down coats. A good thing is that their products are also suitable for people with allergies (approved by the Finnish Allergy and Asthma Federation). You can find Joutsen products from many retailers and at Joutsen store just behind the National Museum. Joutsen ››

A strong recommendation: Don’t miss this throw. It’s perfect for travelling, light and so warm (unfortunately the webstore is only in Finnish but you get the idea!) ››

Museokatu 8, Monday-Friday 10–18, Saturday 10–15

joutsen duvet

Balmuir
Balmuir products sit well with Nordic idea of beauty and quality: plain designs, subtle colours, natural materials and fine quality. The products vary from fashion to cosmetics and home textiles. Grab a warm cashmere scarf or a linen towel from Balmuir’s selection before heading home. Balmuir ››
Pohjois-Esplanadi 25-27, Monday-Friday 11–19, Saturday 10–17

Stepan Sarpaneva watches
Sarpaneva watches are made in his workshop at Kaapelitehdas and the quality and design are high class. However, these watches are not available in every corner shop and the best way to get his unique watches around your wrist is to mail him or simply giving him a call. A great opportunity to visit his workshop as well! Sarpaneva watches ››

 


Makia
Makia store is located in Lasipalatsi. Just like the building, also its cloths are functional and made for Nordic weather. Makia has also labelled some of their products as pure waste products. They use recycled textiles that would otherwise go to waste and manufacture new fashionable clothes out of them. Makia ››
Mannerheimintie 22-24, Monday-Friday 11–19, Saturday 10–18

 

 

Woodnotes
The textile designer Ritva Puotila’s paper yarn products range from carpets and furniture to bags, pillows and containers. They are inspired by Finnish nature and raw materials – wood and paper. Woodnotes products have received several design awards and are known for their elegant design and quality. Woodnotes ››
Vepsäläinen – Annankatu 25,  Stockmann – Aleksanterinkatu 52 B,  Artek Keskuskatu 1 B

place mat_woodnotes

Minna Parikka
Minna Parikka’s shoes and accessories have a fresh approach in Finnish design scene.  Pop-stars and fashion bloggers wear her shoes and the bunny ears are recognisable all over the world. Minna Parikka Universum is a flag ship store in Helsinki city centre and has a wide range of Parikka products. Minna Parikka ››
‘Aleksanterinkatu 36, Monday-Friday  10–18, Saturday  10–15

Minna Parikka, November 2015 in Helsinki, Finland.

Finlayson
This 1820 established company is producing home textiles with beautiful designs. THere are some well known characters like Moomin in their textiles and the Tom of Finland collection is a tribute to the art of Touko Laaksonen. You can find kitchen, bathroom, home decor and bedroom items in Finlayson’s collections. Finlayson flag ship store is located in Helsinki city centre. Finlayson ››
Eteläesplanadi 14, Monday-Friday  10–18, Saturday  10–16

finlayson-finnish-design

Enjoy your shopping!

Uisge is back!

Our favorite whiskey event, Uisge, is coming again next February.

IMG_8969.jpgIn case you’re out and about in Helsinki around mid-February (9-10 to be exact), tickets are on pre-sale at seamchip.fi/uisge.

You won’t regret paying the event a visit. The way we see it, this would also make fine Xmas present for a whiskey-loving loved one. Stay tuned, we’ll post more when we learn more. In the meantime, why not check out what we wrote on our previous visits.

Make sure to check out fellow our whiskey lover’s blog on the subject as well: Viskisieppo

Crayfishing

Crawfish, crayfish, crawdad, Astacus Astacus — whatever you call it, rapu is a true Northern delicacy. Crayfish and crayfishing are steeped in tradition — while fishing, while cooking, and most definitely, while eating.

Crayfishing… wait, what?

We’ll get to the fishing bit later, but let’s talk about the feast itself. Typically, at least six crayfish per person starts the evening, followed by e.g. steaks, salmon or something more traditional, like Jansson’s Temptation. If you’ve got more than 10 crayfish per person to go around, they become the main course.

IMG_5759.JPGCrayfish are consumed slowly, and always in company. The cooked crayfish are allowed to cool in their broth for a few hours or more, and are served cold. We usually use only salt, a bit of sugar, and dill to season the broth (but you can also add porter in the mix.) This way, the delicate taste is preserved.

Each crayfish is like a miniature lobster, and is treated with respect. First the savoury broth is sucked out of the shell, the tail and claws are opened with special crayfish knives to get to the tasty meat, which typically is piled on buttered toaster bread,  sprinkled with freshly cut dill — and savoured.

The first tail is toasted with Vodka, or Aquavit (or whatever rocks your boat) and traditional songs are sung to further the merry proceedings. After the first tail, just keep on opening, sucking out the broth, assembling more claws & tails on your toaster bread…. and enjoying the company, the songs, and of course the booze, beer & wine.

 

Crayfishing 

The season starts yearly at noon on 21 July, and crayfishing is subject to licensing. Crayfish used to have a minimum length requirement of 10 cm (4 in) nose-to-tail, but not anymore. However, anything below 8 cm (3.5 in) should really just be released back immediately. With luck, you’ll meet them a few years later.

To catch crayfish, most use passive traps, although some prefer active crayfishing. As for the traps, there are quite a few models, but the two seen here are the most popular models.

As bait, most use either fish from the same lake or river or slices of beef or pork.An insider tip is to use bratwurst or frankfurters (like we do). A split crayfish will work extremely well, but it’s about as expensive as it gets. In the olden days, apparently village cats started to disappear towards the end of July…

IMG_2607The traps are set at a depth of around 2-3 meters and left overnight.

The next day, traps are checked, small crayfish are immediately released back, the bait is replaced and the traps are again lowered to the bottom of your lake, the riverbed or the seaside.

That’s about all you need. If and when you find a good spot, just put the traps back for the next night in the exact same location. Crayfish are competitive, so if you had the luck of setting your trap near a crayfish’s hiding place, and got a good catch, a new crayfish will take over that spot almost immediately. Crayfish favor a rocky bottom with plenty of places to hide in.

 

Sidenote: Finland and crayfish — success to bust to minor success
IMG_2602-EFFECTS
100 years ago Finland was Europe’s biggest exporter of crayfish, with a yearly catch over 10 times that of today. Finnish crayfish was widely recognized as a true treat. That, of course, was before the crayfish plague wiped out most of the crustacean population. And the introduction of the nearly as delicious American Signal Crayfish didn’t help either (as they carried the disease, quite possibly being the original vector). Stern measures have been taken to limit the spread of the disease, and the native crayfish population has been rising slowly the last decades. The best way to stop the spread is to never move your traps from one body of water to another. And if you absolutely must do it, you need to kill the plague spores — which happens by keeping the traps for 12 hours in a fully heated sauna (or by letting winter take care of business).

Once a Year – Trip to Tallinn

When I started to plan writing about my weekend trip to Tallinn I remember right away that Marjo has written about Tallinn as well. Of course I checked Marjo’s writing – it was written about a year ago. That is actually a good timespan – I would recommend yearly trip to Tallinn for every Helsinkian.  You see, Tallinn is a charming little town which is not far away and it is very reachable (2-3 hours by ferry) – so a perfect place to spend mini-holiday.

This time I was traveling with my family. We took ferry Friday afternoon and stayed two nights in Airbnb-flat in Tallinn old town next to old stone wall. There was a window in the roof of the apartment (we had top floor) with a church tower view. Very lovely! First evening we wondered around narrow streets of Tallinn old town and had a dinner in lovely Italian La Bottega. I recommend that place very much – customers were both locals and tourists and food was high quality and delicious. This place is also perfect for “more demanding” taste.

Saturday we wondered around Kalamaja district. This “hipster” area is very close to old town (less than 2 kilometers walk) but it has very different feeling – in Kalamaha you find old industrial buildings, lovely wooden houses (some a bit run down), great little shops as well as wonderful murals.

We had lunch in F-Hoone (situated in Kalamaja district) which is great place when you are not in hurry and don’t want white tablecloth. Food is tasty and fun and the whole place is very cool and relaxed. You should make a table reservation even for lunch to ensure you have a table – place is very popular among locals. I would guess the building is old factory – brick building has high ceilings and big lovely windows.

After Kalamaja and F-Hoone we headed to Tallinn Maritime Museum. Strong recommendation for that – you can visit old submarine and many other things. Unfortunately for some reason(???) I didn’t take any pictures there. Sorry for that. In the evening we had dinner in Vegan Restoran V. Even we are not vegans, we loved the place (net page doesn’t look promising but place is great!) . It is tiny restaurant in old town and offers many delicious options for dinner. Place has “Old town feeling and candels”. It is also very cheap.

Once again we had a great time in Tallinn – I believe that everyone deserves mini holiday now and then. For Helsinkians Tallinn is easy place to visit and you can find always new places to see. Or just enjoy great food and beautiful buildings. If you are tourist and in Helsinki for more than 3 days, you should consider spending one day in Tallinn. It works very well for day trips as well as for overnight. Just google best ferry times for you.

Anna

ps. On Sunday we had breakfast in MaiasMokk – recommend to visit there as well!