Lately I have been writing a lot about “best things” in Helsinki. This writing is somehow the same theme… You see, one of the best ways to explore town is biking. And since I’ve had some great experiences bicycling around foreign towns like Singapore and Nice I want to tell for you dear readers how to bicycle easily in Helsinki. Cycling is quite easy in Helsinki – not great town for bicycling like Copenhagen – but pretty good anyway. There are many bicycle paths but you have to be prepared to bike also on streets with cars. I wrote last autumn about getting around in Helsinki – some tips there as well.
For tourist there is always a problem to think were to hire a bike. This problem is solved in Helsinki – there are city bikes all over the downtown – around 50 locations to pick a bike. One of the locations is in front of President Castle which is shown on a picture above. You can buy daily, weekly or yearly pass for bikes. Pass covers up to 30 minutes of biking per time. This 30 minutes time is enough to bike from one station to another (since stations are very close to each other). After 30 minutes there will be additional charge for biking longer time. After 5 hours there is a penalty of 80 euros so don’t use bike for more than 5 hours! Since the pricing is like this, there are almost always some bikes at the stations. You find bike stations for example from Railway Station, Kauppatori and Hietaniemen tori (which has also this great flea market I wrote last autumn).
You find more information about city bikes here – there you find English information about renting process, map of all stations as well as how many bikes there are right now in every station.
Pleasant moments exploring Helsinki with city bike,
Olo n:o 22 steel spheres in Hietalahti
Sibelius monument in Töölö is probably the most well-known outdoor sculpture in Helsinki, but actually I quite enjoy another one more. It’s called Olo n:o 22 and it is scattered around Hietalahti. It consists of around 50 polished steel spheres of different sizes and the easiest way to see the spheres is to walk around Hietalahti area for example when visiting Hietalahti flea market Anna wrote about a couple of weeks ago.
In order to show the difference in sizes I took a couple of photos with a matchbox on top of the spheres. It didn’t really give anything extra to the photos but I ended up using one of them (just to explain why there’s a small box in the photo above).
Another Olo n:o 22 sphere in Hietalahti
What I love about Olo n:o 22 is that your’re quite not sure how many spheres there are and where to find them. For instance I discovered a new sphere just a few weeks ago when walking towards Eiranranta. It’s the smallest sphere I’ve found so far and even though I have walked pass it for years probably every week, I haven’t noticed it earlier. It’s just next to Nosturi concert venue:
Small Olo n:o 22 sphere I just found
I tried to find a map that would have all the steel spheres marked but couldn’t find one with a quick googling. I think it would actually ruin the excitement and joy from discovering new spheres from the surrounding area. Many of the spheres can be seen when walking along Hietalahdenranta (<– see map), but some of them are also inside buildings and courtyards. At least there’s one inside Salve Restaurant and another one in Shubha Kamana Nepalese restaurant. Enjoy the treasure hunt!
P.S. There’s at least 2 other Olo outdoor sculptures in Finland: Olo n:o 39 at Karosen Koulu (a school in Tampre) and Olo n:o 44 at Turku University Educarium and Publicum in Turku.
Sometimes I want to buy something which isn’t brand new – I like the idea of my furniture or bag having a story of its own before starting a one with me. When searching old furniture I’ll go to Fasaani Antiikki. It is not a fancy antique store but lots of fun (I’ll write about that sometimes later). When wanting to buy something smaller than furniture “Hietalahden Kirppis” as Flea Market of Hietalahti is often called, is perfect place. You can find clothes, books, music, tableware… you name it. Usually the items sold in Hietsun kirppis are really something not needed anymore (not some new crappy stuff like sometimes when I’ve tried to find a flea market in Europe), and most of the people selling stuff are just normal Helsinkians wanting to get rid of extra stuff. You can sometimes do really good bargain!
During the weekends Hietalahden Kirppis is one of the liveliest flea markets in Helsinki. I’ve no idea for how long Hietalahden Kirppis has existed. First time I was selling there was in 1990s. Back then it was a bit different – there were ordinary Finns like me selling old stuff but among us there were our (back then) poor neighbours (Russians) selling cigarettes and vodka. Nowadays we can thank for Russians having some luxury stores in Helsinki (I guess we wouldn’t have any without our neighbours) – times change. Today Hietsun kirppis is mixture of vintage, some outdated “gramma clothes”, records and (not authentic) pieces of jewellery. If lucky (and you really want to find), you can find almost whatsoever from bikes to perfect fishing equipment. People selling and buying are everyone from next door neighbor to single mother trying to find cheap clothes. You can also see stylish bloggers and some Finnish celebrities looking for something unique.
Sometimes even bicycles sold
If you get hungry, I recommend visiting nearby Hietalahden Kauppahalli (unfortuntately closed on Sundays) where you can buy delicious lunch. Marjo or me will write more of that sooner or later, I promise.
How to find Flea Market of Hietalahti? The address is Bulevardi 42. It is a 10 minutes walk from Railway Station or Stockmann which both are considered to be “the downtown” of Helsinki. If tired, you can take tram 6 next to Stockmann heading south and you will be very fast at the flea market. And a small warning – during winter times Hietalahti Flea Market is usually closed.