Helsinki

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by skatak, Jan 28, 2012.

  1. skatak

    skatak Well-Known Member

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    Hi there,

    I will be in Helsinki next wednesday for several days, leaving on Sunday.
    Any recommandations, things not to missed ?
    I expect coldness around -10 °C, snow, but apparently sun should shine.
  2. IDC a.k.a. Ritti

    IDC a.k.a. Ritti New Member

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    Yes: "medal coffee" with Kiira :p (Finnish Figure Skating Association's congratulatory reception for the media) - but that usually takes place on Tuesday rather than Wednesday after the homecoming of the medalist... :-/ (and invitations haven't been sent out just yet, for obvious reasons.)
  3. Hanna

    Hanna Wheeeeeeeeeee

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    It depends on what you fancy? :D

    January is not the best time in Helsinki unfortunately. The forecast says it's really gonna be cold, more like -15 C. :cold: Which means that you probably want to spend a lot of time indoors. :p
  4. PrincessLeppard

    PrincessLeppard Well-Known Member

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    The island fortress thingy (name is totally escaping me) is kind of awesome.
  5. IDC a.k.a. Ritti

    IDC a.k.a. Ritti New Member

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  6. Marge_Simpson

    Marge_Simpson Well-Known Member

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  7. cygnus

    cygnus Liberal Furry

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    Don't take the trams at night! They are holding tanks for drunken old men. I learned this from bitter experience.:slinkaway
  8. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    And even worse: drunken middle aged men who think think they're still players.

    What was the interesting museum we went to, I think down the hill from the hotel?

    And they have very nice soups and sandwiches, and the other half of the store is filled with amazing candy.

    Do you mean this coming Wednesday, 1 February? The Finnish National Ballet is performing "Don Quixote" on 1-2 February, there's a free concert on Saturday afternoon by musicans of the Finnish National Opera, 4 February, and the Finnish National Opera is performing "La Fanciulla del West" on Sunday night, 4 February.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2012
  9. IDC a.k.a. Ritti

    IDC a.k.a. Ritti New Member

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    Oh, and avoid running into a campaigning presidential candidate or hordes of paparazzis chasing them on street corners, malls, marketplaces, wherever. The election will take place on Sunday. (On the other hand, you could easily get free coffee and souvenirs at the campaign boots :cold: )

    Café Esplanad :coffee:
  10. Marge_Simpson

    Marge_Simpson Well-Known Member

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    Go to Cafe Esplanade and have the korvapuusti. They are excellent.

    The food was nice at the Fazer Cafe, but if I went back I wouldn't bother with it. I'd just have 2 desserts. :lol:
  11. skatak

    skatak Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the recommandations !
    I will arrive Wed. the 1st, spend two days there for work, so decided to stay for the week-end.
    I had just found the website of the icepark, but no detailed location other than 'near the railwaystation'. not sure I'll bring my skates to skate outdoor by -10°C. Sun should shine though, and I was not in Berne to know how to cope with such a cold ;)
  12. Nekatiivi

    Nekatiivi Well-Known Member

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    I must warn you, -10°C degrees will not be accurate for next week... Forecast shows more like -20°C for wednesday! So better to stay inside...
  13. Hanna

    Hanna Wheeeeeeeeeee

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    http://www.suomenlinna.fi/en/

    It is gorgeous. But unfortunately it's an outdoor adventure :p so winter may not be the best time to explore. I'm sure it's very beautiful on a sunny winter day but it's by the sea so it's likely to be windy as well... MUCHO cold. I would definitely visit Suomenlinna in summer. It's a UNESCO World Heritage site.

    Yes, they have some :swoon:-worthy desserts! This is especially a popular place between tiffed :glamor: middle-aged Helsinkier women. But not only them, anybody can naturally enjoy their (expensive-ish) food.

    Yes, Cafe Esplanad is a must! It's very popular, is not too expensive for what you get and it's very hip! :p Lot of gay people like to come here, I've noticed. The cinnamon buns truly are huge and very good. :) This place is very often full though! So you may have to wait before you find a seat.

    I'm very sorry you two have had such an unpleasant experience with the late night tram! I remember you've mentioned it several times before so it truly must have been awful. I have to say though, that you've probably had terrible luck as well. Because the late night tram definitely isn't always like that. Sometimes there are some drunk middle-aged men, yes :p, but most of the time they just sit there or babble to themselves. Or even if they may say something to you, it's probably harmless babbling. I've never felt really scared among some drunks in the tram (or any other form of public transportation) because most of the time they are truly harmless and leave you alone. So you two have really had some shitty luck! Then again, I realize that things like these are always more unpleasant when you're in a strange country and not really unfamiliar with your surroundings. I would probably feel the same if it was somewhere other than my home city.

    To Skatak, if you want to escape the cold and enjoy classical music, then I'd go and visit the brand new lovely concert hall that we have here (called The Music House). The Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra is playing Rachmaninov and Sibelius on a couple of nights this week. I'm not sure about the ticket situation though, but you can always ask. http://www.musiikkitalo.fi/web/en/concerts_and_events/-/events/searchEvents/1/

    As for museums, my favorite is Kiasma, the Museum of Contemporary Art. http://www.kiasma.fi/kiasma_en They have some pretty cool stuff. :) Some other big museums feature the National Museum, the Ateneum Art Museum and the "Nature and Science" Museum.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2012
  14. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    We would have just chalked it up to bad luck, but then when we described it the next day, the message was "Why did you dumb-asses take the tram at night instead of the commuter train when they are holding tanks for drunk men?", much more politely, of course :lol:
  15. Marge_Simpson

    Marge_Simpson Well-Known Member

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    It was scary, because the tram driver pretended to be oblivious to what was going on, and we had to hop off the tram and then flag down a taxi in the middle of the highway. :eek:

    What was the name of the nice restaurant that we went to with the big group? Finnice was all nervous because Victor Petrenko was sitting across from us. :lol: The food was good (although I didn't think the fish heads looked very tasty) and the prices were reasonable.

    We took a really interesting guided tour by bus, but I don't remember the name of the company or where we got on the bus. Anyone?
    The outdoor market down by the harbor had some really cool stuff.
  16. Nekatiivi

    Nekatiivi Well-Known Member

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    If you are in a need of a restaurant, you could use this on a smart phone: http://eat.fi/en/helsinki

    It is very nice because you can see how previous diners have rated the restaurant and also what restaurants have their kitchen open at the moment.
  17. IDC a.k.a. Ritti

    IDC a.k.a. Ritti New Member

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    It's going to be REALLY cold this week. The latest forecasts say it's going to be as cold as -20-30 C on Thursday-Friday. I strongly recommend you pack some really winter-proof outerwear (quilted trousers and coat) and fleece clothing layer if you can. Don't even try to survive with a Central European style of "winter" clothing (=multiple layers of innerwear, wolly sweaters, scarves, but only a thin coat and jeans as outerwear) ... you'll get killed in no time if you venture outdoors!

    On the other hand, keep in mind that all indoors spaces in Finland ARE warm and properly heated, no matter how cold it is outside, so you won't need to protect yourself from draught or coolness if you decide to stay indoors. The same goes for (most) buses and trains - they will be warm unless they are more than 20 years old. Also, the underground stations in Helsinki city centre are more or less warm because they are underground, but in the suburbs they are open-air.

    Regardless of how cold it might be, if the sun is shining, it is really worthwhile to go somewhere outside the city - even only to the sea to have a walk on the ice - because the nature is likely to be extremely beautiful (and the snow and the scenery will be quite different from the Alps or wherever you Central Europeans get your snow experience from)!

    :cold:
  18. IDC a.k.a. Ritti

    IDC a.k.a. Ritti New Member

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    Probably, this should have said "you'll kill yourself" rather than "you'll get killed". :shuffle:

    Also, Laura Lepistö is going to perform (or at least show up) at a free outdoors(!) skating event at the Helsinki Olympic Stadium on Wednesday - to support Sauli Niinistö for president.
    http://www.niinisto.fi/tapahtumat/
    It's 5 to 7 pm, free of charge, "bring your own skates and warm clothing" :eek: , and you can meet with some Finnish top athletes and Mr. Niinistö himself.
  19. Hanna

    Hanna Wheeeeeeeeeee

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    Ah Laura. :duh: Why did you get yourself involved in the campaign. First North Korea and now this. :duh:
    Finnice and (deleted member) like this.
  20. skatak

    skatak Well-Known Member

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    Thanks all for your comments !
    I'll try to face the cold bravely. Thing is I will stay indoor thursday and friday, but will have to walk two blocks there. How Finns handle this ? I planned to put generic trousers and shoes, I don't see myself arriving at the place and changing clothes lool (even if meeting start around 8 am). Although I read it's not uncommon to bring shoes when you visit friends.

    I definitely planned to go walk on the frozen sea ! That must be something.

    What about taking the tram (3T ?) to go around the city in a warm environment (and, possibly no drunk guys in the middle of the day) ?

    Do you think I should try sauna ? If you have good address, you're welcome :)

    DAMN !!! My plan lands at... 7pm. and I could have brought my skates :(
    And I guess the ceremony for Kiira's medal was today ?
  21. Nekatiivi

    Nekatiivi Well-Known Member

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    Well, normally Finns do leave do their deeds with only one set of clothes, even if it is very cold. :lol:

    I think there are few very important points in proper winter clothing.

    1. Shoes. Bring shoes with thick bottoms. Feet are one of the first places that start to go cold on low temperatures. Wear two pairs of socks. I would recommend thin woolen socks!

    2. Proper hat. Warm and wind-proof hat warms like nothing else.

    3. Jacket that is moderately wind, warmth and water proof. Take a jacket with a hood if possible.

    4. Layers is the kay word in Finland too. With a proper jacket I only wear two layers, one tight and one loose.

    Two blocks is not bad, I am sure you will be fine. :)
  22. IDC a.k.a. Ritti

    IDC a.k.a. Ritti New Member

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    I don't care what people think anymore, when I go to work or a restaurant or a hotel I enter wearing my quilt overtrousers (I think I just invented a word?) and cold weather protection boots, and won't change until I'm somewhat defrosted. :cold:

    The 3T/3B tram is a good sightseeing route - but in this weather you will probably only see huge piles of snow stacked alongside the streets...

    You definitely should! Probably your hotel has one. There are a couple of traditional public saunas in Helsinki, and all indoor swimming pools have saunas too. If it wasn't this cold, I would recommend any that is located by the sea or a lake and has a hole in the ice for winter swimming ;)

    She was given flowers today in Tampere... during an intermission of her home club's hockey game. http://www.iltasanomat.fi/taitoluis...peaa-voittaneen-kiiran/art-1288445988174.html
    I haven't heard of any other ceremony.
  23. skatak

    skatak Well-Known Member

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    thanks again !

    For the sauna, I am just wondering how the contact lenses will appreciate it... without them I am about lost, with them I fear they will stay somewhere in the sauna...
    not even thinking about switching to glasses lol

    Am taking for granted that the electric plugs are the same as in France. not time to adjust lol
  24. Hanna

    Hanna Wheeeeeeeeeee

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    You should be fine with contacs in the sauna. Your eyes just might be a little bit drier afterwards so if you have eye drops, you might want to add a bit after your sauna experience. And don't leave them on for too long after being in the sauna. But I know lots of people who wear contacts to sauna without a problem.

    Plugs are same, no worries. ;)

    And yes, the 3T tramline is the proper tourist tramline indeed. You won't be the only one there, me thinks. :) And no worrying about drunken idiots either (well, I can't guarantee of course :p but seriously, I'm sure you'll be completely fine).

    Today was the coldest day of the winter so far. :cold: BRRRRRRRRRRR freezing, completely freezing.
  25. Hanna

    Hanna Wheeeeeeeeeee

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    Oh and as for the saunas, this is considered the only "proper" public sauna in Helsinki as it is heated with wood. HOwever, it's very touristy. http://www.kotiharjunsauna.fi

    If you settle for a less authentic experience, I'm pretty sure that your hotel also has one (like Ritti said).
  26. skatak

    skatak Well-Known Member

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    Yes ! Hotel has one ! Must be a touristic one though, but no pb. Eyes got a bit dry afterwars as you said. Airport-> taxi -> hotel -> sauna (alone :) ).
    interesting experience, your spirit is fully awake but your body melts. Even more when putting enough water on the stone (which I did not the first time).

    probably the biggest thermic chock in my life, from -20°C to + 80°C back to -20°C. kept my light jean to go out for dinner. I knew this would not be sufficient, but enough to go to the restaurant. Couldn't resist a walk at night afterwards, but it went a bit scary as I was feeling my thighs becoming colder and colder. I was wondering how long it can take to really freeze legs, my guess is 'not long by -20°C'. Back warm at the hotel, but still can feel the legs adjusting... ok I won't do it anymore... ! Other than that, normal shoes with two pairs of socks works fine. Feels a bit weird when your nose freezes though ;-)

    From the plane :shoking: so many outdoor rinks ! With lights at night ! With a zamboni on it ! If Finnish skater train outside, I wonder why they did not sweep all the medals last year in Berne...
  27. cholla

    cholla Fearless Musher

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    Skatak ? IAMY ! :rofl:
  28. Hanna

    Hanna Wheeeeeeeeeee

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    Yes you have to throw enough water on the stones. ;) It's called 'heittää löylyä'. I find 75 C the perfect sauna temperature. It's not too pleasant if it's much hotter.

    And the 100 C difference between outside and the sauna is pretty mindblowing. Today was even colder than yesterday. FREEZING. It was -20 in the morning when I first left my apartment. It was impossible to stay outside for longer than 10 minutes at a time.

    And yes, when it's below zero, the outdoor rinks are everywhere. The ice quality is not the best on all of them but it is lovely to have so many. :) E.g. the closest one to me is a 3-minute walk away.

    Oh and your nose hair freezing is definitely a funny feeling. :lol:

    I hope you're enjoying it despite the horror :cold:.
  29. skatak

    skatak Well-Known Member

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    ROTFL
    which one of us is winning the competition of lower temperature ? seems it stuck to -20°C all day...

    Felt a bit 'warmer' now as there was less wind than in the morning. but it's only in different spot, wind blowing is something. night pictures are all blurry, for the time of exposition required I can't stay still long enough, and the seat where I could put my camera on in public park are burried under snow (will not try going knee deep in the snow just for a pic).

    I am just wondering if it was clever to plan to stay over the week-end here, seems I've landed in the coldest moment of the year :rofl:
    for now it's about ok as I stay indoor all day, but this week end the plan it to visit a bit. Maybe it will end in short trip from cafe to cafe.
    looking at the temperature map over Finland and seeing -31°C is quite an experience, it feels completely hyperreal...
    Going back to France on Monday with -5°C will feel like summer :D

    lapland cheese cake is ... well ... interesting. Don't know how cloudberry translates in French but it's to dye for.
  30. IDC a.k.a. Ritti

    IDC a.k.a. Ritti New Member

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    According to a news article I just read, Helsinki Regional Transport Authority (HSL) advises people to walk rather than wait for trams - because "no form of traffic is running flowingly". (It was -19 °C then.)

    A friend of mine who is working in Espoo just said that the scenery outside is completely white, even the air. :eek:

    By noon, 80 traffic accidents had happened in Helsinki today.
    http://www.yle.fi/uutiset/news/2012/02/snowy_snarl-ups_to_start_weekend_3228896.html

    Skatak, its not only that you came to Finland at the coldest moment of the year... this is waaay beyond normal.

    Is it this you ate? If it made a creaking sound when chewing, then it probably was...
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leipäjuusto
  31. Finnice

    Finnice Well-Known Member

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    Skatak, I feel so unhappy to miss you, you in freezing Helsinki and me in rainy Taipei, +11 and the lantern fest.

    The medal coffee to Kiira will be served during the Nordics, or that is what I have heard.

    Cloudberry is lakka/hilla/suomuurain in Finnish, it has three different names depending which part of Finland you came from.

    I hope you can still enjoy Helsinki, with the freezing cold and without me:drama:
  32. matti

    matti Active Member

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    And even a fourth one: valokki... :) Dictionary says plaquebière ou chicoute en francais...
  33. skatak

    skatak Well-Known Member

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    just in short : well at least it really feels like Winter ! the true, real, big one :D

    the Lapland cheese cake was like you linked to. It had white sauce/cream with it and cinnamon on top.

    now the week end starts ! time to go discover Helsinki :)
  34. skatak

    skatak Well-Known Member

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    switched hotel. another 'touristic' sauna. this time I was not alone and I could feel the difference ! I liked the hot dry warmth, but the finnish guys made it the proper way I guess, flushing water very often. it's another feeling... so hot !
    how are you supposed to feel after a sauna (do you do it every day?) ? relax, fit, full of energy ? maybe it was because of the last long two days, but I felt rather tired. will sleep well tonight !


    too lazy to find a proper restaurant at 10pm. still tried an hamburger with omelette and black bread at the bus station. will try better tomorrow !

    And I have tried a multi-combo version for clothes : quad-triple. 4 on top (+vest), 3 for the legs. it rather works :)
  35. Nekatiivi

    Nekatiivi Well-Known Member

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    I think the amounth of water comes down to personal testes too... There is no right answer to that! All saunas are not the same either. What suits one sauna, might not suit the other.

    You definitely feel very tired after sauna. I think most Finns do sauna once a week, but some do it every day, some never. I personally feel that sauna makes me so tired that there is no way I could do it every day!
  36. allezfred

    allezfred Prick Admin Staff Member

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    :eek:

    ;)
  37. Nekatiivi

    Nekatiivi Well-Known Member

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    Ups... :rofl::rofl::rofl::slinkaway
  38. cholla

    cholla Fearless Musher

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    You win. Only - 16°C here.

    To dye ? It made you change the color of your hair ? ;) Cloudberry = mûre jaune ou mûre arctique (plaquebière or chicouté in Quebec). In Swedish : hjortron. It was my fave dessert food the summer I spent in Abisko :swoon:
  39. Hanna

    Hanna Wheeeeeeeeeee

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    Ah this? I love it. :swoon: However I would never call it cheese cake, just cheese. DId they call it cheese cake somewhere? :lol: IMO there's nothing cakey about so if you thought so then I can understand why you thought it was interesting. To me it's really just plain (a type of) cheese. And very yummy. :swoon:

    As are cloudberries. :swoon: They are quite expensive though because they only grow on certain types of swamp in a few parts of Finland.

    Oh, and after sauna you definitely feel very relaxed and tired and ready to go to sleep. :p

    Last thing - this thread is proof that Finns get very excited when someone is showing even a little bit of interest in our small country. Nearly every Finnish FSUer has posted. :rofl:
  40. allezfred

    allezfred Prick Admin Staff Member

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    Speaking of Finnish things, I just found this video. :rofl: