The last few weeks has seen a lot of friends visiting all of us which was the perfect excuse to see all the sights Helsinki has to offer. Once you have spent a month or so here you start to think about visiting other cities or countries but can forget to explore the city you are in! So we took the opportunity to visit some of the must see places. I have also written about some of my sight-seeing in my first few weeks so please go back and have a look at that for some more sights.
Sibelius (any of you who studied music at school – sorry for bringing back dreaded memories of composition!) was a Finnish composer who Finland are incredibly (and rightly, despite the software of the same name) proud of. In Töölö (around 10-15 minutes outside the centre by tram) there is a monument to him in the middle of a very nice, peaceful park. I would definitely recommend you take some time to go see it and, if you are blessed with sunny weather, spend some time in the park. I will definitely be going back come spring!
Another reason to go is that it is right next to Cafe Regatta (which I mentioned in an earlier post). We took the opportunity to head in for some hot chocolate and cinnamon buns to warm us up. The cafe is incredibly small and holds around 10-15 people inside but has a huge outside seating area with blankets – wrapping up warm and embracing the cold with hot chocolate in hand is definitely the best way to do it. There is also a fire outside which you can cook sausages on.
It may not be a national landmark but one of my favourite places here is the Arkadia International Bookshop. Aside from being the only bookshop I’ve found with a huge collection of books in English, it is also a lovely wee place to hide away from the cold and sells coffee really cheap! It holds a range of free seminars, discussions and talks all the time for which you can sign up for email alerts. If that still hasn’t sold it to you – the owner has a baby and dog which are regularly in the shop and everyone is really friendly!
You can see more about it here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Arkadia-International-Bookshop-Ian-Bourgeot/114962855198875?fref=ts
Also if you like art I highly recommend Helsinki Art Walk. This is run every couple of weeks and is a great opportunity to see new exhibitions. You meet in a gallery and then spend the next couple of hours visiting the new exhibitions that week, with an introduction to each by the tour leader. It is completely free and a great day out. I recently went on one which visited Suvi Härkönen and Pavel Ekrias’s ALMOST exhibition; an exhibition on Sami culture by Sami Ala; the joint ‘I can see nothing’ exhibition by Annika Bergvik-Forsander, Adriel van Drimmelen, Fredrik Lindqvisk and Anna Dufff; and the ‘Laboratory of Hearing’ exhibition on sound by various artists at the Exhibition Laboratory. As a free day out I cannot recommend this enough – it also gives you the chance to see where different galleries are and visit them again for other exhibitions.
You can see their upcoming events on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/helsinkiartwalk?fref=ts
As always – any questions please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org