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Elias Lonnrot

In Lonnrotinkatu, the street named after him, is the monument to Elias Lonnrot. From old traditional short ballads and lyric poems he created the Finnish National epic, the Kalevala.

Elias Lonnrot was a physician, philologist and collector of traditional Finnish oral poetry. As well as this, he was a professor of Finnish language and literature at the University of Helsinki from 1853 – 1862. He promoted Finnish as a national language and paved the way for modern Finnish literature.

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Waiting patiently

When I was in Helsinki in mid winter much of the harbour was frozen. These red buoys were sitting patiently waiting for the summer, and their boats to arrive.

Helsinki harbour

Helsinki harbour

Helsinki

Helsinki harbour

Helsinki harbour

It all looks so different in summer.

Helsinki harbour

Helsinki harbour

Each season has its own beauty.

Eat at Aino

Aino is a traditional Finnish restaurant in Pohjoisesplanadi. I have eaten there several times and have always found the food to be delicious. The service is friendly and helpful.

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Their bread is baked on the premises and is very good.

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Salmon soup is a favourite of mine when I visit Helsinki.

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The salmon is also excellent.

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Pannacotta is another favourite.

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The location is excellent and the prices are reasonable. It is one of my regular places to eat when I am in Helsinki.

Ravintola Aino,

Pohjoisesplanadi 21

Phone +3589624327

www.ravintolaaino.fi

The fishermen

I really like this relief on the side of the Jorma Jarvi building beside the harbour. Jarvi was a well known Finnish architect.

The plaque beside the relief says

Meritullin Seurakuntatalo Sjotullsgarden.

1951

Jorma Jarvi.

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I don’t know whether the relief is designed by Jarvi, or just the building. Perhaps someone out there knows.

A kind reader has pointed out that the tile relief is by Carl Wilhelms (1889 – 1953)  The subject of the work is from the New Testament, chapter 5, verse 1, of Luke where Jesus calls upon Peter and the other disciples. In the passage Jesus is teaching from the boat of a fisherman named Peter. After finishing he tells Peter to row the boat to deep water and cast his nets. Peter replies that he has been fishing all night with no catch. Yet he does what Jesus asks of him and receivs a miraculous draught of fish.

Eat at Ask

Ask is a small, intimate restaurant in the Kruununhaka area of Helsinki, not far from the back of Tuomiokirkko.

The restaurant offers 4 or 8 courses. All produce is sourced from small farmers and producers and menus vary according to the availability of ingredients. The beverages are carefully selected to complement the food.

I chose the 4 course menu, but first to the table was the crunchy bread alternative, served with a delicious yoghurt.

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You are invited to choose between the 2 main courses then the chefs will select the others which will best suit your choice. I chose the lamb.

An amuse bouche was the next tasty treat to arrive.

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One of the chefs brings the food to the table to explain what you are about to eat.

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The heavenly bread is baked on the premises every day.

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Here are my scrumptious dishes.

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Before my dessert was a pre-dessert taste treat.

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Then came the apple pancake.

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Normally there would be a different wine with each course, but I asked to have just one glass and they happily agreed to this. It was an excellent Umbrian Sangiovese.

Ask seats only 26 people and I would suggest you book ahead. You can do this via the website.

Ask has a Michelin star…well deserved.

Vironkatu 8. 

restaurantask.com

Bad Bad Boy

The latest addition to the harbour is bound to be a bit controversial. Tommi Toija’s 8 metre concrete sculpture now stands proudly beside the sea.

The tall boy is not especially handsome.

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He is naked.

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..and he is peeing into the harbour.

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I’m sure lots of boys have done this; it is time they were recognised for their efforts.

After the Crimean War the Russian sandbank walls and gunpowder magazines on Suomenlinna were reinforced and covered with sand. Grass grew over the top of the magazines and helps to protect them.

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The area attracts over half a million visitors a year. The combination of lots of feet and severe weather have eroded the ground allowing water to get through the layer of sand, causing them to cave in easily.

Work began in 2009 to restore the walls and magazines, and it is no longer possible to walk over them. It is a much better idea to admire them from below.

The magazines look wonderful in winter covered with snow.

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It is difficult to believe that this beautiful and peaceful place was once an important military zone.

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Suomenlinna is an easy ferry ride across the harbour from Helsinki. Ferries leave regularly and take only 15 minutes to reach the island.

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