On my latest trip I flew into lovely Helsinki from Rome on a gorgeous day.
Flying across the Gulf of Finland.
…down through the clouds.
Thanks Finnair for another great trip.
If you look closely at the impressive statue of the naked blacksmiths in the square outside Stockmann you can see the damage caused in the Continuation War in 1944.
The damage was caused mostly by bomb schrapnel.
Don’t forget to look up as you walk by.
Otzi is the name given to the “Ice Man”, the frozen man discovered buried in ice in the Otztal Alps between Austria and Italy. He was remarkably well preserved and is now refrozen and in the Museum of Archeology in Bolzano, northern Italy.
His clothes and shoes were also well preserved in their icy grave and some clever people have recreated his shoes for modern times. There is a shop in Helsinki selling them.
They don’t really look much like the original shoes, but not many of us would want real Otzi shoes. The inner shoe was composed of grass as insulation. The outer part was deer skin fastened to an oval sole made of bear skin. The shaft around the ankle was bound with grass fibres.
There is a reasonable version recreated in the shop.
Here is the delightful updated versions of the shoe. I can report that they are very comfortable.
There is a canvas espadrille shoe for summer. These would be in store now.
Winter days are wonderful when the sun shines. There was still snow on my February walk around Toolonlahti. I’m sure it would all be gone now as Helsinki moves into warmer weather. Keep on shining Helsinki.
On my last visit to Helsinki I was delighted to see fishermen on Toolonlahti on a sunny day.
I was amused to see that one of them had ridden his bike there.
I hope they caught something.
Touko Laaksonen (1920 – 1991) is best known by his pseudonym, Tom of Finland. He was a Finnish artist notable for his stylised homoerotic fetish art.
Finlayson is a Finnish textile manufacturer founded in 1820 when James Finlayson, a Scottish engineer, established a cotton mill in Tampere.
What do these 2 have in common I hear you say. Finlayson is proud of its progressive heritage…looking forward, courageously welcoming new ideas and embracing tolerance and respect.
It it was in this spirit that the Tom of Finland collection was produced and installed in Finlayson’s flagship store in Helsinki in December 2014. You can sleep on Tom sheets, rest you head on a Tom pillowcase, carry a Tom tote, dry yourself on a Tom towel…and much more.
Many products sold out immediately…well done Finlayson.
Aleksis Kivi sits in a pensive pose in front of the beautiful theatre in Helsinki.
He was a Finnish national writer, playwright, poet and novelist. His major work, Seven Brothers, was written in 1870. He was the first professional writer publishing his works in the Finnish language.
He was born in 1834 in Nurmijarvi to a poor family. He went to school in Helsinki at the age of 12, boarding at the home of a prison warder.
Seven Brothers took him 10 years to write and was criticised because his characters were considered too wild and not modelled on the idealised picture of rural people.
He died in poverty at the age of 38. I wonder what he would have thought of his lovely sculpture.
On my last visit someone had added a red nose…not quite in the right spot.