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iittala turns blue

The iconic Finnish glassware, iittala, is 100 years old. They have turned blue to celebrate.

The window in Esplanadi looked amazing when I wandered past.

iittala

iittala

iittala

iittala

iittala

Here’s to the next 100 years.

February blue

I love the early morning light in winter in Helsinki…time for a walk to Esplanadi.

Helsinki

Helsinki

Helsinki

Helsinki

Helsinki

Helsinki

Helsinki

The harbour was waking up slowly.

Helsinki

There was still some snow at Toolonlahti.

Toolonlahti Helsinki

Toolonlahti Helsinki

Toolonlahti Helsinki

Toolonlahti Helsinki

Toolonlahti Helsinki

Toolonlahti Helsinki

Spring is not far away, but I love the winter landscape.

 

I travel to Helsinki at least 4 times a year. I love the city and each time I return I like to walk around revisiting my favourite places as well as discovering new ones.

My first stop is usually Fazer in Kluuvikatu for a coffee and one of their delicious rye sandwiches. (Click the word in bold type to see a post about the subject)

Fazer

Fazer

From there I walk through the park along Esplanadi to Market Square beside the harbour. The park is lovely in any season.

Esplanadi park

Esplanadi

Havis Amanda is always there to greet me at the harbour.

Havis Amanda

I was at the harbour one very cold winter morning to see the sunrise.

Helsinki sunrise

There is often a market offering lots of local delights. I have managed to be in Helsinki 3 times for the Baltic Herring Fair held in October. Boats back into the harbour and sell their products directly. It is great fun to talk to the fishermen about their catch.

Kauppahalli, the covered market, always beckons me inside. On a cold winter day it is the perfect place to warm up with salmon soup for lunch. If I am staying at an apartment with a kitchen I buy fresh salmon to cook at home…wonderful.

Kauppahalli

A short walk from the harbour is the imposing Russian church, Uspenski Cathedral. It was built between 1862 and 1868.

Uspenski cathedral

Uspenski cathedral

Behind the church is the beautiful district of Katajanokka. I absolutely love the architecture in this area. I can wander for hours, trying to remember to look up at the incredible roof decoration. The beautiful doors are also a source of delight. All of Helsinki is full of fabulous buildings, but in this area they are all amazing.

Walking back towards the city I visit Senate Square dominated by Tuomiokirkko, Helsinki Cathedral. This exquisite white building looks brilliant with a blue sky background….or covered with snow.

Tuomiokirkko

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Opposite the front of the church is the National Library of Finland. Even though I can’t borrow a book I like to wander through and look at the gorgeous reading rooms.

National Library of Finland

Back in the city I walk past the naked blacksmiths. Look for the bullet holes left from the war.

Naked blacksmiths

The railway station building was designed by Eleil Saarinen in 1904. It is one of the most beautiful in Europe. The stone men in front have been restored recently and carry their lights beautifully.

No visit to Helsinki would be complete without a walk around Tooloonlahti. I love the way Finns are out in any weather enjoying this beautiful place.

Toolonlahti

The shopping is excellent in Helsinki. They say if you can’t get at Stockmann it is not worth having.

Stockmann

Just in case I have missed something in Stockmann I drop in to Marimekko to see their beautiful clothes and homewares.

iittala has the most exquisite glassware and kitchen items. Something usually finds its way into my suitcase.

Dining in Helsinki is great. I have been to many Helsinki restaurants. For the setting, it is difficult to beat Kappeli, which has been around since 1867 in Esplanadi park.

Nokka serves delicious modern Finnish food.

Juuri is another favourite.

So far I have only dined at restaurants serving Finnish food. Helsinki restaurants also cater well for those looking for other cuisines. Look in the “Restaurant” category for posts on places I have visited.

I have been writing Beautiful Helsinki for 5 years. If you look back through the archives you will find quite a lot of information about this fabulous city.

I will be back in Helsinki next month…can’t wait.

 

 

 

Allas Sea Pool

There is a brilliant addition to the harbour in Helsinki. A new spa complex inspired by the historic spa heritage of the Baltic Sea opened at the beginning of September next to Market Square.

Allas Sea Pool’s floating deck includes 3 pools, a fresh water pool, children’s pool and a salt water pool for ice swimming in winter. The freshwater pools are 27 degrees. Today the salt water pool is 2 degrees.

I saw the pools in September.

Alla Sea pool

Allas Sea Pool

Allas Sea pool

Allas Sea pool

Alla Sea Pool

Alla Sea Pool

Allas Sea pool

When I returned in November the first snow of the season had fallen. I expected to find the pools empty, but a few hardy souls braved the brisk air.

Allas Sea pool

 

Alla Sea pool

 

Allas Sea pool

Allas Sea pool

Allas ea pool

The pools are currently closed while a new building is constructed. The complex will reopen in spring…I look forward to my next visit.

 

First snow

The first snow of the season has fallen on Helsinki. It gives everything a magical appearance.

Helsinki

Helsinki

Helsinki

Helsinki

..no doubt there will be much more over the next few months.

Seeing spots

A bit of colour was added to Esplanadi park this summer.

Esplanadi park

Esplanadi park

Esplanadi park

Esplanadi park

Esplanadi park

Esplanadi park

Do you like seeing spots?

A day in Porvoo

Porvoo is one of only 6 medieval towns in Finland. It is first mentioned in texts from the 14th century. At one time it was the second largest town in Finland.

It is connected to the Gulf of Finland via the Porvoo a River, and this is how we arrived in town. We took a leisurely cruise on the Runeberg from Helsinki, 50 kilometres away.

Sailing into town on a gorgeous summer day was a delight.

Porvoo

The red coloured wooden buildings along the river were originally painted red in honour of Gustav III, king of Sweden.

Porvoo

Lovely restaurants line the river. We enjoyed a delicious salmon lunch at one of the waterside cafes.

Porvoo

The whole town is a living museum. Gorgeous wooden buildings line the cobblestone streets and laneways. The architecture is stunning.

Porvoo

Porvoo

Porvoo

There are some lovely shops selling all sorts of great things…and great restaurants and cafes.

Porvoo

Porvoo

Porvoo

Porvoo

The centre of the town is the pretty stone and brick cathedral. It has been burnt down several times, but is looking good today after the last restoration.

Porvoo

Porvoo

Porvoo

There is much to see in Porvoo. We enjoyed our day. We caught the bus back to Helsinki.

The disappearing town looked great nestled among the trees.

Porvoo