Monday, 2 January 2012

First batch of photos from Finland.

Helsinki harbour early in the morning, Cholera Pool, unknown ship.

Like I may have mentioned, I spent my Bobmas in Nurmijärvi, Finland where my parents live. Lots of time was naturally spent in Helsinki because it's suitably near and much shopping happened. The country looked somehow unreal without the usual metre and a half of snow but I could comfort myself with the thought that Iceland probably had twice that amount already and more falling every day.

There are some things about Helsinki that never, ever seem to change. One - and an important one for those who'd like to visit the capital some time - is that the cafes at the Kauppatori (marketplace at the harbour) open at the crack of dawn. Even if there seems to be no customers or even a possibility of such creatures existence. There were also some sellers already in various stages of opening their booths. In the back there was actually a bread seller from Nurmijärvi already at her completed stand.

Others, of course, were not nearly as ready. There's a salesperson there in the folds of the tent, I assure you. Quite a remarkable lady too for putting up that tent all by herself in that weather! Windy and rainy and miserable, the kind of coldness that seeps right through your clothes.

Some cafes know this and know exactly how to advertise their tents for maximum customer temptation. See that sign under the Finnish and Swedish flags (signs that the customer service there speak both languages btw)? Says +18°C. That's +64,4°F.

Amanda of the Sea, or simply Manta. Legend says she's a mermaid who left her home and is casting one last look at it, being the allegory of "The Daughter of the Baltic Sea", Helsinki. Another legend says she bears cunning resemblance to someone's wife (the important thing to notice is that the wife was not the artist's who made the statue). However, there are two ladies from Paris who the artist mentioned as his models so perhaps some legends are simply that, legends.

Senate Square Cathedral, the most iconic building of the city. Looks rather romantic in the light of the rising sun. The little houses down below are a Bobmas marketplace, full of all kind of interesting, necessary and yummy items that people clearly need. Many types of canned animals, bakery products, sweets, jewellery, clothes, hats, art etc.

Here's the all-time favourite Tsar of Finns: Alexander II of Russia. Even the seagulls know he's the best.

This booth sells traditional knives and that sign on the left side is something unbelievably Finnish:
"The first knife for children 
25 €
engraving a name included in the price" 

Because clearly every child needs a knife. I'm not going to say anything because I learned to use one at the mature age of perhaps four or so. It was my grandma's idea. So that I could, er, make bark boats to amuse myself. Naturally the thing I cut the most were my own hands; I still have memories of having at least one band aid per finger every time we went to the summer cottage.

Well, it was more than just bark boats. My grandma also taught me to clean mushrooms and gut fish, so learning to sue the knife was actually very important indeed.

Right after Bobmas Finland was hit by a series of storms so bad that in some areas the electricity's still not back on. Our house suffered only minor damage but even so I liked to avoid the worst weather. This video is taken after the wind subsided a bit.

However, it was strong enough to do this...

...and this.

Here's where that piece of metal belongs to.

Mum's new spruce trees were also curiously tilted after the second day of storms.


  1. Pictures! Wow, Helsinki is pretty. For, you know, a city. But where is the snow?

    Knives! For children! Way to work the stereotype, Finland.

  2. I don't know, Finland's been strangely snowless all year! I hear they had some this week but when I was there we only had rain and storms. :S? I do love Helsinki myself, but I may be biased after having lived there roughly half of my life.

    I don't think anyone even thought it was strange - or dangerous, for that matter - to let me use one. :D

  3. It's been strangely dry here, except not that strange because it's not like we don't have a drought every other year anyway. The lack of snow is not strange in the least. XD I really thought Finland would look colder! It almost looks habitable... ;-)

    People here can be so overprotective of their children that they grow up and have no idea how to avoid getting hurt... not that it's great for them to get hurt as kids. Less likely to die from it as adults, maybe. I don't know how I feel. Those knives look awfully big for a 4yo, though. Maybe a smaller one would be good - was yours that big?

    Honestly wish I'd learned to use one as a kid, cause I accidentally cut myself pretty often now. My husband learned, but I'm not sure if that was because he was a boy or just because we had such different parents. He's always telling me I'm pointing the knife the wrong way.

  4. The usual Finnish winter looks like this:

    Well, maybe less photoedited but at least that amount of snow is the norm. :DDD

    In my opinion protecting children too much can be just as harmful as neglecting them. It's much better to learn what's dangerous and how to avoid getting hurt. This applies to many things from sharp blades to working life to sex ed, the more knowledge a child has the less likely they are to end up in trouble.

    Btw there are two schools to which way the knife should be pointed, so by default you can also be right and he wrong (as long as you're holding the right end of the knife of course). :D