Helsinki by Instagram

Helsinki dear,
Last time we met, it was February and the freezing rain was practically horizontal. Brr…

Today, things are looking better. Summer seems to be over, it’s a chill in the air – and windy. But the sun has poked through the clouds more than once. That’s not bad for September. Not bad at all.

I’m on my way to a conference in Tallinn, and impulsively decided to stop en route here in Helsinki to have a look at the sea fortress at Suomenlinna. You may have noticed Sophie’s World has put World Heritage sites in focus lately. Well, going through our UNESCO index, I discovered there was nothing in Finland. Nothing at all. Considering we’re northern neighbours, that simply will not do.

So I’ve been roaming about the islands at Suomenlinna today and will tell you all about it in due course. But for now, here’s a glimpse of Helsinki – practically in real-time. Enjoy!

Helsinki by Instagram

Perfectly perched pigeons in Helsinki
Along Pohjoisesplanadi (that means Northern Esplanade, just in case you don’t understand the bewilderingly complex Finnish compound words…haha, as if I do…), I noticed these two pretty girls, each with a bird in her hand – and each with a live bird on her head. Esplanadin puisto, the park between the northern and southern esplanades, is the heart of Helsinki and a lovely place to stroll.

Helsinki by Instagram

Continuing along the Northern Esplanade, I stopped outside Marimekko to look at the new autumn colours. OK, so I didn’t just stop outside. I went in and fondled the materials. But I was good, didn’t buy a single thing, realising there’s a limit to how many towels I need.

Empty outdoors at Strindberg Cafe this morning, on account of still rainy chairs.
Next to Marimekko is Strindberg Café, empty on account of chairs still wet from the morning rain. But no worries. It’s perfect indoors. Despite being named after a rather gloomy Swedish author (or perhaps there’s another Strindberg), this is my favourite cafe in Helsinki. What I adore most are the large windows looking out on the Esplanade.

The fabulous facade of Helsinki's Hotel Kamp
Helsinki has some amazing architecture. I especially love Carl Theodor Höijer’s neo-Renaissance buildings. Here’s the fabulous facade of Hotel Kämp.

The Gerda in Helsinki harbour
Heading across Kauppatori (Market Square, another compounded Finnish word for you) to the harbour, I noticed this gorgeous square-rigger, Priki Gerda. It’s possible to cruise – or join the crew, climb in the rig, pack the sails, n’all. Something to think about, eh?

The UNESCO-listed Suomenlinna Fortress
The islands that make up Suomenlinna is a mere 15-minute crossing by ferry or water bus from Helsinki harbour. The fortress was built by Augustin Ehrensvärd, and this sculpture is his memorial. I don’t know about you, but I find it a bit sinister. We’ll get back to Suomenlinna in a later post…

Cool, colourful local design at Suomenlinna. The island attracts artists.
…except to say, that the islands are home to 800 people, many of whom are artists, whose bright and colourful work is for sale at the craft shop. Design everywhere in Helsinki, on Suomenlinna…

Glass art by Iittala
… and, of course, in town. Here’s the back wall at Iittala glass shop.

So there you have it, a glimpse of Helsinki as it looks today.

Disclosure: I organised my ever so brief visit in Helsinki in cooperation with VisitFinland, who very kindly set me up with accommodations and transport at very short notice. As ever, I’m at complete liberty to write about whatever I want.



20 Responses to “Helsinki by Instagram”

  1. Jools Stone 3 September 2013 1138 #

    Lovely stuff. 🙂 Oooh I must check out Hotel Kamp actually, have you stayed there yourself? That sculpture is definitely quite sinister, looks like a Cyberman from Doctor Who!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 9 September 2013 1237 #

      Thanks, Jools. I haven’t stayed at Hotel Kämp, but been there for a meeting a long time ago. Grand.

  2. Muza-chan 3 September 2013 1444 #

    Beautiful photos 🙂

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 9 September 2013 1237 #

      Thanks, Muza-chan.

  3. Andrea 3 September 2013 2209 #

    Ahhh – love Helsinki! So great you got to visit again

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 9 September 2013 1238 #

      I remember reading about your experience there. Very chic city, Helsinki is.

  4. Salika Jay 4 September 2013 0613 #

    Beautiful shots! I really like the Augustin Ehrensvärd memorial.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 9 September 2013 1238 #

      Thanks. The memorial is a little eerie – and intriguing.

  5. Mary {The World Is A Book} 5 September 2013 0905 #

    I like how much you were able to capture on your phone and on a short visit. I don’t know much about Helsinki so this was a great overview. And any place where I can spend hours at a Marimekko is a wonderful place.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 9 September 2013 1239 #

      Love Marimekko. 🙂

  6. Arianwen 6 September 2013 0612 #

    It looks lovely from your pictures!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 9 September 2013 1239 #

      Thanks, Arianwen. Helsinki is a cool city.

  7. The GypsyNesters 7 September 2013 1504 #

    Thanks for sharing Sophie! We’re intrigued by Finland – got to get there – the whimsical art you’ve found bumps it up in our book. We LOVE that stuff! -Veronica

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 9 September 2013 1240 #

      I think you two would really enjoy Helsinki. I recommend visiting in summer, so much outdoorsy fun.

  8. Leigh 10 September 2013 1704 #

    Would love to visit not just Helsinki but all of Finland (and Norway & Sweden). Marimeko is a company whose designs I have admired at a shop in Toronto whenever I am there.
    Lucky you for being able to just pop over.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 11 September 2013 1132 #

      I think you’d really like it up here, Leigh. Not unlike Canada.

  9. [email protected] 15 September 2013 1502 #

    Thanks for the colorful glimpse of Suomenlinna. Enjoyed your photo series. Looking forward to learning more about Suomenlinna in your future post. Looks like a delightful little island.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 September 2013 1330 #

      It was indeed a quirky and delightful island.

  10. Marysia @ My Travel Affairs 2 January 2014 1759 #

    I so want to visit Helsinki, but I guess I will wait till summer? 🙂

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 19 January 2014 2056 #

      Helsinki can be fun to visit in winter, too, if you’re properly dressed.

Leave a Reply