HELSINKI: HIS PRIDE AND OUR WARNINGS
Reserved, polite and self-sufficient, Helsinki does not entertain you against your will, but has a rich stock of interesting, beautiful and tasty. The feeling is that you have come to visit a wealthy and intelligent family that provides all your benefits for free use, and instead of imposing a mandatory cultural program gives the guest the right to choose. And this is unusual for a Russian person who subconsciously prepares for a carnival, a fair and a feast for the whole world. Meanwhile, in Helsinki, you have to search and choose yourself.
Cult of life as an ideology
Finns got a climate similar to the Russian. But, placed in unenviable natural conditions – lack of light, heat and vitamin D, they made a logical decision to build a life in a cult. That is, so equip everyday life, so that it was not dull. Famous Finnish design companies are a dime a dozen (Arabia, Aarikka, Marimekko, Nokia). Good taste in northerners is brought up from early childhood. One of the proofs of this is the baby romper in different colors and styles from the “Parent box”, which is issued to every pregnant by the bodies of Finnish social protection.
Alexander Kuprin, who was in Helsinki (then Helsingfors) in 1908, describes, for example, the Finnish school: “Every little thing that serves for the convenience and benefit of schoolchildren is thought out here with remarkable love and care. The shape of benches and inkpots, maps, collections, physical and natural cabinets, painting walls, the enormous height of rooms, the abyss of light and air, and, finally, even such a trifle as flowers on the windows are the flowers that they bring to school with great pleasure students”. The same impression is made on the tourist city and a hundred years later – in a reasonably organized space, you feel comfortable and light.
In 2012, Helsinki was recognized as one of the world’s design capitals. There is even a self-proclaimed designer quarter, where fashionable places are concentrated – from galleries to cafes. A measured tour of the quarter will take two to three hours. Also here is the Design Museum, which can be accessed for free, having a Helsinki Card – a city travel card with additional options for tourists.
Even in bad weather, which is not uncommon here, you can “walk” around the city without any problems – sitting in a comfortable tram (there are ten routes). The center of the city is considered to be the whole territory where the tram rails are laid. You will get the strongest visual impressions from the routes numbered “two”, “three”, “six” and “seven” (the same ones, just go in different directions). “Troika”, “G8” and “Nine” stop at the Linnanmäki Amusement Park, which, among other things, has 15 free rides. 38 euros for a ticket to all the slides and roundabouts is not so sorry to give, knowing that the money from the sale go to the “Fund for the protection of children.”
How to escape from the blues
Sauna is another way to cope with the climate. In Helsinki, there is a society of sauna lovers, who cares about the availability of traditional folk leisure and collects donations for its widespread distribution. Perhaps the most charming steam room in the city is Sompasauna. This is a free, self-catering sauna by the sea, consisting of two tiny houses with stoves and benches overlooking the island of Korqueaari where the zoo is located. There are steam rooms in almost every apartment. Luxury saunas can be found in hotels, for example, in the new hotel Indigo.
Finnish proverb says: if the disease does not help a sauna, tar or alcohol, time to write a will. Since alcohol is stronger than four and a half per cent is sold only in special stores, it is better to keep a bottle or two at home, since on Saturday after 16 o’clock and on Sunday all alcoholic beverages are closed. However, you always poured into restaurants and bars. If you want not just to drink, but also how to have fun – come to the bar A21. Here they are serious about the passionate: employees can talk about each cocktail for five minutes. Invigorating mixtures with tar, by the way, are also available. But it’s better to start with a cloudberry drink Lapin Jalokivi (“The Jewel of Lapland”) for 15 euros or Suomen neito (“Finnish girl”) for 11.5 euros – with forest raspberries, blueberries and strawberries. It is easy to see that it is very expensive in Finland to follow in the footsteps of the composer Sibelius and the poet Runeberg, who were in intimate relations with alcohol.
On the Finnish initiative and the “right to nature”
Finland, in which the peasant has never been a serf, values freedom and knows how to bear responsibility. Interest societies, such as the already mentioned association of sauna enthusiasts, appear regularly. People rally around joys and difficulties to assert their rights and improve their quality of life. Locals unite around the district – to build a playground, for diseases – to seek benefits or share experiences, and even by age – so as not to feel lonely.