Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Vasa Museum in Stockholm ... Vasa-laivan Museo

While trip to Stockholm I recommend visiting the Vasa Museum. It's really worth seeing, the Vasa ship is soooo huge and impressive. The 69 meter-long warship Vasa sank on its maiden voyage in the middle of Stockholm in 1628, and was salvaged 333 years later in 1961 

Stockholm in winter - daily cruises from Helsinki to Stockholm

Today blog's 'Swedish edition' as we went to Stockholm for one day.
Actually for ca.6h. We went by Viking Line, but the same cruises arranges Tallink Silja Line. The whole cruise lasts ca.40h. Departures are daily around 17pm from Helsinki, next day is for visiting the city and way back around 17pm as well.
Information in English is available on the ferries companies' websites altogether with possibility of booking and buying tickets online.
Below are some of my pictures from beautiful Stockholm in winter: (only on the second photo Silja Line is leaving Helsinki)


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Finnish ice swimming - Avantouinti

I was going through my Helsinki photos from last week when I noticed right in the middle of one picture a man walking just in shorts. I did not notice him while taking the picture (otherwise I would take more;-) I think the man was enough far away to be unrecognizable in this photo, so I insert it in the blog. It is good reason to write about the ice swimming (in Finnish: avantouinti).
It is really popular in Finland. I remember I saw people from some 'Walrus Club' or sth like that swimming outside during winter on the Polish news. It was subject to show on the news! and in Finland this is a common thing to do.
There are many places in Finland arranged for swimming in the ice-holes. I heard that the best ones are located close to sauna, cause the best feeling is to jump into the ice cold water straight after going to the sauna. It looks like the man on the photo did not need a sauna, he has just 'enjoyed' swimming in the ice-cold sea ...

Friday, February 22, 2013

Winter and fat biking in Finland

Cycling in Finland is very popular. People of all ages ride bicycles regardless of the weather conditions. Many people bike everyday to work, school, shops, for sport or recreation.
You can see the bike racks in front of the shops, offices, schools, in yards etc. There are numerous cycle paths in most of the cities and villages. For the bicycle tourists Finland offers beautiful cycle routes for the bicycle touring.
Long and often snowy, harsh Finnish winters lasting from about November to April are any problem neither. During winter I still see many people on the bikes every day (even though less than in the summer).
Few days ago Finnish TV Yle news presented so called 'fat biking' (paksupyöräily) as especially good for winter conditions. The wide 'fat' tires keep bicycle more stable and make riding softer on the snow.
Petri "Shimaani" Nuutinen brought the first fat bike to Finland. I found information in internet about 50 fat tire bikes in Finland, but on this year TV news it was said, that there are already few hundreds. So the number is clearly increasing. The very first fat bikes came from Alaska. They look fun, I wonder how does it feel to ride such a bike. I do ride bicycle in winter, but sometimes it is more struggling than riding or I am forced to walk for some more snowy part of the road.
Photo1 from Global Fat bike day finland Photo2 from (Fatbiking in Finland)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Suomenlinna seashore in winter

... and here are my photos taken from Viking Line heading for Stockholm.
There was amazing sunset and I would like to share some pictures of Suomenlinna. 
Leaving Helsinki behind ...

 Suomennlina Sea Fortress:

(here's link to my last year post with photos of Suomenlinna dungeons)

Helsinki Cathedral in winter

The Helsinki Cathedral (Helsingin tuomiokirkko). I took these photos from tram about 5pm. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

St.Valentine's Day in Finland

While the world today celebrates love, in Finland February 14 is celebrated largely as the Friends' Day - 'Ystävänpäivä'. 
I wrote shortly about this issue last year, so today I will focus on the romantic side of St.Valentine's Day by sharing photos I took few days ago in Helsinki. 
I had no idea, that in Helsinki harbour on the way to Katajanokka there is a bridge with the love padlocks.
I found in internet information from year 2010 that the City of Helsinki has no intention of removing the padlocks, 
so I see that this custom is not so new here. 
I find these padlocks charming and wish especially today good luck for their owners:-)

  Happy Valentine's Day to All! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

grey, winter Helsinki shore ...

Here are some pictures
I took today in Helsinki. There was calm, unhurried atmosphere
I like, and by atmosphere I mean the feeling, not the weather!:-)
Today there were only SISU and Nordica of the icebreakers in the northern shore of Katajanokka. 
I guess the rest of them are on the icebreaking assignments.

view to kruununhaka

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Imatrankoski Rapids, the dam of Imatra and Imatran Valtionhotelli in the winter


The Imatrankoski Rapids on the river Vuoksi in Imatra are the oldest Finnish tourist attraction. They have been popular place to see already in the 17th century. Empress of Russia - Catherine the Great came to admire them in 1772.

In 1920's on the rapids was built the dam as a part of the hydroelectric power plant. After opening the plant in 1928, the river does not flow freely. During summer there are daily shows accompanied by music, when the dam is opened letting the water flow for about 30 minutes.


Imatran Valtionhotelli (the State Hotel) was built by the Finnish senate in 1903.
It is located very near to the dam and rapids. The hotel designed by Usko Nystroem is in an Art Nouveau (Jugend) style. It was built as a hotel for tourists from the Russian Imperial capital Saint Petersburg. As you can see it looks fabulous even in a grey winter day.