Thursday, 23 February 2012

I better not leave before I get my chance to ride

So finally the time has come to show Helsinki. I've been here for a while and spend one weekend (which is right now in fact) doing cross country skiing and celebrating Finnish tradition - Shrovetide.

So on Saturday we took a train to Espoon Keskus, where two of our colleagues picked us up and we drove to cross country skiing area. We've rented skis there and the whole fun has begun. It was great cause in some way it was like huge skiing station where you have rentals, car parks, restaurants, marked trails but everything was flat. Just no lifts.
The event was even funnier as I did not get much sleep in the night cause we went out with some of the colleagues as well as with client's employees. We were closing the "Le Bonk" disco at 3.30. So at first when I got up I was in rather slow motion and I was convinced I'll be a crap when we start moving, but afterwards I got better and I became a legend ;-). No one wanted to believe that it's the first time I go cross country skiing. It's because I was doing so well. Maybe it's because I've got some practise in downhill skiing and that makes me feel comfortable having two longish pieces tied to my feet. We did 9 kilometers. I had appetite for more, but nobody wanted to join me.
Helsinki city center

Helsinki, on the way to the railway station. Sokos department store and hotel.

Heap of lost luggage in the hall of railway station. I guess that if you've lost something on the train you can come here an search for it.

Cross country skis rental and restaurant


Professional look. Take a look at one of my colleagues in the background too ;-)

After cross country skiing you can go to sauna and later on do some swimming in the ice hole. Next time I'm gonna do that too.

Helsinki city center. But why the hell do they need lighthouse in the middle of the city?

Helsinki city center. Sokos Presidentti in the background is the hotel where I'm staying. It's not recommended. Rooms are not clean, service is very poor, as are the breakfasts and once I've found pubic hair in the bathroom when I moved in. Disgusting.

Helsinki city center

Shrovetide is celebrated both on Shrove Sunday (19th February) and Tuesday (21st February) by sledding downhill and eating pea soup and Shrove buns with cream and jam or with cream and almond paste. Friends and families get together to celebrate - this happening is called “laskiaisrieha”. People go sledding downhill with sledges and next go to have hot chocolate and Shrove buns. And this is exactly what we did in the Kaivopuisto park.
Shrove buns are ok, but nothing spectacular for me. I liked my salmon, egg sandwich so much better than shrove bun.I was even regreting not taking two sandwiches instead of having one of each.
We were on the news (guess whose scream it is) in channel 4
View from the hotel window on Sunday morning. Whole day was like that.

On the way to Kaivopuisto park. Stockmann department store.

On the way to Kaivopuisto park. Design Museum. Helsinki is Design Capital 2012

On the way to Kaivopuisto park. Church?

Kaivopuisto park. Let's go sledding.

Sledding on my stomach...

... and falling

Snowboard sledges?

On the way home

Marimekko. It's the Finnish fashion company, founded in 1951 and very popular nowdfays. Nevertheless their patterns remind me of polish design patterns. Looks very familiar.

And again we did some more cross country skiing, this time in Paloheinä where we were able to get by direct bus from the office that we have in Kapyla. 22 euros for skis rental for three hours (not cheap if I compare to the rental of downhill skis in France) and we go!
This venue was more hilly and going ups and downs made me tired. Especially that it was snowing all the time and that fresh snow was sticking to the skis all the time. That was also a little bit dangerous when going down as you think that you will go down, you are prepared for that but your skis stand still. And it's just you going down and falling.
Actually once when I've separated from my colleagues I got to the top of the small hill and I was a little bit afraid to go down especially that the route seemed empty and those cross country skies are not stable. So I could only imagine myself falling into one of the lamp posts lightening the track. Yes we went there in the late evening and yes they have lightened cross country skiing tracks.
On the 66A bus

Integration team ;-)

Let's go!

The cross country skiing hill. Lightened.

There is one more very interesting thing about Finland. Finnish swimming pools. Especially that one where you can swim naked. What's more this was the first one that I've found in Helsinki and the oldest one in the city (build in 1920).
I was not aware of the fact that you can swim naked there the first time I went there. And actually when you are wearing your swimming suit they look at you in a funny way. But I can still bear that look. I don't think I would feel comfy swimming nude. I must also admit that I don't feel very comfortable seeing it. When you swim behind someone you see definitely too much. The view is not appealing. Especially when you keep it in mind that most of those naked swimming women (the entrance hours/day are separate for men and women) are old, not very well shaped and not waxed. Disgusting.

No pictures from naked swimming pool ;-)

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