Downtown Helsinki

Shiva made her directorialship debut. I fitted her with the GoPro camera on the harness and took her for a walk for a trial run. The film is long and a bit monotonous at times, but it’s not as bad as I thought it would be (or as good as I had hoped for). I’m still working with some software to learn how to pare it down so that I can post some canine perspective of Helsinki when we get out there ‘for reals’. 🙂

Afterwards, I made it a point to head downtown to see the Christmas windows in Stockmann’s. Stockmann’s is sort of like the Macy’s Fifth Avenue, with a Christmas window, Santa, lots of lights, and besides, it takes up practically a whole city block (and then something like five stories up and down).

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I got some pictures of the windows, and the little outdoor market there. There were probably about fifty little huts with craftspeople selling things made in Finland (mostly), as well as silver from Ireland (pretty!), roasted almonds (yum!, sweaters from Peru (llamas!), and more. Prices were a bit high, but to be expected from a holiday market, to be honest.

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I then headed over to the Senate Square to check out the Christmas market there. Here there were over a hundred little wooden huts with all manner of goods. The vast majority of these were Finnish items, and I was convinced to buy a few things, as well as mentally file some things away to come back and get next week. I tried several different sorts of gingerbread cookies, some Christmas bread (coming back next week for some to take to Oulu), and I even tried my first glöggi. While not something I would go out of my way for, it was good enough that I felt inclined to buy a bottle to share up at the cabin when we go to Lapland over Christmas. I did find these black truffle potato chips from Spain that were TDF, so I had to buy a bag of those, too. The cheese-filled 20141212_174254pastries are handmade, and delicious, and this is the place that has the Christmas bread that I am coming back for.

While I was there, I watched a young man working some metal in a small fire. It looked really interesting, and the display of finished items were certainly impressive! (scroll down to the bottom to see the video)

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There’s a huge Christmas tree in the square, as well as a carousel, which is free for the kids to ride. Even with the drizzle going on, there were still lots of people braving the wet weather to get out and shop, lending the place a festive air in spite of the gloom.

It was there I met Wellu and we wandered a bit, then headed out to eat, and then back home to walk Shiva (in the rain, of course). Walking to the bus stop through the Helsinki city streets was so magical!

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I managed to get our luminaire (from Ikea, of course), up in the window, and it looks rather homey from the street. Now, I just need to get some Christmas lights out on the balcony and the place will look festive enough. 🙂

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Quick note on the cold brew tea: Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I did a little reading up on cold brewing, since the main reason I was doing ‘cold brew’ was convenience. Plop 2 tea cold brew tea bags in a quart pitcher of water, put in the fridge, and approximately 15 minutes later, you had tea! And since I only drink iced tea, it tasted just like the stuff you get in the restaurant that has been hot-brewed. I didn’t realize that (it seems) any tea can be cold brewed, it’s just the method, not anything special with the tea. This opens up a world of possibilities for me! I had just assumed that the tea bags that I had been buying were labeled ‘cold brew’ because something special was done when processing the tea leaves. Those marketing geniuses…charging more for what is probably the same product, but just giving it a different name!

Day 12 Challenge: Are you looking forward to Christmas? Why or why not? I most definitely am! Several reasons…I will be spending Christmas Day itself with my husband’s family in Oulu, and that will be very nice and special. Most importantly, it means that my daughter is on her way, and she arrives on the 27th, and then we head to Lapland, for a very special Christmastime in the snow! I’ve missed her, and it will be so good to see her for a little over a week! The only downer is that I will be missing the rest of my family during this time.

4 thoughts on “Downtown Helsinki

  1. If you enjoyed walking around the christmas markets, you might be interested to know there’s a more authentic / less touristy market event in Tikkurila tomorrow (Saturday 13.12.2014). (http://www.kolumbus.fi/vantaantoriyhdistys/Tapahtumia.htm)

    The whole main street is usually covered with huts/tents/tables that sell all sorts of goods from street food to clothes and decorative items. (It’s only a 10-25 min train ride from downtown Helsinki, depending on which commuter train you pick, I recommend the Z, R and H since they are the quickest.)

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  2. That might be Kimmo Tulimetsä, hard to say for sure. He is very frequently at all kinds of fairs, festivals and markets all around Finland. I know many people who own his products, me included. I have a nice pendant. He has a website at http://www.tulimetsa.fi

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