Distractions, reflections

David Ing, at large … Sometimes, my mind wanders

2008/03/14 Kamppi to Ruoholahti, Helsinki centre

Continuing my round-the-world trip from Toronto to Tokyo to Beijing, I was in Helsinki for my shortest stay ever: 3 days. I’m often stayed in the west suburb of Espoo, but a short stay with a large potential for jet lag made an apartment in town more practical. In the city centre, it’s a close walk to the subway and bus station at Kamppi. There’s always something happening on the plaza.

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On this day, there was a carnival. A magician would do tricks for you.

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Old and young lined up to win prizes at putting.

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I don’t often ride the metro in Helsinki because it doesn’t run to the suburbs. In town, though, it’s quick, and I can charge the fare on my mobile phone to run down the prepayments that I accumulate every 6 months to keep my phone number active.

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One stop west is Ruoholahti. This area is near the sea, on the southwest side of the city.

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Across the street, the northwest, is a mall.

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Across the street to the northeast is the Nokia Research Centre.

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On this short visit, I had suggested that I might try some more traditional Finnish cuisine. Kolme Kruunua is a restaurant started in 1952, housed in a building that dates back to 1926, where the poet J. L. Runeberg had lived in the 1830s.

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My hosts, Anssi and his wife Outi, suggested that I try the herring, reputed to be the best in the city.

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Visits to Helsinki are a change in scenery to me, more than vacations. I like to observe everyday life, such as schoolchildren bundled up in snowsuits out for a walk.

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I’ve seen the Kosmos restaurant listed in tour books since my first business trip to Helsinki in 1999. I’ve never had the reason or opportunity to go there.
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Karlos hosted me for dinner, and was ordered more adventurously than me: he ordered the reindeer tartar.

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I’ve been to Helsinki at least twice per year for the past five years, so I’m very comfortable in Finland. There’s still a few experiences that are new to me on every visit, and I look forward to them.

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