When Tiina Goes Hel(sinki)

Tiina Kivelä

I spent last weekend in Helsinki, meeting friends, tasting wine and browsing books. It was very snowy the first day – of course I bring snow with me – then it was very rainy – perfect reason to spent day in hotel bed – and all in all, it was an ok weekend. Helsinki isn’t my favorite city, quite the opposite, but it works well enough for short visits like this.  And why wouldn’t it, for that price…

And an ok trip can give a lot too. Here’s my takeout from the weekend, in random order. Contains  references to wine, coffee, cheese, literature, personal history and struggles, and athleisure. Like any good trip.

Helsinki Lessons

  • It could be Girl of the North Country – but I’m not changing the title right away.
  • New Zealand makes excellent sparkling, champagne method – until now I’ve been mostly Marlborough pinot noir & sauvignon blanc kinda girl, but now I have bubbly for the holiday season too – by Lindauer.
  • I remember drinking Spy Valley Riesling somewhere in good company and I’m pretty sure it had something to do with Stockholm and one American… It was good then and it was good this weekend too.
  • The best strangers remember your jewelry, even if and when they don’t sparkle like diamonds – greetings to the Vinum guys, for remembering and for the excellent wine and service.
  • There is a difference between 4 CHF Swiss pinot noir, 20€ Californian pinot noir and 50€ Californian pinot noir. I really wish I could afford the last more often. And accompany it with a road trip and surfing in California. Lucienne, you took my heart.
  • Swiss gruyere is still the best cheese ever – and Italian truffle pasta is an excellent invention as well.
  • Vegan cook books and self help for women are so trendy, when it comes to literature – while I stick to Tove Jansson – she  was an awesome writer, artist and I can easily resonate with her thoughts and writings, especially when it comes to traveling and human nature (and I like the fact that she’s illustrated a version of Hobbit, which has literary references to my Swiss home region too
  • Helsinki weather sucks. Therefore, you should go really north or stay south. Leave Slush for people trying hard to be cool (while they could come North and see how authentic cool looks like) or enjoy the sun for me too.
  • I should use hotel gyms more often. I don’t really like going to a gym, but I don’t travel enough to get bored in hotel gyms. And if and when the Helsinki weather, gym is better than run.
  • Deat Poet is an excellent drink (and suits literary theme of early winter / holiday season) but so is El Matador as well – both from Chapter.
  • Understanding which ticket to buy to Helsinki City Centre from Helsinki Airport is impossible. Though, with more time and energy, it could be made as an extreme sport. How to not get lost or not get fined for traveling in Finland.
  • If you have the time and energy, go and get your coffee in Helsinki Airport from Johan & Nyström, even if it’s far from your gate – it will be as expensive as coffee generally is in Helsinki Airport (it’s HEL for a reason, it seems – though a very beautiful hell), but it’s definitely worth the money and effort, compared to others in there –  and it also gives you a nice opportunity and reason, if you even need one, for a  little workout between flights – but watch out for the crowds and toilet lines, which makes being on time and surviving the journey without a bruise kind of an a challenge.

In other words, Helsinki is not a leisure destination. It’s an extreme resort. Cheer’s for that.

I’m now back to North, where it’s snow and around -15°C . That calls for Nordic skiing and sauna after work. Writing and pics will follow. And like always something is already in here and here. For more Helsinki and Lapland tips, you may also check #tiinagoeshel and for lapland #tiinagoeslapland.

Keep yourself warm and enjoy Halloween safely!

 

Tiina Kivelä