Here are some pics from yesterday. We’ve been down at Esplanadi for the yeary Vappu ceremony, starting at 6pm on May Day Eve every year. Students are first washing Havis Amanda (called “Manta”), a statue of a mermaid at the end of Esplanadi, and then dressing her with the white student hat. Naturally, that all goes along with a lot of drinking & partying…

After that we’ve been to Dinner at Kolme Seppää (Mannerheimintie 14), an Italian restaurant opposite of Stockmanns. I’ve never been there before but I’ll definitely go there for a second visit soon!



To make use of the nice weather last weekend we decided to visit Suomenlinna, which is just off the coast of Helsinki. No extra ticket needed to go there – you can just use your normal bus ticket for the ferry, leaving at the harbour at the end of Esplanadi & arriving at the islands 15min later.

Suomenlinna was built in the 18th century and is now part of the Unesco heritage sites. It spreads over 4 islands and features its own church, a dry dock, a submarine, museums & some cafes/restaurants plus lots of walkways along the edge of the sea. Actually a perfect place for a picnic in summer – so it won’t be my last visit there!


If you wanna try something different – why not some curling? It’s something I’ve never done before but we all had a great time. (And well, it was quite funny: sliding over the ice on your knees with a brush in one hand & trying not to fall on your backside!)

There’s a curling hall in Oulunkylä (address: Käskynhaltijantie 11, Oulunkylä, Helsinki) and for 17 people, we’ve paid 15EUR per person for playing two full hours. Nothing special needed when it comes to preparation. You get the special shoes (sliding shoe on one foot, “safe” shoe on the other) at the curling hall as well as an introduction into the technique and the rules of the game – and then off you go!

Trip #2 – Tallinn

As Tallinn is practically round the corner, we took the opportunity this weekend for a short day trip to Estonia.

And I had the chance to see my house from a completely different perspective – normally I only see the ferries arriving or leaving from my bedroom window. =)

But it definitely was an early start. I arrived a bit before 8am (being typically German) at Länsiterminaali to get our tickets (41 EUR per person for the roundtrip Helsinki-Tallinn-Helsinki – http://www.tallinksilja.com/en/). And at 8.30 sharp we were on our way – together with tons of Finns already taking opportunity of the alcohol being a lot cheaper than at home.

2 hours later we arrived in Tallinn and – shame on us – we behaved like typical tourists and boarded a red doubledecker bus for a 50min sightseeing tour round the city (http://www.tourism.tallinn.ee/fpage/explore/sightseeing#!p_176365). That actually turned out to be a great idea as you easily got an overview of the biggest attractions and you could get on and off the bus at specified stops to take a walk around. We therefore managed to see nearly everything in one afternoon:

  • Toompea Castle
  • St Mary’s Cathedral / Dome church
  • Danish king’s garden
  • Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
  • Town Hall
  • Estonian National Opera
  • Viru Gate
  • St Olav church – where you can climb up the church tower for a view over the city (which was definitely worth it! And tickets are only 2 EUR anyway.)

… to name only a view of the things we’ve seen that day. For lunch I can only recommend the little Italian restaurant “Il Gallo Negro” (Rataskaevu 4, 10123 Tallinn) where we had amazing antipasti & pasta plus some fabulous red wine.

The ferry back was booked for 17.30 – and we made our way on foot across the city and really managed to find our way back to the D-Terminal in the end (ok, with some help of the friendly receptionist at the Radisson Blu, who saved us from taking some unwanted detours).

And next time I’ll promise to behave a bit more Finnish and buy some alcohol as well – this time I guess I was the only person on the ferry not drinking, and only buying sweets in the duty free shop!

Trip #1 – Dubai

The Dubai trip has been 3 weeks ago already, but I guess doing the post now is a “better late than never” situation… =)

Long haul flights are definitely not my favourite way to spend the day, but I somehow survived the Helsinki-Frankfurt-Dubai section without getting bored to death. And the next day already made up for the long travel. We had a two days workshop using the facilities of the Westin Mina Seyahi Beach Resort (http://www.starwoodhotels.com/westin/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=3034) – and that’s a place I can only recommend to everybody. If I ever win the lottery, that’s where I would spend a week! The pool and outdoor facilities were amazing – and having Sushi each day for lunch isn’t a bad treat either.

The sightseeing program for the evenings consisted of:

As I was only flying home Friday night there was enough time to visit

  • Dubai Marina Beach
  • The Dubai Marina Mall
  • The famous “Palm” including the Hotel Atlantis
  • Jumeirah Beach with the Burj al Arab in the background

All in all definitely a great way to spend some days away from cold & snowy Finland!

Before playing Jesus and actually walking over (ok, frozen) water, we first did some proper tourist impersonation and visited Sibelius monument.

I have to admit that I had to ask Wikipedia about Sibelius but now know the following:

The Sibelius Monument (Finnish: Sibelius-monumentti) is dedicated to the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius (1865–1957). The monument is located at the Sibelius Park (Finnish: Sibeliuspuisto) in the district of Töölö in Helsinki, the capital city of Finland.

The monument was designed by Eila Hiltunen and unveiled on September 7, 1967. Originally it sparked a lively debate about the merits and flaws of abstract art, for which reason an effigy of Sibelius was included in the work. It consists of series of more than 600 hollow steel pipes welded together in a wave-like pattern. The purpose of the artist was to capture the essence of the music of Sibelius. The monument weighs 24 tonnes (24 LT; 26 ST) and measures 8.5 × 10.5 × 6.5 metres.

A smaller version of the monument is located at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. A work with a similar concept, also designed by Hiltunen, is located at the grounds of the United Nations headquarters in New York City.


Afterwards we just followed lots of other Finns and took a shortcut over the ice to Seurasaari, past the house of the primeminister & the president. I’ve already been to Seurasaari before xmas, but this time – with some blue skies & sunshine – it was even nicer.

But unfortunately no squirrels this time, and also no open coffee places, so it was back to the mainland after an hour. And after warming up at Cafe Regatta (Merikannontie 10, 00250 Helsinki) with Korvapusti and some hot chocolate (with cream!) we were ready to tackle the rest of the day.

And that consisted of a visit to the German Bakery Crustum (Pursimiehenkatu 7, 00150 Helsinki, www.crustum.fi). I’ve always wanted to do that but Punavuori is unfortunately not really round the corner. And  I was positively surprised! First of all the bakery actually includes also a small cafe and offers brunch on the weekend (which is on the to do list for the future), then it is actually open on weekends until 18:00 – and the food has been really nice. I bought some pumpkin-seed-bread and can definitely recommend it!

I’ve been to quite a lot of restaurants in the last months but somehow always forgot to write a review. But as the food at Rapu Ya is just amazing, I definitely wanted to post this tip.

Rapu Ya (Eteläranta 14, 00130 Helsinki) is a Japanese restaurant that offers mainly Sushi & Sashimi but also some other Japanese dishes (meat & poultry plus fish). A full menu can be bfound on their website: http://www.rakuya.fi/

We started our dinner with Sushi (lots of it, actually) and then also had some of the main dishes. The pics attached show the soup with meatballs & wheat noodles, beef with sweet potatoes and cabbage with a rice/mushroom filling. Everything was really delicious – so definitely worth a try!