Lake Espoo and Espoonlahti - or: the Elk Trip 
Monday, 20 .June, 2005, 19:41 - English Entries, Helsinki, Finland, Cycling

I did some smallar cycling trips during the last days, but today I wanted to see more of Espoo, so I started West. You can see the trip from the map below.


The Elk trip

It took me quite long to go through Läppävaara, Kilo and Kauniainen. The map that I use is very good for that region, but there are too many streets and so I had to stop every few minutes and find out which way to go. Still it was beautiful to go there, especially as long parts of the journey went through wood and green.

Close to Bemböle is a big street crossing - it must be a festival for highways. There is also a Kahvila (Cafe) close to the crossing, but somehow it manages that to give you a quiet atmosphere, even when sitting outside, eating a sandwich and drinking a beer, as I did.

After that break I went around Lake Espoo, which I did not see too much of. The road went through the woods and gave me the joy of hills nearly all the way - which was really fun. Besides trees there are also golf courses in that area. Most likely they breed them there and lots of people with "handicaps" too. That is not an insult! A handicap means something different in Golf-language, but don't ask me what. I know some golfers, they are good people and I always wonder how they could end up with that sport.


Lake Espoo

There is a little beach at Oittaa and they also have a Kahvila there, which I can very much recommend. I took half a liter of water, coffee and a chees cake and did not believe the lady when she said "Kolme E-uro" (that's three Euro). It was really true. Ok, the chees cake was not too big, but it was good. Besides that the beach is small and there are only normal people and children - nobody tries to show off. I sat on a wooden terrass in the sun and planned the next moves.

Down to Espoon Keskus where I lost my way, as the merciless map shows. But only for a few minutes, then back on track to the Southern part of Espoo. Shortly after Espoon Keskus is a large park area that is worth seeing. Most of it is wood, there are some lakes and meadows with violet flowers, of which I do not know the name (did not even make a picture ... stupid me).


Smaller Lakes on the way

I followed the indications to Espoonlahti, which I should not have done. They lead me to the town center of Espoonlahti and not to the sea. Also this is obvious from the map, as I drove one part twice from West to East (see lower left corner). But I finally made it to the shore. The whole are there reminded me of Tegernsee, a place close to my home town. A lot of not-so-poor people seem to live there, which one can see from the houses and the ships. If you go there, you will understand them - it is again beautiful.

Somehow I feel like I have to apologize for only seeing and talking about beautiful things. Please wait until Winter, then you will read other content here.


In Tapiola

The way back was easy after some food ("Mega Dog" - the Fin-Esso version of a hot dog, don't forget to stress the first syllable of Mega - it is not Meeeega it is _Me_ga) and ice tea it was just like rolling home.

Before I took the bike out of the cellar I was not aware how green Helsinki and Espoo are, although I lived in Espoo for a while and was aware that it is more a collection of settlements with forests and meadows inbetween than a real city. As there are so many recreation areas there are never too many people at one place. It is quite easy to find a smaller lake where you can sit alone for a while. After that while it seems strange that only several hundred meters away are the two biggest cities of Finland.

Now look a the outline of the trip. It looks like an elk or a reindeer. That was not my intention, but somehow my subconcious must have take part in that.


Anybody interested in cycling there together?

One more thing on the mega dog. The guy who gave it to me asked "do you want also the spicy sauce" and usually I say no, but this time I tried it. Daring. The he asked if I want the normal or the spicy sausage and I went for the spicy one as well. Very Daring. The effect was zero. The Finish version of Spicy not only leaves your stomach lining intact (German: Magenschleimhaut), it also does not jump on your tongue. It is the silent (spicy) way of this country.


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Concert in Kaivopuisto 
Sunday, 12 .June, 2005, 19:35 - English Entries, Helsinki, Finland, Music

Today was Helsinki Day and besides lots of other events a concert took place in Kaivopuisto, admission was free.

It took me quite a while today to get myself together, so I managed to come rather late to the concert, sometime around 17:00 and I only saw the last three acts, which were Maija Vilkkumaa, 69 Eyes and Fun like you (not sure if I got that name right - he was hip hop anyhow).

The sky was overclouded, but temperatures were still around the 16 degress (Celcius, for those of you who calculate in other strange measures - and plus degrees, for those of you from Lapland, who leave away the minus, but never the plus when it comes to degrees). It was an ok day for being outside without a jacket.

I have been to Kaivopuisto several times now. It is the biggest park in Helsinki, all grean meadow, hills and trees. Lots of space and inbetween that more space. And today it was full. Already entering the park by bike was not possible - there were everywhere people. And when I reached the concert place there was the whole population of Europe (and as it seemed also half of Asia) already there and singing and jumping with Maija to her rock songs.


They all danced

The singer of 69 eyes ended his gig with a sentence worth remembering: "Helsinki! The Rock-capital of the world" - some people laughed, but most agreed wildly, including me.


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Theresa visits Helsinki - part 2 
Sunday, 29 .May, 2005, 19:06 - English Entries, Helsinki, Finland, Photographs, Family

Yesterday we were able to fulfill the most important task of the whole week. We again walked to Seurasaari and looked out for the crazy squirrels. First they did not show up and a major desaster was already approaching the little island and our day. After a coffee I was finally willing to go to the center of the island. I first refused to do so because ... well, we were there the second time in a week. Anyhow, we went (of course) and found the squirrels (of course) and after a little training Theresa was able to feed one of them (wow!!).


Feeding Squirrels

Also on Seurasaari we saw a men who fed the birds from out of his hand. He just stood there, whistled, held his hand full of nuts out and the birds were coming and picking the nuts. He was really happy and surprised about that, he told me in Finish and although I do not speak the local language it was obvious what he was trying to say.


Feeding Birds


Windmills of my mind

We went by bus (#24) to city center, where I bought a set of cycle maps at Stockmann - the biggest department store in Helsinki. They had exactly what I wanted and the day became better and better. We had sun, a little bit of wind - everything was perfect.

During the next hours we walked around 10 kilometers through Helsinki. From the Esplanad, where we saw and listened to a xylophone player, to Eira and into Kaivopuisto. We tried to eat in the restaurant in the park, but it was looking so expensive that we escaped, further along the shore until we reached Karuselli where we eat sandwiches and I had coffee.


Music in the streets

But the Karuselli could not hold us - on we walked, right through the middle of Ruholahti until we reached the Hietaniemi cementary. Theresas feet began to hurt and we made another break. She was brave and when we came to Hietaniemi beach every pain was forgotten and we made it happily to my home in Töölö.



All around Helsinki


On the Beach

After that we both know all the hidden paths and secret ways through Helsinki - we walked where no bike has ever gone.

The evening again was filled with musik (Avril Lavigne - sk8er boi, Beatley - Help and Penny Lane, Abba - Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!, Mama Mia and Money, Money, Money, Tocotronic - Pure Vernunft darf niemals siegen, Die Welt kann mich nicht mehr verstehn und Es ist einfach Rockmusik) and long talks about cycling tours and other religous phenomenons.

Unfortunately I thought Theresas plane would leave around 16:00 today. It left already at 13:25 and so we were in quite a hurry in the morning. But everything went well and I brought her to the airport in time.

It was a great time - everything was just right and the sun gave her blessings.


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Theresa visits Helsinki - part 1 
Friday, 27 .May, 2005, 19:04 - English Entries, Helsinki, Finland, Photographs, Family

My bike went to the bike shop for repaire on Wednesday - it will be ready on Tuesday June the 7th, which is two days after I'll come back from Canada. Fine fine.

I'm currently on holiday. My daughter Theresa (12 years) is visiting me and we are both taking loads of pictures all over Helsinki. These will go into a separate German blog - but some I decided to put here with a short report.


Theresas Arrival at Helsinki Airport

On Wednesday we visited Seurasaari, an outdoor mueseum on a beautiful Island in Western Helsinki. We just had a relaxed day there. The squirrels there are very daring and Theresa enjoyed feeding them.


A lake on Seurasaari and our contribution to the Einstein Year 2005


Some wooden houses on the island of Seurasaaari

Afterwards we went to Hotel Torni, which offers one of the best views over Helsinkis city center.



View over Helsinki from Hotel Torni

Thursday the weather was good but very windy and therefore quite cold. We went to the Suomenlinna sea fortress by boat and took a walk over the island. It was nice, but after two hours we felt tired from walking around all the time and decided to go back home.


Inside Suomenlinna Fortress


Anybody home?


The young girl and the sea

More Information about Suomenlinna can be found on the Suomenlinna Website. Impressive picutres of the seafortress, with Helsinki in the background, can be found here and here.

Today the wind had more mercy and we went to see the Zoo at Korkeasaari island. A good place to visit not only for children. Again we went by boat there.


Korkeasaari - Another beautiful Island


The Watchtower on Korkeasaari


Sourrounded by Dangerous Animals


A real Kangoroo (I did not see one in Australia)

Helsinki in summer: there's no better place to be!


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