Brigitte and I were very glad to sign a rental contract for a little apartment in the Kallio neighbourhood of Helsinki on Thursday. It is an interesting and dynamic area – see for example its Wikipedia entry – and we’re glad to be in quite a nice part of it where a lot of urban renewal has already taken place. We’ll be close to lots of the main transport links, and within walking distance of the city centre and all of it’s sights. We’ve got a park around the corner and we’re fairly close to the Hakaniemi market (where we can find butternuts – see our earlier post about visiting the market here). But more about the apartment once we’ve moved in on Thursday… (and in case you can’t wait, you can check out the Google Street View here).
In preparation for our unfurnished apartment, Brigitte and I headed to Ikea yesterday (Brigitte has already been there checking things out before; you can see her posts here and here). We took the 10 am bus from the Helsinki city centre, hoping to return by noon or early afternoon at the very latest – we ended up catching the last Ikea bus at 5:30 pm! Wow, we worked hard (and that is despite Brigitte put in a lot of work in the preceding weeks) – but now we have a list of what we’ll be ordering and (hopefully) the process of setting up our new home is now well on its way.
Finding a suitable bed was probably the trickiest thing to do – we looked at Ikea and two adjacent furniture shops, and found beds varying vastly in size, price and quality. It seems that on average Finnish beds are much softer than South African beds, so we focused only on the firmest beds on offer. Finnish beds are also sold in a different way to SA beds – it seems that you have many more options for mixing components, since you can buy the bed base, the bed base legs, the bed base slats, the mattress and a thin upper “mattress pad” separately. But the friendly salespeople at the shops managed to explain the details to us!
Fortunately the Espoo Ikea has a restaurant (ravintola = restaurant; it also has a small food section and take-away counter beyond the furniture checkout line), so we were able to keep our energy levels high during our epic shopathon. We both had some traditional Ikea meatballs with potatoes, as per Chris’s suggestion (Chris – the photo was taken specially for you). We also purchased a few of the essentials that we’ll be needing from Thursday already (crocery, cutlery, pillows) – in fact, we tried to buy the grater that was meant for display only (I think that is what the checkout lady was telling us in Finnish).
And in case you are wondering about *that* sofa – we agreed that it would be a very nice addition to our home.