The warm spring weather of the Easter weekend (and the subsequent week) was perfect for getting out and visiting some new places in Helsinki. Brigitte’s already posted some photos from our walks around Eira (here) and Viikki and Vanhakaupunki (here), and I thought I’d add a couple more…

Spring flowers near Töölönlahti.

Helsinki’s central park (Keskuspuisto: keskus = centre, puisto = park) is 11 km long. It starts at Töölönlahti (the lake between the central suburbs of Töölö and Kallio), running north through the centre of the municipality. It comprises a number of very different areas and uses (including specially-protected conservation areas and old-growth forest, skateboarding parks, swimming pools, running tracks and fitness parks, and a pet cemetery), and it used throughout the year (it’s apparently a good spot for cross-country skiing in winter).

Keskuspuisto map (source: www.hel2.fi/keskuspuisto)

 

Brigitte and I decided to visit a section of the park just north of the Olympic park for a picnic (the southern-most forested section of the park). We decided not to wait for the tram that runs directly from our street to the park, and took a slightly longer route through the suburbs of Harju and Alppila, seeing some very brightly-coloured new apartment blocks. It was also fun to see a kids’ “traffic park” on the edge of the park – it had a little network of tarred roads, with pedestrian crossings, working traffic lights and reckless drivers). The section of the park we visited was nice, with rocky outcrop islands in tall pine and spruce forest – we had our picnic on top of one of the larger outcrops and were pleasantly surprised to see that the local ants have woken from their winter inactivity (but also glad to see that they weren’t active enough yet to be a picnic pest). As I build up my running distance I’m hoping to run from home through this section of the park.

Keskuspuisto, just north of the Olympic park.

 

On a subsequent walk we saw a really striking stone “memorial” next to one of the paths around Töölönlahti. It was dated some time in 2010, and we couldn’t figure out why it had a radioactivity symbol on it – had Finland had a nuclear accident last year? Translating the inscription revealed a surprising message: “Selfishness memorial: they voted in favour of nuclear power 07/01/2010”. We later heard that Greenpeace Finland had erected this memorial in “honour” of the parliamentarians who had voted in favour of nuclear power last year.

A monument to selfishness (!)

Spring flowers in front of the Helsinki city theatre (there's an interesting abstract sculpture of a woman riding a horse in the background)

We also had a excellent walk in Nuuksio National Park mid-week with Miska – but more about that in a later blog post…

 

And to end with something else that I regularly walk or run past: a striking sculpture outside the kuntatalo (municipal offices) in Kallio, not far from our appartment

 

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