We’ve been enjoying some lovely summer weather here in Helsinki over the last few weeks – most days have been really comfortable with temperatures in the low 20’s. However we’ve also had some “helle” days – this is the term for days when the temperature exceeds 25°C (helle = heat). While Finns are good at appreciating good weather, they generally really relish helle days – the parks are full of people enjoying the sun and the warmth. The city feels like a happier place, and even the media enjoys celebrating the good outdoor conditions.

One of the signs of summer – the central flowerbed of the Karhupuisto (just up the road from our place) was replanted this weekend – it’s now even easier to get into the spirit of summer!

 

Yesterday’s weather was nice and hot again (you can see the temperature record below; courtesy of FMI’s excellent website) – so Brigitte and I decided to head off to one of the city’s beaches to cool down (our apartment gets quite hot with the afternoon sun). We had quite a few choices (you can see lists of beaches in Helsinki here and here, and a useful map here if you search for “uimaranta” = swimming beaches), but decided on Hietaniemi beach.

The temperatures in Kallio over the last three days (from www.fmi.fi)

 

Hietaniemi uimaranta (hieta = fine sand, niemi = cape or peninsula) is one of the most popular beach in the city, and according to Wikipedia is completely fake: “In the beginning of the 20th century the remote area of Hietaniemi was being used as a landfill and was converted into an area for sand storage. Sand was brought in by barges from the bottom of the sea for a number of years. The sand was never really used, however, but was just left there to spread. In 1929, the locals adopted the area as a sand beach.” However, neither we nor the 100 or so other people there late yesterday afternoon seems to mind that the beach was artificial!

There’s lots of space at Hietaniemi. Any birders want to try and identify the three types of gulls in the foreground?

I imagine Hietaniemi can be pretty packed – this photo was taken at about 7:15 pm, so hardly peak beach time!

The sea water temperature was a chilly 13°C (according to this website), so it was nice and refreshing after the warm day. There was a really nice vibe on the beach, and I would recommend a visit! However, if you want a swim or a quiet walk you should probably avoid Hietaniemi on the 15th of August – there’s going to be a massive concert held on the beach. I’m not sure how everybody and everything will fit in the available space…

And finally, this is not the best wide-angle photo we’ve taken… but it at least gives an impression of the beach (created by stitching together 5 photos in the onlineDermandar app).

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