Helsinki had to wait a long time this year for snow – in fact, apart from three light falls in December, the first heavy snow only arrived during the first week of January. But since then it has snowed a lot, with even more snow forecast for the coming days and weeks. It has taken me an age to get out and get some photos – partly from being a bit sick and partly from the days not offering much light – but finally I can post some images again!
I took these photos on and around Kumpula campus one afternoon – since then the amount of snow has probably doubled, but because of the constant work of the city’s snow clearance teams all of the roads and most of the foot paths are clear. Even though our temperatures have warmed above zero a few times in the last two weeks, I’m very thankful that the snow hasn’t melted and refrozen into sheets of ice, as I find it really tough walking on such a slippery surface.
The thick snow really changes the city – it definitely brightens the place, but it also changes the way it sounds. To me it seems that the snow buffers the urban sounds – when I’m walking up through a little patch of forest between my bus stop and the office the city now sounds much gentler and further away (although that might also have to do with the cars and busses all driving a bit slower on the snowy roads…). Another effect of the snow is how it blanks out some features of the city, but highlights others. For example, it’s pretty tough to spot the pedestrian crossings! But at the same time, the patterning in the brickwork of the apartment block across the road from us now sticks out clearly.