Taking advantage of one of Finland’s public holidays, Brigitte and I recently loaded our bikes onto the Metro, travelled three stops to the east, and explored the Roihuvuori section of Herttoniemi (according to Wikipedia many of the streets in Roihuvuori are named after fairy tale characters – something to look out for next time!). We were looking for the 152 blossoming cherry trees that were sponsored by the Japanese residents of Helsinki back in 2008. We found the trees after exploring much of the neighbourhood – and it looked like our timing was correct as the trees were in full bloom. For those interested, there is an annual Cherry Blossom Festival (Hamani) held in the park each spring (one week before we were there – details and map here). I only found out now that there is also Japanese-style garden in the same suburb (at Roihuvuorentie 12-16) – something to look for on a later date.
We then cycled down through Ströminlahdenpuisti (a very recently renovated park) to the surprisingly beautiful Strömsinlahti bay. The swimming beach there looks like a really nice spot for cooling down in summer and the stretch of forest to the west was wonderfully cool and shady too.
We then headed for the Kulosaari Metro station, popping first past the gardens of the Herttoniemi manor house (some more info in Finnish on Wikipedia). We briefly enjoyed how beautiful the gardens are now – when we first visited there two months ago much of the park was still under ice. Then we skirted some rather nice new apartment blocks around the Tuorinniemenpuito (puisto = park). It turned out to be a rather interesting route, full of surprises – if you can, give it a try while the weather is good!
[another panorama below… I look forward to returning here when the water is warm enough for a swim!]