Baby it’s cold outside


Port of Helsinki, 29th December 2014, -18° celcius (-0.4° F)

I know what cold is. Or so I thought. Once when I was young we left our goldfish bowl outside (long story) and it froze over. The goldfish survived but I have been living off this story for years to show how hardy I am.

The Baltic Sea starting to freeze

The Baltic Sea starting to freeze


And I’ve lived in cold houses. One year I went around declaring that I was experiencing ‘the winter of my discontent’. Which is a bit over the top seen it never dropped below 9° celcius (48°F) during the day.

Port of Helsinki

Port of Helsinki, 29 December 2014, -18° celcius (-0.4° F)

But to quote the great poet Phil Collins – take a look at me now! Baby it is cold outside and I am in it! In fact it’s too warm now because anything above zero means the snow melts and then refreezes, making everything slushy and slippery.


Low maintenance garden, 23rd December 2014

I’m often reminded how easy we have it too when I see elderly people making their way about with walking-frames in the snow. The other day I had to help a woman who was struggling to make any progress as her wheelchair was stuck in heavy slush.

The Bana - December 2014

The Bana – 23rd December 2014

My biggest inconvenience is getting cold fingers while I take photos and then having my phone battery die within ten minutes because it can’t handle sub-zero temperatures.

Christmas Day in Lappeenranta, around -15° celcius (5° F)

Not much to complain about really when I’ve finally started to see the beauty that is around us in the colder months.


Christmas Day, Lappeenranta, about -15 celcius (5° F)

The sunlight when we have it creates a kind of golden glitter in the air and the snow on the ground sparkles as though it’s mixed with granulated sugar.

The only way to get around

The only way to get around

It’s a warm 2° celcius (35°F)  today and I’m really hoping the temperature will drop so we can witness the lakes and sea in full frozen glory.

Sunset reflected on Töölönlahti, 7 January 2015 (-2 celcius, wind chill -8)

Sunset reflected on semi-frozen Töölönlahti, 7 January 2015, -2° celcius, wind chill -8° (28°F)

Because, I’m like, you know, really good at this cold thing and I’m finding for once I’m having a winter where I am quite content. But, to quote another famous poet (Randy Bachman), I actually ‘ain’t seen nothing yet’.

24 thoughts on “Baby it’s cold outside

    • Wow – before we moved here I didnt even know the sea could freeze. I find this absolutely fascinating – that we could be walking on there! And taking shortcuts across the lake! Thank you for sharing that


      • It. Is. Not. A. Lake. (Sorry — one of my pet peeves. 😉 )

        Töölönlahti is “a sea bay” — although the arrival of modern times (railway embankment in 1861 with two tiny boat underpasses) seriously damaged the water inflow. In 2006, a pipe that pumps in fresh sea water from Humallahti (think Cafe Regatta) to Töölönlahti was installed.

        Interestingly (or not), there was a small lake called Töölö lake where Pasila train station is standing, It was drained because of… you guessed it: the railway.

        This one is a bit outdated, but here comes:

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes – I have been corrected on that before and am being lazy when I use the word lake. Lesson learnt! I had no idea about the pipe. I am going to read the article you just linked to because the sea & its bays are so very different to what I’m used to (ie/ very low salt content, fairly shallow in parts, not as dramatically affected by tides & very little surf!) I will read up


  1. I guess the Finnish winter is one of the Finnish ‘cultures’ which immigrants may never adapt to. After 3 years and 4 winters here, every freezing day still feels like the first. However, I like the positive perspective of the post. Great job!


    • Thanks Hope! I notice that sometimes when you ask immigrants how long they’ve been here they say ‘five winters’ etc. I think my positivity comes from being naiive. We’ve had the shortest day, surely winter’s nearly over? How cold can it get? I suspect it won’t be too long before I find out… ☺️


      • Awww c’mon, it’s January already! Days are getting longer, the sun is rising higher every day… just wait ’til mid/late February (OK, mebbe early March) and you’ll encounter The Perfect Winter Day. And you’ll be grinning like a Cheshire Cat. Trust me on this one.


        Liked by 1 person

      • I think we’ve got a long way to go yet with this winter too! I’ve also heard February has some of the best days in Finland – very cold but clear, dry air and lots of light from the snow. That will be a nice change to look forward to. ; )

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well, I think (hope) we’ve passed the peak of winter. I can’t want to have the lovely summer again!
        I’ve also learnt that positivity is the only way to thrive in Finland. You also believe you’d meet friendly Finns, jobs, etc.


  2. I’ve been wondering how are you getting on with the winter. Some days have been glorious. I love it. It’s a rainy cloudy darkness I get fed up, not winter, but I’m not representing all the Finns, I know loads who really dislike snow, cold and all of it.

    I’m off to Lapland in 2 weeks, just on the end of the proper darkness which means glowing sunshine only on top of the trees. It doesn’t get down.


    • I’ve been going okay so far but agree that rainy grey days are hard. I struggled last night as Miko and I slipped and slid down an ice covered hill in the freezing rain, trying to get to the bus stop without sliding back into the stream, only to watch the bus drive past! I’ve yet to develop any kind of sisu. ; ) Can’t wait to see your pics of Lapland! I’ve enjoyed your photos lately of your walks with your dog.


  3. Love that first photo. Our lake looked just like that this morning, but I was unable to capture it (the road that runs along the lake doesn’t have shoulders – you aren’t allowed to stop anywhere). And I was too cold/lazy to get out and walk.


    • Thanks, you would know more about cold than me right now. It’s a shame you couldn’t capture the lake but when my phone battery dies or my fingers are too cold to work my camera I have to just appreciate the view in front of me for a change, without seeing it through a lens, which is good for me. I hope you’re keeping warm there!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, you could try keeping your phone in the inside pocket close to your body where the heat is..
        As for the fishbowl story, it seems to me that for years you’ve been accidentally bragging how hardy your goldfish was.


    • Thanks John. It seems Finns love the snow for the magical quality and the light it brings. No one really seems to get used to the cold & dark though (although they cope so well with it). When we moved to Sydney I wondered if we would be the only ones sweltering – but hot is hot and it seems cold is cold too, no matter how many winter’s you’ve done here you’ll still feel the cold. People here are set up so well for it though and life goes on. Helsinki Airport closed only once in the last 7 years – due to a technical failure, not the snow itself. Happy New Year to you too!


  4. Pingback: 101 reasons to visit Helsinki | Hey Helsinki

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