Nude Finnish Girls

Happy New Year! For Helsinki it has meant low temperatures and lots of snow, which means more light, good moods and fun ways to commute.

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Sharing a sled

WordPress sent me some stats on Hey Helsinki’s year in review – here’s a quick look at some of my most popular posts in 2015:

#1 – Helsinki Underground

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This surprised me but as someone said, ‘When you arrive in a city the first thing you want to know is how to get around.” I hope this post has been useful  – & that people found reassurance in the fact that it would be very difficult to get lost on the subway in Helsinki.

#2 – How to make the best korvapuustit

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This post went nuts thanks to my sister-in-law Ilona and her baking tips on how to make three Finnish sweets with one dough.

#3 – 101 Reasons to visit Helsinki

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Linnanmaäki Amusement Park

This post grew from a project at work where I was looking through all my photos from the previous year.  I could have come up with more reasons but, like dalmatians, 101 is a pretty good start.

#4 – Finland’s oldest public pool, swimsuits optional

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Yrjoönkatu uimihalli Photo credit: Cafe Yrjo

I can see on my stats page the search terms entered into google that lead people to Hey Helsinki. Time and again the most common thing people are looking for is ‘nude Finnish girls’ which seems to then lead them to this post where I went skinny dipping in Finland’s oldest public pool. Popular with the general public it was also a hit in the German nudist community.

#5 – How to dress a child for Finnish winter

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With temperatures as low as -26 celcius lately (-15 F), this post has resurfaced as people search for help with one of life’s major challenges. As we are outside everyday, it’s essential to dress properly which means multiple layers and accessories, such as neck warmers (imagine a turtle-neck sweater but with no sleeves or torso) as kids don’t generally wear scarves. As someone at work said recently, ‘Every time you dress a child for Finnish winter, a little part of you dies’.

And where do you come from?

Well Finns or people in Finland overwhelmingly make up the largest group of readers. I guess people who’ve moved here are looking for tips and for the locals, well we all like to know what others might think of us. Thanks also to friends and family at home in NZ & Australia for following along.

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I’m going to take a little break from writing this blog as we prepare to make our first trip home in nearly two years. I’ll be in Asia for work and then have a month in New Zealand. I can’t wait! You can follow along on Facebook or Instagram for updates.

I’m also working with Laura Iisalo of Creating Helsinki on a book about the people who make Helsinki the city it is.  It features tips from locals on their favourite places & things to do, with recipes you can try at home of Nordic classics made with a contemporary twist.

It will be released by Cozy Publishing in May 2016 & I’ll keep you posted about the launch. In the meantime, thanks so much for reading and for all your comments over the last year.

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Me signing our publishing contract. Photo: Laura Iisalo

And for those who accidentally got here while searching for ‘nude Finnish girls’, here’s a picture of me in my underwear today.

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I told you it was cold!

 

 

 

Helsinki Underground

When I first used Helsinki’s subway system I felt like I was the only one swiping my travel card. Was everyone else riding for free? I didn’t want to be the only chump paying for rides so for a while I stopped swiping my travel card too. When in Rome and all that….

Kaisaniemi Metroasema

Kaisaniemi Metroasema

Turns out I’m not in Rome, I’m in Helsinki, in one of the least corrupt countries in the world. While some people may be jumping the train, many will have bought fortnightly / monthly / annual travel cards that don’t need swiping every time they get on or off. What really amazes me is the whole system is based on trust.

Walk right in...

Walk right in…

At the entrance to each Metro station you won’t find turnstiles or six-foot high gates that are opened only by a valid ticket. There are random ticket inspections however and the fine for being caught without a ticket is 80€.

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People travelling with a child in a stroller up to the age of six travel for free on all HSL transport services (bus, train, metro & ferries). For those who do buy a ticket it is valid for all types of HSL transport within the city and is valid for one hour.

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Unlike many European cities where you can spend hours underground getting to your destination, Helsinki is so compact the metro line currently runs in two directions only – although work is currently being undertaken to expand it.

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Which makes it easy to use and also leaves you much more time to visit the city’s attractions, such as the Trevi Fountain and the colosseum Helsinki Cathedral.

Tips for using the Helsinki Metro

  • If you’re new in Helsinki don’t be afraid to try it, it basically goes in two directions so you can’ t get too lost
  • Station names are in Finnish with the Swedish name written underneath
  • Ticket machines are at the top of the escalators, before you go down to the platform
  • Travel cards can be bought & topped up at most R-Kioski (convenience stores usually found near stations)
  • All metro stations have elevators so are accessible for wheelchairs & strollers
  • Likewise, the train and platform are at the same level & there are no stairs in the trains
  • If you’re not in a hurry, don’t bother with a timetable. Trains generally arrive every 2 mins or so during peak hours
  • If you take the escalator down to the platform, stand on the right unless walking
  • Kaisaniemi station is now called Helsingin Yliopisto (Helsinki University)
  • Dogs, cats & other pets are allowed onboard and travel for free

HSL Transport info in English

Helsinki Metro

Proof of Payment System