Helsinki – Love, Always

… even when it’s raining all day, mixed with wet snow, I still love it! Especially since, if you know how, you can walk underground almost from anywhere to anywhere in the city center. And if not underground, there are roofs over the courtyards!

I met with my friend Natasha in the Oodi library, and we caught up on all the news in our lives and in the world in general, and then Boris joined us, and we had lunch on the first floor of the library. Then Boris and I did some shopping, and we returned home. I resumed doing some work (I do not count myself on vacation until Thursday), but after a little bit, Boris asked me what my plans were. It took me a while to get from him what he meant, but as it turned out, he was wondering whether we were going to celebrate Pie Day 😀. How could I say “no”?!

Traveling As Finnair Gold

My two weeks of travel had begun. There are no direct flights to from Chicago to Helsinki this time of the year, so I had a connection in London. It was the first time I used a Oneworld lounge in O’Hare, and it was a great decision because I could have a way better dinner than on the plane. Also, I could go to sleep immediately after the boarding was complete and have close to normal sleep time. No need to wake up for food :).

Same with breakfast – they gave us just a half-cup of yogurt on the plane, but I went to the Oneworld lounge in Heathrow and had an English breakfast there.

I loved that they had small teapots with a cup and a milk pitcher (same as when you have plates and cups at the buffet). You can take one, choose your tea bag(s) and pore whatever milk you prefer, and then take this set back to where you sit.

After I arrived in Helsinki, I tried to put a contact lens in my right eye for the first time since this weird thing happened, and it felt OK. Today, I wore both lenses for about six hours, and it was all good, but I am not sure for how long I will wear them tomorrow. Tomorrow will be a very long day!

Biking In Helsinki

I will never get tired of saying that I love biking in Helsinki! Even though it is so much colder than in Chicago (it was a peak of Indian summer in Chicago last weekend, with temperatures rising to 74F), it is so much nice! I can’t stop marveling at the fact that there are safe bike paths everywhere! This time, I bought better and warmer biking gear, and I like it so much that I almost want to take it back to Chicago :). We went on two bike rides, Sunday and Monday, and the weather was perfect for biking!

Scroll through my instagam post about our Sunday ride!

More Helsinki

What else is there in summer? The strawberries that can’t be matched, forty flavors of ice cream, pride festivities, 86F weather for two weeks in a row.

Oodi deck – it’s almost impossible to stay there at 87F!

And also – Helsinki’s IKEA.

IKEA always gives me a sense of stability and an “all is right” feeling. Now, it is almost impossible for me to go to the Schaumburg IKEA, so most of my orders are online (which means, that IKEA food is out of reach for me). We decided to go to IKEA “just for window shopping,” but then we found these coffee cups of that perfect pale turquoise which was gone several years ago. The cups were not rectangular as Boris likes them, but they were still near perfect. We didn’t buy them because I wanted to check online first, and for some reason, my internet went down. When I checked at home, it turned out that 1) this was a new product and 2) this color was sold out in all of the IKEA stores in the US!

The next day, when I was at the Swiss PG Day, Boris went there again and got two boxes of coffee cups with saucers, and a box of espresso cups. I only managed to get one box in my luggage, and he should bring the other two when he comes to Chicago next time.

Seen On The Streets Of Helsinki

if a scarecrow should scare crows, these “black birds” should be called “scareseagull,” because their purpose is to keep the seagulls away from the open-air dining. However, I saw a couple of very brave seagulls making their way through, trying very carefully to avoid the black scare 🙂

Summer Music In Helsinki

During my unplanned stay in Helsinki earlier this week, we went to two concerts. One was a short lunchtime concert at Suomenlinna Church (yes, we went there again :)).

Very short, but very pleasant

Then on Wednesday, we went to the concert of Finnish Baroque Orchestra in the Saksalainen Church in Helsinki. Boris is a part of their “friends circle”, and I never attended their concerts.

They are really-really-really good! Performing “here and now”, enjoying what they do, and giving the distinct feeling of “making the music”.

Saksalainen Church

A New Twist In Biking In Helsinki

Boris had a very bad bike accident on Wednesday. He says that’s because the sun was bright and because he was not looking at the road but looking back, making sure I was not left behind. In my opinion, the problem was his state of mind. Before we went, I asked him whether he was sure we should go, and he said – yes, it might become better.

He had very serious reasons to be upset, so all is understandable, but as a result, he ran into the rear of a police car – at full speed! I am not even going to describe his face (it still looks very impressive, and actually worse than right after the accident), but the most amazing thing is that he broke a police car bumper!!!

The police filed a proper report, and the hilarious part of this story was that the officer said: we hope our insurance will cover the damage, but we need to check. Most times, it’s not the bike hitting a car, but the opposite, so we need to check whether they would cover the situations like this!

A Rose Garden

Boris took me to another rose garden – and I thought I knew all of them in Helsinki, at least the ones which are close to the city center. But here is another one – and in walking distance from our home.

And yes, not all of the flowers pictured here are roses, I know 🙂

Now we are finally talking roses!
These ones look so much like the lilac roses in San Jose,just the European size 🙂
Continue reading “A Rose Garden”

Summer Soltis In Helsinki

Helsinki greeted me with rain and barely 60F, but today is sunny, and isn’t it great to be so close to the North on the Summer Soltis?! I do not think I saw any dark last night:). Somehow, 63F seems miserably cold in Chicago but feels perfectly summery in Helsinki.
And the bike paths! And the ability to bike everywhere, and the parks so close to the city center! Yes, as much as I complain about missing out on two weeks of Chicago summer, I enjoy these days in Helsinki – a perfect summer in a different way.

Rainy day
I think that my lake looks more like a sea than that sea 🙂
Pear ice-cream