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Sunday, August 14, 2011

On the Rooftops of Helsinki

In my last blog I mentioned two of my favorite things about our place in the Towers; now it's time for the third: the viewing deck.
When I first read about the Towers, one of the things I remarked on was the top-floor sauna.  (Sauna is one of those quintessentially Finnish rituals that I know I must do, but I want to be sure I do it "right," that is, in the Finnish way, when I first do it.)  In any case, they said that it was open to women on Saturday evening, and we could cool off afterwards on the next door viewing deck.  When I went exploring the building on day #2, I couldn't pass that up.
Well, it turns out that the front, top of the building is a glassed-in deck open to all the residents on select days but that the staff will let me and Ted on at any time.  (They say they don't want folks going up there to smoke, and since I don't smoke ... )  The entire front has those floor-to-ceiling glass doors and even the sides have these big, plate windows.  When you open up the windows you get this amazing breeze, and you don't have to worry about the height since you have 4' tall, metal barriers right in front of the windows.  Here, you'll see what I mean:

As you can see, the view is amazing!  I can sit here looking across Helsinki's rooftops or down at the lovely park right across the street from the Towers.

This park is fantastic, and it seems like it has mirror images all over Helsinki.  Basically it's a block-wide esplanade stretching from the beach to Helsinki's version of Central Park, Töölönlahti, on the other.  Along each side are these wide gravel paths for dogs and bikes and in the center is a soccer field, planting fields, and kids' playground with all sorts of swings, pools, play areas, and even enclosed play areas.  That way, even if you don't have a yard, your kids have lots of clean, green areas to play in (dogs aren't allowed in the kid areas, and people in Finland are VERY good about picking up after their dogs!).  The place is used all the time by people of all ages, but it never seems crowded.  It reminds me again of the many reasons I'm glad to be back in a socialized country.

You can also see, too, how close we are to the beach.  Hietaniemi beach is one of the big public beaches in Helsinki, and we're all of a block and a half from there and the parks that surround it.  While Ted's not allowed on the beach, there are walking areas for him all around it and even a dog park; in fact, I hear in winter that the bay there gets frozen and people regularly go walking, skiing, or skating on it with their dogs (walking for me, thank you!)
Tomorrow's my first day at the Collegium.  Wish me luck!

1 comment:

  1. The pictures made us look up the weather for Helsinki. We are envious of the pleasant temperatures you are having. Enjoy!