Less than a month ago there was still some snow piles around, although all the paths had been clear--and were muddy--for several weeks before that.
Then about 10 days ago, Helsinki went green (This is from one of the beautiful public parks near Bulevardi.
It's actually amazed me how quickly things have greened up once the weather got consistently (well, relatively so) above freezing.
That being said, the Californian in me laughs at my reactions to things: clearly the spring here hits me in this atavistic way. I mean, I get excited every time I see small clumps of flowers, like the little blue ones and small crocuses that keep popping up all over--not just in flower beds. And when I actually saw daffodils (c. 4 days ago) blooming you'd have thought I'd won the lotto.
I'm still amazed, though, that there are no leaves on the trees even though it's May! I mean, gradually they're coming on, but as you can see from this picture taken less than a week ago, there's still a ways to go.
Not surprisingly, it really depends on where the plants are located. Yesterday, when I was running around Suomenlinna with a couple of friends, any tree or shrub that was exposed looked much like the picture above, while those that were a little more sheltered from the weather had little, tiny leaves--maybe 1 inch long.
Even though spring is finally coming, for me the weather is only borderline: 30s at night and high 40s to low 50s during the day. For the Finns, however, that must be balmy because, if the sun's out, so are they! Just a week ago, we had a beautiful, sunny day in the 40s, so what happened at the restaurant across from the tram stop? People HAD to eat outside!
I've also been enjoying all the springtime outdoor festivities--more about Vappu, or the Finnish holiday devoted to alcohol, in a later post--even those just across the street in the park. Last Tuesday during the Vappu celebrations I noticed all these camping places and teepee-shaped tents setting up on the park. I figured it was a bunch of teenagers getting ready to spend the night out partying, although I kept thinking that there HAD to be a better place than our park. Turns out that it was a Boys & Girls Scout day where they were taught to identify aspects of the natural urban habitat (Thank goodness for Scout banners and friendly, informative people!). I can't say that I would've chosen our park for that, but I guess any excuse for a day in the sun!