My Neighbourhood – Kallio Quirks

I, a South African, always dreamt of living in a pink building and although this one’s more salmon than pink, it’s Jugend Style, has masses of character and is run by a fantastic housing company who keep it looking good. It’s when I look out my window that I see the fairy lights adorning the doorway across the road where sex is plentiful and dreams are short lived. So while my building is upmarket, the surroundings suggest something different.

HumHum's young entrepreneur
HumHum’s young entrepreneur

I love it. Right next door to the massage parlour called Amatsoonit (draw your own conclusions), there’s Dionysus Film Studio. On the other corner there’s Refugee Law. Down the road, some Jordanian guys are busily snipping away at men’s hair at Newroz the cheapest charge in town, only €12 and across from there there’s HumHum (details below). It’s owned by a young Egyptian student who has big dreams and makes even bigger shwarma sandwiches which are stuffed to overflowing. Everything, except the lettuce, is made by him. He opens at 1 pm not because he sleeps late but because he attends college in the mornings. His spirit will not be quenched by red tape, questioning authorities or health inspectors. Like the Jordanians, he’s determined to survive in these cold climes.

Fine and Dandy, a café, a beauty parlour and a hairdresser
Fine and Dandy, a café, a beauty parlour and a hairdresser

Vaasankatu is the closest you’ll come to a red light district and sex shops, dancers and masseuse abound. At last count there were 11 bars along the same street. But then, there are these special gems stuck in amongst the rough diamonds like Café Pequeño. The guy from Argentina shares the space with a beauty parlour and a hairdresser and they all work side by side in an atmosphere of cutesy calm. His contribution to the usual cinnamon buns and croissants are seriously delicious carrot cup cakes and empanadas, a delightful little meat pie from his home country. The music swings too. Solmu pub has its own special brand of beer; Molotov bar is filled with students and lovely people from across the globe. And there’s a thing, the drinks are cheap, for Helsinki that is.

The Argentinian owner of Café Pequeño
The Argentinian owner of Café Pequeño

While town is full of Thai restaurants, one as mediocre as the other, there are two that catch my fancy, Tuk-Tuk on Vaasankatu and Pinto B’Staurant on Vilhovuorenkatu. Fresh is the password, spicy and crisp, every dish is distinct and both have authentic Thai chefs in the kitchen. Then there’s Kombo run by a friendly Spaniard and his Finnish partner. They serve tapas made with care and heart and really good wines.

The sauna on Harjukatu is from times gone by. Heated the old fashioned way, by wood, makes the löyly (steam) soft and healing, the dressing room is well, retro. You can even find a lady who will wash you, men and women alike, although the facilities are separate. At Arla Sauna, cupping or the release of bad blood by small incisions in the skin, is a draw card.

Cupping is done here
Cupping is done here

Talk about rich, this area is as rich as it gets when it comes to people of different cultures all rubbing shoulders together. What makes it different is that we all feel that we’re in the same boat together and that survival is our only hope in this cold country. Survival with a good dollop of cream on top, that is.

Links:

HumHum – Helsinginkatu 4 a, 00500 Helsinki; +358 44 2511292

Fine and Dandy

Café Pequeño

Solmu Pub

Molotov Pub – Vaasankatu 29, 00550 Helsinki

Tuk-Tuk Restaurant

Pinto B’Staurant

Kombo Restaurant

Harju Sauna

Arla Sauna

Mothership of Work – the fun side of slog

The restaurant on the ground floor is called The Mess, walk up the stairs and you hear the rock music playing at a volume-controlled level, enough to make yourself heard without imitating sounds emanating from elevators. There are curving, colourful wall paintings snaking up the stairwell with themes reminiscent of Dali. Ladies and gentlemen, you’ve landed at no less than the Mothership of Work.

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There is space for everyone here from visitors, to freelancers through prolancers to residents. The categorisation works on how long and permanent you want your office to be. A day from 7 to 6 pm sets you back €25plus VAT, a monthly fee of €330 plus VAT is what you’ll pay for hot-desking while prolancers still share but have their own designated space for €380. Bring your framed photographs and pot plants if you want to be a resident with glass wall partitioning for €530.

Nina Ruotsalainen - MOW host
Nina Ruotsalainen – MOW host

We’ve entered the sharing economy phase where your life is simplified and you don’t have the hassle of owning and being responsible for security, insurance and other headaches. The Arena is where you can socialise and relax over a cup of coffee and a handful of popcorn, both included in the price. And the coffee is top notch by the way, not your generic cheap brew but made by Slurp, a new roastery in Helsinki. Dotted all over the five floors are totally sound-proofed phone booths and meeting rooms each with their own style, large and small, line the walls. If it’s a sofa you’d like to recline on, a raised desk or a rocker, just find your spot and change it halfway if you like. Drawing creatives like musicians (don’t worry they won’t be practising there), architects and writers is the popular genre of work occupying this space at present and socialising and networking is part of your everyday schedule. But don’t be put off, there are areas where total silence exists and even your mobile phone vibrating on your desk might be a no-no.

Constructive criticism can be left in the Box of Friendship
Constructive criticism can be left in the Box of Friendship

Afterhours are also catered for. Beer comes from a local brewery called Stadin Panimo and the summers promise to be lively. There’s a courtyard outside with a sauna leading onto it with hammocks and deck chairs for those of us needing a shot of Vitamin D sunlight. Other events such as tastings are also under consideration. Hop on one of the bikes if you need to get to a meeting across town or rent the electric car for €8 – €10 per hour if the distance seems daunting.

Reception is open from 9 to 5 pm but since they understand all too well that people function better at all hours, MOW is open 24/7 giving you freedom to work at hours that suit you best. And if you’re worried about security, don’t be. Entrances and exits are monitored by a fine tuned keycard/computer system and guards pay a visit from time to time to check that everything is how it should be.

The buzz in the air is enough to pump out those creative projects we call work and who knows, you might land a few more jobs just having a chat to your neighbour.

Links:

Mothership of Work

Sauna and Diplomacy

We’re all stripped down, we’re all butt naked and that’s when I see the man sauntering over. Now I’m not given to prudishness but I have to say something like,

“What the hell is he doing here?”

“It’s ok. He’s blind and he’s the local masseur.”

My first sauna experience at Yrjönkatu Swimming Pool during ladies’ hours.

Yrjönkatu Swimming Hall (Photo: snipview.com)
Yrjönkatu Swimming Hall (Photo: snipview.com)

We enter this very hot room and they whip out a birch whisk, slapping me all over with the branches that let out this strange lovely smell.

“These Finns are crazy,” I think to myself, “suckers for punishment and really into flagelation.”

I learn my first Finnish phrase that night,

“Saanko heitä löylyä?” i.e. “Can I make steam by throwing even more water on the sauna rocks and heating this sweat box to unbreathable levels.”

And then the washing lady. Egged on by my sauna buddies I pay a small fee and the 65 year-old superwoman orders me to lie down and washes me with such force and vehemence that it turns out to be more of a massage than anything else.

Now for a swim in the cool water where bathing suits are not required kit. Post-sauna requires a light snack and even a glass of sparkling wine goes down really well but most Finns would disagree. It’s the sauna beer that does the trick for them. Whichever way, we’re all sitting around in the café area of this remarkable bath house architecture preserved since 1928. When I walk outside into the freezing Finnish winter, I feel a strange sensation. Warmth. And not only that but a sense of relief and calm that I’ve forgotten about if ever I’ve felt it at all.

The naked men at Kotiharjunsauna (Photo: www.stadissa.fi)
The naked men at Kotiharjunsauna (Photo: www.stadissa.fi)

There are more saunas in Finland than cars, 3 million at last count. But that wouldn’t stop the Finns from coming up with new ideas for the most innovative. The telephone booth obviously doesn’t cut it, neither does the ski lift at Ylläs, nor the yurt floating on Töölö Bay. In the meanwhile, while they’re racking their brains, we have plenty of opportunities in Helsinki to enjoy the benefits of heat, steam, cold followed by beer. Kulttuurisauna (€15) on the shoreline of Merihaka, offers you that body shocking experience of warming up and then dipping yourself in the ice cold Baltic Sea. Now there’s a jolt to the ole ticker but they say the benefits are enormous, even anti-ageing. The classic old-fashioned Kotiharju Sauna (€12) in Kallio prides itself on being the biggest wood-burning sauna in Finland. The original furniture has been kept even the lockers reminiscent of art deco. Arla Sauna is cosy and cute and slightly cheaper than the others at €10 a go for as long as you like.

Sauna is a great stress reliever and cure for all kinds of ills, both mental and physical. But it’s also a political and economic hot spot, please excuse the pun. President Kekkonen was well versed in the effects of sauna, so much so that he was known to keep his political guests in the heat until an agreement had been reached. The ‘Cold War’ didn’t stand a chance in the Kekkonen sauna. Our Russian neighbours were like putty in his hands after a good, long session. Even Khrushchev enjoyed his host’s hospitality until 5 am culminating in him agreeing to Finland opening up its trade doors to the West.

Skilift sauna at Ylläs (Photo: velvetescape.com)
Skilift sauna at Ylläs (Photo: velvetescape.com)

President Ahtisaari followed in his predecessors footsteps using the sauna as a cooling down method for hot headed opponents determined not to agree with one another. Talk, meet, sauna, more talk, and the problem seems to well, disappear like steam.

President Halonen, a woman and oh dear, the past seems to point at sauna diplomacy reserved for her male counterparts only. But fortunately enough, the Finnish parliament now boasts a majority of female MP’s making it possible for her to have company whenever a serious issue needs to be thrashed out.

Reams of stories have been written about it and with good reason since its role in the culture is so embedded and covers the whole lifecycle from giving birth to preparing food to hammering out deals. Ultimately, however, and this is the best part, turning a women into the most beautiful she will ever be as she emerges from this simple ritual of sweating, whipping herself and plunging into ice cold water or snow. Or so they say….

 

 

HAM and Ai Weiwei

Owned by the people, for the people, is what HAM is and even though it’s Christmas, it’s got nothing to do with its culinary counterpart or has no allusions to its verbal use as in hamming it up. The collection of the Helsinki Art Museum numbers more than 9000 works and is located in their newly renovated building in Tennispalatsi and on the streets and in public areas for all to see. Quite fitting then are the superlative works of Ai Weiwei, focusing on his wooden sculptures, a material that Finns are more than familiar with.

From an interview with Howard Brenton www.telegraph.co.uk
From an interview with Howard Brenton
www.telegraph.co.uk

Defender of freedom of speech and expression, he knows all too well that art is not going to change a system but that opposition to that system has to be put under the glaring spotlight. He has suffered for this having been imprisoned for 81 days on a trumped up charge of tax evasion. Yet he has managed to maintain his sense of humour and warmth, his gentle nature as can be seen in the video with his son. Lover of heavy metal music and antiques as ancient as those from the Qing Dynasty, the contradictions are clear in his ability to take apart, chop up, repurpose and re-assemble some rare pieces, much to the alarm of conservationists.

The White House made its debut here in Helsinki. A huge temple-like structure standing 80m tall is made from the wood used in a Qing Dynasty residential building. It’s been recovered in white paint and depicts a protest against the urbanisation of China but also perhaps has some connotations with the well-known US landmark, showing the middle finger to this icon of power.

Ai Weiwei: Tree, 2010. White House, 2015 © Ai Weiwei, Kuva/Photo/Bild: HAM / Maija Toivanen
Ai Weiwei: Tree, 2010. White House, 2015
© Ai Weiwei, Kuva/Photo/Bild: HAM / Maija Toivanen

His tenderness and concern with children is clear in Garbage Container based on a true story of 5 boys, all cousins, ranging between the ages of 8 and 12. Scavenging on the streets for food, they found shelter in a rubbish bin, lit a fire to keep warm and died of carbon monoxide poisoning as a result. This is a harsh criticism of the number of children whose parents are migrant workers far from home. Wry too, if you consider the story of The Little Match Girl who died in the cold and widely purported in China as a symbol of Western negligence. This too is one of the new works never seen before but now at HAM in Helsinki.

Ai Weiwei: Garbage Container, 2014 © Ai Weiwei
Ai Weiwei: Garbage Container, 2014
© Ai Weiwei

What struck me most was the minute and skilled craftsmanship of the antiques now unrecognisable from their former appearance. The intricacy and attention to the artistry of the perfectionists who first created these objects is what makes Ai Weiwei one of the leading artists of our time. From the tiniest detail to the mammoth structures he creates, his art in the same way defies time and spans centuries way into the future.

 

Ai Weiwei: Table with Three Legs, 2006 © Ai Weiwei, Kuva/Photo/Bild: HAM / Maija Toivanen
Ai Weiwei: Table with Three Legs, 2006
© Ai Weiwei, Kuva/Photo/Bild: HAM / Maija Toivanen
Ai Weiwei: Through, 2007. Frames, 2013. IOU Wallpaper, 2011-2013 © Through and IOU Wallpaper © Ai Weiwei Frames ©Ai Weiwei and Neugerriemschneider, Berlin Photo: HAM / Maija Toivanen
Ai Weiwei: Through, 2007. Frames, 2013. IOU Wallpaper, 2011-2013
© Through and IOU Wallpaper © Ai Weiwei Frames ©Ai Weiwei and Neugerriemschneider, Berlin Photo: HAM / Maija Toivanen

Ai Weiwei’s exhibition will be at the Helsinki Art Museum until 28 February 2016.

Helsinki Secret Residence for Bloggers

Could it be Aino from the Finnish epic poem Kalevala? The mural that greets you.
Could it be Aino from the Finnish epic poem Kalevala? The mural that greets you.

Once I realised who this handsome, young, clean-cut guy was, I asked the owner of Aalonkoti, the block of hotel apartments, whether it was out of the goodness of his heart that he had ‘donated’ a flat or two for bloggers to use. He didn’t laugh but he did smile,

“Actually, we’re going to get plenty of publicity out of this. It’s really a win-win situation and in any case, it’s a nice way of promoting Helsinki as a city.”

With the sea on the one side and the city on the other, the views are spectacular.
With the sea on the one side and the city on the other, the views are spectacular.

Just to put this all into perspective, we’re talking upmarket, really stylish, I mean the flat/flats of course. Location couldn’t be more perfect in the heart of the city in a ‘new’ part of Helsinki which has recently been developed and where the average price wallops your wallet with around €10 000/sq.m. And not only does he own the apartments he’s prepared to sacrifice, but the whole block, would you believe it.

The penthouse at Aalonkoti
The penthouse at Aalonkoti

Bloggers are being wooed, not only by owners of top end hotel apartments such as Ossi but also by tourist boards and airlines, the likes of Finnair who will be prepared to give free passage to a worthy applicant whose audience is mainly situated in destination countries.

Prop up your laptop and start scribbling. Every apartment has a balcony with a view.
Prop up your laptop and start scribbling. Every apartment has a balcony with a view.

Seated on your balcony in your comfy lounger looking out on a view that’s a mixture of garden colours and creative architecture with luxury lapping at your feet, it would be very hard not to be inspired. The street is appropriately named Alvar Aalto with his own handiwork in the form of Finlandia Hall a stone’s throw away. Helsinki’s thrown out the bait and the scramble begins.

Here’s where you apply:

For bloggers – http://www.helsinkisecret.com

For travellers – http://aallonkoti.fi/en/

Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004) – the Reluctant Photographer

Emotional, anarchist, humane and definitely NOT a journalist, is how Agnes Siré, Directeur de Fondation HCB describes him.

“It was by chance that he became a photographer. He was more interested in painting and drawing and literature than in actual photography. In fact, he gave it up in the 70’s and concentrated on his fine art skills in stead.”

Île de la Cité, Paris, France 1951
Île de la Cité, Paris, France 1951

This talent made him a master of composition, gave him the eye for that ‘decisive moment’ that turns a one-dimensional photo into a 3-dimensional work of art. His deep concern and engagement with human beings was further nurtured by the 3 years he spent as a prisoner of the Germans. His travels took him far and wide and his ‘nose’ for historic events landed him in strategic places at strategic times. Only a few hours before Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated, Cartier-Bresson photographed him. When Mao Zedong’s troops marched into Beijing, he was there. When prisoners of WWII concentration camps were released, he was there.

Gypsies, Grenada, Spain 1933
Gypsies, Grenada, Spain 1933

While he was recording historical events, his main focus was always people. The USA did not attract him as it did other photographers. No sweeping landscapes or city scenes but rather the Black people from Harlem, the rich from the Upper East Side, the ghettos of South Carolina. His subjects, except for his portraits of famous people, have no names and only the city, country and year marks the occasion. He said himself, “One should not try too hard to explain the mystery”, and even though he was referring to that serendipitous moment of capturing the unexpected, it also allows us as onlookers to let our imaginations run amok on what we observe.

Seville, Spain 1933
Seville, Spain 1933

Ateneum Art Museum in collaboration with Magnum Photos and the Foundation HCB have put on an impressive display of 300 photographs depicting The Man, the Image & the World.

Dates: 23 October 2015 – 31 January 2016

Easter Sunday Harlem, New York City, USA 1947
Easter Sunday Harlem, New York City, USA 1947
Ascot, UK, 1953
Ascot, UK, 1953

An Artist, a Rapper, a Priest et. al.

Jani Leinonen’s School of Disobedience will teach you a thing or two

To call him an artist sounds mediocre, a pop artist weak, an activist warmer, a revolutionary– now we’re getting there. Huge colourful, playful-looking slogans, dolls and objects deck the walls of Kiasma on the 5th floor where the School of Disobedience is located. It’s a real school, there’s a classroom with a videos made by several of Jani’s cohorts whom he has chosen from all walks of life. As in the title, yes, but also a politican, a street artist and some TV presenters, all young, all hungry with a passion to pass on their provoking ideas to the public. Gone are the days of A for apple, B for bear. Now it’s A for anarchy, B for beggar. Slide into a desk and listen!

After your strong dose of how to change the world to be a better place, how to stage your own revolution, how to delve deep to understand who you’re obeying and why, go to the other end of the hall that looks out on Mannerheimintie and you’ll see an enormous slogan so big that it can be seen from the street below, that looks oh so familiar and even more shocking.

School of Disobedience
The Most Terrible Things – acrylic on polystyrene

The life size dolls in the same room look tired and weary while they’re still campaigning to pollute the minds of children and young adults persuading them to buy their particular brand of goods.

Alluring brands to hypnotise consumers
Alluring brands to hypnotise consumers

Now for the main exhibition. The real life Romanian beggars sit at the foot of framed signs all bought by Leinonen from beggars, underscored by brass plaques stating the name of the country, all beautifully framed. Anything Helps is a monument for beggars but it is also an analogy for commodification – cheap production, refinement resulting in a work of art/product that can be sold at a hefty profit.

 

Anything Helps - Framed beggars' signs
Anything Helps – Framed beggars’ signs

You’re drawn to the cardboard boxes of your childhood with Kellogg’s Corn Flakes printed on them. Come closer and you’re confronted with the Choice is Yours. Real or Fake, Problem or Solution, Family or Career, taking the C and N out of Corn and leaving you with a big OR.

 

Choice Is Yours - acrylic on product package
Choice Is Yours – acrylic on product package

Could it be? It’s the Hunger King booth, a red carpet for the Rich and another lane for the Poor, an experiment Leinonen launched in Hungary ironically so, after a law criminalising homelessness had been passed. He opened this burger restaurant in a vacant office space where the Rich could line up and buy his burger art while the Poor would get a burger box containing 3,400 forints, minimum wage for a day’s work. Even though the media were all over it, not only locally but also internationally, the law was still not repudiated and hence he considered the whole project a failure.

Hunger King - installation
Hunger King – installation

The most pervasive character in the entire exhibition is Ronald MacDonald, a character with whom the artist seems to have a special connection. The clown who can cry and laugh at the same time, who parodies fun and playfulness yet emerges tragic and sacrificial. He’s crucified, hung, even guillotined in a YouTube video grimly depicted as an Isis victim catching the attention of Fox TV and other global media, a stunt for which Leinonen and his co-conspirators were fined. Mac Donalds could’ve saved their beloved Ronald but failed to respond to the ‘Food Liberation Army’s’ questions re the health effects of their food.

Coulrophobia - fear of clowns -
Coulrophobia – fear of clowns –

One big question going through my mind – how does he get away with it? He’s using blatant, recognisable logos, lampooning them, mocking them, deliberately provoking the onlooker and violating the products. Scare tactics used by Raisio in the form of a letter to sue him for changing their pure, Finnish trademark maiden into a whore and more, is framed and accompanies the distorted package display. This ‘open source artist’ leads the way in disturbing our obsessive consumerism and pushes us to think of what we buy, where we buy it from and whose pockets we’re ultimately lining. If only this were all we are prodded into thinking, there’s so much more in this exhibition that to walk out of there untouched would mean that you didn’t get it at all.DSC04089

Links:

Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art

Jani Leinonen School of Disobedience

Fun for Kids? – Linnanmäki, Helsinki’s Amusement Park

Richie Rich, eat your heart out. Parents, relax. Kids, make the adults laugh cause this is a place where it would be nigh impossible to be grumpy.

Helsinki Railway Station
A spoof on the statues at the Central Railway Station

Almost-60-year-old lady that I am, I love Lintsi, as the locals calls it. It’s the little ones with apprehensive looks on their faces, some of them positively scared, that attempt a ride at their parents’ encouragement of bravery, or the one’s that rush around looking back from time to time shouting “Äiti!” or “Mummy!” just making sure that there’s still a watchful eye even though their excitement is at the point of bursting.

Linnanmäki gardens
Immaculate gardens which may not catch your child’s attention but certainly yours!

The rides are exhilarating, many of them are free, entrance is free except if you’d like to spin, twist, twirl, invert, convert, gasp and grip till your knuckles turn white. But get this, the money does not line the pockets of some fat cat who has no interest in children, it actually belongs to and is governed by the Children’s Day Foundation, supporting Finnish child welfare work. They even thank you for visiting!

Linnanmäki free rides
Run the maze and watch out for the spontaneous spurts!

Greasy hot dogs, candy floss, popcorn, yes, it’s all available, but then there are other options which are really worth considering. There are a number of restaurants where the food is tasty and remarkably memorable. Best of all, it doesn’t dent your wallet too badly (psst, there’s street food too!)

The Ghost House never loses its shock-factor
The Ghost House never loses its shock-factor

All the right ingredients go into making this amusement park something unique in the world. The charitable angle, the entrance for free and plenty of enjoyment to be had for no cost, the excellent offering of eateries where you don’t have to suffer to be satisfied. And let’s not forget the F word with a capital F!

Linnanmäki rides
Oops! When will I learn.

Links:

Linnanmäki

Children’s Day Foundation

Who said downhill skiing can’t be found near Helsinki?

Finland is not exactly renowned for its mountains. The hills get a bit higher up Lapland way but close to Helsinki, well the choice is not that great. Somewhere between Lapland and Helsinki, now there’s an option for a good day of downhill skiing.

The bus leaves from Helsinki Railway Square at 7.30 on a Saturday morning heading out north towards Himos, our destination near Jämsä. The 3-hour journey gives you enough time to sleep off your hangover and psyche yourself into the activities that lie ahead. Return time is 5.30 pm. Cost €65 including a ski pass for one day. The pages for booking are in Finnish but here’s a number to call: +358 10 439 9405.

Himos Ski Centre
Vuorikahvio (‘mountain’ café) tucked away behind a slop on the northern side of Himos

The 21 slopes that await you, served by mostly T-bars, include some tunnelling to the northern side of this 151m hill. There’s always snow and plenty of snow canons to make sure that the pistes don’t get too icy even when the wind blows. I wouldn’t call it the most challenging of resorts, most of it, even if it says otherwise, is a short blue or red run and even the blacks can easily be handled if you’ve been on skis before. But if you haven’t, you can test your skills on a free button lift on the far right of the main area. Ski and snowboard lessons are however provided by excellent teachers who speak English and some probably even Russian for our neighbours across the eastern border.

Himos Ski Centre
‘Mountain’ huts where you can grill your sausage or warm up around a fire

What makes this place a notch better is the cosiness of it all. The serving staff at the ski centres and in the restaurants are genuinely friendly and helpful. They come from the area and hence the difference in attitude. Mountain restaurants do exist and one of them is Vuorikahvio on the northern side, a little overcrowded around lunchtime serving straightforward fast-food nosh. A real taste of Finland is to be found at the few small huts where a fire has been made and if you happen to carry along a sausage or two, you can easily crisp it up over the barbecue. The après-ski gets the crowd going with loud dance music at Rinne, a bar and eatery at the foot of the hill where dancing on the chairs, if not the tables is a common occurrence.

Himos Ski Centre
Restaurant Rinne for après-ski

But if downhill skiing is not your thing, and cross-country seems too energetic, there’s other stuff to do. Hop on a snowmobile and explore the surrounding area with a qualified guide on a safari (Himos Safaris +358 (0)20 711 9260).

Or get to know a little bit more about the intrepid breed of huskies that will pull you across wintery glades with snow dripping from trees. (Mac Aho’s husky safaris +358 (0)40 553 7021).

Want to spend a few days? Cottages scattered around the slopes and down at the bottom, and a hotel can be booked. The season is a long one, from November until 1 May. For more info: http://www.himos.fi/english/himos-ski-resort.html

Breathing fresh air for a day practising your turns is exhausting business. A spot of liquid refreshment on the bus on the way back to Helsinki is just the ticket.

Himos Ski Centre
Good medicine for sore muscles on the bus back to Helsinki