18 Sept 2013

10 reasons to love Finnish summer

First of all, forgive me for not being much around this summer.
I have been very busy writing Helsinki travel guides, trying new restaurants, drinking gin & tonics and starting my new adventure as a freelancer.

Today I finally managed to take a long coffee break to tell you how awesome this summer was up here in lovely Helsinki. I honestly thought it would suck to come back home after being two months in India. But the warm weather, the midnight sun and Helsinki's urban life didn't leave me a second to feel sad. 
Believe it or not, I even went to the beach (in Finland!). What a summer.

I especially want to dedicate this post to all of you who think that it is better to escape to South for the summer. Guys, you totally should wait until November to get out of here.

Not convinced yet? Don't worry.
You will have about 7 months of winter & winter-winter to think about it. Here is some food for thought:

10 reasons to stay in Finland (at least) in July

1. Finnish berries

You will not know how a proper strawberry should taste like, until you get to try Finnish ones. Specially when they are on top of a lettu (pancake) and accompanied by freshly picked blueberries. I'm gonna miss you girls!

2. Outdoor kirppis 

Nothing makes me more happy than go treasure hunting in a Finnish flea market or kirppis on a sunny day. Kallio-liike organized quite a few this summer. There is also Siivouspäivä ('cleaning day' in Finnish), an event that happens every last Saturday of August and turns Helsinki's neighborhoods into giant kirppis. There is also one in May, to get rid of all those ugly winter clothes you don't want to see anymore. 

3. Midnight sun

It will probably keep you awake but sure is a beautiful thing to see.
Do not try to fight it, put a good amount of mosquito repellent and go to chill out in a park until the sun goes down (after 12:00).

4. Block parties

The coolests Helsinki's neighborhoods organize block parties during summer. You will get a day full of free concerts, performances, delicious street food, activities for kids... and even rollerskating! 

6. Summer terraces

You don't have many chances to sit on a terrace in Finland without dying of hypothermia. So, whenever you see a free spot in a terrace during summer do not hesitate to sit and and enjoy a beer. Never ever waste such an opportunity. You may need to wait many months until you can do it again and Finns know that very well, that is why terraces are packed during summer days.  

5. The mökki

Summer is the best time of the year for enjoying the mökki (summer cottage).
Basic mökki activities include blueberry picking, sailing, going to the sauna, swimming in the sea/lake, eating & drinking, reading decoration magazines and playing the ultimate Finnish summer game: mölkky.   

7. The parks

If the terraces are full (which happens 8 out of 10 times), the city parks become a totally valid plan B for the evenings. Less glamorous, yet nice and cheap, is to get a drink/snacks from the store and head to the closest park to have an improvised summer picnic.

8. Teurastamo

The guys at Teurastamo have been pretty active this summer. They built a "beach" with hammocks and barbecue in the yard and organized concerts and events almost every week.
They also had a Solar Kitchen during August, (which I proudly helped to build), where you could eat solar-cooked lunch. Definitely a nice spot to relax on a Sunday afternoon.  

9. Linnanmäki at sunset

Linnanmäki, Helsinki's amusement park, is a cool plan for summer evenings.
No need to go on a ride if you don't want, it is enough just go there an hour or two before the closing time and walk around the park. I love the old school charm and the nostalgic atmosphere of some areas. Go up the Panoraama (free of charge) to get a 360º view of Helsinki's skyline or ride the old-fashioned carousel, both are a must.

10. Festivals and random events

What in all countries happens throughout the year, in Finland needs to be squeezed within the summer months (unless it is the winter swimming world championships). That means that there is always a festival or event waiting for you out there: Midsummer, Helsinki week, Samba Carnival, Flow festival, Helsinki juhlavikkot... you name it!

Ah! If you want to find more about Helsinki, take a look at the guide I made about Summer in Helsinki, walking Helsinki in one day and Epic list of restaurants in Helsinki.