The best time of year is Blini season! January marks the month that Bliniviikot are all around the city, which means many wonderful restaurants have the wonderfully buttery Russian delicacy on their menus. The Finnish interpretation is made with buckwheat flour and baked in a cast-iron pan until crisp and sinful, and is served with a variety of different toppings, along the sides of smetana, red onions and pickles.
It’s been great to see the second cycle movement grow stronger. In Finland, the recycling culture has always been active and present, and it shows from the re-use mentality in any kind of consumer goods all the way to repurposing buildings rather than new construction. Second-hand shopping is widely popular and encouraged, and possible both online or offline in stores. Here are my favourite tips for second-hand shopping in Helsinki, both in-store and online.
Marski by Scandic is my parents’ favourite hotel, for several seasons. It’s right opposite of Stockmann, so a great central location, the tram to our apartment leaves in front of the door and there is a taxi line during the nights, so my mum has great entertainment when she can’t sleep. But over the years, it really needed an overhaul, and it finally got it – and is now the first Scandic Signature Hotel in Helsinki. Marski now fully embraces all the oddities, phrases and curious facts about the Finns that resounded throughout the land.
Over the years I have found my love for the outdoors, and Helsinki is the best place to enjoy nature in all seasons. You can live in the buzzing Capital of Finland, but still be in untouched nature within 20 minutes from the city centre. If you are looking for a day trip in the Helsinki area, for a short hike, a seaside adventure or a relaxing afternoon – here are my favourites!
Helsinki has a bunch of really special hotels, and the newest addition to those is the Lapland Hotel Bulevardi that just opened in early 2019 – and it brings, as the same says, a piece of Finnish Lapland to the Capital. Using the heritage of the North to create a unique design experience is really quite the undertaking, and they succeeded magnificently. The care for detail prevails and it really is not just staying over at a hotel to have a place to stay, but a way to get a glimpse into Sami culture, in a way that feels natural and not kitschy at all.
Where one should stay when in Helsinki is probably one of my most-asked questions. I have family coming over, one of them being a history teacher – so I wanted to recommend a place that has a story to tell. There are countless possibilities and places, kinds of accommodation, and what kind of place feels best is something so subjective. What’s undeniable though is that there are not all that many places that have a lot of character to them, hotels can often be generic and pragmatic, but often lack charm and uniqueness – but the Original Sokos Hotel Vaakuna is different. Opened in the 50s for the Olympic Games in Helsinki, it still managed to retain the vibes from the era, even after the extensive renovations they just concluded.
I have to admit that I didn’t have a clear idea of Filipino food, I’ve tasted it before but I knew very little about it. Pobre is the only full-service Filipino restaurant in Helsinki, and it is part of the Kampin Korttelit restaurant floor. They recently invited me and my dear friend Alex to taste our way through their menu to share their love for food and Filipino culture. And oh boy was it a food fest!