Monday, August 15, 2011

Far north - Helsinki

Over the summer holidays, there seem to be as many travel posts as scarf related ones, so keeping the recent trip to my later mother's native Finland short. I have spent many happy childhood summers in this beautiful country, mostly by the lake district, but have also very fond memories of Helsinki. The purpose of this trip was not a vacation, but we stayed for long enough to visit some of my favorite spots...

Hope everyone is enjoying a wonderful rest of the summer x

The Sibelius Monument, located in the picturesque Sibelius park in Töölö,

honors Finland's composer Jean Sibelius, who has captured so deeply the essence of Finland in his music.

Enjoying nature is my preferred 'sight-seeing' activity in Finland, and another beautiful place is the Kaivopuisto park. It reaches down to the shore of the baltic sea, where on a sunny day, the marina is a lovely place to have coffee in one of the many kiosks or cafés.


The main market square (kauppatori) right by the harbour is a fun place to go to, especially in the summer months, where the stalls display a wonderful array of forest fruits and berries. From there, a short ferry ride takes you to the Soumenlinna fortress,

a place rich in history, while offering long beautiful walks (it stretches over several islands), great views over the baltic sea, and plenty of opportunities to ride on cannons!

The Esplandi is buzzing with life throughout the summer months, it's many outdoor cafés, concerts, shops and restaurant terraces invite people to enjoy outdoor life during the relatively short summer. On the north side, you'll find modern finish design shops, Iitala, my favorite, but also Marimekko, Pentik and Aarikka.

Hotel Kämp

A Kioski ice cream and coffee stand ... unchanged since I was little

A favorite vantage point for cheeky seagulls:

My most favorite church of all is the Tempelliaukio (Lutherinkatu 3). Carved into an enormous rock, it has bare, untreated walls, a most beautiful copper ceiling, and a very special atmosphere. I used to love going there as a child, and even though it was crowded with tourists this time, it still remains a magical place.

the unassuming outside

Favorite place to stay:
Hotel Kämp, Pohjoisesplanadi 29, 00100 Helsinki
· Phone:+ 358 9 576 111

Favorite restaurants:
Havis kitchen Eteläranta 16, 00130 Helsinki · Phone: +358 9 6128 5800
Teatterin Grilli Eteläesplanadi 2, 00130 Helsinki · Phone: +358 9 6128 5000
Salutorget, Pohjoisesplanadi 15, 00170 Helsinki· Phone: + 358 9 6128 5950
Katajanokka Kasino Laivastokatu, 00160 Helsinki· Phone: + 358 9 6128 6300


  1. Lovely photos as always MT.I hope your trip was a pleasant one.

  2. Such lovely photographs, I have yet to see Finland.

    Ah and now I know where your wonderfully tall and leggy physique comes from!

  3. Oooh your trip looks lovely! I often think about visiting Helskinki and then travelling on to St Petersburg!!
    Thanks for sharing your lovely pictures. SA

  4. Dear MaiTai, you look really gorgeous here ! Thanks for the photos of Helsinki, it looks very interesting. I love seeing you enjoy yourself with your son - my own sons are around this age (11 and 9 years). Alas they grow up too quickly. Regards,Karen

  5. Welcome back, dear MaiTai. I have carefully gone through the links you provided, being at the same time quite sad for not visiting Finland when I was frequently travelling to its neighbouring countries. Will do so when the next opportunity pops up. Hope you had time to spy the Hermes boutiques on your flight route as well. Thanks for putting the effort into organizing a nice and informative post. Hugs

  6. What a beautiful entry, my dear MT, firstly because of your dear Mum and the special memories Finland holds for you, and also for me because we used to visit Helsinki when I was a child and we lived in a nearby country, far less welcoming and open back then. I have wonderful memories of the people and the places, the beauty and energy of it all, and was particularly touched to see your photos and story.

  7. Dear MT, your posts about your lovely childhood memories and your love of family are always my favorite. Thank you for sharing.

    Each time you show your La Danse du Cheval Marwari I forget to mention that we are scarf twins. It is my favorite GM and it looks wonderful on you. xxxS

  8. Once again,thank you for sharing your family time and places of your heart. Lovely photos of Finland..I can almost feel a cool summer breeze wafting from the monitor! How refreshing:) T xx

  9. Finland looks like such a beautiful place - hope you enjoyed your trip and your special memories of your mother. Thanks for sharing the truly lovely pictures x

  10. Oh, MaiTai, thank you so much for sharing your beautiful Finland with us! I am marveling at the pictures and resolving to go there in the near future. What a spectacular place, especially the Temppeliaukio Church, which looks amazing. The northern countries in summer are so festive and bright, I miss being there this year. XO

  11. It's a joy to read this post .I adore the music of Jean Sibelius and for that reason i'd love to visit his birthplace and also the modest house where he lived in later years .We do hope to visit in a year or two , so i was interested to read more about Helsinki.
    Love your cashmere shawl, and the way it lights up black

  12. Welcome back, my dear MaiTai! You were truly missed! Thank you so much for sharing some pictures of your beautiful Finland with us. Finland is a country I very much would like to visit. Sending you lots of warm hugs from another nordic country, Manuela.

  13. Thanks you for sharing the lovely pictures of Finland. I hope you had a nice time there even if it wasn't for vacation.

    Also, you look beautiful - which style is your scarf tied?

    Thanks, sam :o)

  14. MaiTai, I was happy to learn that you were able to get some sight-seeing in on your trip. Your photos are gorgeous. I can almost feel the cool breezes coming off of the water. Not being familiar with Tempelliakio, I clicked on the link: amazing. DH's mother is from Norway, and it's on "our list" to one day visit Finland, Norway, and Sweden. Thank you for the little teaser. ;-) Also, we now learn from where you got your beautiful golden hair.

  15. Welcome back, MaiTai. So glad DS found a cannon to climb on--that's so important. :)

  16. Welcome back and thanks for the lovely pics and of course you look tremendously chic as always! xox, Macs

  17. What a fabulous vacation--revisiting places dear to one's heart and history should be done more often, I think. You look stunning comme toujours.

  18. Dear MaiTai,

    I was so happily suprised to find out that you have Finnish roots! I've admired your looks, style and blog for a while now and being a Finn myself, I couldn't be happier about your post today.

    I think I fell in love with my home city again with your pictures and descriptions:)

    And a hint for those looking cheaper prices for Iittala & Arabia stuff while coming to Finland, take a look at the Iittala factory Outlet -store on Address:

    Hämeentie 135
    00560 Helsinki

    You can get there by tram number 6 from the city center in 15-20 minutes.

    Thank you MaiTai, I was very inspired by your posting!


  19. Many thanks for the warm welcome back and lovely comments, dear ladies. My computer time is limited by the holidays and having house guests, but looking forward to join the chat after the 'Rentrée'. Hope everyone will have a great rest of the week x

    Sam, it's a cowboy knot secured with a shawl ring, where one triangle managed to slip over the ring!

  20. Dear Maitai, I am so glad to hear you enjoyed your recent trip to Helsinki with your family! Being finn -as you know- myself I truly loved all your descriptions and pics from Helsinki. Wow, I think you made way better than many local traveling promotion agencies, LOL!
    I also loved your outfit in the pictures, and we are Marwari shawl twins!! : )
    Thank you again for the inspirational post!!
    Wishing you all the best! Hugs, Satu

  21. Hei Satu! So happy you enjoyed the travelogue, many thanks. Wish we had the time to go to the countryside, but we'll be definitely going 'maalle' next time. DH and DS loved Hesinki, and I'm sure we will be back soon. Ystävällisin terveisin x

  22. Greetings from Helsinki :)
    Hoping to see you soon again!
    Finally it is autumn!!
    Ystävällisin terveisin, LL

  23. Hei LL! It was so lovely to see you, and hope we'll meet again soon. Keep warm and cosy! Ystävällisin terveisin x

  24. Thank you so much for this informative mini-travelogue. I am going to Helsinki in July (and Denmark, Norway and Sweden before that) and am going to follow your advice. Can you give me any tips on what to wear in Scandinavia in late-June early-July? I am wondering if a 90 silk carre is appropriate or too formal (also too prone to destruction by rain) or would a cashmere GM be useful (is it that chilly?). Any hints would be so appreciated.

  25. The best thing is to check a weather report for Scandinavia for July, such as
    A cashmere GM would certainly be useful. Weather or not to wear a silk scarf depends on what you are planning to do and to wear... knots will further help you dress up or down. A cowboy knot is always casual, a shoulder wrap beautiful for evenings etc Have a great trip!

  26. Thank you! Excellent advice. I will try to take some photos in Helsinki for your MaiTai collection collage!

    1. That would be wonderful! Have a great trip!