Finnish winter and its fun side

I wrote this post one day ago, but to go with the spirit that Finland is hosting the coldest day in this winter, I want to share here my little experience.
I bet that normally, when you want to explore a city and go to recommended local places, you would not imagine part of the exploring walking is under temperature -17 degree Celsius, snowing and rather windy. But being abnormal sometimes is part of life package, isn’t it? That is what I just did.

I have not experienced such cold temperature since my last winter in Finland in 2013. I simply forgot how the coldness can touch sharply to your bones. I arrived in Helsinki yesterday and would stay here until the end of this week. The last time I was here, is Autumn. I was quite sure Helsinki would be fresh start then. This trip is now officially the first trip to Helsinki for new year 2016. Oh yes, the new year….How was your New Year’s Eve, saying goodbye to the last year?

Usually, I made the farewell by looking at the fireworks in the sky, imagining as if they were every single things happened to me in the last year and flashing up to sparkling dust in the air. This time, I was inside a club, and I kissed a friend, following a fun tradition from America. I guess due to so, I have not actually felt the sense of new year coming to me yet; or in a way, the past year’s sense has not left. I found myself “clinging” to both the memory and the willingness to re-start.

Anyhow, this week in Helsinki turns out the be the first coldest week for the winter this year. I also decided to make this trip to be my own first exploration of Helsinki. I went to the city many times before. I always stayed around in the city center, spent time eating/ drinking in some places with friends. I wanted to give this trip a little bit of something new. I did not plan of what places to go; but I planned to search for a random local place, in a random area except the center circle. So far, my day went okay, according to my wish. I had to go taking a test this morning. I stayed over my friend’s place last night and she had already showed me the way going train station so that I could be on time for the test. A good me would get up early enough, focus on preparing and give myself extra time of recalling the route. However, a typical me always does the opposite. For some reason that I could only blame on myself later, I chose to be “typical me”. I had to walk around, longer than the route instructed by my friend, to the train station. I was late 5 minutes to the test. And that was my first long walk in -17 degree.

After the test, I caught a tram, expectedly going towards the area called Kallio. I ended up again in the center circle. I got off, walked to a student lunch restaurant UniCafe, recommended by one local of Helsinki. It was a lovely place; reflecting the exact spirit of University students. I did not feel hungry just yet; hence, I walked back outside, wandering and thinking of going to this old clothes shop. It looked interesting on the website; maybe I could use some “time-travelling” means. Well, of course the plan did not go as such; because I pumped coincidentally into my other two nice friends from Jyväskylä. We were supposed to meet only in a conference from AIESEC, which will happen at the end of this week. Apparently I did not mind seeing them now either. The coincidence was surprisingly funny and warm. I have not seen them for more than a week because of the holiday.

After lunch with them, I wanted to give another try going to Kallio; so I took the tram and fortunately, got off the right station. The only problem was I did not know how to walk to the address I wanted. Eventually, it became my third walk in the temperature -17 degree, without knowing the end destination I wished to arrive. I thought to myself how crazy this would sound if I retold the experience to my friends. They would surely roll their eyes; since I was already rolling mine to my own self. Anyway, it is not like you can always turn back after making a decision in life, “what the heck”, right?

Finally, I arrived at this small coffee shop called MadeInKallio. I am glad I took the walk. The place is nice, cozy, rather artistic as well. The owner sold hand made things inside: wallpaper, flip books, earrings, paints, shirts, etc. In the middle exists small coffee bar, surrounding by art. I am sure, for anyone stepping into this place, would have to stop for minutes checking out the postcards and all the arts around that bar before one can actually make the call of what to drink.

It is now -18 outside, has stopped snowing even though the sky is getting dark. The place is getting more crowded. But it is okay, because I have a friend coming soon; and I am not yet getting backed out from the exploration.



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