Monday, 26 March 2012

Helsinki: the first cup of coffee outdoors

The streets of Helsinki are showing signs of waking up after the long, snowy winter. The dirt is being brushed away little by little. The little pine cones that have taken over these flower boxes may soon have to give way to something less dry and brown. Unless of course this is considered easier to care for...
At Lönnrot park, the statue of Elias Lönnrot is bathing in the sunlight, waiting for the snow to melt away. Elias Lönnrot was a keen walker and he did numerous trips to collect old Finnish folk poems especially in Karelia. As a result he managed to put together Kalevala, the Finnish national epic, as well as Kanteletar, a major collection of Finnish folk poetry. That explains why the statue includes also Väinämöinen, the hero and main character of the national epic. The young maiden Impi represents poetry.
On the sunny side of the park the snow is melting fast. Some spring crocusses are already getting ready to bloom.
Marimekko store at Pohjoisesplanadi street attempts to spread a little colour on the grey street: the joyful bean bag chairs manage to stop at least me on my tracks and also look at the window display which is decorated with large Easter eggs, made of fabric, naturally. 
On the southern side, Eteläesplanadi street, I find some more signs of the end of the winter. A restaurant owner has planted spring flowers in the flower boxes. I hope they will make it through the remaining cold days or nights - you never know about the weather at this time of the year.
Around the corner, on Unioninkatu street, there are hand embroidered artworks on the window gallery. A series of smiles embroidered with red thread on white make you smile, and I couldn't agree more with the bigger work of art, don't worry so much. However, I forget to check who the artist is. Well...why worry about it!
As I walk along Unioninkatu street, I see the sunlight hit a sidewalk table of a small café, Café du Coin.  The tiny café usually only does lunches at this hour (the limited space is reserved for people having lunch) but I step in and ask if I could get a macchiato outside, my first of this spring. A couple of minutes later I sit at a table outside, in the sunshine, and smile. Ode to Spring in Helsinki!


  1. Your post reminds me of when I lived up north (Caribou, Maine) and experienced long, hard, cold winters. I remember how great it was (in March) to see the first signs of spring. It was such a good feeling. Living in a southern climate now does not produce the same excitement with the change of season.

  2. Over here it really makes a difference. One of my favourite signs of spring is hearing the swans arrive, screaming... But of course what you really look forward to is see the nature turn green once again, and a morning stroll by the lake!