Monday, October 05, 2009
I Went Where for the Weekend?
Not Melbourne, but Helsinki has green and yellow trams as well! I rode around in these all day Saturday, they are very convenient for getting around the centre of town if you don't want to spend too much time walking on the cobblestones - which I did on Friday evening and Saturday morning, my feet were a bit sore after this.

I visited two yarn shops - Menita and Helsky - and two bookshops - Hobboks and Academic and General, plus assorted other shops, where I didn't buy anything, plus the Picasso Exhibition at the Ateneum, just across from my hotel. I was lucky enough to be given a suite in the hotel, they were fully booked and for some reason chose me to be upgraded.

At the yarn shops and the bookshops, I did buy a little bit, including three novels, three knitting magazines, two knitting books, and quite a lot of Drops yarn at Menita, and at Helsky some lovely hand-dyed silk / alpaca yarn. Helsky is very conveniently located, on the South Esplanade and they also have handcrafted goods, very nice jewellery and household things. Menita is easy to reach on the number 10 tram, get off at St John's Church (Johanneskyrkan), it is really a great shop, a huge variety.

In Helsinki, it is funny, everything is in both Finnish and Swedish - street names, tram stops, signs in shops, whatever. But virtually no-one seems to speak Swedish, which seems strange to me, but I guess Helsinki may not the place where many Swedish-speaking Finns live. I must read more about the history of Finland, I think it would explain a lot of the questions I have about this.

The other linguistic remark I have is that I can now understand a fair amount of actual Finnish on signs, and this is due to knowing some Estonian words. Although some are different, for example the Estonians call Stockholm Stockholm, while the Finns call it Tukholma.

Margaret, the linen is Weeks Dye Works 28 count, light grey / straw gingham. I actually had to wait ages for it to arrive, I don't know whether Loose Feathers caused a run on it and they had to dye more. It is very nice, and I am glad I did wait. I was nearly on the point of going out and buying some Graziano gingham, but I don't think this would have been anything like the correct colour.
posted by Ally at 10:33 am ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 8:07 am, Blogger Pilland

    Such couple of colours for public means of tranportation in Italy was used until the 1970s. Afterwards, it came the fashion to show the city buses and trams all orange coloured.
    In the latest years, usually in the Italian towns they are grey+dark red, very often covered by largest stickers showing publicity.
    The languages are very funny, sometimes: imagine that Finnish and Estonian are both Finno-Ugric languages, but the real Finno-Ugric name of Estonia is in Finnish ("Viro") and not in Estonian ("Eestimaa", deriving from German "Ostland" = "Country of the East").
    Best wishes from an Italian who did make a blog in Estonian language.

  • At 8:47 am, Blogger Margaret

    Lovely to see the photo and hear of your "excursions" Looks as cold there as we are here - unseasonal Snow in october and we are all moaning about Winter - the pictures of the small new born lambs in snowy fields is awful though

  • At 12:02 pm, Blogger KK

    I think swedish language is mandatory at primary school there. Not sure but somehow remember it from somewhere.

    Finland belonged to Swedish kingdom for 600 years, from middle ages till 19th century. Then Russia took the territory over (or at least some areas there) and it was under RUS till 1918. During the WW II Finland lost some territories to Russia.

    Here are some useful links

    I like Helsinki much! Their bookstores are wonderful and yarnshops as well. There is also one called Taito, just next to tram stop near Katajanoki (where is the market). Usually I do first choise there and order later from as the fees there are better than in Helsinki :). But I love the change to see a book before I buy it.
    Helskinki does great sales as well, city is full of estonians then as the discounts here our shops do are just pointless!

    There are 2 periods where several suprermalls & shops do sale - one is after christmas time and 2nd is just after St John Day in June.

  • At 12:04 pm, Blogger KK

    About first choise I meant bookstores in Helsinki, not Taito. Taito sells yarn, handwork kits (felting etc), some finnish souvenirs (glass, wood, linen).