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Bob Ross

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Helsinki -- special to Otto.

by Bob Ross » Sun Jul 16, 2006 10:39 am

The New York Times Travel section has a very attractive special on Helsinki today. How accurate do you think it is Otto?

http://travel2.nytimes.com/2006/07/16/t ... .html?8dpc

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Regards, Bob
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Otto

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Re: Helsinki -- special to Otto.

by Otto » Mon Jul 17, 2006 4:43 pm

Interesting article thanks! The picture of the church on the first page is just outside both my job and the university department where I study.

It's a well written article, but unfortunately all the restaurants they mention are way out of my means. For those who want good food, realitively cheaply and good wine-lists, there are other great resaurants: VIA, Demo, Gastone, Kuu and especially Carelia. Why where these unmentioned?

I do agree on the abysmal coffee though. There are two cafés where I drink espresso - and then only if I happen to know the person making the coffee, i.e. there are two people in Helsinki who know how to make a good espresso. :(

It's also surprising (though understandable) that he only mentions sites in the very center of Helsinki. One afternoon is enough to thoroughly explore these - Helsinki is a tiny city. I am a bit disappointed that he doesn't mention what else there is to do. As summer is what he is highlighting, he should have mentioned the nature reserves (i.e. forests) which I would imagine would be interesting for people unfamiliar with them. I am assuming of course that tourists, like me, like nature travelling also, not only city travelling.

I also find surprising the priase lavished on modern architects. Granted, some of them made great works, but the Aalto's Enzo(sic! should be Enso)-Gutzeit building mentioned in a positive tone in the text is actually a building which is very controversial. Well, not actually controversial, but actively disliked by everyone because it destroys the view of the harbour and it's 18-19th Century style. Aalto is a bit of an odd bird anyway. He is idolized by many which has led to too many Kafkaesque situations - the worst being the lauded Finlandia House. The marble on the outside is not suited to Finnish weather, so it is immensely expensive to upkeep. But the Aalto Foundation refuses to allow any substitute because Aalto did not design it that way. But surely Aalto the functionalist and ever practical man would have changed it to something suitable when proven unpractical?

Even more surreal is that the Aalto Foundation doesn't allow the Symphony Orchestra to post notices on the notice board of the Finlandia House without express permission from the Foundation - because Aalto designed the board!!!! Good grief!! What did Aalto design the board for, if not to post notices on??? Finland can be an absurd place....

So mostly a great article, but I have to admit, that I think Finland is a place only for short trips. There isn't all that much to do or see. And it certainly is not a place to do culinary or vinous pilgrimages despite a couple of decent restaurants. But the author is right: if summer happens to be sunny and warm, this is a really beautiful small town!

Cheers,
Otto
I don't drink wine because of religious reasons ... only for other reasons.
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Bob Ross

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Re: Helsinki -- special to Otto.

by Bob Ross » Tue Jul 18, 2006 1:31 am

Thank you Otto -- I appreciate your insights.

If you have any interest, the Times is very good about publishing letters like yours which clearly would enhance a trip to Helisinki.

Regards, Bob

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