#11: Take a walk around Kivinokka recreation area

All year, Helsinki, Outdoors, Sea, Uncategorized, Walk

Kivinokka is a recreational area located a few hundred metres from Kulosaari metro station. It is, again, positively bizarre spot: today we are talking about a collection of several hundred summer cabins, some of which date back to early 20th century. The idea was quite clear: to provide city dwellers with a place not too far from their homes where they can spend their precious free time in close proximity of nature. Nowadays Kivinokka is located pretty much in the centre of Helsinki, but hundred years ago it must have been a true paradise: beaches, forest, blueberries, bird-watching tower and a little shop/café for the more social ones.

The following applies to pretty much entire Finland: if you want to make the most out of visiting a place of choice in Finland, do make an extra effort and visit it both in winter and in summer. Summer charms are indisputable, the colours, the light, those wild flowers, sea, wind, ice-cream and birches. Winter (or any time between September and April), on the other hand, converts most areas into quasi-ghost towns. The tranquility is further accentuated by the wintery silence, lack of people and colours and other disturbing factors.

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And that is what happened in Kivinokka one late autumn afternoon. The seasonal frolics just went, like migratory birds, and what was left was just a memory, or a collection of happy stories and memories, and an assuring yet somehow volatile promise of another summer coming next year. Cabins prepared for winter. Deserted beach. Empty café. Ah, I loved every single second of it, and have to come back. I loved it so much I decided not to complain that I had left my gloves and hat in the car and was freezing badly.

This is the 1930s functionalist kiosk/café. One of very few places in Kivinokka with electricity. Apparently someone showed their disapproval with the actions of the (female) owners of the kiosk. Who knows why.

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Kivinokka’s story gets actually pretty exciting: in 2013 – or 2014? – the local authority decided to tear down a substantial part of the area and upscale it: yeah, you are right, that means building yet another mini housing estate with Vuosaari-style flats selling at a price out of range for middle class. Fortunately, a group of active citizens expressed their dissent and started nurturing the local community. Nowadays, a wide range of social and cultural events take place in Kivinokka throughout the summer part of the year. It has been making some headlines, and it is definitely a place worth a visit in the summer – for all attractions Kivinokka can offer, check out this map and this link.

More information: http://kivinokka.fi/

Contact: Kipparlahden silmukka, 00810 Helsinki

 

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#10: Visit Malmi Airport

All year, Architecture, Helsinki, Indoors, Olympics, Outdoors

It’s interesting that somehow one always ends up in Malmi, although I’m afraid it is no one’s destination of choice. But we all have some errands in Malmi. Visiting people. Institutions. Shopping. Doing sports. Feeling multicultural. Passing by on the way to Ikea in Vantaa.

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Yet there is a hidden gem in Malmi – well it is not THAT hidden after all, everyone is aware of it, but it is currently widely underrated: Helsinki Malmi airport. It opened in 1938 and back then it was, well, a big deal. The airport was among the first in the world designed as and international airport – oh and it is the airport which was meant to serve the Helsinki Olympics in 1940. However, by the time the Olympics actually took place in Helsinki in 1952 the airport has been moved to Vantaa as we all know (now when I think about it, Malmi and Vantaa have a lot in common: located a bit further away to the north from the city, providing affordable accommodation to middle class and lower class families alike, boasting with ghettos, shopping malls and random depots… and a fancy airport each).

Nowadays the airport serves for general civilian purposes, and that is why most mortals are not aware of the actual airport buildings. One never simply has a reason for a visit – and that is a big shame, because the main building is gorgeous. The airport complex consists of a round functionalist main building with two belts of rectangular windows encircling the barrel-like building. There is a check-in hall downstairs and a number of offices (or ex-travel agents’ I can imagine), a roofed viewing terrace and a café upstairs, an adjacent control tower and a few non-public inconspicuous sheds.

The main building is generally open to public (the control tower is obviously not) during Finnish working hours (9am-4pm). Well, the truth is that there is rarely anybody around, so you get enough time to enjoy the atmosphere undisturbed. I’m not sure about café’s opening times, but knowing Finland, something between 11am and 3pm would be “safe” time to visit (meaning you would not be sent away in ) and enjoy yet another disappointing cup of Finnish coffee. This time it is all forgiven.

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The round hall is silent, lit through roof windows… it is lovely during the golden hour, so if you would like to experience what travelling must have felt like AND get some glorious pictures of modern atmosphere 60 years ago (and entertain your girlfriend with a bit different plane-spotting), HEM is the place to visit on a lazy Saturday afternoon.

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In today’s scale everything seems so small and cosy, so naïve. This was the future of air travel nearly hundred years ago. Actually there are many places around Helsinki w
here one can experience what the nature and scope of public events in the 1940/50s Finland was. The accessibility of events to general public and the sheer number of visitors. The security and health&safety measures. The queue management barriers. The materials. The proximity of the centre of action. The trust. The nostalgia.

 

… and the rumours that the main building will be torn down and the whole airport area converted into a housing estate, so please do hurry and pay the Finnish aviation monument a visit!

EDIT: Other rumours mention the weekend brunch served at the cafeteria (aka GATE 1)! More information here – it is in Finnish but pretty straightforward.

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Information: https://www.finavia.fi/en/helsinkimalmi/info-malmi-airport/

Contact: Helsinki-Malmin lentoasema, 00700 Helsinki (Tattariharjuntie)