#24: Get familiar with Finnish birdlife and nature… and overlook Helsinki!

Active, All year, Birdwatching, Nature, Sea

I must had been passing that castle-like building by the side of Helsinki-Turku highway for ages before I discovered it was Galen-Kallela museum, aka Tarvaspää. I have posted about the museum on my other blog and it is well worth a visit, but this time I thought we could explore the area – Ruukinranta – better.

And it was really surprising! The ambience was not unlike Westend, that is, private rich houses and villas close to the shore, but much more picturesque. More wood, more soul, more ornamet, more age and taller trees. The downsides of the area are bad collective traffic connections and the omnipresent humming noise from the nearby highway. I’m sure the locals loved to find out that the highway would be built there….

We started the walk at the port, close to Villa Åkerblom, a popular event venue dressed up as a humble wooden villa. Then we walked (lie! Ee did not, we drove, but it is totally walkable) to Villa Elfvik. It is, in fact, a nature education centre with a cosy café, several children- and wheelchair-friendly nature trails, a bird-watching tower and… nature diversity. It was remarkably awesome! Seriously, a lovely Espoo surprise. As much for not being a birdwatching fan or a nature education freak, this was a low-threshold (literally) spot to enjoy an evening walk. We’re coming back on bikes, so expect more pictures within the next weeks – and this time we will make sure that the venue is actually open. #cake

So, this is the main venue, Villa Elfvik…

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… with a lovely garden gazebo…

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… here starts the birdwatching trail…

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… there is Helsinki behind the reeds, I swear….

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… and remains of an old pier…

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… overlooking Otaniemi – and Helsinki.

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Contact information: A bit tricky, the best is to get there on bikes or by car. Alternatively, buses 106, 106K, 212, 213N, 510, 550 will take you to stop Laajalahdenristi – beware, it is in Espoo. Munkkiniemi, for more info see the website or my map.

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#23: Salute the white duck of Töölönlahti

All year, Animals, Birdwatching, Helsinki, Outdoors, Parks

Oh heavens, it has been over 6 months since I updated this blog! I have take a break from, well, life and now when the spring is here again I seem to have certain things under control again. And, more importantly, I have more ideas for Helsinki places for you, dear readers! So please do stay tuned.

The goal is to post at least once a week – yep, that means one new exciting thing to do in Helsinki every week!

And today we start with a certain fella from the Töölönlahti bay. Now when the weather in Helsinki has somehow become bearable* I suggest to take a stroll/jog around Töölönlahti some time – although you have probably done it already, it is hard to miss that park between the railway station and the opera house. It is frequented by locals and tourists alike, there have been some random activities taking place as well in the past, such as SUPing, floating sauna, festivals and happenings, etc. – and it is the place to observe some of the People (or creatures) of Helsinki: the bin-drummer, the leggings&beer guy, the Kekkonen-fountain-dipper, the somehow senior marathon runner, the roller blader… – if you are local, I’m sure you at least roughly know who I’m talking about;) Recently, however, there has been a new sight in Töölönlahi.

I have been admiring him for a long time – and the I found out that he had already become a celebrity. Sometimes I should act faster 😉 the talk is, as you probably can guess, about the white albino duck, aka “valkonen”** . He does stand out quite a bit!

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He is so sweet. So positive. So different. And! He has found himself a girlfriend, so in a few weeks or so, go out and explore the ultimate gorgeousness.

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Sorry about the picture quality – it was zoomed with a phone camera.

And where exactly to find him? Well, he is – obviously – mobile, but in accordance with my empirical research I identified the most probable place to find him. Check out our ultimate map and look for #23!

Public transport: walk from the Opera, Kallio, Central railway station; the closest tram stop (4, 7B, 10, 10B) would be Hesperian puisto.

*) it is actually snowing right now. Enough said.

**) NOT to be confused with valkoinen (note spelling; “white” in Finnish)