#16: Take a dip at Kumpula outdoor swimming pool.

Active, All year, Architecture, Helsinki, Housing, Olympics, Outdoors, Walk

With the first signs of spring I believe it is apt to write about the unique outdoor swimming pool in Kumpula. Yay!

The swimming pool was actually built for the Olympics (together with the Swimming stadium), and it has recently been renovated maintaining the original 1950s outfit and feel. It is much cosier than the Swimming stadium (just off the main Olympics stadium), further away from the city centre, less known to tourists (as well as locals) and located in somehow more picturesque neighbourhood.

Kumpula, in fact, is yet another Helsinki’s wooden district pearl, and a home to a number of wealthy/educated individuals as well as artists (ha!). If I had to choose between Kaivopuisto and living in a wooden house with soul, oh I would not hesitate a second.

It is lovely. It lies relatively close to the centre, not too far from the busy E75 highway. It is quite smartly insulated from all the hustle and bustle by woods, and when you get there it feels as if you entered another world, or at least went back 100 years. Cosy shops, colourful wood, children playing everywhere. It feels so social – open common yards, people knowing each other, well, an idyllic neighbourhood really.

As I read on a blog on visithelsinki.fi, some of the houses were built for people displaced under the World War 2 – I think I should find out more about these people and their fates! In the 1990s, however, these houses had stood empty for some time. A group of social activists saved the day – they took over the houses and established a social housing organisation.

In the vicinity of the swimming pool lies the Kumpula botanical garden – about which I will write when there is actually something blooming 😉 or come and see it for yourself before me!

Contact details: Allastie 1. Bus stop Kumpula (buses 52, 55, 56, 506). The outdoor swimming pool opens around May every year. For opening times check out the website.

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#8: Enjoy those stunning views from the Olympic Stadium Tower

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

One of the most important historical events which shaped the architecture and general urban development of Helsinki were the 1952 (!) Summer (!) Olympics.

Why the exclamation marks? Well, most venues – the Stadium, Velodrome, Rowing Stadium and a part of the Olympic Village were built between the years 1938-1940 since Helsinki was chosen as Olympic venue for the 1940 Olympics. Those never happened, as we all know. And as for the summer exclamation mark – I just wanted to point out that summer DOES exist in Finland. It only didn’t happen THIS year.

But back to the topic: most Olympics buildings/venues are elegant, painted white and combined with wooden details (benches, panelling, etc.). The simplicity and functionalist touch in contrast to summer blue sky create one of those stereotypical (but nevertheless beautiful) Finnish sights in the name of the blue-white colour combination. Simplicity purity, freshness, breeze, water and snow… you know.

If you had one place to visit it would have to be the stadium tower. A truly unique landmark – it makes an awesome orientation point and also a great viewing point (and a suicide point for pregnant lovers of German soldiers who would throw themselves from the tower in order to avoid the shame – that’s why they had to close the tower and suicide-proof it back in the days).

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Don’t worry, there is a lift so you don’t have have to climb those 72 meters. And it is safe, you can’t even access the open staircase and the viewing platform is behind high iron bars.

And the views are stunning… Töölö, Meilahti

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Töölönlahti, in the background Kallio
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Safety first!DSC_8395

Parking lot, Opera and the Centre.DSC_8399

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Töölön Kisahalli (Töölö Sports Hall)DSC_8412

However, you can still visit the Stadium Tower! It only costs a few Euro (3€/5€) and it is definitely worth it.

Please beware! The stadium and the tower will close in 2016 for renovation work. Hurry hurry!

More information: http://www.stadion.fi/visit-tower