Monday, March 9, 2015

Helsinki as a setting

March here on the Prosers is dedicated for a sense of place. What better excuse to celebrate my beloved home town of Helsinki?

For a supposedly metropolitan city, Helsinki is remarkably short. Most buildings, especially downtown, are no more than five stories. I live out on the edge of town and my building can almost be considered a giant at seven (7) stories. Downtown buildings come with tiny, creaky elevators that have twin folding iron gates doing the service of doors and wide echoey staircases and no hallways beyond the first floor. For Helsinki, the houses downtown are really close together and the streets are quite narrow, mostly because they date back to the times when cars weren't common. Which brings me to another thing I love about Helsinki:

Helsinki Botanical Garden by Alexandre Duret-Lutz
On the whole, Helsinki is a very green, very pedestrian friendly city. People from elsewhere in Finland wouldn't necessarily agree because Helsinki is, after all, a big city and comes with the kinds of problems big cities have. But compared to Paris, London, New York, even Copenhagen etc it is. There are parks, of course, but the greenery in Helsinki pervades everything. Trees line all the streets and you can find a piece of grass within short walking distance everywhere in city. There are pedestrian walkways pretty much in all the places. If that wasn't enough to entice to walking, there are things to see everywhere. Even as a citizen, it's fun just walking around Helsinki, enjoying the scenery.

Helsinki - Nykytaiteen museo Kiasma (Museum of contemporary art Kiasma) by jaime.silva 
This is true of Finns as a people but nowhere is it more evident than in Helsinki. We are inordinately fond of culture and art. Most Helsinkians wouldn't call it that, but you know the stories of those small towns in Texas that have churches on every street corner? This is true of Helsinki and museums/art exhibitions. There's a museum for practically anything you can think of in Helsinki. Except torture. For some reason torture never did get on that list.

What can I say? To my mind at least Helsinki is a magical, magical place. Which is of course why a lot of my stories that aren't based in Space (trust me, the capitalization is warranted) are set in Helsinki.

1 comment:

  1. I want to visit!! I wouldn't even mind the lack of torture museum. Saw one of those in LA, and now I'm good. Don't need to look at those things again, thanks.


Got an opinion? Use it! Remember... be silly, be honest, and be nice/proofread.