Too sexy for Rio de Janeiro? Would like to feel the latin fever, but you worry you might cause a traffic accident, while crossing Avenida Atlântica in your swimming suit? I know exactly how you feel. But, guess what! There is a place where you can experience true samba frenzy all covered up! Where could that be? In Helsinki, of course! Difficult to believe, huh? Don’t really blame you. I have always thought that samba doesn’t survive below 30 degrees Celsius. But after witnessing the 24th Helsinki Samba Carnaval in the center of the Finnish capital last Saturday, I was convinced that samba is here to stay, and below is the proof, half-covered in feathers.
OK, so you’ve been in Helsinki for a few days now. You are done with the museums, bought the whole Marimekko summer collection, and enjoyed Scandinavian cuisine far too much. You have just woken up in your fluffy hotel bed, feeling slightly guilty for all this overindulging. Suddenly, your are overwhelmed by the urge to burn off the one too many fried herrings and Finnish vodka snaps, you had the night before. It is about time to re-connect your tortured urban soul with nature. Do something different. But what? Go where? The answer is “Pihlajasaari” (Finnish for “Rowan Island”), a little gem a stone’s throw from Helsinki. A perfect destination for people traveling with or without kids.
A few months ago, a classmate in my Swedish class mentioned that a Hanami (Japanese for “flower-viewing”) Festival will take place on May 18th, at the Roihuvuori Cherry Tree Park, in the outskirts of Helsinki. To be honest, I don’t really care much about flowers, unless it’s my wife’s birthday or our wedding anniversary. Then I’d better care about flowers, otherwise I might end up sleeping on the sofa for the rest of the year.