Polar bears seen in Helsinki last week


These polar bears were observed on the ice in Lilla Kallvik, in eastern Helsinki last week. The mother and the bear cub approached Miss Doctor Emma, ( also known as our Saimi Tsukimi, 4 yrs) with affection – originally in a local charity shop UFF in Vuosaari Columbus shopping centre. Since these northern mammals clearly were ok, ready to a closer scientific research and very adorable in every sense, our scientific board agreed to purchase these specimens for 8 euros. Moreover the set can also be used as a sleepover backpack.

Holidays at Grandma´s House  in Helsinki

Miss Doctor Emma ( Saimi Tsukimi) was spending winter holidays with her sister Miss Doctor Rosie (Aino Asami 7 yrs) in Helsinki. This northern city has been praised in various medias and reviews as one of the best holiday destinations for children.


The Gulf of Finland, that in summertime offers refreshing sandy beaches for the visitors is really completely frozen in wintertime. The good people of Helsinki had provided a traditional sleigh on the ice. In the Villa Ullas cafe in the park on the beach they serve the second best cinnamon buns in town. The best buns are baked by these guests themselves in Grandma´s kitchen.


The snow is soft and white in Vuosaari parks. Why are all toilet facilities locked and bolted from the little guests?  Why is the outdoors barbecue not open during wintertime?


Fortunately these doctors are good in baking snow cakes.


Vuosaari parks are great for wild and speedy sports.

The Finnish Museum of Natural History


Archaeology and the fossiles are interesting in the Finnish Museum of Natural History . The museum has also an audio device for guidance in English on special targets. The collections are interesting and remarkable and the museum is excellent in size for younger visitors.


Doctors Emma and Rosie ( Tsukimi and Aino)  pose with their guide and the huge elephant at the entrance hall of the museum. The guests Doctors  had a professional guide throughout their holiday. The guests are experienced travellers and appreciate good service and guidance 24 hours a day.  At departure they were inquired if their guide (Grandma) had been boring – he answer was ”No! She was fun”.

This time the shop at the museum was a bit of a disappointment for our scientist guests. Last summer the visitors found interesting fossile toys at the shop, but this time there were no interesting souvenirs. The guests would have been interested in the objects of Finnish origin, but only some t-shirts were available. The guide noted this observation and promised to forward information. Hopefully next summer the shop will have lovely souvenirs for sale.

The museums are an excellent way of exhibiting the special things the region and culture have to offer and the museum shops would be an excellent place to make good money and satisfied clients.

The meaning of life in a box of poo

Guide Grandma has, however, at home something very interesting, that she has bought from a museum shop in London:

reindeer poo_b

This is something very peculiar: reindeer poo collected in British Nature Parks, sent to China and packed there together with spruce seeds in a plastic bag and a box that has a picture of a Finnish reindeer and snow. This great souvenir is for sale in London Natural History Museum for six pounds. Is tourism not a fantastic and extraordinary industry!


But what would a little box of reindeer poo for tourists mean in the long run of the history of nature? Among the dinosaurs and atoms and molecules and dna and quantum physics?

Actually it has a lot, the little box with poo and seeds bears the history of life and it could teach both young and old tourists the basics of everything.

I am just concerned that this is not Finnish reindeer poo… We have to make a poo initiative to the tourism scientists of the University of Lapland. They do have a tremendous sense of humour.


What do you think this is? It is the most fascinating shaman crown we observed in the Museum of Cultures. They are now closing down the museum in Tennispalatsi. The permanent exhibition has had the title ”Fetched from far”. The museum  has displayed the treasures that the Finnish scientists have brought home from their explorations.  The closinbg down of the museum can be followed in a blog http://www.nba.fi/fi/museot/kulttuurien_museo/muuttoblogi. I hope this crown or the magnificent shaman drums and other stuff is not sealed away to storage. Our scientist Doctor Emma and Rosie ( Tsukimi and Aino) enjoyed drawing and colourig the mermaids at the cosy children´s corner.

What is best on a holiday?

It probably is to spend some free time in a valuable way. For many visitors the best possible way of spending free time is with those one´s you love and really enjoy the freedom without pressures.


One can make lollies or photo frames or buns or gross what-evers of wonder dough: wheat flour+salt+water+oil.


Or you can play Pharaos and ancient Egyptian queens dressed in old t-shirts and painting your face with watercolours.

Photos by Mr. Kari, except the Reindeer´s bottom.



I had a lovely  job this week. I was commissioned to guide and assist a Belgian tv-crew to shoot documentary film of the Finnish sauna culture. The film will probably not be about the most usual traditions in out country.


The Oddities

The host of the show Otto-Jan Ham is appearing among other things in the sauna bus, in a de-luxe sauna compartment in Hartwall Arena stand, he is invited to the most distinguished Sauna Club of Finland in Lauttasaari, he is getting traditional cupping in Kotiharju sauna in Kallio and he is visiting  the sauna in  the Pyhäsalmi mine. The mine sauna lies in the depth of 1410 meters. The manuscript of the documentary is thus including a lot of the Finnish Oddities that we all are so proud of. We do have more saunas than we have cars in our country and the tradition is as old as the great Pyramides in Egypt.

One of the oddities is the Sauna bus that was taking the crew on a sightseeing tour in Helsinki. The weather was lovely as you can see, soft grey and white, just perfect for a nice dip to the snow between the löyly sets…


Here the bus is parked at the Uutela outdoor park. Finns don´t use the Sauna bus every week, but the bus is an excellent way to arrange a sauna party. In the sauna bus there is furthermore also  karaoke equipment. And the sauna bus has four wheels and a very skillful driver Jokke, who can take the clients to beaches and other good locations to take a sauna.


Our crew was served by Jokke ( on the right) and Esa who drove the Mercedes.  The Sauna bus is owned by Jari Aalto – http://www.saunabussi.com/.


Shooting the film is an exact job and the crew worked from early morning to late night to get proper shots for the final editing. Koen de Leeuw, Kris De Chapms and Pieter Jan Lul representing TV Vier in Belgium at their work. The document of Finnish saunas will be broadcasted in approx one month and it can be watched at the internet http://www.vier.be/istnogver/programmas/t-nog-ver



In the Hartwall Areena the crew documented the sauna in the match between Jokerit and Ässät.  We had a good luck to meet Mr Reliability of the Finnish National TV : Arvi Lind.


Arvi Lind told  he already had  played one and a half hours of ice hockey with the Zoom team in the afternoon.  Arvi keeps playing ice hockey at least twice a week and he has reached already 73 years of age… Arvi Lind was ready to explain  the game and the features of the Finnish ice hockey culture to his Belgian colleagues.


The special compartment with sauna was a hot experience for the crew. The friends on the benches are Markku and Mikko Aalto who are actually professionals in freezing business.


It is important that there are people like Hjallis Harkimo in Finland… One can learn that when introducing Helsinki and Finnish sports to foreign visitors.


The Finnish Sauna Society



There are five stoves and five different saunas in the Finnish Sauna Club, three smoke saunas and two saunas with chimneys. The saunas are heated on six days a week and last year  there were burned 450 cubic meters of peeled birch tree.


The wood is brought from Somero and it has to be dryed at least for one year before it is accepted to the saunas. The peeling of the wood is reducing the forming soot that is of course black and creates a lot of smoke but also it can easily catch fire and that is very dangerous in sauna business.  This wisdom is passed to the crew by the Heating Master Ari-Pekka Paavola. ”I wake up early, light the fire in the owens at half past five in the morning. Two full loads of birch wood is being burned first and the last touch of finesse is made by a light burning of black alder,” he describes his daily routines.


Ari-Pekka is taking the sauna THREE TIMES A DAY – FIVE TIMES A WEEK. This totals approximately 650 times of sauna annually, when the sauna bathing at home with the kids is added. ”At work taking the sauna is part of quality control” he explains.

The Finnish Sauna Society is providing useful information for the visitors and us tourism professionals: http://www.sauna.fi/in-english/the-finnish-sauna-society/welcome/



How does it feel?

Otto-Jan Ham, the host of the sauna program was experiencing the core of Finnish hospitality in a nutshell and in a haste. On the same day, non-stop he bathed in several types of saunas, tried winter swimming in the Gulf of Finland and was cupped in Kotiharju Sauna http://www.kotiharjunsauna.fi/.

”I feel as if everything I have inside me was taken out of me and then put back. Very strange but good.” His colleague said: ” You look as if you just about survived a plance crash”.


The crew started shooting at Kotiharju stalking behind the snow pile. The guys taking the sauna are cooling at entrance of the saunas. The cupping lady Birgitta Palojärvi (birgittapalojarvi@gmail.com, puhelin: 044-3741323) took good care of his Belgian guest.


The Finnish sauna culture is appreciated always when experienced in a proper way. It is only in the Finnish sauna that a visitor can be both alone and in a company of high society democratically naked. He can be naked together with other bathers and remain still in privacy. He can keep silent or chat or get philosophic.

The Finnish Sauna Society has framed on the wall this  letter from his Royal Highness Prince Philip: ”I was able to satisfy myself by personal experience that the sauna is indeed as pleasant as it is made out to be. I was therefore glad to be formally introduced to … I thank you for sending me your illuminated certificate that I have bee duly initiated into its mysteries.”

Prince Philip took the sauna during the Helsinki Olympic Games in 1952.



Taidetta on tarjolla joka paikassa, kyseessä on vain rajaus. Herra Kari kuvasi pari viikkoa sitten Vuosaaren Aurinkolahden uimavahdin kopin ikkunaan tallentuneen taulun. Koko kuva tauluineen on hieno sommitelma, minä en alkanut rajaamaan siitä mitään pois. Joku viisas sanoi, että nykyiset rakennukset ovat suoria linjoja ja jyrkkiä kulmia, koska ne on suunniteltu tietokoneilla. Tietokoneet eivät tunne vivahteita.

Tällä viikolla kävimme kummityttöni Sonja Jusin näyttelyssä nimeltä Salamatkustaja, Kuvataideakatemian Galleriassa:


Kuvan teos: Kohti. Video.

Sonjakin oli tutkinut  suoria linjoja: Hän on tehnyt kolme mustavalkoista videoteosta, jotka elävät ja liikkuvat omaa liikettään pimeässä galleriassa. Katsoja on rajattu ulos, kuten muutkin ihmiset, vain mekaaninen liike ja linjat ovat esillä ja muuttuvat.  Sonja on itse kuvannut teoksiaan:

”Mietin, miten minä kuljen kameran kanssa luodakseni videon ja miten video kulkee heijastuspinnalla luodakseen matkan, joka on minulle tarina ilman sanoja.  Annan ympäristön aineellisten rakenteiden vaikuttaa tarinoiden kulkuun, luon samalla järjestelmiä, jotka ovat mahdollisia ihmisen rakentamassa suoriin linjoihin perustuvassa ympäristössä.”


Valokuva videosta on pysäyttänyt porraskäytävän syvyyden. Teoksen nimi: ”8”.


Muutamia Sonjan töitä on meilläkin. Minulla on nykyään sisällä tämä betoninen Madame, joka ylevöitti pihaamme Lainlukijantiellä.


Sonja teki Eevalle 2006 hymypojan, joka on kulkenut Eevan mukana eri puolilla Eurooppaa. Tässä veistos on vielä meillä Torpparinmäessä odottamassa kuljetusta.

sonja_nokiruusuSonjalta oli Tuusulassa vuonna 2006  esillä monia erilaisia töitä, tässä yllä törröttää Nokiruusut romahtaneen uunin nurkassa. Näyttely Purkutuomittu oli Pekka Halosen akatemian opiskelijoiden ryhmänäyttely, joka  järjestettiin Krapihovissa.


Sonjan naishahmo Pekka Halosen akatemian ryhmänäyttelyssä. Teoksen nimi: ”Naisest en tiiä vielä”.