The winter’s tale

15 March 2010 | This 'n' that

It’s coming to an end now, but Helsinki has been experiencing its snowiest winter since the 1970s. Since Christmas the mercury has generally stayed ten to twenty degrees below zero.

People have long been complaining about the black ‘Euro winters’ – the arrival of really mild winter weather as a norm seemed to coincide with Finland’s membership of the European Union in 1995 – but now the boot’s on the other foot.

Speaking of which: young city people have gone on wearing their Converses, partly because they’ve never had to invest in proper winter footwear, partly to be cool. And it certainly has been.

Spring is almost here, but right now the forecast says there’s still time to ski. So, here are some suggestions we found on a maverick site called We Love Helsinki; open to everyone, this communal webzine (in Finnish only) features all sorts of material, from places to people, happenings, photos and observations, including a wryly ironic series on Helsinki’s most romantic places. Here are We Love Helsinki’s top tips for enjoying winter (translation below) in the city for those who haven’t really been through it before; they may also come in useful for any of our dear readers whose home cities are also experiencing unusually cold weather this year:

Snowsnow blahblahblah

The winter’s been going on for too long and it’s been gawped at too much already. If you’ve had enough of the tobogganing slope and complaining about the weather, here are some handy hints that we at We Love Helsinki have put together for enjoying the urban winter.

1. Eat snow. Go on,  e a t  it.
2. Live dangerously and walk close to the walls of houses. Just don’t look up, and don’t take any notice of the protective barriers that have been put in your way.
3. Lick a rotary clothesline. [Or anything else made of metal: it’s thrillingly dangerous, as your tongue will stick. Ouch! The Editors]
4. The hours of daylight show an unpleasant tendency to increase towards spring. Minimise the effect by sleeping until six in the evening.
5. Enjoy the outdoors: take the train to work. [The Finnish rail services have been painfully ineffective this winter. The Editors]
6. Or save time and skate to work.
7. Ski. Just ski.
8. See if you can die of irritation by digging the wrong car out of the snow.


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