Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Helsinki Päivä / Helsinki Day in Herttoniemi

Having visitors that have been to Finland several or more times has really upped our hosting game, forcing me to find new places to visit. Or in this case revisiting old haunts to discover a hidden gem. 

Helsinki Päivä, Helsinki Day, is on June 12th and somehow in our first six years here it has passed us by. I've been vaguely aware of it, but this year someone on my expats' board posted a link to the programme which is massive and includes hundreds of events of all types. 

We decided to head back to Herttoniemi where we lived our first two years here. It's still one of my favourite areas in Helsinki, lots of green spaces, friendly people, easily accessible to the city and lots of different things to do. We started out with a quick visit to an open day at Gymi, a children and teens' sport club that specialises in gymnastics type activities. My 3 eldest attended sessions there and loved it, unfortunately the open day was so popular they had to limit everyone to 30 minutes which had Bump in tears. 

We then headed out to Herttoniemi Manor Herttoniemen Kartanon which includes a manor house, a large formal gardens with a duck pond and the Knusbackan farm behind the manor house.

The manor wasn't open when we arrived and usually is only open on some Sundays for a few hours, so please check the website if you want to go inside. We had a picnic lunch in the gardens and then went back to the farm. The tractor trailer ride was lots of fun and there was no real waiting time even though the place was jammed with people. 

They had a working horse and a small petting farm. 

Knusbacken was my favourite bit, an old farm museum with a preserved farmhouse. We've recently been reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder series so it was nice to be able to show the kids all the things we've been reading about that are totally foreign to 21st century kids like a loom, butter churn and harrows. I can't find any info on the website about when the farm is open normally so might be worth contacting them before going if that's what you're interested in. 

There's also a popular restaurant on the grounds called Wanha Mylly The Old Windmill, but we didn't stop as we had remembered to bring a picnic lunch for once. The gardens are both formal and wild and the ducks a nice distraction. 

The manor did open after a while and the kids did a run through, old furniture is just not their thing, but one of them took some random photos for me.

We finished off the day at a local cafe we used to frequent for ice cream and a visit to a favourite park. We all enjoyed Helsinki day and being back in the old neighbourhood. 

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