Wednesday, October 19, 2016


Our well-travelled friend C just completed his 10th visit to our home here in Helsinki. We love seeing him and he keeps us on our toes to discover new destinations while he's here. We planned to go to Porvoo, but car problems meant we were stuck in town. I remembered that the Chief had noticed a place where you could sunbathe on the roof and I thought I'd look it up. 

Yes, I realise it's October and sun-bathing is the last thing we'd consider in Finland just now, but Löyly Helsinki offers more than that. Löyly translates as 'steam' and this sauna, sea swimming bar and restaurant looks like a lot of fun. We didn't go for a sauna, but I'd love to try it sometime with friends. It has communal saunas and a fireplace room which has glass that overlooks the sea. I saw people eating sausages and ice cream in the fireplace room, others who left the sauna for a quick dip in the sea and a few who braved the sea air to sit outside. The Finns are hard-core about their saunas.

We went to the restaurant which was quite busy on a crisp cold October Saturday, even most of the outside seats were taken by people snuggled up under the provided blankets. I can just imagine how busy it is mid-summer. After a lovely brunch of sandwiches, eggs and savoury and sweet waffles (which ran out just as we tried to order another 2, we managed to grab the last one) we went outside to climb up the building and take in the view. 

Hernesaari is an area just down from Kaivopuisto and Eira that we've never explored before. It was a perfect autumn day and we got to see lots of sailing ships come into the harbour there. After the kids had enough of the building we walked around the harbour. Hernesaari translates as 'pea island' but is not an island as far as I can tell, more a small penisula. I can't give you any interesting historical facts, but it borders along what looks like an industrial estate. They have built up the water's edge nicely, with a sandy beach to play at and areas to ride bikes or walk. Even in October we had to restrain the children from heading into the icy water. 

We walked all the way to the maritime monument and then along Eiranranta to Cafe Carusel. Quite the walk for Foo but he really enjoyed throwing stones into the water and climbing along the rocks. I'd definitely go back for lunch and maybe a sauna experience at Löyly and a walk along the shore at Hernesaari. 


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