Now that I’m finished with Hungary, I decided I would post some more recent stuff (Marci will like that :p). Therefore, from now on we will follow two timelines in parallel: the one we’ve always followed, which continues, and a new one, which starts now (I haven’t decided yet whether it would go forward or backwards… maybe both, which would actually make a total of three timelines… :D). Don’t get lost!
Autumn had been quite interesting. No real cold spell, but a lot of rain. Sometimes, it had rained for three days straight, and each morning, on my way to the office, I could see the ditches were fuller and fuller. Last weekend, at last, the skies cleared and the temperature dropped close to zero. I had been forced to postpone an excursion with my friend Mark two weekends in a row, because it was raining all the time, but finally, this was our chance!
I offered him to join me during the morning, but to my great surprise, he said he would join me on my sunrise-seeking trip. We arrived in Viikki at 7.30, long before the actual sunrise time. So we walked to the edge of the reedbed, following paths I now know by heart. I showed him some birds, like this Blackbird (Turdus merula) singing on a wood pole by the side on the duckboards. Well, in the dark of the woods, we could barely distinguish its outline, but we heard it loud and clear!
Leaves fell around us, and I was startled every time one reached the ground. “Is there a bird foraging on the ground? Was there something up there that made it fall in the first place?”. But no, most of the time the leaves had decided to fall on their own.
No crazy hue colored the clouds when the sun came, but the view from the bird tower was nice.
We continued our trip quickly though, for fear of freezing in place. This excursion was the opportunity for Mark to try birdwatching for the first time, and I think it was a success! I recognized myself in him when he chuckled for no reason at a pair of Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) living their peaceful life in the canal… totally something I would do! I enjoyed sharing my humble knowledge about birds with this curious soul. There were not so many birds to watch, but we had some good surprises: a curious Great tit (Parus major) flew by very close, and a Roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) scrutinized us from the forest while its young grazed nearby.
The best part was a Northern goshwak (Accipiter gentilis) flying over us then perching on an electric pole at close range. What a blast, I could first observe its powerful flight (“what is this?”), then we had the opportunity to check it thoroughly. A handsome bird for sure.
We had lunch at the Kurdish restaurant in Caisa shopping center, and then I had some time on my own in the center. I visited Tiede Kulma, a new space linked to the University of Helsinki, where everyone can meet and work. Its modern architecture unites concrete and wood in a very Nordic fashion, but it’s not as easy as it sounds like to take interesting pictures, even with the 10-22mm wide-angle lens (my new toy, I’ve had it for a few months now).
I entered because I was walking by with no plan; I had imagined it as an open place, but when I got inside, someone came to me! I immediately thought I had no right to be there, and started to ask whether it was an open place and what was happening there and whether I could have a look and… but it turned out this kind lady was only here to give information to visitors. She even offered me to guide me through the floors, explaining me that anyone could go there and stay, but that they also had many events in the main hall.
I think she was a bit bored, but as someone who has trouble to go to people and simply ask questions, it was quite refreshing to see a person come to me to talk. Thank you very much 🙂
After that peculiar episode, I walked in Helsinki, stopping by the Senate Square and Kaisa-talo. Then I took the metro to Herttoniemi, where I met Veronica and her dog, Nela.
We visited Laajasalo, an island I had never seen before. There was no special plan, so once we had found the coastline we followed it through forest and parks, enjoying the sun when it came out, laughing at Nela’s crazy runs on the sand.
Veronica offered to show me the ghost “town” of Kruunuvuori, a few abandoned houses on a shore facing Helsinki. Long story short, those houses were so “ghostly” they were completely invisible, and we didn’t see anything.
She kept saying “we’ll see them soon”, but nothing came. OK, I’m exaggerating, we saw a calcined ruin, and another sealed house, but I was sold open buildings for me to explore freely, so I was a bit disappointed… it’s only after reaching our starting point and starting the loop again (“you’ll see, they must be somewhere there”) that we learnt they had been taken down.
Yeah, that’s the story of how I visited an invisible haunted town 😀
The good point is that exploring the area was a real adventure, including falls from slippery rocks and bouldering, in the gorgeous light of the late afternoon. The view on Helsinki was delightful, and it felt awesome to finally see the sun again.
On the way back, sunset colors lit up the evening, putting the final touch to that exhausting but so satisfying day.
This was my participation to Walktober, an initiative created by Robin at Breezes at dawn 🙂