How to find the perfect flat?

Blogroll, Finland, Helsinki, Lifestyle

Location, location and location. The only three valid criteria for looking for the place to live – everything else can be fixed. This is valid probably to all countries except for Finland where land ownership and pretty hefty costs of repairs – not to mention the dreaded and expensive putkiremontti, aka go and eff yourselves for 3 months while we replace the water pipes in your building for no obvious reason – mean that you might, actually, give in after a while. But if you are looking for the gorgeous city apartment, try applying the following for narrowing down your search criteria:

check locations along the tram line – the trams typically serve the once residential quarters which in today’s speak mean liveable places close to the centre and with decent traffic connections.

– check locations on the train line(s) – and by that I don’t mean the underground, look for the real, hardcore suburban train. You might find really interesting spots minutes from the city centre. The bus is for plebs and the underground smells of fat and pee.

check locations close to the water – river, sea, fake lake. Just do, even when you don’t think you care that much. The current urban development trend is to build on anything solid, but you can still count on the fact that building on water surface remains technically… difficult.

don’t look at the number of rooms, that is totally misleading. You can always divide or unite the space – and actually, even the number of square metres is for orientation purposes only. Look at the dispositions, the number and location of doors, etc.

– when you considering buying a place, enjoy a short meal or a coffee there. Ignore the looks of the estate agent or the owner, just, well, see how it feels to be there when you are relaxed and occupy your mind with something else than thoughts about the technical and financial questions. This might sound superstrange, and it kind of is unusual, I admit. Women take hours shopping for their wedding dress, so why should your rush buying a flat? Word of warning: when you chuckle at the tasteless colour scheme the previous tenant left the flat in, try not to be that loud.

don’t lose hope. You can always rent – and wait. There are housing bubbles in many of European capitals. They will burst one day.

 

10 years.

Blogroll, Finland, Picture a day, Traveling

Of this blog. It’s hard to believe. I have gone through so many blog phases, and, yeah, appealed to different sorts of visitors and followers. Still can’t believe it, time flies! But at the same time I feel quite pride that I’ve managed to pull it through these times. Cheers to that, and a few pictures from yesterday’s after-work walk, overseeing Sibo archipelago.

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… the last picture is of Porvoo Refinery. In the middle of woods, such an industrial beauty. The scope, the size, the power – I think it deserves further exploring but I simply did not have the time this time (pun intended).

Sun-mary.

Blogroll, Finland, Helsinki, Lifestyle, Picture a day

I understand that a picture per day is pretty hard when it’s cloudy outside – or when you are stuck inside day in day out, or when you’re depressed and cannot really see the point.

But here we go. Things happen nevertheless. I went for a cheer-up ride to Espoo (the horror), more precisely to the gateway to Suvisaaristo, and even more precisely to Matasaari. There is nothing particularly exciting about the space, maybe the chapel (the red house pictured below), the sheer number of couples getting married in here and the fact that there was no-one to be seen. With an exception of an elderly couple fishing.

 

And a bit of summer reminiscence. A dried-out waterfall (algae really) and the last purple of the year:

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Oh and today we visited a place many Finland/Helsinki-located folks must have passed: it’s just off the main railroad between Helsinki and, well, anywhere really, just off Pasila stop. The place is not unlike Villa Mehu we visited a few weeks ago, except for that it is less artsy, less over the top and reachable by public transport, and it is known to the locals as Kivilinna. A complex of one-woman-made simple building and walls made out of stones found around Pasila, an attempt to live on one’s own and build an alternative world, disturbed maybe by the passing-by trains. A popular place to visit by old and young alike. It has made it to the news a few times recently, mostly because it has been fenced and people have been showing they disagreement. Now. Why. Unless you are blind, drunk or totally irresponsible, the place is no more dangerous than any other foresty OR urban jungly spot in Pasila… thankfully the locals took matters in their own hands and the fence has been quasi-professionally opened for anyone curious enough… a big thank you to you!

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Oh and I need a dog. Or a baby. And I need either of those even more after visiting the Rescue dog event in Suvilahti on Saturday. Those soft paws, kind eyes, thankful hearts and therapeutic souls, how can you… how can you enter and not fall in love with one, regardless of their “family” or placement status.

 

(… and a little urban landscape shot from Suvilahti🙂

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How is Finland otherwise? Ah well, getting cold, dark and more and more Christmasy. The first Christmas decorations were spotted in mid September, there are more of those to be seen. The one major wintery thing missing is sweets: I can’t wait for Lidl and their German Christmas/Winter goodies! Nomnomnom, marzipan and ginger-bread (and random liquor in combination with chocolate)!

I’m afraid I have quite a week ahead of me and it makes me feel partly excited and partly paralysed with fear. Avail or not. Disappointed or what. Hopeful either way, as this too shall pass and the things will start looking better soon? Right?

Va(a)sa and Ostrobothnia.

Architecture, Blogroll, Finland, Lifestyle, Pampas, Traveling

A large part of my fieldwork takes place in Ostrobothnia – around the towns of Va(a)sa, Jakobstad, Karleby and similar. And the region quickly became one of my favourite places in the world; I’m not going to beat around the bush, to a large extent I would attribute this to the large percentage of Swedish speakers and their culture present…

… or it just could be due to the fact that I actually met with and got to talk to really friendly people;) but hey, the landscape (especially the rural areas and Kvarken archipelago) and urbanscape is worth a visit!

First a few shots from the town of Vasa… the very city centre is dominated by concrete. But there is a lot of wood and history just outside the centre.

As the destiny wanted I found myself at Stundars open air museum one night. It was closed for public and beautifully lit by the setting sun.

 

And of course I was criss-crossing the urban areas, mostly around Malax municipality:

(I totally love the following shot:)

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One lovely day I had some spare time to kill, so I decided to take a short trip to Strömsö – to get the glimpse of perfection. For those outside of Finland, Strömsö is the name of this Finnish-Swedish show for people loving their homes. You will find all kinds of interesting recipes, instructions and home-improvement tips. The show takes place in  the- yes, Strömsö masion – just off Vasa, and the whole point of the show is that… that nothing ever goes wrong on the show. You will get 30 minutes of perfect living in a beautiful old wooden house (and a modern sauna and a modern shed with all kinds of tools and equipment where all the project shootings take place – #CHEATING!). And witness the making a lot of unnecessary decoration items… Home bliss!

And of course I had to share the beauty of pampas (Österbotten) with V. – and we decided to spend a calm evening in a Fisherman’s house (for real) in Molpe, Malax. The largest part of the trip went to visiting the Bergö archipelago and picking lingonberry. Amazing. Peaceful. Smelling and feeling great.

On the way back to Helsinki we passed – accidentally almost – village of Harrström. And it was a pleasant visit, despite the rain! We visited the windmill – the largest functioning wooden windmill in Finland, and it was so AWESOME. I mean I never got to see the windmill from inside. The experience felt so genuine – last visitors before us visited the mill in late July, there was dust and mouse droppings and middlings and other objects typical for… uhm… milling wheat, duh. Sounds gross, but it was awesome. So was the bridge built in 1898 (and still in use) and the whole vibe of a sea-near village. Definitely worth a visit should you be driving along the coast.

It was a lot of fun – and so has this week been as well. I enrolled in a weaving course and I think I found a new hobby. Want to see the result of my week efforts? Check out my instragram! (@milleristine)

And most importantly, take good care of yourselves. Life is way too brittle.