Archive for July 11th, 2008

jyderup to helsinki

Friday, July 11th, 2008

Back on Planet Oakland now. The dulcet sounds of deep thumping base and doughnut peel-outs are once again part of my daily life… It’s actually not so bad being back: I’m really enjoying my first week of teaching summer-session drawing at Berkeley, and for the first time in a few years of returning from overseas trips, this time the Bay Area seems warmer and cheaper, instead of colder and pricier, compared to where I was traveling…

Left Jyderup on June 29. Sigh. I miss you, quiet, green roads.
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I miss you, town bakery that makes hot dog croissant-things.
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I miss you, orange lamp in green room.
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I miss you, cryptic laundry room sign.
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We caught the 7:13 am train to Copenhagen, to the 8:56 train to the airport, to the 10:45 flight to Helsinki, arriving around 1:30 in the afternoon.

Any concerns we might have had about getting enough out of our first day were quickly assuaged by 1, the fact that stuff stays open way later in Helsinki, and 2, we had one MORE hour of daylight given the latitude. I don’t think I’ll ever stop marveling at how much more daylight northern cities get in summer. (Winter, I don’t want to think about.)

First impressions: Helsinki felt waay different than Copenhagen. Still a compact, lovely nordic city, but with more hills, a slightly grittier quality, a more Russian sensibility evidenced in the architecture, and waay, waay more Goth kids. Like while the Danes are eating fresh vegetables and hanging out at solariums, the Finns are hanging out in basements dyeing their clothes black.

Still, our perceptions about the populace may have been skewed by the fact that we arrived in town on the last day of the Tuska Open Air Metal Festival, so the downtown area was pretty much wall-to-wall metalheads, goths, headbangers, and everything in-between.
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Kiasma, the contemporary museum, was goth-free, and yet another example of super-styley Scandinavian design.
Even the cafe. I definitely appreciated the design-y-ness of Copenhagen, but Helsinki had it in spades, too…
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And on a trip through a cemetery (surprisingly goth-free, too), it turns out even Helsinki headstones are super-slick!
Finnish cemeteries are where all graphic designers aspire to be laid to rest.
One tasteful sanserif font, one minimalist granite slab, for all eternity.
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If the photo below had audio, you’d be able to fully appreciate that we found a weird acoustic nook where the sounds of Slayer, performing live in the park across the train tracks, bounced right into our ears. With two rainbows, to boot.
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Helsinki at midnight
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Helsinki at 1:00 am
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We also trekked out to the Cable Factory (Kaapeli), a massive artist’s complex (no, not that kind) with studios, galleries and theatres, to visit our new friend, artist Jacob Borges, who was doing an artist in residence out there. Very cool, absolutely humongous site–used to be Nokia‘s cable factory back in the day. (Nokia is a Finnish company, if you didn’t know).
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Journey to the center of the earth: escalators down to the metro station near Kaapeli
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Finnish Trivial Pursuit! This language is utterly fascinating.
I think I need to learn Finnish just to play Trivial Pursuit.
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One last round of travel pics, then it’s back to bay area-focused fun and games…