Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

A Summer Day in Helsinki, Finland

tags: , , , , , ,

Brick tower that is just outside my host’s apartment
in the Munkkivuori neighborhood in Helsinki, Finland.

Photographed as I walked to Tarvaspää Café at the Gallen-Kallela Museum
near Tarvon Salmi in Helsinki, Finland.

Image: GrrlScientist, 2 July 2009 [larger view]. (raw image)

Now that a new month has begun, my Flickr accounts allow me to upload images once more, so I am back to cramming them full to bursting with images for the photoessays that I wish to share with you from my time in Helsinki, Finland.

As you can see from the above image, summer is absolutely spectacular in Helsinki. The weather was warm and the humidity was low — a very pleasant change from NYC, which was cold and humid when I left (and was hot and barf-inspiringly humid when I returned one month later, ugh!).


The first thing I did after dropping my luggage off in the apartment where I was to stay for the next month, was go for a walk through the neighborhood and to the Tarvaspää Café, which is next to the Gallen-Kallela Museum. Most of the way where I walked was wooded, but this was a clearing that I walked through (below). It was filled with insects and flowers. It was quite a change from a few months ago when it was buried under a foot or more of snow!

A clearing in the woods.

Image: GrrlScientist, 2 July 2009 [larger view]. (raw image)

I was exhausted, having just gotten off the airplane a mere hour or so earlier (and I do not sleep on planes unless I am ill, so I had been awake for more than 24 hours straight by this time). So I sat on the shore of this inlet to rest awhile (below). Of course, I took photographs of everything I could see.

A floating pedestrian bridge.

Image: GrrlScientist, 2 July 2009 [larger view]. (raw image)

This is the floating pedestrian bridge that I and my host would walk across on our way to the Gallen-Kallela Museum, where the Tarvaspää Café is located.

We — my host and I — finally made it to the Tarvaspää Café (it took awhile because I just had to stop to photograph the usual things that attract my attention; rocks, flowers, insects, cracks in the pavement ..). Once there, we got a coffee and something to eat. Of course, I had to photograph the beautiful hibiscus blossom that was leaning over our table.

Hibiscus blossom.

Image: GrrlScientist, 2 July 2009 [larger view]. (raw image)

The woman who does the cooking and baking at the Tarvaspää Café is amazing, especially her pie crusts. I ate a little quiche; it was a most heavenly lunch.

Lunch (Quiche).

Image: GrrlScientist, 2 July 2009 [larger view]. (raw image)

After lunch, I spent several hours photographing flowers in the gardens outside the cafe (you’ve been seeing some of those photographs as the “Image of the Day” and more will pop up in the days to follow).

Here’s a look at the oddly tilted tree outside the Gallen-Kallela Museum. The vegetation and colors make it difficult to make out — the snows of winter provide a much more contrast-y background and make the tree trunk easier to see. (Did I share my photo of this tree in the winter with you a few months ago? I think I did.)

That crazy tilted tree outside the Tarvon Salmi Cafe in Helsinki, Finland.

Image: GrrlScientist, 2 July 2009 [larger view]. (raw image)

I was so happy to be back in Helsinki that I spent all of my energies on hanging around in the bright sun in the cafe gardens with my camera, and forgot that the walk back was just as long as the walk there .. by the time I returned to my host’s apartment, I was practically dead on my feet. I was so tired that I didn’t fall asleep so much as I simply passed out. But I awoke a few hours later to daylight — morning had arrived! Well, sorta. It was actually 330 in the morning, Helsinki time: The sun really doesn’t set on a Helsinki summer!

This photograph was taken the next morning from my host’s 8th floor apartment patio, where I was to spend many happy hours during the month to come, watching dozens of swifts scream by — and when I say “scream,” I mean it. Even though these birds are small, they are astonishingly loud and noisy!

0330: The sun doesn’t set on a Helsinki summer.

Image: GrrlScientist, 3 July 2009 [larger view]. (raw image)