Friday, November 9, 2012

Happy Birthday Helsinki!

It is Helsinki's 200th Birthday!

HELSINKI is the capital and largest city of Finland. It is on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, an arm of the Baltic Sea.  Helsinki is located some 80 kilometres (50 mi) north of Tallinn, Estonia, 400 kilometres (250 mi) east of Stockholm, Sweden, and 300 kilometres (190 mi) west of Saint Petersburg, Russia. Helsinki has close historical connections with these three cities.

Helsinki urban area includes the city proper of Helsinki and large parts of other municipalities: Espoo and Vantaa, which immediately border Helsinki to the west and north, respectively; and Kauniainen (where they are trying to relocate the mission office), which is an enclave within the municipality of Espoo. It is is the world's northernmost urban area of over one million people, and the city is the northernmost capital of an EU member state. Altogether over 1.3 million people, approximately one of four Finns, live in the metropolitan area of Helsinki.

Helsinki is Finland's major political, educational, financial, cultural and research centre as well as one of northern Europe's major cities. Approximately 70% of foreign companies operating in Finland have settled in the Helsinki region.  The nearby city of Vantaa is the location of Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, with frequent service to various destinations in Europe and Asia. In 2009, Helsinki was chosen to be the World Design Capital for 2012 by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design, narrowly beating Eindhoven for the title.

In the Economist Intelligence Unit's August 2012 Liveability survey, assessing the best and worst cities to live in, Helsinki was placed 8th overall.

We have enjoyed the city.  There are often festivals and special events that have made the city come alive.  Below are some photos of the "FISH and BREAD Festival" that was held in the marketplace.  Fishermen came with their boats laden with pickled herring in an enormous assortment of flavors.  Most every boat had fresh baked breads as well!

We ate the best little fishes for lunch...they are called "muikku"
Much like smelt which are found in Michigan's great lakes.

Our Finnish friend invited us to go along and with him and pick mushrooms one Saturday.  The forests of Finland belong to all...even property owned by an individual, if that property is not used for the owner's livelihood then anyone can go on to it without trespassing   He took us to an area somewhat preserved like our state parks.  It was a beautiful day and we learned quickly to spot the mushrooms.

This one was a good one!

Can you see the mushrooms?

Our friend was the winner...with the most mushrooms in his basket!

This was a poisonous NOT eat!

Lots of mushrooms in this photo!

This one is good to eat...almost looks like a flower.

This is a lichen that helps the dead trees return to the earth after they die.

Lots of yummy mushrooms!
Looks like home...

We drove home from the forest on the King's highway...where real kings traveled in the days of old. 

I have been doing quite a bit of knitting lately.  I chose a particularly challenging pattern.  I found as I had to start the project over and over countless times, until I could get the pattern right, that it is very much like my life and the challenges I have.  I am so thankful for the principle of repentance that allows me to 'start over' and continue daily to get the pattern of my life right.  I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ and those principles of love and service found within.

May you have success and happiness today in living your own pattern of love and service!

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