Archive for September, 2006

September 24th, 2006

Everyday Finnish design

The annual Helsinki Design Week is once again full of events of various kinds. We visited Design Market in Cable Factory in Ruoholahti to check whether there were any good bargains.

There were a couple of dozen independent Finnish designers and furniture manufacturers selling stuff with good discounts. I was expecting a larger event, but fortunately there was more quality than quantity.

We ended up buying a carpet to ground floor hall and a plywood box that doubles as a seat — I don’t yet have a clue where to put it, but it sure looks cool.

Cable Factory hosted also a photograph exhibition. There were several intriguing works of art, but I would not hang any of them to the walls at home — all of them were a bit too disturbing. Maybe this is the fate of the photography as an art: either it is kitschy or then too radical…

Helsinki Design Week goes on this whole week (until Sunday October 1st), so if you are around, do pop in the events to enjoy everyday Finnish design.

Italian fashion for grown ups

Motivi — written here without the hard rock umlauts (five dots over the letter “o”) — is a Italian fashion store chain for ladies. Compared to the other Italian shop we visited, Fornarina, the garments are designed for more of a business use and grown ups in mind.

Motivi store in Tallinn’s Kristiine center
Their Tallinn store is located in Kristiine shopping center, a few kilometers from the city center. The store is airy and the garments are laid out nicely, but it still has a bit tacky overall feeling — due to being in a shopping center.

www.motivi.com, Endla 45 (in Kristiine shopping center), Tallinn, Estonia

Huge shopping center

Kristiine shopping center has about 130 stores and restaurants under one roof, so it is an ideal place to shop on rainy days. The center is located a few kilometers from the old town, and the route there is not a scenic one. It is not dangerous, but plain dull. You can walk there, if you like, but in my opinion everyone is better off with a taxi.

Kristiine shopping center in Tallinn
Don’t expect finding too many stores that are not present in the city centre, too. Most of the outlets are chain store franchises. There is also a big supermarket, Prisma, that has excellent selection of food and drinks, and large but cheapish looking collection of garments, shoes and other such stuff.

The cafés are nice, just like every shopping center café. I would recommend Wayne’s Coffee inside the bookstore, it seems to be more quiet than the others.

www.kristiinekeskus.ee, Endla 45, Tallinn, Estonia, +372 665 0341

September 19th, 2006

Travelling outside and inside Espoo

We have travelled near and even nearer places during the last few days.

First, on Saturday we celebrated Onni’s first birthday in Turku. Onni is Aapo’s (currently) only cousin, a few months younger than Aapo. He recently learned to walk and for the first time he and Aapo played together for short periods. Then Aapo started to push Onni and an adult intervention was needed. Several times.

Aapo was a bit sick on Saturday and the condition worsened on Sunday and Monday morning, so Sanna visited doctor in Tapiola and then I arrived to pick them up to the nearest hospital in Jorvi — a few kilometers from our house.

The rest of the day was spent there, just killing time and occasionally visiting doctors’ or nurses’ offices. The public healthcare is free and good, but sometimes you can’t escape the feeling that you are just an item on an conveyor belt — no-one takes personal interest in getting you on the fastest route through the system, you just sit there and wait. There was always the possibility that you have to stay in for the following night, so better cancel all plans. Fortunately, we were released just before night time, so Aapo could fell asleep in his own bed.

Groceries near the old town

Rimi Kaubahall seems to be the nearest big grocery store for the Tallinn old town. It is located next to the old town wall, but on the city side. The nearest gate is on Viru street.

Rimi store next to Tallinn old town
The store is a full-fledged supermarket with a big alcohol department serving especially Finns searching for cheaper booze. The selection of other stuff is good, too, and the prices are decent. If you are residing in a hostel or otherwise travelling on budget, Rimi is a good choice to save some money on groceries.

www.rimi.ee, Aia 7, Tallinn, Estonia, +372 644 3855

Italian fashion for young ladies

If you are below 30 or just like to wear the latest young fashions, check out Fornarina near the city gates of Tallinn old town (outside of the old town, though). The store is filled with colourful garments, some more and some less skimpy.

Fornarina shop near Tallinn old town
Beside clothes, the store has a selection of shoes, bags and accessories. The overall amount of stuff on sale is excellent. There is nothing for men, except a couple of good chairs and magazines for killing the time while your lady is perusing the racks.

www.fornarina.ee, Vana Viru 8, Tallinn, Estonia, +372 644 3554

September 8th, 2006

Up north we go!

I’ve got several bonus cards from various airlines and alliances, as every urban nomad should have… The points come from here and there, and small additions accumulate over the time to a sizable pot.

The problem is that the points do expire. I learned quite recently that Finnair had expired some points without any notice to me, and next set of points are to be expired end of this month.

Fortunately, we found a good way to spend the points under the threat: this weekend we are flying to Kuusamo to meet Sanna’s parents. The trip costs around 30€ for adults and 10€ for Aapo + 19,000 points — not a bad deal.

For some puzzling reason this weekend was the only one that had both Friday and Sunday flights available — albeit at quite late hour. Other weekends were handicapped either on Friday or on Sunday. Maybe Finnair releases more seats to bonus program members closer to the departure date.

Stylish baby store

Heaven is well designed baby and children store in De La Gardia mini shopping center near the old town gates towards to the city centre. The store occupies most of the third floor — but as there is not enough tenants, the rest of the floor is empty.

Heaven baby store in Tallinn, Estonia
The selection of the store is laid out nicely and it is not crowded at all. They sell clothes, toys and Maclaren buggies (these are not to be confused with McLaren Formula 1 racing team). Prices are on normal European level, so don’t expect any bargains.

www.hvn.ee. Viru tn. 13-15 (on the third floor), Tallinn, Estonia, +372 644 4666