Yrjönkatu Swimming Hall 

Yrjönkatu Swimming Hall is the oldest indoor swimming hall in Helsinki, opening in 1928, and located in Kamppi.  Originally the hall was privately owned until 1954 when it was transferred to the Finnish Sports Federation and then in 1967 to the City of Helsinki.

Being naked was one of the hardest things for me to adjust to about living in Finland. To most Finns it isn’t given a second thought, it’s a part of their culture and almost goes hand in hand with going to the sauna.

I had never been brave enough to visit Yrjönkatu Swimming Hall while it was open, the fear of the unknown was too overwhelming. I had adjusted to being naked in the sauna but there was something about naked swimming that felt like a step too far.

Housed inside is one pool, 25 metres in length and 10 metres wide. The hall has gone through a number of renovations, the last in 1997, though its interior has not been changed since it first opened.

Traditionally people swam naked in Yrjönkatu but since 2001 it became optional to wear a swimming suit or not. As you can swim naked days are separated and alternated between men and women.

I was able to arrange a time to visit the swimming hall before they had opened for the day. The water was perfectly clear and blue, reflecting its surroundings on the still surface of the pool.

Hidden away from view are the changing areas, showers, saunas (of course), and even a cafe on the second floor with seating looking over the pool.

More information about Yrjönkatu can be found on the City of Helsinki’s website.

This place was so amazing I couldn’t stop taking photos, it must be one of the best building interiors I have visited during my time in Helsinki.

What do you think? Have you been there?

If you would like to see more from Yrjonkatu Swimming Hall let me know in the comments and I may post a few more. Don’t forget to visit Instagram for more in the meantime!

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Lapland Art – Särestöniemi Museum

Lapland

Statue of Reidar Särestöniemi

Reidar Särestöniemi (1925-1981) was an artist from Lapland. He lived in the Kittilä region of Lapland for his whole life at his family home apart from a few years while he studied in Helsinki and St Petersburg. He gained recognition after his first exhibition in 1959.

Unlike any other museums I have been to in the past this one was in the original buildings that Reider Särestöniemi lived and worked. This meant that the museum was a little off the beaten track and I had to drive 9km down a gravel road once reaching the turning.

Even though the location was difficult to reach it was a excellent place to house the majority of this work. It was great to experience his artwork while in the natural surroundings of Lapland that influenced him.

Lapland Art

 

The natural surroundings of Lapland heavily affected Reidar’s artwork. The culture and stories are often represented in his work, as well as animals, such as reindeer, that are native to Lapland. Even though Reidar is known for his colourful pieces it was the ones that showed the bleakness of the Lapland winter that spoke to me the most.

For a link to Reidar Särestöniemi’s artwork click HERE.

Lapland

Reindeer Hunting

Recently I have been out hunting for reindeer, hoping for the rare chance of getting the perfect shot with my camera but it has been harder than I first thought. One day you will see a field with a hundred reindeer, the next they will be gone without a trace. Finding reindeer in the woods is near impossible, the dense trees make it hard to see them and they hear you before it’s possible to get close enough.

I found a large herd and at first took my photographs from the car. Surprisingly, reindeer won’t move when they see a car but as soon as you get out they are off. After a moment I slowly got out and stood between trees, even though many of the animals had already spotted me and begun to move away.

As I stood on the outskirts of the field, trying not to move, I thought about what I was doing. The reindeer are essentially livestock and I couldn’t imagine myself chasing cows or sheep around a field but there is something different about these animals that I will always admire. This week I will be posting a new reindeer photograph everyday.

Reindeer Hunting

Made From Wood

Made From Wood

Pielpajarvi Wilderness Church

A church is always a fine example of beautiful architecture and fine craftsmanship. They are often built many years ago and stand the test of time. This church in Inari dates back to 1646.

You can read more about Pielpajarvi Wilderness Church in my  post 5 Things to do in Finnish Lapland in Summer and this photograph is in response to the challenge Made From Wood.