Sisu Day

I have registered for using the city bike. Still, I picked up my ancient (read: even unlocked nobody will steal it) bike from a friend where it had hibernated while I was gone. Being a Finn, even she wasn’t sure whether laughing or getting depressed would be the more appropriate reaction to the weather. You have guessed right: we had snow today…and it was cold.

Now, there seems to be an unwritten rule that starting on 1st of May you are not supposed to wear socks anymore (and I have seen a few Finnish women with bare ankles even today). My poor me was wearing two pairs of socks, long underwear and my thickest jacket and woollen scarf because one thing is clear: I cannot get sick or lose my voice. Guiding groups of entertainment-addicted cruisers by means of sign language for six hours ain’t going to work…

After several unsuccessful attempts to get into one of the small cafés dotted around in the area (overcrowded with people fleeing the cold), my daughter and I had an early lunch in a small and unassuming, but obviously very popular lunch restaurant on Korkeavuorenkatu. The food was great, however, the seating was very “design like” (simple stools, no backrest, so that people don’t stay longer than necessary, as it’s a small place and fills up very quickly).

“Unassuming”, “inconspicuous” seems to be the quality to look for when searching for a place where the “aboriginals” go for food. On my way to a meeting, I came across the following scenery in Punavuori and honestly, would you go there unless you absolutely have to (being a woman on your own in a foreign city)?

The only reason why I became curious was the fact that people were streaming in and out of this suspicious looking piece of real estate and it turns out, voilà, lunch restaurant. VPK stands for “Vapaapalokunta” = volunteer fire service, “Pompier” is the French word for it and there you go. On the website (only in Finnish) it says: “tunnelmallisessa 1950-luvun miljöössä antaa energiaa ja voimia arjen tulipalojen sammuttamiseen”, something like “in an atmospheric setting from the 1950s it gives energy and power to extinguish the fires of everyday life”. As this can be interpreted in both directions, I am going to try the food some day and see, what happens, inspiration squelched or troubles gone. Either way…unless the food is exceptional, I doubt it’s going to be on my list of regulars, as I am the more atmospheric type in a sense of “nice packaging is the deal”. But there is a second Pompier on South Esplanade, it looks more promising…



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