My neighbourhood

Nina values the nature, peace and quiet in Rastila: “I don’t think there’s anything more that I want here”

Flight attendant Nina Ruuttu has always lived in Rastila or Vuosaari, and does not want to be anywhere else. Rastila is a green, multicultural and youthful residential area.

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Nina Ruuttu, 52, lives in Rastila with her husband. In fact, she used to live in the very same apartment with her parents from the age of 10 to the age of 20. Before that, as a child, Ruuttu lived in old Vuosaari. As a young adult, her first apartment on her own was a 60-square-metre two-room rental apartment in an apartment building in Meri-Rastila.

“Maybe I've stayed in Rastila because of the peace and quiet. I also like my childhood home a lot. I have never even looked for a home elsewhere in Helsinki.”

Vuosaari is divided into nine regions, and Rastila is one of them.

“Rastila comprises the detached house area, the beach, the camping area and the Rastila cliffs with the apartment building area. Rastila is a very quiet area to live in. In the daytime, the only people you see out and about in the streets are walking their dogs.

Nina Ruuttu is the chair of the Vuosaari Society, which owns the over 160-year-old Sjökulla croft, the old home of the Sjöblom fishing family. The red wooden house represents the oldest remaining building stock in Vuosaari. In her spare time, Ruuttu often restores the croft, tends to its garden and runs a pop-up café on site.

If she were to describe Rastila as a residential area, or Vuosaari with a couple of adjectives, she would say green, multicultural and youthful.

“There are a lot of people from different cultures as well as children and young people in Rastila.”

Wonderful to be so close to the sea

To be close to the sea is “an absolute must”.

“For most people in Vuosaari, it is important to be close to the sea. I often go for a walk by the sea, and sometimes I go and sit down on the cliffs. The seaside is fun in all weather conditions, and in winter, you can even walk on the sea ice. I often go to Vartiokylänlahti and Kallahti.”

The recreational parks of Uutela and Kallahdenniemi in Vuosaari are Nina’s favourite places. One wonderful place is Dronningen (Queen), the southernmost tip of Kallvik headland.

“At Dronningen, there are old wooden houses, a sandy beach and tall pine trees typical of the area.”

“I loved Rastila even as a kid. There were a lot of children and we all played together. This was a great place to spend your childhood.”

Rastila and Vuosaari are well-known for their natural sites.

“I guess everyone in Vuosaari appreciates the local nature. During the COVID-19 pandemic, with all the restrictions in place, people from all over Helsinki came here to enjoy the nature. In Uutela, you actually had to walk in line at that time.”

Even though she appreciates the sea and nature, Ruuttu also likes the Columbus shopping centre.

“Columbus has this urban buzz and you get to see all kinds of people there. The shopping centre is convenient for me, as it is only a 15-minute walk away from my home. I do grocery shopping there, and go to the post office, for example.”

Ruuttu says that Vuosaari can usually offer all the services she needs. Sometimes she takes the metro to Itäkeskus shopping centre to visit specialty shops.

By car to work, by metro to the city

Nina Ruuttu is a Finnair flight attendant, but due to the pandemic, she has not worked for Finnair for more than two years. But she is due to go back in June 2022.

The commute to the airport by car takes approximately 20 minutes.

“Cross traffic in the capital region does not work that well, which is why it would take me more than an hour to get to Helsinki Airport by public transport. However, when you are headed to downtown Helsinki, the metro is a quick option.”

When there has been no work as a flight attendant, Ruuttu has worked as a collector of products for a webstore. That workplace is located in Herttoniemi, a quick journey by metro.

Nina’s best tips

- Restaurant Furu at Hotel Rantapuisto
- Dronningen, the southern tip of Kallvik headland
- Shopping centre Columbus
- Sjökulla croft
- Cultural Centre Vuosaari House

Fish treats, concerts and culture

One of Ruuttu's favourite places in Vuosaari is the Cultural Centre Vuosaari House. She often goes to concerts there and frequents the Pokkari Café and Bar with friends. She also does woodwork at Vuosaari House in the morning carpentry group organised by the Adult Education Centre.

“You can do whatever woodwork you like. The Adult Education Centre provides the tools, but you have to get the wood yourself. For example, I have made Christmas decorations from plywood with a fret saw.”

Restaurant Furu at Hotel Rantapuisto is another favourite of hers.

“I just love it. It's not really a fine dining restaurant, but it's a little fancier than most places. On the weekends, they serve brunch. If you like fish, you should try their roach burger – it is the best in the world.”

In the summer, Nina Ruuttu visits the famous Café Kampela summer restaurant at Aurinkolahti beach and orders salmon soup and pancakes. There aren’t many restaurants left in Vuosaari from her childhood, but Kampela did exist already back then. However, it was located at Uutela beach and the menu was not the same.

A close-knit community

Nina Ruuttu has many decades of experience of Rastila as a residential area.

“I loved Rastila even as a kid. There were a lot of children and we all played together. This was a great place to spend your childhood.”

Even today, you can see children playing together outside. For the first time last summer, there was a bouncy castle-like water amusement park at Rastila beach.

“Last summer was amazing in terms of weather, and a lot of people visited the water amusement park and the beach. The small beach was so full of sunbathers that you couldn't even see the sand from under people.”

Many of Ruuttu’s childhood friends have moved back to their childhood neighbourhoods.

“I spend more time with people from Vuosaari than other people. I've had good friends here since my school days.”

She thinks she will spend the rest of her life in Rastila.

“I don’t think there’s anything more that I want in Rastila and Vuosaari.” The area is fine just the way it is.”

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