I have lived in my current home in Etu-Töölö for about four and a half years. Before that, I lived in Kamppi for 12 years, where I moved from my home town of Turku. I am probably a fairly typical non-native resident of Helsinki, who has not wanted to leave the inner city after settling there.
Helsinki has become my home, and I'm especially fond of Töölö. The area oozes history, and one of my hobbies is finding memorial plaques on the walls of buildings, indicating the prominent people who lived there. I don't think I've managed to spot all of the plaques in the area yet, despite my best efforts.
I like the fact that while Töölö is a peaceful, even slightly sleepy area, it is still only a short walk from everything, from the services in the city centre to cultural activities or sports events, for example. When I lived in Turku, I was used to travelling everywhere by car. Now, there's no need for a car at all. I can walk or take public transport wherever I want to go. On the other hand, I ride my motorcycle as often as possible from spring to autumn, but that's more of a hobby than a need. I find motorcycling fun and relaxing.
For me, renting is a choice. I'm sure I would be eligible for some kind of mortgage, but I’m quite risk averse and I don't think I'd be able to sleep peacefully under a mountain of debt. Besides, if I wanted to own my apartment, I'm not sure I'd be able to live in my current location as apartment prices in my area are pretty steep. However, renting means I am able to live in Töölö.
I want to feel comfortable in my home at all times. This area makes that possible. I’m careful about my money. I guess I'm a fairly frugal person. However, I don't think you need to own everything, and housing is one of those things. I feel like my home should primarily be a home, not an investment. The ease of living is another good thing about renting. I don't have to worry about things such as renovation costs or property maintenance.
In Töölö, I'm fascinated not only by the peace and quiet and the central location, but also by the very uniform building stock of the area. Most of the robust stone buildings are from the 1920s, and I could walk around all day admiring them. Sometimes, on a warm summer evening, I take my camping chair and go to the rock formations of Temppeliaukio to read a book and look at the architecture. The view takes me back decades, and I can imagine the most famous residents of the area, such as author Mika Waltari and President K.J. Ståhlberg, meeting near Waltari's home on Tunturikatu.
I also like to take walks in the nearby area, sometimes even going for a snail-paced run, to the shores of Hietaniemi, the Rowing Stadium or Kesäranta. There's something magical about landscapes that have remained unchanged for decades.
My home looks like me. I'm pretty proud of how much of my personality I've been able to include in the decor. I like to read books, and the tall rooms allow for a large bookcase. I'd like to collect a set of pennants to be placed on top of the bookshelf, but so far I only have one: a standard made for me by my colleagues for my 50th birthday.
If you call me a couch potato, I won't be offended, because it's true. On my sofa, I like to read, watch TV and often take a brief nap after doing morning radio.
My kitchen is quite large and I like to spend time there as well. I enjoy cooking and often get inspired to try something new. Sometimes I succeed with my cooking, and sometimes I don't. Unfortunately, I'm a bit lazy when it comes to making a note of what works and what doesn't, which sometimes makes it difficult to remember the best recipes I've tried.
My favorite piece of furniture is a massive tube radio from 1959, which also includes a vinyl player. I originally bought this dysfunctional radio as a place to hide my Wi-Fi router and cables, and sure enough, the radio does a good job making sure they are out of sight. However, I've dreamed of making it operational. I don't know a thing about electronics, but those who do have told me that it should be quite easy to repair. I'm not sure how easy it'll be to find spare parts for a device that’s over 60 years old, though. But some day, I'm going to make it play music again.
Saturday mornings are important to me. I like to get up early, buy a fresh loaf of bread from the bakery in my building, and then focus on reading the newspapers and drinking coffee. Sometimes, I may take a look at the view of Temppeliaukio from my window.
I never get tired of the harmonious view.
Harri's favourite places in Töölö
- The old streets of Töölö (and spotting memorial plaques)
- The rock formations of Temppeliaukio
- The shores of Hietaniemi
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