Helsinki is full of culture, whether or not there is a coronavirus pandemic. That is why Ritva Uro-Tuominen, who lives in the Hermanni city district, is happy to be able to easily reach the city centre and places such as the Musiikkitalo music venue.
“Musiikkitalo is one of my favourite places. I’m part of a friends group with seasonal passes to Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra concerts. Sometimes, I’ve even gone to several concerts in one week,” says Uro-Tuominen, who is retired.
However, it has been a while since the last concert. The coronavirus pandemic has cleared Uro-Tuominen’s schedule one week at a time. As the number of events has been cut down to a minimum, Uro-Tuominen is more grateful than ever to live in the city.
“I just got back from Teurastamo, and there was a television show being filmed on Työpajankatu street. I love the fact that the city is so lively these days and that I can often find all sorts of events close to my home.”
Uro-Tuominen has lived in Helsinki for almost 60 years. In that time, the city has changed drastically, and definitely for the better in Uro-Tuominen’s opinion.
“The current atmosphere is wonderfully liberated and the cultural offering is a lot more diverse than it was a few decades ago,” she says.
The pull of music
In addition to the events at Musikkitalo, Uro-Tuominen is looking forward to the return of other concerts and nightclub activity. Once the situation calms down, she will head to the Juttutupa restaurant in the Hakaniemi district to listen to the country band that plays there on Mondays, and also attend events at the Back to the Sixties club.
“Most events and nightclubs are taking a break, and I’m sitting out the ones that are open. Because of my age, I can’t take the risk of going to concerts at venues where social distancing is impossible,” the 77-year-old explains.
Uro-Tuominen says she only discovered nightclubs and popular music concerts in recent years.
“Some of them have been recommended to me by friends, others I have found through the culture pages of the newspaper. It’s fun to enjoy music with friends, but I often go out alone as well if none of my friends happen to be interested. I sometimes feel sorry that my late husband didn’t get to enjoy clubs and concerts: we didn’t even know some of these events existed at the time.”
In addition to concerts and the theatre, Uro-Tuominen likes to visit art exhibitions.
“My last visit was to Kunsthalle and next I’m planning to visit the current exhibition at the Didrichsen art museum with a couple I’m friends with.”
Quick connections in every direction
According to Uro-Tuominen, the location of her home makes it significantly easier to attend cultural events as well as visit cafés and restaurants.
“What I really like about my current home is the fact that I can get everywhere quickly by taking public transport or walking. If I lived in a more remote location, I’d feel like I’d be missing out on all the action.”
The central location also makes it easier to meet up with friends.
“The Teurastamo area has several nice bars and there are many great restaurants nearby. My apartment is a regular two-room apartment, but it doesn’t need to be any bigger when I can meet my friends so easily outside the home.”
Uro-Tuominen also praises Hakaniemi Market Hall.
“The new market hall is absolutely wonderful. I used to work as a stewardess and one of my favorite things to do was visit local food markets. Hakaniemi Market Hall holds up in comparison to the halls in major European cities.”