Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Good Morning, Helsinki!

Wonderful neo-classical (I think) architecture near the harbour of Helsinki, Finland, early in the morning.

As I wrote a few weeks back I flew to Europe on the day of our marriage. Long ago I had opted for a 10 hour layover in Helsinki in order to get to see the city. Had I known then how stressful the day of my departure would be I would probably have chosen to go straight home. However, due to a stroke of good luck and amazing kindness on the part of Nitoli's (and formerly my) colleague Sharon at the embassy I got upgraded to Business Class. Her husband works for Finnair so they pulled some strings. I have never flown on anything but Economy Class before, so it was a cool experience not to mention a very needed one. I had a good night's sleep in my seat which reclined all the way back, so I could lie almost completely horizontal and fully stretched. It was great and I woke up shortly before arrival in Helsinki feeling pretty well rested. As we landed I saw a beautiful sunrise over the skerries of Helsinki and the clouds of mist rising from lakes and creeks in the surrounding landscape. Then I took the first bus into Helsinki, finding that I still pretty much had the city to myself.

Finnish girl dolls wearing the national costume, in the window of a still closed souvenir shop.

One of Helsinki's many atmospheric boulevards catching the first glimpses of the sun. The many wires above are for Helsinki's well functioning tram system.

I like this scene of a lone woman going off to work just as the sun rises from behind buildings and trees. Up ahead a cleaning car is washing the streets: A normal occurrence in Europe but a rather wondrous sight, when coming from India where the streets are generally considered a suitable waste dump.

Efforts are made to keep Helsinki clean. And people seem to respond to the message of such signs here in Finland. In India they ignore such signs and keep throwing their rubbish anywhere they like.

Another site, which might look plain to the Western observer. But again, coming straight from the chaos and madness of India this hyper modern construction site with huge element buildings housing workers seems almost like a futuristic vision. In India even very large constructions are still made with primitive bamboo scaffolding, big sticks for support and with construction workers and their entire families living in tents on the construction site, so they can quickly go to sleep in the few hours they don't work on the construction every day.

Interesting art on the central esplanade of town.

Nearby café still waiting to be opened up for business.

Boy riding a big water-squirting fish in what is apparently one of a series of famous statues.

Early bird on the harbour.

Another early bird selling fresh vegetables on the big market square near the harbour.

3 comments:

TBSdesigner said...

Hi there. I have seen a photo on the Wikipedia website of Tranquebar in Tamil Nadu and it says the copyright belongs to Esben Agersnap. Is that you? I work for the Trinitarian Bible Society and would like to use this photo on our free magazine as we have an article on Tamil Nadu in it. Would you be willing to grant us permission? By the way I have enjoyed looking at your blog. You have some lovely pictures. I will watch your blog for a reply. Hope you don't mind me asking like this but I didn't know how else to get hold of you. Many thanks. Peter

Esben said...

Hej Peter

Yes, it is my picture you found on Wikipedia. You are free to use the picture, which I think also follows from the license it is released under, but even if it doesn't, you hereby have permission. But if you like it would be nice if you credited me with the photo (doesn't have to be in big type or anything, as long as my name appears under the picture :)

TBSdesigner said...

Hi again.

Very many thanks for this. We will gladly include your name along with the picture.

With kind regards,

Peter