I’d already walked a gruelling twenty seven kilometres around the city of Helsinki before I even arrived at Hiekkaranta beach, all I really wanted to do was find a comfortable seat to sit on and laze the rest of the afternoon away catching the last of the rays of sunshine as the evening crept in. I had no beach accessories, towels, swimwear, sun lotion (yes sometimes it’s hot in Finland sometimes so you need it). To be honest it wasn’t on my days itinerary to even go to the beach, but with it being such a glorious day somebody had suggested it and I thought why not. Imagine my disdain when I get there only to discover that there are no seats, or benches, not even a wooden shack that hire’s out beach chairs, eeurgth. I shifted some acorns and sat on the spongy grass instead, just on the fringe of where the sand (yep there’s sand) meets the woodland.
As beaches go it’s not bad considering it’s only a fifteen minute walk from the city centre, it’s not huge but there’s enough room for everybody and it’s a good spot for sunset watching, albeit disrupted slightly by the unsightly electricity pylon that’s been plonked onto a small island obstructing the view.
I sat and watched a group of maybe twenty people capering around with a frisbee trying to figure out the rules of the game they were playing but could make no sense of it. To my left a couple (who were much more prepared than I was) layed down their blanket and opened a picnic basket taking out wine lasses and snacks, I wasn’t jealous at all, honest! Meanwhile to my right a long haired hipster looking guy was doing pull ups on a climbing frame, he must have been a bit shy as when he seen me glance over he started swinging on it instead like an embarrassed baboon.
Despite it being summer it did start to get chilly as the sun reached the horizon so I made my way toward Sibeliuksenpuisto out of the wind. Sibeliuksenpuisto (Sibelius Park) has a great walk to do at dusk, you get a good view of the sunset, there’s a great insouciant vibe in the air and since you’ll be in the area you should go check out the the Sibelius monument, dedicated to the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius (1865–1957). You can’t miss it, it’s a huge twenty four ton hulking silver sculpture with an eerie looking head moulded next to it.