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Around Helsinki

1.1.2013 at 07:32

Food: Shanghai, China

Xiaolongbao (小笼包), steamed dumplings filled with pork and stock, are a classic in the Shanghai street kitchen. There is a particular way of eating these boiling hot buns correctly. First, you make a hole in the dough to let the hot steam out. Next, you drink the stock inside and finally you dip the dumpling in vinegar and eat it. The locals like to eat their xiaolongbao in the Fu Chun restaurant in Changning District.


Fashion, Paris, France

In 1910, Coco Chanel opened a hat shop at 31 Rue Cambon in Paris. This was the beginning of one of the most legendary stories in fashion history and the same address still houses a Chanel store. The haute couture department is on the first floor of the building, the second floor used to be Coco's official residence and the third floor is now used by the head designer of the label, Karl Lagerfeld. All Chanel stores around the world have been decorated to reflect the spirit of the Paris shop.


Skiing holiday: Finnish Lapland

Taking a day off the slopes? If so, you can also enjoy Lapland on snowshoes. Guided tours are available in Ylläs and Levi, while Rytisuo in Ruka is an area particularly suitable for snowshoeing. If you choose to go to Hetta in Enontekiö, don't miss the chance to climb the Jyppyrä lookout for the scenery. You can rent snowshoes at all the major skiing centres in Finnish Lapland.


Culture: The Canary Islands, Spain 

A rare whistled language called el silbo, or Silbo Gomero, is used on La Gomera island. The language has separate whistles for consonants and vowels, and they can be combined to form about 4,000 words. On the mountains, a whistle can easily be heard across a distance of three kilometres, which made this the quickest way of conveying messages across the deep ravines that cut up the island. As mobile phones became more popular, the whistled language almost disappeared, but it is now a mandatory subject in all La Gomera primary schools where whistling is taught for half an hour every week until the age of 14.

Sports: Barcelona, Spain 

Camp Nou is the home ground of football team FC Barcelona. Built in 1957, the stadium is the largest in Europe and seats more than 100,000 spectators. Guided tours take you to see the field itself, as well as the VIP areas, dressing rooms and the adjacent chapel. Visit the stadium museum to admire the team's old jerseys and trophies. Visca el Barça i visca Catalunya – long live Barça and Catalonia!


Geography: the Alps, Europe

There are 82 peaks in the Alps that are more than 4,000 metres high and these have drawn climbers for centuries. The first two people to reach the peak of Mont Blanc – the highest in the Alps – were Jacque Balmat and Michel Paccard in 1786. The remaining peaks were climbed in the 'golden years of alpinism' between 1854 and 1865. The first man to have climbed them all was Karl Blodig in the early 20th century. While it took Blodig 20 years to complete his task, the Slovenian Miha Valič claimed the speed record, climbing all 82 peaks in one winter in 2006.


Text: Sari Peltonen
Photos: Wikimedia