Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A difficult choice in Helsinki.

We were all looking forward to Helsinki as that is where our lovely captain hailed from and he was very proud of it.  #1Helsinki City Tour, #2Porvoo and Helsinki Highlights, #3Helsinki by boat, #4Nordic walking and #5Helsinki Highlights and Ice Bar were all on offer (I'll definitely do this next time) but I remembered as a young girl being captivated by Sibelius's Valse Triste and as it was his 150th Anniversary I chose him.  We would visit his home Ainola, see the famous monument dedicated to him and attend a private concert of his music played by talented students.
We drove out of Helsinki into the countryside.  He yearned for quiet surroundings where he could concentrate on music in peace - away from the diversions of the city.  He found a suitable spot overlooking a lake and many artistic friends also settled there.  However we heard he was not averse to occasionally visiting the diversions of the city.  When he was working the whole household would be plunged into silence.  He and his wife had five daughters and when he wasn't working they would
steam in the sauna,  rush into the lake, beat themselves dry with leafy branches and repeat the exercise many times.
Walking through the woods to visit the house,  one could understand how this milieu attracted so many writers and painters.  Ainola was named after his wife.  He built it in 1904
For almost 60 years their two faithful servants lived at Ainola.  Sibelius died in 1957and his wife lived on in the house till her death in 1969

The house is maintained in exactly the same state but we were not allowed to take photographs

 The graves of the husband and wife
 A sort of wash house cum bathroom cum sauna

 Then we were driven to a nearby concert venue where two young musicians on piano and violin gave a spirited concert lasting about half and hour.  They were excellent.

On again to Sibelius Park and after a short stroll came upon the unique Sibelius  Monument.

It was constructed with 600 steel pipes.  What do you think inspired it?

 Here he is again.
 Just to illustrate the joy of a picture window in one's cabin
Next stop St Petersburg


Ms Scarlet said...

The Sibelius Monument... it looks like a cathedral organ??
I've never fancied a sauna... or being beaten dry with leafy branches :-)

kenju said...

WOW. What wonderful trip. I enjoy traveling through you vicariously!!

Pat said...

Scarlet; I thought waterfalls but yours is more fitting. I'd like to try the whole caboosh once. With no onlookers:) Think how one's skin would glow.

Judy: my difficulty is remembering. I should take notes but I get caught up in the moment and have to make myself shoot with the camera.

angryparsnip said...

I also though the Monument looked like the pipes of an organ.
The one time I tried a sauna it gave me a headache.
I am enjoying reading about your cruise. sounds like you had a lovely time.

cheers, parsnip

Pat said...

Parsnip: it was great but seems a long time ago what with all the kitchen stuff and the root infested drains. I'm just waiting for the kitchen curtains and I can relax for a while.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

I don't think I realized Sibelius was so contemporary....I thought the Monument looked like a Pipe Organ, too.....Very Beautiful. And I loved the Head, as well. I think I would have made the same choice being there in Helsinki. And I have always enjoyed a Sauna, but never been beaten by anything or
What a glorious trip Pat.....And such a gorgeous view through your cabin window.

Pat said...

Naomi: I have just remembered we were given a CD - The Flowers after the concert and I am playing it just now for the first time. He was so sensitive to sound he said the radiator made a sound like ? B minor?
Can't remember the exact description but you see what I mean.

Exile on Pain Street said...

I love Sibelius and would have done the exact same thing. Well chosen. I had no idea he lived until 1957! I thought he died in the late 1700's. Shows you who you're dealing with here.

Can't wait to hear about St. Pete. Don't forget!

Granny Annie said...

You are creating memories for yourself and sharing them in such a delightful way with us. Thank you!

neena maiya (aka guyana gyal) said...

My kind of place to write!! I sometimes day-dream of a home surrounded by trees, a garden.

I thought of organ pipes too, but I think water-fall is just as

I can't wait to see St. Petersburg, I know a gal from there, an artist living in Guyana.

Nea said...

Thank you, Pat, I'm now going to listen to Sibelius, and Helsinki is on my list of places to visit.

Anonymous said...

Now I thought the Sibelius Monument looked like a mountain range, perhaps it's time to get my eyes retested :D

LL Cool Joe said...

Beautiful photos and more wonderful memories. It's quite a discipline to take photos all the time isn't it, but I'm always pleased I made the effort, and I'm glad you do too!

Pat said...

exile: all in good time young man. I have to gear myself up to get the wretched photos to find their way from their hiding place to the post.

Granny Annie: bless you. I hope you are getting stronger.

Neena: how interesting to know a Russsian. I have never really met one.

Nea: I don't feel I know anything really about Helsinki itself. Must return.

Helen: everybody sees it in their way. Mountains are very relevant to his music.

Joey: I should be more careful about labelling them. I'm waiting for someone to point out that I am in the wrong country:) However it is far better than using a cine camera. I did that in Canada and felt I was really missing out on the holiday.