Friday, February 12, 2016

Winter Wonderland

After a dreary December with no snow and brightened only by the Christmas season, the temperature plunged in January and we had several snowstorms.  Most of January was beautiful with crisp temperatures from -25 c. (-13 f.) to -5 c. (+20 f.).  We actually preferred the colder weather because it kept the snow fresh and dry.  It was beautiful - truly a winter wonderland as reflected in the pictures below.
We live in an older residential area.  Nearby is embassy hill, with many old homes.  This is one of Anne's favorites.  We enjoy walking through this area.
Also nearby is Kaivopuisto, a lovely park.
In the winter time it is a favorite for outdoor activities such as
cross-country skiing and sledding.

The children dress in their snowsuits everyday.  Outdoor walks are part of the pre-school curriculum even in the coldest of weather!  These children are going for a walk through Kaivopuisto.
On a cold morning everything is fresh and clean.  This is the yatch harbor near our apartment.  In the summer it will be full of sailboats and motorboats.  It is pleasant to walk along the harbor in all seasons, but it is especially beautiful in the winter with fresh snow.

When the weather is clear we enjoy many beautiful sunrises (at 9:30 am) and sunsets (at 3:30 pm).  The days are short and there is a real temptation to hibernate!!
The countryside also affords some beautiful scenery.  This picture was taken at the home of one of the couples with whom we serve at the Temple.  It is about a half hour from downtown Helsinki.
These kicksleds are still common outside of the major city areas.  You frequently see older
women on the street with a grocery bag or grandchild on the seat.  We wanted to bring one
home, but would have to fix it with wheels for our warm California weather!  On my mission
forty-seven years ago, we called them mumu (grandmother) sleds.
This is the National Museum.  It is one of the neatest buildings in Helsinki.  After a snowstorm
the snow is piled quickly in squares and parks.

Another Helsinki landmark, the Swedish theater at the head of Mannerheimentie, the main artery serving the downtown area.  Note the snow piled on the side of the road.
Snow removal is a continuous process in the winter time.  Immediately after a storm the roads and walks are cleared with the snow being piled to the side.  For the next several days the piles of snow are loaded into dump trucks and hauled away.  It is a 24/7 process.
Although the roads are plowed in most places the snow is also sanded and packed down providing a pretty efficient and safe "winter pavement!"
We followed one of the trucks and found where they were taking the snow.  The tugboat kept its engines running to keep the water moving and ice free.  After the snow was dumped the back hoe would be used to push it out away from the edge to keep it from piling up.  This was a continuous process with trucks pulling in, dumping and leaving in less than a minute.  It was pretty interesting to watch.

1 comment:

  1. Such a beautiful place to serve a mission. Thanks for posting.