Sun 03/15/09 (Day 43) - Cafe Ekberg

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March 15th 2009
Published: April 2nd 2009
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Cafe EkbergCafe EkbergCafe Ekberg

This isn't the original building, but it's where the Ekberg magic happens nowadays. And thanks to the German couple that didn't speak English, but communicated well enough with gestures to help me get this picture.
Surprisingly, I awoke to minimal hangover symptoms, ready for another day of exploring Helsinki. The plan of attack for today was a good breakfast and then as many museums as I could handle. Now, if one wants a great breakfast in Helsinki the obvious choice is Cafe Ekberg. I believe this is Helsinki's oldest cafe, possibly the oldest in all of Finland. Starting out as a bakery, opened by F. E. Ekberg in 1852, it survived through the years as a coffee shop, a spirits factory, an alcohol shop, a tabacconist and a traditional cafe. The brunch buffet is great and the coffee is strong.

Satiated, I pulled out my overtly touristy map on which I'd highlighted some museums that piqued my interest and aimed myself at the nearest of the bunch. This happened to be the Finnish Architecure Museum. It's the second oldest museum of its kind, established in 1956 (I think Moscow beat them to the punch). The building is apparently of the neo-classical style (sorry I'm not more architecturally-inclined), designed by architect Magnus Schjerfbeck and was completed in 1899. It's original occupent was the University of Helsinki; the museum took over in the '80s. I saw two

Not quite a voipulla ;)
major exhibits: The first, architectural structures as filmed by Heinz Emigholz, was a bit too abstract for my understanding. It consisted of many screens with slideshows of "architecture" in a dark room; interesting, but beyond my comprehension. The second was about a little known and seemingly under-appreciated architect named Ferdinand Salokangas who lead the rebuilding of Lapland in the postwar years. Very interesting.

Essentially next door to the architecture museum is the Finnish Design Museum, a tribute to Finnish Industrial Design. Exhibits included a sampling of furniture that never quite made it to production, many that were available to test yourself. Other exhibits were household appliances, phones, radios, clothing, etc. Also there was a traveling exhibit of headware, everything from the crazy hats you see at the Kentucky Derby to safety helmets. For an engineer, this museum helped bridge the gap between form and function.

Having spent quite a bit of time at the design museum, I was running out of time and thus decided to skip some art museums in favor of the National Museum of Finland. You definitely need more time than I had to fully appreciate this museum as it covers the history of Finland
Finnish Architecture MuseumFinnish Architecture MuseumFinnish Architecture Museum

No pictures allowed inside, sorry.
from the Stone Age to the present. Perhaps I'll venture back there and get a better update.

Well, it's time to get back in the Prius and head for Tampere. I think some take-away is in order for dinner. All in all it was a good weekend; Helsinki is a great town!

Additional photos below
Photos: 6, Displayed: 6


Finnish Design MuseumFinnish Design Museum
Finnish Design Museum

Again, no pictures allowed inside, sorry.
National Museum of FinlandNational Museum of Finland
National Museum of Finland

And again... No pictures allowed inside.
Bullet HolesBullet Holes
Bullet Holes

This wasn't all the way inside so I figured it was ok... Bullet holes, remnants from the civil war in 1918.

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