Our day at Allas Sea Pool in Helsinki
What to do during a summer when you can't really afford to go anywhere? We chose to try out the local pool in the middle of the fish market in Helsinki.
After spending most of our savings on getting furniture for our new apartment, we realized we wouldn't be traveling anywhere soon. At the same time, we were excited to go swimming instead of sweating in a room full of strangers at the gym. After some research, we found this really nice place in the center of the city. It has 3 pools, one for adults (160cm), one for children and one with filtered sea water. It also has a sauna and a bistro area.
Seeing as the Finnish summer can be fickle, and temperatures hardly go above 19 degrees on good days, we chose a partly sunny day to go for the first time. We bought a month membership in advance, which was very reasonably priced (40 euros). What follows is a description of a typical day there. We usually visit about 3 times a week.
It seemed like a perfectly fine day. We had gone the day before to shop for some flip flops for me and swimming trunks for him. (I never really managed to get them on my feet before, they felt too uncomfortable between my toes. But faced with a lack of other choices - apparently they don't make the old kind of beach shoes anymore - I emerged out of my comfort zone like a regular beach goddess =D). We were all set and ready to go...
but when we arrived...
The weather got like this! Scary, I know. It started pouring huge, cold drops of rain shortly after... so we went into the cozy sauna to wait it out.
I was quite surprised I wasn't allowed in the sauna with my bathing suit on. Something about the chlorine making the sauna air nasty to breathe. But I do live in Finland now, so I have to start getting used to naked sauna. Which, by the way, I found out to be very liberating and not at all sexual. (I don't know about mixed gender saunas though, I was at a female one). I loved it.
About 20 minutes later, the rain had stopped, so after a quick shower we headed to the pool. It was really wonderful, we took a few laps around it, we had some fun (Nico gives me piggyback rides in the water =D) and 2 hours later, we emerged with wrinkly hands and feet. And with very small annoyances: children in the adult pool. Kind of hard to enjoy a relaxing swim when there are children screaming, kicking you and splashing you in the eye with chlorinated water :x. Oh, I forgot to say, in the beginning, I was afraid of using the pool ladder, so even though I was freezing, it took 3 tries and a very annoyed boyfriend to get me into the pool. #Camithings
Before heading home, we stopped by the fish market to get something to eat. Finnish street food is very tasty. (whenever we go to the pool, we pass through it and it's very hard to resist all the wonderful food aromas)
I usually always try something different, while the boyfriend loves porilainen (a sandwich that has both hot dog and hamburger qualities to it, most often it's a thick sausage patty, and it comes with pickles, sweet onion, ketchup and mustard) so much he orders it every single time. On other occasions, we got seafood platters with little potatoes, hot dogs, chicken burger, calamari rings (YUM). On one day, we saw a Colombian food truck and we had to try it out. We ended up getting Arepas with pulled chicken (me) and pulled pork (him). It was different, but good. As a drink, we got a lemonade with honey, which I didn't really care for.
In the end, it's always a beautiful day when we get to swim and enjoy the sun. During sunny days (and weekends of course) the swimming place gets uncomfortably full. Unsurprisingly, Finns are really greedy with the sunlight, =).
Disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post. I am sharing our experience at a local pool in Helsinki.