One thing is for sure: when visiting or moving to a new city in a foreign country, we all want to make the most of our stay. So, you pore over city handbooks, travel guides, and anything else you can get your hands on for a glimpse of your new city/country. However, while many travel guides and handbooks promise you a good time during your stay, most of them are either too touristy for my taste or simply lacking that interesting factor that keeps me glued.
But hey, that’s just me.
Some travel books are either too exhausting to read or simply don’t excite your senses. The obvious fact being that these traditional travel handbooks are a battle of the must-dos and must-sees, and they can leave you disappointed. Some of them lack the most important thing — the insight of a passionate local who urges you to check out all the cool, inexpensive spots in town like museums, art places, market squares, festivals and other fun activities in hopes of their beautiful city taking your breath away and leaving you with priceless memories and the experience of a lifetime. In a city that is constantly changing and reinventing itself, how can one encapsulate its beauty in a modest but edgy way in just a single book?
Of course, there are some unconventional guidebooks out there — edgy, straight to the point, and contemporary — but none compare to the brilliance, humour, and informative fun of Marc Aulén’s The Helsinki Book.
What is The Helsinki Book?
CAUTION: The Helsinki Book is not your traditional “must-do, must-see, must-try and must-eat” guidebook.
Nope! It’s even better.
Marc Aulen’s The Helsinki Book is a fun, easy-to-read introduction to Finland’s capital city, with beautiful photos captured by the camera lens of photographer Jaeseong Park. Throughout the year and a half project, over 10,000 photos were taken in and around Helsinki, and those right for the book were chosen to be included.
The book also features personalised autographs and notes from some of Finland’s familiar names like Sunrise Avenue’s songwriter Sam Huber, Tove Jansson and more. I must say this book is a real beauty that will put a smile on your face.
Why The Helsinki Book?
Why not? This book doesn’t bore you with an overload of familiar tourist pictures, leaving you wondering if you conquered the city or not. It vibrantly enriches you with both that familiarity and an urge to explore, as it adds to the information you might already have on Finland or Helsinki.
Funny and descriptive, it has done a wonderful job of marketing Helsinki and Finland at large.
The Helsinki Book tells you nothing but the truth in an entertaining way. It amicably prepares you for peculiarities like why Finns might go to the sauna naked with strangers and yet some have a hard time with small talk.
The book clearly outlines some of Finland’s brilliant achievements in a fun and accurate manner. Naturally, it hasn’t left out weather tips, what to expect in summer and winter, and examples of Finnish humour.
Finland is a vast country filled with amazing lakes, rivers, sights, sounds and beautiful spots, which can make it difficult to choose where to visit. If you pick Helsinki, you’ll need a friendly guiding hand to help you navigate its bustling streets and quirky neighbourhoods.
What’s more, you’ll find famous places to go for drinks in Helsinki, the best restaurants to eat at, and beloved cafés where Finns enjoy their favourite beverage, coffee. One of my favourite places for coffee is Café Regatta, a cosy cafe by the sea. If you’d like to explore town while enjoying a drink or two, you could ride around in the finest pub-tram, the Spårakoff. Don’t forget to check out some of the important Helsinki happenings like SLUSH, music festivals, concerts and the myriad of summer activities that make the city the best place to be.
As a restaurant owner, Marc knows food. Happily, he’s willing to share his wisdom, giving us his top picks for interesting places to grab a bite. And to top it off, he adds a couple of his own recipes at the end.
Who is Marc Aulén?
Marc Aulén is a storyteller and owner of Qulma, a wonderful restaurant in the Kruununhaka area. When you stop by Qulma, you can’t help but leave with a full tummy and a content smile. Marc loves music almost as much as he loves food, and he sings in a classic rock cover band called Seven Mugs. The Helsinki Book is not Marc’s only book. His first book is a collection of his best soup recipes called Sopat! (Soups), which sold over 5,000 copies.
Who should get the book?
Whether you are a newcomer or an adventure-seeking local like me, this book offers you a piece of Helsinki. In my opinion, this will forever be the perfect gift. Better yet, just visit Marc at Qulma, enjoy a meal, have a chat and get a signed copy of The Helsinki Book.
An online version of The Helsinki Book is upcoming.