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Helsinki Redux

There used to be a disclaimer in the front of Lonely Planet books that read:
Things change - prices go up, schedules change, good places go bad and bad places go bankrupt - nothing stays the same.
On returning to Helsinki after researching the guidebook just six months earlier, I could see just how true that was. Things move pretty fast in the Finnish capital and there were closings and places that had fallen off in quality. It's maddening to see all your work change and imagine all those readers letters that will come pouring in telling you how wrong you got it.

But new places have opened. Of course, they also drove me equally insane on one level, but also made me feel like people would be able to discover new things of their own in the city, rather than slavishly following the guidebook.

The first new discovery was Salakauppa (secret shop) just near the post office and Kiasma. It's a tiny little shop that appeared in the summer of 2008 in a nook that had previously been a coffee kiosk. It stocks Finnish designed products of a slightly kooky bent like the winter essential beard-warmer or the little red riding hood-and-bag. Another shop that I would have loved to include was Seccoshop, which specialises in recycled designs like the ironic CD rack made from vinyl records or suprisingly fetching earrings made from mobile phone keys.

And these are just two of the more quirkier places that have popped up since research. And all this change hopefully means there's always a job for pavement-slogging hackpackers to find out what's new.

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