Lotte Jeff’s heads for some northern exposure and bathes in hours of natural day light.
There’s a time and a place for total darkness (back rooms of gay clubs, bedrooms on a bad hair day, etc), but for the seasonally-immune-deficient among us there’s nothing quite like some glaring bright sunlight to get us looking and feeling our best. And where, oh where can we guarantee such long happy hours of UV goodness, other than an unhealthy stint on a sun bed, I hear you cry? Helsinki of course, where from May to August there’s a hell of a lot of light.
After the long, dark winter months where the sun only shines for a few hours – if at all – each day, and local Nordic folk drown their sorrows… or themselves, it’s no wonder the city goes wild come summer.
From August 20 to September 5, the Helsinki Festival welcomes some of the world’s best in music, art and theatre to the city. A mood of cool, cultural celebration permeates Helsinki, and its bars, clubs and restaurants are buzzing. www.helsinginjuhlaviikot.fi
There’s no better time to roll in and out of gay bars – and when the days are as long as this, there’s no excuse to call it a night… ever! Start off with a fiercely funny drag act at Jenny Woo’s (www.jennywoo.fi). Head to techno-fabulous DTM – a café/bar/club where you can check your Gaydar on the establishment’s iMacs before hitting the dance floor. Then grab a bite to eat at Lost and Found (www.lostandfound.fi), a quirky, long-standing Helsinki gay bar and restaurant.
Lost & Found is a privately owned Bar/ Nightclub, that started in the year 1996 that welcomes customers of every sexual direction. Their slogan in the early years was “Hetero- friendly Homobar”. During the years this has changed along with the customers to a “Homo-friendly Hetero-bar. Nowadays the slogan has become “Anything Goes”. The place, as every loved thing has gained its fair amount of nicknames: Lostis, Lode, Lostandfun, Luostari…….
The place to end your evening is Fenix, where you can arrive when it’s still light, get your freak all night and leave in, you guessed it, glaring sunshine!
Naturally, the best time to visit this vibrant city is for Pride in late June, early July, when Nordic hotties go al fresco.www.helsinkipride.fi
Or, even hotter, is the Midsummer ‘Juhannus’ celebration on the shortest night of the year when locals retreat to their summerhouses on the lake and burn brilliantly large bonfires. Quite a sight if you manage to bag an invite to one of these traditional parties!
But if partying the light-filled days and nights away with the gays, or having some pyro-fun on a lake isn’t your thing, then take a trip to Helsinki in any of the summer months, when you’ll be able to marvel at the beauty of this sea-town, with its unique geography of coastline, bays inlets and tiny islands. Take a pew by the harbour and watch the ferries gliding in and out of the port.
It’s the perfect way to relax, and bank up some natural summer light in preparation for long, dark cold months ahead.