From the beginning of 2016, the #HelsinkiSecret Residence serves as a base for international social media influencers reporting from the city center of Helsinki. The #HelsinkiSecret Residence is an initiative by Visit Helsinki and represents a globally unique form of city marketing utilizing social media. The residence comprises a studio apartment in the city center that will be open for the entire year, accommodating up to 100 international social media influencers with expertise in tourism, start-ups, education and the creative industries, for example. The #HelsinkiSecret Residence is a great example of the distinct, multi-sectored and partner-based form of marketing that Visit Helsinki believes in.
On the second week of January, the #HelsinkiSecret Residence welcomed Spanish & Mexican Andrea & Sara. This blog post showcases their favorite memories of Helsinki.
Andrea & Sara: “Get down of the plane, breathe at minus 27 degrees, feel your nose getting frozen, how the freezing air gets through your throat. Painful, but exciting at the same time. Watch all the sparkling snow around, feel the crunchy snow below the shoes, falling down once and again on the slippery ice. Say hello with a hand shake to a Finn and say goodbye with a warm hug. Roll naked and make snow angels in the snow after sweating in the sauna at higher temperatures than 70 degrees.
Taste new flavours, feel how glögi warms your stomach while your feet are still frozen. Get lost in the streets and discover that the people, even though cold at the beginning, are nice and willing to help, even giving some company through the streets to your final destination. Go to the radio interview and get out not only with tickets for an ice hockey game and a lot of advice, but in addition gaining a new friend as well, willing to join us in our plans or even drive through the hole city to share a beer at midnight. Get prepared for going out with all the clothes layers always 10 min before the time: first thermals, sweater, snow pants, snow jacket, snow shoes, hat, scarf and gloves…
Get desperate with the Finnish schedules, all so early and strict. Arrive for lunch 10 minutes before the kitchen close and discover six days later that the best way is going to eat when the dinner time starts at five. Walk through a frozen lake while you feel your legs are shaky and you’re afraid ice will split and everything will be bullshit forever, because you doubt to be able to get out of there, you would instantly get shocked. Feel the iron slice the ice while ice skating and your body turns and you can see the city buildings circling around you. Stare at the children playing with their snow sleds or building an iglu in the middle of the city. Laugh to tears while you learn how to measure the ice thickness or how to make a fishing hole like a pro. Feel the snowflakes falling on your face and getting through the smallest space available while you drive a snowmobile on the frozen sea, put the helmet’s vizor up to avoid steam and put it down again because your skin is not as rough as everybody’s elses.
Laugh with Finnish sense of humor and claim victory when you get to say goodbye with a hug or the two Spanish kisses on the cheeks, because that means that we have broken the thick ice where we stood. Discover a new culture, a new lifestyle and enjoy it as a child who gets marvelled with all the contrasts that this new culture has showed and shared with us, and to which, we will come back. Thank you, and the Helsinki Secret Program for this experience, which we will never forget!”
Top 3 experiences:
1) Snowmobile safari with Burn Out City
2) Nuuksio National Park hike with Feel the Nature
3) Happy Guide Helsinki‘s Sauna Tour
Top 3 places:
Andrea’s social media platforms:
Sara’s social media platforms: