This is an interview with Kathrin Deter, a Spotter for our Helsinki city blog! Kathrin was born and raised in Luxembourg and studied Tourism near Bonn in Germany. In 2010 she choose Helsinki for an Erasmus exchange program and she never left!
Can you tell us some more about yourself?
I just love this city! Even despite the seemingly harsh climate which isn’t really as bad as all the Finns think. But then again, I like the North, I also spent several months in Montréal a few years ago. I guess I’m really drawn to the north!
How do you like being a Spotter?
Being a spotter is really great. Not only do I get the chance to visit my favourite places and tell people all about it – which I also did before I became a spotter in June last year. I enjoy discovering new spots and exploring the city. But our little community is also something very special. I got to meet so many inspiring people at the Spotters weekend last autumn and some truly amazing friendships have come from that. It has also been encouraging me to visit new cities, now that I know there will be one of us who can show me around!
Why Helsinki? What is a must do when you’re visiting Helsinki? What is not?
Helsinki has the perfect size for a city break. It’s compact, easy to get around and you have everything awesome combined without it being totally overwhelming. History, design, food culture, music…and nature of course! Helsinki is definitely among the most underestimated places to visit. I’d skip the most popular go-to sea fortress island Suomenlinna. Sure it’s worth a visit, but often overcrowded and there are great alternatives around. “Seurasaari“ for example: it’s just as close, less crowded, has more nature, an open-air museum and squirrels. Take nuts with you.
Which prejudices about Helsinki are true? Which ones are not?
As I mentioned, this really annoying general prejudice about bad weather in Finland is ridiculous! Yes, winters are a bit longer but that’s about it, but they are beautiful and you can make the very best of it if you know how to. And summers are the most wonderful time anyway. What’s true? Hmm, well it is pretty expensive for European standards and yes, Finns do drink a lot! And it’s definitely also one of the safest cities.
Can you describe a perfect day in your city?
I’d start by taking you on a walk through the city centre, grab a coffee at Brooklyn Café and walk all the way through my favourite districts Punavuori up through Töölö. We’d buy some sausages and have them at the bonfire at Café Regatta and some cinnamon buns for dessert, then I’d probably take a nap in the sun but you can also go kayaking there. For the evening it depends. If you’re paying we’ll have dinner at Merimakasiini and cocktails at Liberty or Death, if I’m paying we’ll go to Shanghai Cowboys and then Majava baari for beers. Unless there’s a cool concert elsewhere of course.