Urban Exploration, Swimming & Nerding Around

January 31, 2009 · Posted in Urban Exploration 

When I woke up today, it was surprisingly cold and sunny outside. One of those nippy and bright winter days which have been in REALLY short order for the last three years or so. The previous week had left me feeling like a roadkill warmed twice over. All the hassle with the apartment and the fever, dealing with the insurance companies, searching for a new flat and trying to do some work at the same time had left me feeling pretty damn dead. Susi and I had to skip my little brother’s superhero themed masquerade party, where we had planned on going as Rorschach and Black Cat (although my current physique would have fit Nite Owl far better). Alas, all the hassle shot down that idea.

Right from the moment when I opened the bedroom curtains a veritable tsunami of stir craziness hit me – there was no question that some outdoorsy activities were in order. Hiking in Nuuksio would have been nice, but by the time I had got my gear together and hauled my ass to the location, the sun would have set. The second choice was to do some light urban exploration after a long pause.

On my way to work I walk past this abandoned silo, which is a pretty well known place for UE enthusiasts, but also for junkies, graffiti people and consequently, the authorities. The place is closed more tightly than George W. Bush’s asshole, but I decided to check it out on my way to the day’s main target.

A view of the silo from the street.

A view of the silo from the street.


A view from the back of the building. All the entrances are plugged tight and part of the building is actually covered with sheet metal from ground floor to the top.

A view straight up.

A view straight up.

I wasn’t really expecting to gain entry, but there was a faint glimmer of hope that someone else would have decided to break into there earlier. The basic idea of urban exploration is “leave only footprints”, which means that you don’t break anything, mess with stuff, steal stuff or generally don’t act like a dick. Apparently earlier some explorer had found a nice “secret door” which some homeless or a junkie had built, but it has apparently been plugged.

My main target was a big freight dock which was closed down recently. There wouldn’t be that much to see, just huge warehouses, some cranes and administrative buildings, but the weather and the lighting was pretty photogenic. Thinking smartly I was dressed in my work clothes, so I wasn’t really equipped to vault over barbed wire obstacles or crawl through holes in chicken wire fences. I treated the trip more as a “casing the joint” type of thing.

Approaching the area from the north I ran into a guard booth, which kind of surprisingly was occupied. One thing some people don’t realise is that social skills are handy in UE. Security guards are just people and if you are not up to something nasty, often they can be reasoned with. Of course, you get these morons who are still on a testosterone trip over getting a baton and a tear gas canister, but that’s a different thing. I know some long time security pros who get this really tired look in their eyes when morons like these are mentioned.

So, I basically just asked if I can go in and take some photos. Although the guard wasn’t supposed to let anyone in, he told me it’s ok if I stay within a line of sight from  the guard booth. This regrettably meant that I couldn’t go and roam in the buildings, but at least I got some photos.


A railroad leading into the loading docks.


Under the eastern main route out from Helsinki. The left one is for the subway, the right one is for cars.

A view from up high on the bridge. You know you are a nerd at heart when crates like this make you think of FPS game maps.

A view from up high on the bridge. You know you are a nerd at heart when crates like this make you think of FPS game maps.

Another view from the bridge, or rather the cliffs next to it.

Another view from the bridge, or rather the cliffs next to it.

Nope, this is not a research station in Siberia or in Antarctic, this is pretty much in Helsinki downtown.

"And this is a photo of the research station gamma in Siberia... no wait, is this Antarctic... ah, sorry, my bad, this is Helsinki downtown."

It didn’t really matter that I didn’t get into the area this time, since I managed to find a way in that requires the least amount of trying to drag my pudgy body over two meter high fences topped with barb wire. So, one of these nights I’ll have to steal in and check out the actual buildings.

From the docks I walked to Kurvi, where I jumped into a tram that took me to the swimming centre I frequent. I made a decision to try and go swimming twice a week before our trip to the Red Sea. Swimming has been something I was kind of  able to do, but in practice it took a shitload of learning to do well enough to matter. This learning took place last spring, when Susi and I went to the scuba diving course. One of the requirements was to be able to swim for 250 meters – my record being 50 meters of dog paddle.

I seldom get the experience of learning a completely new skill really fast. Last spring the first time I went to the pool I managed to do 25 meters of breast stroke and in total 250 meters of splashing forward with a pause every 50 meters. It took me a month to reach the stage where I swam for one kilometer non-stop and stopped not because I was too tired, but because I got hellishly bored. My current aim is to pick up my swimming speed from the rather pathetic one kilometer per hour – just because I get bored so goddamn easily that I’d need to get the kilometer done in half an hour.

In any case, here I am at home now, feeling relaxed from the outdoors stuff and exercise. Now it’s the time to cook some burgundy roast and fire up either one of the consoles or WoW, haven’t decided on which one. Nerdiness is afoot in any case this evening.

Next week – going to be a nude model in underwater art photographs, learning how to dive with Nitrox, hopefully a ton of apartment showings and whatever life throws our way.



2 Responses to “Urban Exploration, Swimming & Nerding Around”

  1. Pages tagged "urban exploration" on February 14th, 2009 19:46

    […] bookmarks tagged urban exploration Urban Exploration, Swimming & Nerding Around :… saved by 20 others     wayel23 bookmarked on 02/14/09 | […]

  2. […] Last year I went to check out a large freight harbour that was being torn down, and my idea last Saturday was to go and check what was happening in there nowadays. Turns out I was in for a positive surprise. The area is called Kalasatama, “the fish harbour”, and it’s the site for one of the biggest urban renovations that has hit Helsinki in a century. They tore down the dock and soon they will start filling the area with both offices and residential buildings. What was a huge surprise for me was that the area wasn’t closed for the public, but instead the city had done the most sensible thing they could, which was to declare the site a public recreational area. Moreover, they hadn’t done much of anything for it, just left it as urban wasteland and opened it for people to use as they see fit. […]

Leave a Reply