Northern Europe is recognized as the most environmentally friendly and happiest region in the world. In recent years, “Nordic tourism” has become a new fashion, that is, promoting environmentally friendly hotels, eating organic food, riding bicycles, and purchasing souvenirs made from recycled raw materials, which can offset the burden of tourism on the earth. Especially in Helsinki, the capital of Finland, because of the focus on these elements in tourism, the European Union has also been named the “Smart Travel Capital” this year.
Wild ingredients from nature
At the invitation of the EU tourism department, the Global Times reporter recently interviewed Helsinki as the only non-EU national journalist. The reporter stayed at the Scandinavian-style Scandic hotel. This hotel is not eye-catching from the outside, like an old factory, but it is warm and full of character. According to Sarah of the Helsinki Tourism Office, this is a certified environmental hotel. This means that there are no plastic packaging, towels and other supplies in the hotel to reuse, reducing the number of cleaning. All garbage needs to be recycled.
In the evening, the reporter and his party ate at a restaurant called “Slverpiller”. This is a well-known vegetarian restaurant in the area, which specializes in wild, organic and local ingredients. The food includes shredded oatmeal bread, vegetarian pizza, fried bean balls, white cabbage wings and various fruits and vegetables. The reporter learned that the mushrooms, berries, and juniper berries are all wild, and the salads are from nearby farms. Even desserts, wine, beer and cider are organic.
It is alleged that everyone in Finland has the legal right to freely pick it in the wild. The unique Nordic climate gives wild foods a particularly rich taste and rich nutrients, making them a “super food”.
The buffet is very rich, but it is paid in weight. It turned out that this is to prevent guests from wasting. However, this “Tuen Mun” restaurant offers free tap water. Restaurant service staff told reporters that in Finnish restaurants, customers can get free tap water. Finland’s water quality is one of the highest in the world, and drinking water can be taken directly from the tap. Finns use tap water as bottled water for export to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other Middle Eastern countries.
This meal, the reporter and the team ate for three hours. It takes two or three hours to eat in Helsinki. The local slow-food movement has emerged in recent years. When eating, friends and family chat together, slowly digest food and promote family.
Let the private car become “not necessary”
The next day, we are not a luxury bus, but a bicycle. Sarah of the Helsinki Tourism Bureau said that Helsinki strongly advocates environmentally friendly transportation and calls on people to ride bicycles and use public transportation to make private cars “not necessary.”
Helsinki currently has a good bike trail of nearly 750 km and can basically ride anywhere in the city. The municipal government has placed 1,400 public bicycles in the urban area and set up 140 stations. Tourists can ride the next station for about 3 minutes. Many hotels also offer bicycles for guests to use.
In the past two years, various departments in Helsinki also co-produced a mobile app called “Whim”. Visitors simply enter their starting point and destination on the app, and the app will design the best route based on the passenger’s information. Vehicles include bicycles, public buses, subways, trams and ferries, and even unmanned taxis can be integrated into the payment network. This way traffic can be more flexible, the cost will be lower, and traffic jams can be reduced.
The reporters experienced this “on-demand” transportation method and first visited the essence of Helsinki – the church. The 28 beautiful churches in Helsinki are scattered in the streets, gardens, forests and the sea. Each church is created by a different designer and has a different architectural style. In particular, the silent chapel of the barrel shape, the Helsinki Cathedral and the entire church are the best in the rock churches built in the rock. The latter is the perfect venue for concerts because of its unique sound.
We took a bike ride and took the subway to visit the Sibelius Monument, the Finnish Building, the City Hall, the Old Farmers Market, the Market Square and the Ferris Wheel. Finally, the reporters took a sightseeing ferry to several small islands and visited the world cultural heritage of Suomenlinna and other attractions.
Buy a few pieces of recycled souvenirs
Tourists in Helsinki certainly want to buy some souvenirs. The reporter found that, unlike other cities, many of the souvenirs offered by this Nordic city belong to the “recycled souvenirs”.
The most famous is the rag carpet. The founder and designer of this rag carpet is two ladies. These carpets are used to collect raw materials from discarded old clothes. “The rag carpet integrates the concept of environmental protection into life,” commented the Belgian “EU Report” reporter. The pattern of rag carpet is very Finnish, and the environmental spirit is also very Finnish.
There are many such Finnish brands: some use recycled cotton and organic hemp as raw materials to make clothing; some use new old leather fabrics to make new leather bags; and some use disposable plastic or paper to make children’s furniture. Sarah of the Helsinki Tourism Office said that in Finland, almost all well-known designers have considered the requirements of sustainable development in their products more or less.
To look at sustainable development, you can also take a walk to the local flea market. Every season in Helsinki has a variety of day-to-day stalls, and visitors can buy second-hand goods that are desirable. Helsinki Fashion Week is also the world’s first sustainable fashion week.
The Helsinki Tourism Bureau’s small gift to journalists is also very environmentally friendly: a recyclable bag, a “Finnish-made” small enamel cup that can be used to buy coffee, water, etc. instead of paper and plastic bottles, reducing white Rubbish.
Finns believe that residents and tourists should pay attention to the concept of sustainability when they consume. This is to contribute to the circular economy. Today, Helsinki’s “Nordic tourism” is a model in many places where “over-tourism” is a concern. Chinese tourists should also “start from me” when they travel during the National Day holiday and become an environmental traveler.