Day 148| Tuesday August 9

I was invited by the Dutch embassy in Helsinki. In every country I contact them to let them know I am here and ask them if they can help me with finding initiatives who are active on sustainability. Embassies are always involved in the business sector and have many contacts there. I was welcomed by Ilona and Ozlem, who is the replacement for the ambassador. They took me for lunch, I could charge the car in the basement and they even collected some money among all the employees for my visa to Russia! That was seriously really nice of them and now I got enough to get it on Friday.

Wednesday & Thursday

After a while it was finally time to visit sustainable initiatives. Helsinki has a big start-up community and many initiatives who are active on sustainability, interesting stuff for me. I spend both days to visit some, here you can find a short review and I will add the interviews and extended reviews soon.

Tuup

An innovative app which changes the way how we use mobility. With Tuup you can plan your trip from A to B and Tuup tells you the most efficient way to travel. This includes every kind of mobility like trains, trams, busses and also car sharing. With the app it’s possible to pay for all the different kinds of transport you use. It also tells you how many emissions the trip has and has the possibility to select the transport systems which has the lowest amount of emissions.

Blindsquare

Another app but of totally different use. It’s one that makes the life of blind and visually impaired people easier using open data and augmented reality. Blindsquare describes the environment, announces points of interest and street intersections as you travel. The app can tell blind people where they are, which hotspots are near them, which bus is approaching and it can even tell if there is an electric car close. A very valuable option as it’s hard for blind people to hear electric cars approaching.

ECO Viiki

Viikki is a leading area of ecological building in Finland. Many of the ecological building projects in the area have also been recognized internationally. Situated in the southern part of Latokartano, Eco-Viikki is the first ecologically designed neighborhood in Finland.

The idea behind the neighborhood’s design has been a sustainable, healthy and amendable living environment, where practical solutions save energy and reduce the amount of waste generated. Construction of the 23-hectare residential area Eco-Viikki lasted from 1999 to 2004.

The active and passive utilization of solar energy has been one of the main themes of ecological experimental building in Viikki. Nine properties with 412 homes are part of the area’s solar energy heating system. The first, and only, apartment building to utilize solar electricity in Finland is also located in Eco-Viikki.

RePack

A very simple idea, with an possible huge impact. RePack has set up a reusable packaging system. Companies can send their good in these neatly designed packages, the costumer takes out the goods, delivers the empty package to the mailbox and receives an discount coupon which they can use at any shop which is connected to the RePack brand.

I stayed 3 nights at Maria & Trine. They were very nice, gave me the key so I could come and leave whenever I want, made food for me and shared some interesting stories. Normally I stay at the same place only 1 night, which is a rush sometimes. If I stay somewhere a bit longer it makes the conversations better and I can relax more.

Thursday night I went back to Seppo and the fam where I stayed last weekend, they asked me to return because they wanted to help with the final preparations for Russia. I had the idea to make a document with translations for Russia. Luckily Seppo’s brother is an official English – Russian translator and was able to translate it for me. Now I have a good document which I can show to Russian people to ask them for help. I have now some offers in St. Petersburg and Moscow but between there still nothing, and that’s an 700km drive so those translations will be used 🙂

Seppo’s oldest son was now also at home. He is also a traveler and has recently been in India. As I’m also going there he gave me some tips and contacts.

Day 151 | Friday August 12

Seppo and his Russian wife gave me a lot of stuff for my trip. A bag full of food and even some travel money. They already gave me some Rubles last week so they have been very nice to me and I really appreciate all their efforts.

At 10 o’clock I could pick up my visa in the city of Helsinki so I wanted to be there right on time as it’s going to be a long long day. I was there at 10 sharp and the visa has been granted to me! I was still not sure if I would receive it as they believed my insurance policy was not right.

My end destination for today is Vyborg, a few kilometers over the Russian border and 250km from Helsinki. So I needed to charge in between. In Loviisa Raimo offered me to charge the car and I contacted him a few days ago to ask if it was ok to do a pitstop there. When I arrived there was a group of 3 journalists waiting for me to hear my story, I will post some links when the articles are online.

When Im writing this blog its 16.00 hours and the remaining of the day you can watch tomorrow in a vlog! How do you like that?

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