20 June 2015

End of spring in the city - 2015

what a rotten trick. spring came early around here and had people excited. but it never warmed up. we had early spring weather pretty much the whole way to midsummer. and we didnt see much sun. what a bummer, but at least we know that summers can be hot, like last year.

-palm sunday, aka virpojat. this is a day of trick or treating in finland. it occurs on palm sunday but actually is more of a pagan thing. you dress up, traditionally as old hags/witches (but nowadays in whatever costume you want, see pic below) and you decorate willow branches and you ring doorbells and wave the branches along with a song that will ward off evil spirits if you take the branch in exchange for a chocolate. X and her friend went around to our neighbors. they had tons of fun and thankfully the candy collection is much more manageable than on halloween in the US. looking forward to it next year.

(scary ladies; our vase of good luck charm branches collected from kids who visited our door)

-toukka. a kids book store in kallio. a nice little independent place to support, unfortunately its mostly finnish and swedish books but we did find a cool nordic comics book in english.

-helsinki university main library. what a beautifully restored building. definitely must see architecture. plus, there is a little cafe and campus bookstore inside.

-kulosaari kartano. such a delightful new find. a beach, mökki (cottage), and rugged nature trail area. a serene slice of life right near a highway and metro rail that you would never know about. a big thanks to X for her enthusiasm pushing us onward to locate this place.

(beach happiness)

-silvoplee. a vegetarian restaurant in hip kallio. the place has a great, varied buffet. the food is weighed for the cost, and i thought it was a good value for the amount of food i wanted, however you weigh many of their desserts too and those are pricey.

-university cafe in the city center university library. the place had only a few small offerings. it was hard for me to find something to eat and the portions were quite small, both dave and i left hungry.

-maritori. the cafe inside the marimekko outlet store. this place is spacious, inviting and sophisticated. the lunch buffet is 10€ and you can rub elbows with the actual fashion designers and marimekko workers. its the real location where the magic happens. and there are high chairs so you can feel free to big your kiddo without getting weird looks.

-kakku galleria. a nice selection of breads, pastries, cookies and cakes. they even had choices for people with dietary needs.

-mount kailash. a nepalese restaurant in the jätkäsaari neighborhood of helsinki. we hit this place after a family trip to verkkokauppa. it was lovely. tasty curries full of spice for dave and i, plus the amount of times we heard X exclaim 'this is the best dinner ever' (she had chicken fingers) was innumerable. nice to have another place that works well for everyone.

(serious contemplation of her chicken fingers)

-amppari popsicles. this is like stripes of sherbet on a stick, hence the name 'wasp' (amppari). tasty popsicles i must say.

finn notables:
-kutsuplus. this is a relatively new city shuttle service. its in between a taxi and a bus, in terms of price and direct routes. you can order the service on a city website and they tell you a nearby bus stop to wait at for pick-up, if there is anyone else nearby going in the same direction they will share the ride with you and you will get dropped off at a bus stop near your desired location. weve used it twice now and were very pleased, the perfect choice for those times when we need to get across town but riding the bus would take upwards of one hour.

-buzzfeed collection of supposedly finlands hottest men. i saw this link somewhere and had to laugh. sorry, but its more than a little sad. and they didnt even post a good picture of the one finn who i do find very attractive, teemu selänne (a retired NFL hockey player, he is very well loved nationally).

04 June 2015

June 4 - carl mannerheim flag day

happy birthday to military and political leader of finland carl gustaf emil mannerheim. the day is also celebrated as the day of finnish defence forces.

carl gustaf emil mannerheim was born on this day in 1867 to an aristocratic swedish-speaking finnish family of german descent. his military life is a little complicated (to me at least) but he ended up being involved in 4 of finlands wars during his life, and was a military leader in the finnish civil war, the commander-in-chief during WWII and the sixth finnish president. he is perhaps the greatest historical finnish figure.

he had a long and distinguished, and not without a bit of controversy, military and political career, however the most interesting thing of note (in my opinion) was that hitler visited finland for a few hours on mannerheims 75th birthday in 1942. it was presumed that hitler was going to ask for finland to support germany by stepping up to the soviets. the meeting took place in secrecy in the east of finland, and 11 minutes of the beginning of their discussion was secretly recorded by the national news agency YLE. it is the only know recording of hitler speaking in 'an unofficial tone.' mannerheim refused to help hitler.

01 June 2015

June = Kesäkuu

happy june all!

june in finnish is kesäkuu. kesä means summer, so this is literally 'summer month'. midsummer is june 20/21 each year and june 1 all school kids begin their summer vacations. the time for office work is winding down while outdoor/vacation mentality is deeply setting in.