Archive | May, 2013

Weekly Photo Challenge: Pattern

17 May

Last weekend I was lucky enough to be on the water and visiting one of Helsinki’s pearls: Kaunissaari (Beauty or Beautiful Island). It’s a very interesting island, almost in the open sea, one side covered with thick forest and the opposite side featuring wind-swept rocks. Although it’s not a big island, 2 km long and about 800 metres wide, it takes a good couple of hours to walk around and savour the nature. I took the camera along with the intent to capture any pattern that caught my eye: some are man-made, some courtesy of mother nature. Unfortunately the battery was empty before my walk was finished, so I had to fall back on plan B, my phone!

Pine-cone Starfish

Pine-cone Starfish

I didn’t get very far before sight this was on the ground in front of me. The longer I looked at it, the more convinced I was that it was starfish that had been pulled apart.

As we made our way along the path it was very quiet. The ‘summer’ season has just started and there weren’t so many people on the island. The guest harbour was emptying as everyone started heading back to their home port.

Birch Forest

Birch Forest

There is something very haunting about a birch forest that has no leaves. Although it won’t be long and this forest will have its green cover on.

Valkovuokko

Valkovuokko

The forest floor close to the path was covered with this lovely valkovuokko (wood anemone) and when I stooped over taking this particular picture a couple passing by made a comment joking that I should hurry as there weren’t many around 🙂

 The island has plenty of facilities for day visitors and campers alike. There’s a dog park, saunas to rent, a very cute little cafe, oversized board games and a meandering nature path. Before we got to the nature path there was something we had to take care of though! Coffee and pulla, the staples of Finnish social life.

Nautical Theme

Nautical Theme

Nothing says nautical quite like red, blue and sails. This was inside the cafe looking back to the large sheltering umbrella’s on the terrace. While I was fluffing around with the camera a customer came in to charge his phone. That’s one thing to remember, there’s no electricity service. Strictly candles, grills and generators.

Oversized Chess Pieces

Over-sized Chess Pieces

Remember the over-sized board games? You weren’t sure exactly what I meant were you? If chess is not your thing also on offer are darts, volley ball and the age-old favourite of chilling in a hammock with a good book!

Wood Stack Art

Wood Stack Art

There is an art to stacking wood. It takes an extra special talent to make your wood-stack look like… an Angry Bird perhaps!

Weathered wood

Weathered wood

If you are interested to visit Kaunissaari, you can catch a ferry from Vuosaari. The journey takes approximately one hour each way. Alternatively, if you have access to a boat of your own, head to the sheltered guest harbour at the end of the island.

I’ll leave you with this detail of a cabin up close.

By the way, please let me know what you think of the pictures all the way down the left and the text on the right. I thought I’d try something new and now it feels like it doesn’t quite work. I might just have to come back and do some editing later.

So if you want to see other entries from this week’s challenge, head over to here and follow the ping-backs!

The next Restaurant Day is just around the corner

14 May

and I will be hosting a restaurant! As I mentioned in my opening post of the year, the first restaurant day has already been. The 2nd restaurant day for 2013 (and the ninth overall) will be held this coming Saturday, May 18th. If you are unaware of Restaurant Day, please drop by the official site and read a little about the mechanics behind the restaurants.

Perry posing for Restaurant Day

Perry posing for Restaurant Day

I’ve been contemplating having my own restaurant for at least the last 12 months and having taken that leap of faith and decided to do it. My Dog on the Tuckerbox restaurant is going to cater to our four-legged friends and their two-legged companions. At the time of publishing there are well over 1200 restaurants taking part, and in the greater Helsinki region alone you will have the choice of over 400 to choose from!

You’ll find restaurants in parks, in shops, in courtyards, on beaches, on terraces… anywhere that there is a passing parade and hungry customers. My location is in a dog park situated just a little way from the city centre, close to where both the president and prime minister have their official residences and dog heaven. There’s a beach too which is always busy.

I hope you have a great time exploring Helsinki and finding a restaurant or three that you like! Name the cuisine, I’m quite sure you’ll be able to find someone serving it up! Be brave, try something new!

No doubt Perry will have a great time too 🙂

A Word A Week Challenge: Orange (Helsinki)

11 May

When I first read the challenge from A Word in Your Ear I thought I would post under my other, living in Finland blog. After all  orange and Helsinki is not exactly the first combination that springs to mind. I actually thought there is no possible way I can find orange. Then I was in the kitchen opening a packet of rice with my trusty kitchen scissors… the ones with bright orange handles! The next day I had to catch the bright orange metro to the market place with its, yes you guessed it…  bright orange tents. So I have spent the last week, camera or phone in hand capturing orange Helsinki. Or as they would say in Finnish: oranssi Helsinki.*

 

Now that I’ve seen my gallery in all it’s glory, some of my oranges are almost red or yellow 🙂 Have fun finding your own orange Helsinki!

If you want to see other posts dedicated to orange head over to A word in your ear and check out the other posts.

* Orange the colour and orange the fruit have two different words in Finnish. Appelsiini is the fruit, oranssi is the colour.

Some lessons learnt….

9 May

I ran a little competition last month. Luckily three answers arrived, so each contestant will receive a prize. I’ll be in touch with each of you soon. Thank you very much for taking part!

THINKING THINGS THROUGH
However, I didn’t really think things through properly.
Next time I start a competition I will promote it! Everywhere. Relying on the strength of the words ‘competition’ in these early days obviously is poor planning.
Next time I start a competition I will ask others to help promote it. There is a time when doing EVERYTHING yourself is right and there is time when you should admit that a little help goes a long way 🙂
Next time I start a competition I will promote the prizes as well. I’ve just realised that the prizes were mentioned only once. What’s more there were no pictures of them anywhere.
Next time I start a competition it will NOT coincide with the beginning of the end of the school year and more classes and assignments than the rest of the year put together.
Did I mention that next time I will promote it better?

THE NEXT COMPETITION
will be in June. In the meantime, have a look at this picture:

Cultural Sauna / Kulttuurisauna

Cultural Sauna / Kulttuurisauna

It’s the eagerly awaited, recently opened Kulttuurisauna (Cultural Sauna). While it is open, there is a dearth of good information about it (Finnish or English). Sauna Flow had a very nice post last year and World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 also had an interesting piece at the beginning of the project. I can tell you it is open Wednesdays through Sundays, and capacity is 40. I am very much looking forward to visiting and using the sauna for myself.