… and the weather is…

I was reading our daily paper earlier in the week and came across some interesting numbers. For the month of June, 2013 there were … wait for it… 78,000 lightning strikes in Finland. Yes, that is correct seventy-eight thousand. That’s an awful lot of electricity.

Lightning 2013
Lightning 2013

The next interesting statistic to grab my attention was the fact that we had 17 official ‘hot’ days! You may well ask what constitutes a hot day in Finland – any day where the temperature exceeds 25 degrees centigrade. Helsinki itself only had 9 such days. Check out the little snapshot I snipped from a site called Accu Weather.com. Double click the picture to read in detail.

June weather stats
June weather stats
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Taste of Helsinki 2013…

…is coming sooner than you think!

I missed the inaugural Taste last year. Bad timing and bad organisation. Not this year. We have tickets and I’ve been scouring the menu trying to create my ultimate night out. I think dessert will be ‘SALT-CARAMEL CAKE with pine fudge and rhubarb’ from Juuri, and starter is looking more and more like ‘ORGANIC BEEF CARPACCIO, beetroot aioli and juicy salad’ from Bistro O mat. Main course is causing me all sorts of difficulties – there are 12 really great options and while I can’t try them all, I think I should make a decision before I get there 🙂

So, what is Taste of Helsinki? I hear you ask. As per their own site it’s a gourmet food and beverage festival, a boutique picnic, a journey! Where else can you sample the best of Finnish Food and be entertained at the same time? Here is a really good guide to the Taste which as well as being informative, is also really easy to read!

As I type this, the clock is ticking. Only 1 day, 12 hours, 39 minutes and a few seconds to go! Actually for me it will be a little more as we will be heading to the dinner session on Thursday night. Either way, as I mentioned, it’s just around the corner!

The clock is still ticking

Now, if you are wondering why I insist on abbreviating the title to the Taste, well that stems from attending what is now called The Taste Festival in my home city of Hobart, Tasmania. It’s been running for 24 years already and is known just as the Taste. Old habits really do die hard.

In the meantime, I’ll be reporting back after I’ve enjoyed my own Taste of Helsinki!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Pattern

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!