Category Archives: Finland

Our stay in idyllic Porvoo/Borgå in Finland

DSF_0279As promised I’m posting some of the photos I snapped whilst we were visiting my husband’s family in Porvoo. I always enjoy walking around the little old town centre and exploring the small boutiques, as well as soaking up the atmosphere of traditional Nordic wooden architecture and pastel colours punctuated by a few Scandinavian red buildings. The town was bustling in preparation for their yearly ‘Ostosten Yö’ event, which translates to ‘The Night of Shopping’! All the little boutiques, cafés and restaurants were open much later than usual and some music and entertainment was also provided to add to the happy vibe 🙂

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We had a delicious lunch at the seasonal summer restaurant ‘Johans’ http://www.restaurantjohans.fi which was on it’s final opening day before winter closure. The restaurant is mainly a large terrace overlooking the Porvoo River and a smaller indoor space with rustic seating inside an old river-barn type of building!! The picture immediately below was taken from their terrace. I’ve just noticed the sweet little birdhouse made from a birch log by my daughter’s head!

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After lunch we walked around town again shopping for handmade little treats such as organic soap and delicious chocolates from the tiny chocolate factory shop http://www.suklaatehdas.com !! We enjoyed the scenery of Porvoo River along which the old town is situated. Below you can see more of the old boat houses or river barns, which used to  function as temporary storage for goods brought over-seas such as exotic fruit, spices, wine and coffee. They are painted in the traditional nordic red paint known in Finnish as ‘punamulta’, which can be translated as red earth paint. This paint was and is still used to preserve wooden structures. Apparently the sheds in these pictures have been painted with red earth paint since the 1700’s! In fact the whole town was made as attractive as possible with freshly painted houses just before the visit of the Swedish king Gustav III who also reigned over Finland. (I’m sure they’ve been painted quite a few times since the 1700’s 😉 )

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We ended our afternoon with coffee’s and drinks at a little café enjoying Finnish ‘korvapuusti’, which is a traditional cinnamon roll including cardamom. Our daughter had Runeberg’s torte, which legend says were first created in Porvoo by Fredrika the wife of the Finnish national poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg. The torte is simple looking but very delicious and moistened with rum and flavored with almonds and raspberry jam. All were very yummy and enjoyed on the terrace in the pleasant afternoon sun. A lovely ending to a pleasant day 😀

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Greetings from Finland & Sweden!

Finally a quick hello after a long silence on my blog. Things have been tricky to say the least… So much so that as a family we have been carefully evaluating whether Germany is the right place for us to live at the moment or not. While there are many things I love about this country, we have had increasing difficulties over the past few months. No rash decisions will be made about whether we stay or not, but we did need to have a proper break from Germany and some nasty events that in all honesty are a little too close for comfort. That’s why we spent about 2 1/2 weeks on a road trip across Scandinavia and our beloved North!!!

Here are some photos from the upper deck during our 11 hour boat cruise across the Baltic Sea and the beautiful archipelago between Stockholm and Turku/Åbo.

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It’s quite amazing how these gigantic ships negotiate the thousands of isles off the shores of Sweden and Finland!! There are quite a few rocky patches that we passed in close proximity. Nonetheless, we felt perfectly relaxed and happy as the weather was gorgeous and sunny with only little waves (unlike some of my past less positive experiences when I’ve crossed the sea in a winter storm).

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During the cruise across we happily spent a few hours having our own little ‘crayfish party’, or rather a massive starter of fresh Swedish crayfish and smoked Norwegian prawns. All were lovely and fresh followed by delicious glow-fried trout 🙂 Our attentive waiting staff coped beautifully (although were possibly amused) with our peculiar mixture of Finnish-English-Swedish speech at the table! It was so lovely to have had enough seafood during the past couple of weeks to hopefully keep us satisfied for a while, as fish just isn’t all that fabulous or fresh in our landlocked German location.

That’s it for today, but I will post some more about our visits to Porvoo & Stockholm soon!! Another update about our German situation is also due soon once I gather my thoughts a bit more…