Archive for May, 2005

St Urho’s Sahtiviikot

One of our favourite pubs, St Urho’s, is having ‘Sahtiviikot’ starting today and lasting as long as their stocks do. Sahti is a traditional beer brewed in the Finnish countryside, typically tasting rather banana-like and about 7%-10% alcohol. Here’s a typical example:

Sahti

As you can see, it’s unfiltered and very thick. Some taste quite yeasty, others pretty much like banana bubblegum. But all get you rather drunk surprisingly quickly. Mike & I were gathering tasting notes:

Sahti tasting notes

So the ‘Muffloni’ sahti from Pub Beer Hunters in Pori was the least successful – stinky, and sweet & vinegary. The sahti from Ravintola Huvila in Savonlinna was a good one (coincidentally, Eve & I will be staying there in July when we go to the Savonlinna castle opera festival).

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Visiting Olga, Kari & the twins in Kotka

Yesterday Eve & I had a day trip to Kotka to visit Olga, Kari & their twins Aleksi & Anna. We stopped by Porvoo on the way there: it was clear and sunny weather, and Porvoo was very beautiful and not nearly as busy as during the summer months. Here’s the cathedral:
Porvoo cathedral

The whole wooden old town of Porvoo is very pretty, and Eve & I had a cup of tea and some cake at Café Helmi. We promised ourselves that we’ll return during the summer, ideally with some friends on the old steamship MS. J.L. Runeberg.

Then we drove on to Kotka: it was very nice to see Olga & Kari again, and to see their twins Aleksi & Anna for the first time:

Aleksi & Anna asleep

We went for a long walk through Kotka to a harbourside cafĂ©, then back along the shore of a rather pretty lake. And then our time was up, and we whizzed off back to Helsinki. All in all, much more fun than the quiet day in Helsinki which I’d have had if Eve hadn’t organised the trip. Thanks, Eve! (And Kari & Olga, of course!)

If you want to see all 10 photos from the trip, they’re here.

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More board games

Yesterday evening we played board games again, this time at Michael & Kim’s place. There were eleven of us, though some arrived later or left earlier. At my table we played Carcassone: the Princess & the Dragon, then Alaska:

Kim, I & Bas play Alaska

and finally Kim & I played Lost Cities. At the other table they started with Alaska, then played Atlantic Star:

Tommy, Michael, Sami, Sarita & Michael play Atlantic Star

and then Michael, Scott & Michael finished with a game of Bohnaparte, a Bohnanza expansion:

Michael, Scott & Michael play Bohnaparte

It was another successful evening, and the next is already planned: Tuesday 17th May at Scott & Séverine’s.

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Vappu

Me & Michael at Havis Amanda

This weekend was Vappu (May Day) weekend, Finland’s wildest annual celebration. Originally Labour Day, it’s nowadays sort of Start Of Warm Weather Day (very loosely), and all the Finns get out in the streets and celebrate.

A group of us gathered at Marian Helmi pub beforehand (my downfall, as it turned out). Then we went together to the Havis Amanda statue, where at 6pm students are lowered by crane to place a hat on the female statue’s head, to much cheering and champagne cork popping by the thousands of Helsinki folk gathered in the square and all the nearby streets.

From there we went to the Senate Square, and then to Michael’s party. I had to leave at 10pm, somewhat ‘over-tired’, but I hear (and see from the photos) that it was a lot of fun.

Then on Sunday we gathered at Kaivopuisto park for the traditional champagne picnic, before retiring to Cindy’s place to escape the cold. All in all a rather fun time!

But don’t just take our word for it: see Flickr’s photo’s tagged with Helsinki and with Vappu to see what other people were up to.

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New desk

New desk

One of the disappointing things about our new appartment was that I didn’t have a place for a desk. For a long time I’ve been telling Eve how I’d spend much more time thinking and writing in my journal, if only I had a suitable desk to sit at. Well now I do: we bought this Muurame desk last week, and put it by the bedroom window. So now there’s no excuse – and that goes for more frequent blogging too!

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