In the memory of Mauno Koivisto.

Blogroll, Helsinki, nature, Picture a day

Today has been a particularly weird day. Former Finnish president Mauno Koivisto was buried today, the state funeral was aired and everyone has been feeling kinda under the weather. The emotions, once again, just hopped on the others – or maybe it was just me.

A nice BLT sandwich and a few hours outside around Ruukinranta in Espoo (that’s where Galen Kallela museum is!) did it for my part. And close to the port I found these buttercups and they are for Mauno.

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The port, yeah, well there were some boats and buoys, and I guess this diesel pump has had it 😀

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There are some lovely Villas around Ruukinranta, something like old Westend, but much more picturesque. More wood and more soul. And more houses for sale with “minor roof damages” – but with amazing tile stoves or wooden furnitures! Dining table, I’m coming back for you 😉

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The downsides of the area are bad collective traffic connections and the omnipresent humming noise from the nearby highway. I’m sure the locals love the Turku motorway.

A short walk from the port and Villa Åkerblom, a popular event venue dressed up as a humble wooden villa, is the famous Villa Elfvik. It is, in fact, a nature education centre with a cosy café, several children- and wheelchair-friendly nature trails, a bird-watching tower and… nature diversity. It was remarkably awesome! Seriously, a lovely Espoo surprise. We’re coming back on bikes, so expect more pictures within the next weeks!

So, this is the main venue, Villa Elfvik…

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… a garden gazebo… MIU_5907

… and the nature trail!

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There were birds nesting. Apparently.

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And this is Otaniemi and Aalto University.

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Post-midsummer.

Blogroll, Finland, Traveling

It’s pouring outside and I’m sitting here in my room, sipping hot tea, diving into graphology, ordering accessories and enjoying a calm me-time. Oh and of course I’m again late with my pictures – this a pic per day thing is not going that great. I’m sorry, my faithful readers, I shall improve this sloppery!

So, Midsummer, the best smelling (tar, smoke, wood and diverse flowers) and lightest time of the year is over. Sob. It was great though, I got to enjoy my birthday treat and we visited the Söderskär archipelago a few miles south of Porvoo: a group of several tiny islands, millions of nesting birds and an old light-house. I’m enjoying the sea with every such trip…

… and this is what stuck the most from the trip and from the entire Midsummer: the fog. It was magical though! (yet not capturable)

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Let’s start with a few shots from the night before Midsummer. This was taken at about 10pm, check out the light – and the massively angry seagulls.

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*KRAAAAAGH!*

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Now back to Söderskär and fog and mist and a massive fail re: camera settings. Argh!

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MIU_1846(in the above picture please do note the island keeper – a volunteer bird researcher. A whole lot of charisma he had.)

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The vegetation was limited to a few trees and numerous bunches of chives… nom!

And of course we explored the lighthouse! (not currently in use, sadly)

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Disclaimer for my previous post.

Blogroll, Finland, Helsinki

Don’t expect any major confession in here, I just wanted to put you in the big picture.

So I was feeling a bit sad. It does happen sometimes, doesn’t it, and thought I’d just take a walk in the nature, get rid of the headache and the thick black spleen. I went to Nuuksio and had a blast. And on the way back I stopped at Koivusaari, one of these exceptionally interesting spots along the Länsiväylä (a very busy road for Espoo-Helsinki commuters).

Koivusaari is conveniently located only a few hundred meters from a metro-station-to-be-very-soon, and despite the vicinity of Länsiväylä it is quite calm. I’m sure somebody else noticed how conveniently located this island is, so unless the boat owners have some kind of a union, we might soon see the end of Koivusaari as we know it and get ready for yet another developers’ experiment.

I had no particular reason to visit the place, just because I wanted to see what is there…

.. well, boats apparently, and boat owners getting their vehicles ready for the season. I did not really fit in; my response to this identity misplacement was that I accidentally hit my head on that fin-like thing (you know, right, that thingy which goes under the water) of one of the pretty vessels. I hope nobody saw that.

In joyful moods (as joyful as my head bump was) I continued walking around the island – it is tiny and used solely by boat owners, occasional picture hunters and – quite surprisingly – boulderers (there are no cliffs, don’t get excited, just a somehow biggish piece of rock overlooking the sea).

I’m sure  you remember what the island looks like from my previous post: boats and innocent sea views.

Wait. Did you see that?!

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Look closer. Closer. Even closer. No, I’m not enlarging the picture for you.

Above that big rock is a pier and an army of naked Finns taking a dip after having obviously been to the sauna. One by one, in an orderly and natural manner. This sight made me giggle for a few long minutes…

And what else did I do today? Collected birch sap. It went surprisingly smoothly, and the result tastes very refreshing. We should have waited a few days or week though, the sugar content is still pretty low.

The plastic bags with our ca 1hour yield of sap from 3 different locations (hence the numbers). Looks plastic, tastes fantastic. And being

Ah, and a few snippets from a short with a tussilago picking mission in Nuuksio (especially love the blue flowers screaming here we are, at last!). The older I am the more and more I appreciate living in the countryside, alongside the nature. I live in the middle of the city and I love it here – and I absolutely adore the flat we are lucky to live in, I should show you why at some point, especially as we are due to move out soon. And I hate the suburbs and even so more those unlucky and antisocial satellite “housing projects” (collections of wanna-be-upper-class horrendous houses located some kilometres beyond the city border, either in the middle of nowhere or as a part of small villages or settlements which had respected traditional urban growth patterns).

It is incredible how the proximity of real nature has helped me to get over some rough times, it is not just the scene and the smells, it is the whole system, the immense power of the nature to revive itself over and over again.

Sob. Living in greenery. I’m getting old and I’m loving it.