Day in Tallinn

I decided to visit Tallinn this time all alone. I wanted to test whether it is possible to only visit art museum, eat and drink without any shopping.

The ship arrives at the port of Tallinn before noon. Because I skipped breakfast, I’m going to go straight to eat lunch. I walk in the direction of the residential area called Kalamaja (Fish House), which is nowadays well-known for good restaurants. Unfortunately, the weather is not suitable for a long walk. It’s raining and the wind is blowing cold drizzle. The first restaurant that I can find is called Diip (Address Soo 1/6), and it seems really nice.

The restaurant’s menu and all the small details tell that the restaurant uses high-quality traditional ingredients with modern touch. My smoked pork fillet with apple wine sauce is really wonderful. For a drink I choose tasty Estonian beer Saku. The price is reasonable compared to the quality of the food. I’ll be sure to visit Diip again.

The main destination of my visit is KUMU, the art museum. The museum is quite new and super modern building, which is located in the old picturesque Kadriorg Park. I take the tram there and walk past the swan pond where I see two black swans gliding by. The park is remarkably beautiful and I only hope that the weather would be nicer.

The museum’s permanent exhibition presents Estonian art from the early 1700’s to the present day. On the upper floor has changing exhibitions of contemporary art. In particular, I’m pleased to see the works of famous Estonian artists as Villu Jaanisoo and Paul Raud. The museum itself is a great experience and I spend three hours there.

I still have time for coffee and cakes. Reval Café coffee shop chain is my favorite in Tallinn. You will find a lovely coffee, a good selection of wonderful cakes and amazingly low prices there. Sometimes I wish that I could drop over the bay only for a morning cup of coffee.

Did I finally succeed not to buy anything? I did almost, if not taken into account the selection of cheeses and a couple of bottles of red wine. But I don’t count it for shopping because they are necessities.

My Book Club and the Lovely Dashwood Girls

My book club made ​​a trip to the theater. Yes, my book club. I am always proud when I get to mention “My book club.” We have read books and discussed them online, but for a change we decided to break away from home, go to the theater and discuss about the play over dinner in the waterfront restaurant. Helsinki City Theatre presented a suitable play for us: Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. It was interesting to see how the lovely Dashwood ladies and gentlemen were presented on the stage. And first and foremost it was wonderful to meet all my co-reader ladies live.

I enjoyed the play from start to finish. Actor selection was appropriate. Elinor was responsible, but frisky in charming way and Marianne was absolutely full of emotion. Edward was sweet and shy while Colonel Brandon was patient and loyal. Wickham was fairly distant and snooty. The comic elements of the book were used with insight appropriately in the spirit of Austen. The modern side of the fitting was represented by a meager set design.

We went to dinner at the nearby restaurant, which is located beautifully by the sea. While sipping prosecco we talked about the play. The story is familiar to all of us, and we all agreed that the play was a success. We were in high spirits when we chose for dinner. Asparagus and salmon with morel sauce were much appreciated.

There’s no shortage of the readable books. Each of us in turn suggests a book to be read, and the choice seems always to be pre-thought-out. We have two books in line waiting for the following discussions. Miia Kankimäki’s Things that make the heart beat faster is a travel book from Japan. After that comes Fine just the way it is by Annie Proulx. Our book club clearly favors books by female writers.

Summer cottage and the art of idleness

Typical Finnish summer place is a small lakeside cottage and it will necessarily include a sauna, silence and closeness to the nature. The closeness to nature is a great thing but it has its own requirements, too. On our cabin there are no amenities, so all the practical work take up a lot of time. It sometimes feels like spending time at the cottage is an ongoing effort. Carrying the water, chopping the wood, cooking outdoor and sauna heating are everyday chores. At some point you should have time to take easy and relax. I’m trying now to make a list of things that will help you to achieve the status of idleness.


Hang hammocks and put lounge chairs at suitable locations and use them at every opportunity.
Light the fire. Sitting and staring into the fire is mankind’s ancient way to make meditation.
Pick up some book and take a rowing boat in the middle of the lake. Sound of the wave ripple calms the mind and gets ideas to flow.


Go for a walk in the woods. The American philosopher Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) recommends walking, aimless wandering in the wild. Walking is the order of the day and adventure, says Thoreau in his essay “Walking”. He walked daily for about four hours “strolling around through the woods and over the hills and fields completely free from worldly commitments”. Thoreau wanted to specifically go out of the way and path. In his essay he praises wild and free nature.


Go to the pier, lie down and watch the sky. Do you see any clouds in the sky? What shape are they? Will they change shape when they move? Is there a crocodile chasing sheep in the sky and on the other side there might be a yawning cat? If watching the clouds begins to seem as an interesting hobby, you’ve gotten rid of the requirement of performance. Now you can simply enjoy just being, and on the idle summer days to the fullest.
“In short, all good things are wild and free.” Henry David Thoreau: Walking

4 ways to approach the North Karelia

North Karelia is a region in Eastern Finland. Its regional center and largest town is my home town Joensuu. Although I no longer live there, it is always the best place to visit. In fact, it is the place you should also explore in. I’ll tell you why.

1. Art History

Romantic interest surrounding Karelia, the Kalevala, and Finland’s distant past is known as Karelianism. This era is also known as the Golden Age of Finnish art, and took place in the 1890s but continued into the 1920s. This national romantic art movement involved writers, painters, poets and sculptors. During that time the artists worked and spent holidays admiring the scenery of North Karelia. Forested hill Koli, which is the most impressive natural attraction there, was also a popular honeymoon destination. Jean Sibelius and his young bride among others spent their honeymoon there. One of Sibelius’ most memorable works is the Karelia Suite Intermezzo.

 

2. Greek Orthodox culture

Orthodox culture is Karelian culture and vice versa. Culture is not merged with the general Finnish tradition, but the Karelian culture heritage is maintained in North Karelian villages. The Orthodox Church did not favor forced deportation and armed crusades, but it spread among the people little by little over decades and centuries, the years 1000 to 1200. Christianity reversal did not change the Karelian folk culture. The old traditions began to be used in new contexts. Laments, the old tradition of singing poems were and still are used at weddings and funerals. Remembering the deceased with food gifts is also combining Christian and pagan traditions.

3. Food

Karelian food is characterized but widely well-known around Finland. North Karelian culinary tradition is influenced of the Orthodox Church and Russia. The local nature provides a wealth of game, fish, mushrooms and berries. The continuous development of the culinary culture appears, for example, in cooperation between restaurants and organic farms.

4. Music

Finnish summer include a variety of cultural events. In North Karelia, they focus on the music. There are classical music festivals, rock and folk music festivals and song festivals, so everyone can find their own way to spend a musical feast.

Art and living in Arabia

Arabia. The word has exotic sound, it is reminiscent of coffee, spices and the flying carpets. Arabia in Helsinki on the contrary is the old porcelain factory which is surrounded by a new, modern residential area. The name of the area is already found in documents dated back to the 18th century whereas the Arabia factory was founded not until the year 1871.

 

The characteristic of the area is the design, art, as well as the sea and closeness to nature. Many Finnish designers have worked at the Arabia factory, and their influence is reflected in the name of streets and parks, and works of art.

The modern buildings of Arabia have been built on the principle of art, where 1-2% of construction costs have been dedicated for art. In the Arabia region, the works of art reflect the history, nature and the unique tradition of Finnish design.

 

Children’s absolute favorite of works of art in the region is “The Oasis”. Three large concrete lions are resting under an orange lamp. This soothing and stimulating work is designed by Ann Sundholm, and it is completed in 2006.

A residential block, known as “Gaudi-house” has been awarded the 2011 Concrete Structure. Concrete wall is decorated with mosaic patterns made ​​of the Arabia factory waste porcelain, among others Moomin cup fragments.

Tapio Wirkkala -park is a combination of different works of art. The park consists of nine room-like space and variety of works of art. The park was completed in the fall of 2012, and designed by Robert Wilson.

Top of the stairs of Arabia factory building is an observation deck with a view of the sea and the promenade. An interesting artwork called pavilion “Rihla” is disposed on the deck. The pavilion is designed and implemented by Tiina Rytkönen and the Working Group in 2007.

Arabia factory and wooden houses built around it are forming a unique example of industrial design history close to the city center. The factory is the center of a residential area, landmark, vibrant workplace, gathering place for shopping and the studio of artists.

 

 

 

 

Sortes Austen

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Sometimes it feels at a dead end, and then you have to ask for advice from the person that you appreciate a lot. Let Jane Austen offer wisdom and solace.

Sortes means “divination, or the seeking of guidance, by chance selection of a passage in the Bible or another text regarded as authoritative.” Now I am looking for an answer a few questions what are woken up in my mind during the past week. The book that I used was Pride and Prejudice. The answers I got are very specific to the writer.

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  1. If you wrote a blog, what would you write about?

“A girl likes to be crossed a little in love now and then. It is something to think of.”

  1. I have a backlog of schoolwork. How do I get started?

“My ideas flow so rapidly that I have not time to express them.”

  1. Summer is almost here. What should I wear?

“No lace. No lace, Mrs. Bennett, I beg you!”

  1. I have not written anything for a long time.What can I write about?

“My style of writing is very different from yours.”

  1. What I could say to women who talk their private matters to the phone on the bus with a loud voice?

“From all that I can collect by your manner of talking, you must be two of the silliest girls in the country. I have suspected it some time, but I am now convinced.”

  1. Dear Miss Austen. Would you like to say something else?

“I will not torment you with vain wishes, which may seem purposely to ask for your thanks.”

  1. But really, something more?

“Know your own happiness. You want nothing but patience- or give it a more fascinating name, call it hope.”

My top 5 things of this week

New packet of coffee

“Police work wouldn’t be possible without coffee,” Wallander said.
“No work would be possible without coffee.”
They pondered the importance of coffee in silence.”
― Henning Mankell, One step behind

For all of simple pleasures of life a fresh coffee is one of the best. I’ll start the week by opening a new packet of coffee. The vacuum packing makes a fun hissing sound and spreads its rich aroma in the room. Suddenly the Monday does no longer seem quite as discouraging as you first think. And, moreover, surely the morning coffee will be fresh and delicious.

bookie

Learning

“Learning is experience. Everything else is just information.” –Albert Einstein

Even though at times it seems difficult, learning is a series of experiences of success. Meaningfulness of the studying is that you can get things finalized and get feedback on it. I am lucky as I get to experience something like this even in adulthood.

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Books for rainy days

“When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.

-Desiderius Erasmus

In March there are approximately seventeen rainy days in Helsinki. Reading is the best way to relax and reduce stress when it is not possible to go out for a walk. I don’t overlook any kind of literature, but I like to read everything: detective stories, fantasy, contemporary literature, classics and poetry. Books can never be too many, so I often go to bookstores and second hand shops to hoard books for a rainy day.

rain

The signs of spring

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”… “It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”

― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

Flowers burst into bloom faster when ever you have time to notice!

tulppaanit

Food

I cooked asparagus for the first time this year. I love it, that’s perfect food for spring: green, fresh and delicious. Since I am from eastern Finland, I also like traditional Finnish foods, like Karelian stew and pastries.  I rarely have time to bake Karelian pastries myself, but the raw frozen product is quite all right. Last time I opened the package, there supposed to be eight pieces, but guess what – there were nine. Ha!

Parsa