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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Playing for the Pink Panthers

The coach is explaining the next offensive plays

As I am now playing for the Pink Panthers, a superb jersey is included. Definitely conspicuous, but not distracting the opponents as much as wished. We're still lacking some victories which are becoming more and more important to stay in the league.

Even cheers of Dänjel B. were not helping so much in the last game, unfortunately. A few drinks later the loss was almost forgotten. After the game is before the game :) The next day we were heading to Liesjärvi National Park. The lakes are showing a fish deficit one again. But the fireplaces and elk steaks were just brilliant.

Elk steaks barbecued in the Liesjärvi National Park

Friday, November 08, 2013

Autumn in Finland

Wall graffiti in Helsinki's harbour
One night, I was riding through the city, ending up in a kind of dead end in the harbour. Some drunk idiots were trying to find out how fast their car could go, accelerating every now and then just to break a few hundred metres later. But ok, I've found that nice graffiti art work which must be kept on my camera's SD card.

Nuuksio Nationalpark just half an hour drive away from Helsinki
I've been to Nuuksio Nationalpark, just a stone's throw away from Helsinki, a couple of times, chasing some little creatures called "flying squirrels". It is said one's having quite good chances to see them, and I kept my eyes open, searching the top of the trees, but without any luck. Too scared, those little fellows. But at least the colourful autumn scenes were providing some great photo shots.

Dangling legs on Olhavanvuori in Repovesi Nationalpark
Another highlight: Repovesi Nationalpark, some two hours north east of Helsinki. I've spent the whole day there, walking and hiking a bit. And having some sort of dinner on top of Olhavanvuori. The cliff is dropping ca. 50 metres vertically down to the lake's shore. Nice scene, nice landscape, nice little thing of nature.

View from Olhavanvuori just before sunset, Repovesi Nationalpark

Monday, October 28, 2013

Porvoo to the east, Hanko to the west

Hanko's beach, accessible directly from the city centre
 Jana and Alex visited me as well, in September. Time to do some things on the weekend. We hit the road on Saturday, heading west to Hankoo with its rugged coastline. I think it can be considered as a recreation area, but the high season was already over, I guess. With water temperatures of 17 °C or so, I have to admit, you cannot spent hours swimming. Hard enough to jump in! ... Sunday, another day, another direction - going east to Porvoo. Small village, not much to do, just to see the old wooden houses from former ages. And a few hundred Chinese tourists running through the cobbled stone streets. We finished off the weekend with some self-made blueberry muffins.

UNESCO World Cultural Heritage, wooden houses in Porvoo, east of Helsinki

Friday, October 18, 2013

Jumping around Part 2: Helsinki

Linnanmäki amusement park rollercoaster
Yeah that was a good one. Going up and down with this thing made us feeling a bit dizzy... I cannot think of a better start in a Saturday's morning :) Too bad for Chris who was staying down taking some pictures. But at least Kathl, Frenky and Torsten had some fun as well (last two rows).

Smugglers boat trip in Helsinki's harbour
After discovering the city by foot, friendly Natalia was assisting to get another view on Helsinki. A great two hour cruise finalized with a strong coloured sunset... And what is a must thing to do with Chris and Kathl? Right, jump pictures. Thus, we did a lot on Sunday, tried more than a hundred times - and we were able to get some good shots :)

One of numerous jump pictures at Töölönlahti

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Moose watching on the daily way from work

A few weeks ago, THE animal of the north was sighted. It took a while, I haven't seen them neither in Norway nor in Sweden. And where were they? Yeah right, pretty close to Helsinki, only some kilometres away. Just saw those three fellows on the way back home, right after work. Things just happen unexpectedly.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Punkaharju, Savonlinna and Kupio

Trunk surrounded by cranberries

During summer time, it was, let’s say, crowded in apartment 72. A lot of friends were coming and thus, we discovered sight-seeing Finland.

Olavinlinna in Savonlinna

After a one day walk around in Helsinki, Angie, Tobi and me started on a rainy Monday morning towards Lappeenranta. A cozy little town with Finland’s oldest wooden church; but not so much more to explore.  After a little while more in the car, we reached our cottage in Punkaharju – an huge campground including attractions like waterparks, mini golf, canoeing, frisbee golf, table tennis, fishing, … Heaps to do. Oh yeah, and Sauna of course.

Tobi and me on top of the Puijon Tower

Next stage was the old Swedish castle Olavinlinna in Savonlinna, battle scenery between the Russians and Swedish, before Finland got independent in 1917. Beautiful, this castle, surrounded by water – the Kyrönsalmi.

Lookout from Puijon Tower

We went further north, as far as Kuopio, where we would stay the following two days. The three of us, in one hotel room, and I was the lucky one, winning the children bed which was as soft as jelly. But ok, I survived. The next day, we walked up the Puijon mountain, where ski jumpers are having fun in winter time, doing a boat ride on the Kallavesi and enjoyed a traditional finnish celebration (wooden sauna, an huge buffet including smoked salmon and a lumberjack show with live music). The next day, we were heading back towards Helsinki. On the way, near Leppävirta, the hiking track though the Orinoro gorge was the last highligt.

Path leading through the Orinoro gorge

Monday, September 23, 2013

Going far up north

Ramberg beach offers a bit caribbean feeling
Long time no post, work and stuff keeps me busy all time. A lot was happening, but I'll start with a little pre-story: Antje and I had a bit more than a week to travel around, thus a kinda schedule was needed. We took the flight to Rovaniemi first, rented a car and hit the road. And oh yeah, Rovaniemi, the place where Santa Clause is supposed to live. Not hidden in a tiny wooden house off the road somewhere in the forrest. No!!! Right next to the highway, 3 km from the airport (logistically perfect chosen). A lot of (chinese/japanese) tourists were on his traces as well. And found him, of course. The white-bearded man was awaiting each of them to have little chat and a family photo shoot. Strange fact: We've seen two Santas, but the one we were speaking to was obviously the right one :) Christmas is saved this year!

Lookout from Reinebringen summit towards Reine and Hamnoya
After an 1 hour touristic tour through Rovaniemi (that's pretty much sufficiant to see everything) we did some shopping and started once again, following the road west. Soon, the Finnish-Swedish border was reached and passed. We went as far as Kiruna that night before setting up the tent at a riverside. BBQ, keeps the mosquitos away, and off to sleep.

"Ferske reker" as dinner at the beach
If you go camping, you are supposed to wake up early. But we didn’t. And we still had a long way to go. We left Kiruna and a huge lake behind us, crossed the Swedish-Norwegian border easily and some more hundred kilometres, bridges and curves later, we arrived at our destination. Valberg, Lofoten. The cottage key was still hanging in the lock. We opened the door and found ourselves a well-equipped, but old-fashioned furnished house.

Grey clouds only in Eggum area 
The next days were just perfect. Sleeping long, late breakfasts, some hiking and walking tours, cruising on the ocean and catching some fresh fish for dinner. Delicious. And a relaxing time on top of it.

Laukvik lighthouse with the sun setting
The overall lookout from Reinebringen and the beautiful beaches around Ramberg and Flakstad are definitely a must see. Days passed by quickly, and we did the same on the way back, splitting the kilometres and tenting somewhere in the bushes before crossing the border to Sweden.

Antje getting the view for it
Our way led us through the endless forests in Lapland. And there, to come back to Santa Clause, we found his little helpers. Reindeers! But it seems they are a bit stubborn. They are not just crossing the streets; they are walking on them on purpose – looking left and right being even more interested in humans than vice versa. Pretty cool and a good finish for our trip.

Reindeers do like the finnish streets

Saturday, August 03, 2013

What to eat in Finland?

There are plenty of things to try, regional Finish food, like all kind of fish prepared in hundred different ways. Other things I don't even know how to pronounce correctly. But the thing I was most surprised of: ice cream. In a normal super market you can find more ice cream you have ever dreamed of. All tastes and sizes you imagine. And I got used to it, having an ice cream every day after work. It has become our after work ritual.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Some lessons learned

Helsinki harbour sea side front

Another visitor here in Helsinki - another tour through the city. And even more on Saturday. Lessons learned: A drivers license cannot be used as ID to leave one EU-country and go to the next one. The scheduled 10 o'clock ferry was leaving without us, I had do go home to pick up a proper ID and then, finally, we were allowed to enter the ferry to Tallinn, Estonia.

Tallinn historical city centre

Fishing was not successful, once again. The tackle was hooked in some water lilies, I pulled heavily, got it loose and it was flying towards me with extreme speed - result: see the picture. The hook attached itself pretty good, I was not able to pull it out. Neither was the doctor at the hospital after 2 1/2 hours waiting. Only one possibility left: Stick it through the skin once again, cut off the main part and pull out the rest of it. That worked well, finally. The end of the story: Finnish fish seems to be pretty clever!!!

Fishing hook catching something big

Sunday, July 07, 2013

On a sunny weekend in Helsinki

Great look around at the Waltic Boat Center, East Helsinki

An excellent Sunday is going to be over. Sun was burning as hell, thus I spent the whole at the beach getting a bit more taint. I haven't expected it to be happening but yes, even possible in Finland. And on the way back, I found a little present on the street, just waiting to be picked up... :) So I did!

Monday, July 01, 2013

Another tour from west to east

         Größere Kartenansicht

Another weekend, another tour - this time: Turku - Helsinki, 2 days. I took the train on Saturday noon and arrived in Turku just two hours later. The tour starts...

Rantolansuntti - time seems to stand still

I was riding along the coastline, passing a few villages and meeting some Finnish people asking for the way. Couldn't help them at all, unfortunately. And I had more than my own problems finding the right streets leading me there where I needed to go. I got to Tammisaari pretty late, after 10 pm, which means: Those two hotels they had were already closed and checking in was no option anymore. Hotel staff??? Didn't see any!!! I made myself at home at a quiet beach outside the village. Goodbye warm and cozy bed, hello air mattress and sleeping bag.

Tammisaari pier at around midnight

After a while I realized I haven't been alone at all. Mosquitos all over the place. The insect repellent kept them on distance. But not some other friends - ants. Daaamn!!! They've been everywhere, even inside the sleeping bag, starting to bite, pee or what ever. That night was horrible ... and short. Back on the bike (6 am!!!) I followed the old kings road via Inkoo and Kirkkonummi and approached Helsinki on time, having a good rest then.

Tammisaari - the historic city centre with its wooden houses

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Having the sun shining 24/7

Somehow it's strange, but I got used to it easily - no real night, having light 24 hours 7 days a week. During summer, it's the best thing that could happen. Sun is going down at midnight, rising again at 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning. Thus, I am kinda scared of the Finnish winter...

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Midsummer cycling through South-Finland

Midsummer - greatest event in Finland and everyone is looking forward to it since weeks, planning their trip to the summer cottage with the family or some friends. And why that? Having a good time, being drunk 5 times a day, the whole weekend, including Friday. Pretty strange, but that's all about it.

Vanajavesi in Hämeenlinna

I had some add ons planned. Taking the bike and leaving Helsinki (It seemed to be a dead city, empty highways and streets, everyone had left already!) on Friday early morning I was heading north. Weather conditions couldn't be any better - nicely hot! I was going as far as Tampere that day, finding a place to sleep  in the middle of nowhere, somewhere on a field close to Suomatka (point B). I set up my air mattress and sleeping bag, but those mosquito beasts have been quicker. I got myself covered completely and put on some insect repellent. That kept them on distance, but they still were so much annoying. I used the ear plugs and that gave me some sleep...

Summer cottage and barbecue at Kiesimenjärvi

On Saturday I was going to Mänttä (point C) before Torsten was picking me up by car. We reached Paajala within one hour, making ourselves at home at the barbecue, tried some fishing in the Kiesimenjärvi and had some beers, just following the (Finnish) midsummer tradition.

Sunsets are taking forever during midsummer days

On the way back we were stopping by in Tampere, for a one hour walk around through the city. Not much to offer, really not, I have to say. Kinda disappointing. At least, we were at home on time :D

Sitting in Näsinpuisto, Tampere

Friday, June 21, 2013

Just taking the ferry to an other country

Right after work on a Friday, I was heading towards the ferry terminal and taking this two hour ride to Tallinn, the Estonian capital. It was pretty busy on the ship, especially the duty free shop was crowded. Prices were still high, but definitely less than on the finnish main land. That means, people were there for either getting back to Estonia (a few) or getting drunk (most of them).

Together with Frenky and Torsten, I stayed at another colleague's place in outter Tallinn - nice and cozy apartment in the right street called Aiandi :D I just have one comment to Friday evening: The Estonians know how to drink, and how to open bottles (it's just not necessary to close them again)!!!

I started with a little hangover, the next day. Breakfast helps! And a little walk around in the old Tallinn city centre. Pretty cool - narrow streets, some churches and kathedrals built in the common Russian-Orthodox style, filled with lots of tourists. We were not the only ones. After a good dinner we spent the night in numerous bars in clubs, excellent stuff.

So guess what - there was not so much happening on Sunday. Just being sunburned on the ferry back to Finland.

Monday, June 03, 2013

EstLink2 Converter Stations

I've got some news from the working point of view as well. As I am living in Helsinki, it takes approx. 40 minutes to get to site, which means having another rest for a while - we have two cars and commonly I am not the driver. Still, it's pretty much a construction site. But work is going well, so far. Additionally, I've found the EstLink2 commercial video on youtube. It explains nicely what the project is all about :)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Getting to know and around

Sooo, a couple of weeks are over now. Time is flying, the apartment is furnished. Basic things needed for normal life, at least. The couch is perfect for having some visitors coming over ;) All in all, it offers plenty of space.

My racing machine is locked, down in the basement - I am well equipped. Sauna is available as well, kind of different to the one I know from back home. I hardly can stay longer than, let's say, 7 minutes. I am not quite sure, might be less :)

The city centre itself offers some attractions. The cathedral with its market place is one of them. There are a few churches, lots of parks and hundreds of islands surrounded by brownish water. Everything is easy to reach, almost in walking distance, and biking pretty common too. The harbour market is perfect for fresh and local delights - unfortunately, I am missing the opening hours all the time, but the smoked fish (siika) is absolutely delicious.

Unexpectedly, it's pretty good weather over here. Sun is shining almost every day. Time to dig out shorts and T-Shirts, unfortunately, I've just brought a few. There was some rains as well - but if I sum it all up, it was definitely less than one day. Instead, I've installed a sauna thermometer in my living room :D It has reached a maximum of 27°C today.