Thursday, December 6, 2012

Hunting for the sun in December

We went for a hunt that day of December. We managed to catch it and shot it (with camera) from the shore by Kaivopuisto. The view never let me down from there, especially at winter! 02.12.12

Sailing cancelled.

For the last day of November, a pikkujoulu was planned on board of Valborg. Unfortunately, the wind and waves kept us ashore. So instead of sailing, we made some rope work, salted the deck, saved some small boats that were taking water and plainly froze in the blizzard. That was an exciting Friday night for sure. 30.11.2012

Kaisaniemen yliopisto kirasto

I paid a visit to the newly renovated university library in Kaisaniemi. The result is quite inspiring,  large spaces, large windows, quiet. I made some good work there. Probably the view on the ragging storm Antti from the peace of the library added a lot to my experience. By the way, this is what a first day of snow looks like in Helsinki.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Juhannus 2012 - Saint Jean

It is Juhannus again. A day to remember that in the first place and until today we are worshiping the sun. So for a night, everybody try to be in the country side, close to our so-called roots, and drink together while waiting for a dusk that won't come that day. And make a large bonefire, the kokko, to burn any bad thoughts left from the winter night.

Excellent time on Valborg. Some beautiful weather, some cold drizzle, some castle island, some alias and trivial poursuite in Finnish. Thank to the Valborg crew to make this possible. 23.06.2012

It wouldn't go any darker than that.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Visiting Käärmeluoto

 And what about paying a visit to the archipelago? It is just there, always laying in the background that we forget it.

So here I am, loading the kayak with tent and food for a day and hop. On the way, some small talk with other kayakers, greeting some fishermen trying hard to get the zanders and some colonies of seabirds. They reproduce our human society on tiny rocky island. Not 20 m long but separated in three zones for three different species. And what a fuss when a goose goes in the tern district! It feels then war in the sky.

I went to Käärmeluoto, selected with so much care the camping spot and enjoy my menu: pasta, sunset and view on the archipelago.

For sure we find fine accomodation in Helsinki.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The seagulls and the floating sauna.

Speaking Finnish seriously opens doors.

On Tuesday, työväen retkeilyliitto members meets at 18h at Laajalahdensatama. For 4 euro, it is possible to borrow a kayak and join them for an paddling evening. It seems that not everybody is here for profit after all. So big up for the people who organized this.

We went paddling around Seurasaari. The wind was quite strong at the start, making shorts splashing wave and a bit of excitement. Around Seurasaari, there are a couple of islands that are off-limit for visitor to leave the nesting birds in peace. In peace? They can be hundred, flying above the island in flying shouting ball that is stinking strong bird shit. That's worth the trip.
On the way back, beautiful light that was turning water into pure gold and silver. On the middle of the bay, a raft, a sauna on top of it, a man cutting wood and a fishing rod. It is like that. 05.06.2012

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sea adventure

My first boat: Bourrasque. I paddle it from Vuosaari to Laajalahti on a beautiful day. I saw the very rich shore line of east Helsinki, the busy south harbour, I was surrounded by sea birds near Puolimatkansaari. I got the triple greeting of MS baltic princess, a 200 m long ship that felt like saying me:" you are smaller, get out of the way". Then the very calm laajalahti.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Baltic herring frenzy

The guy who created this country thought it was so harsh to get one's food here that for two weeks twice a year, there would be free fish for all.
 Twice a year, balting herrings (silakka) comes in huge flocks mate by the shore and their meeting point in Helsinki is where  Lauttasaari bridge meets Ruoholahti. For two weeks, the place is full of eager fishermen taking bucketfull of baltic herrings in 2 hours, catching up to 12 herrings at one throw! The docks is full of a sort of euphoria, it is a bit like if everybody was winning in the casino and that there was enough for everybody.

For you that would like to try: look at what is awaiting you the same evening:

Working on Valborg

Suomenlinna is not only the best place to go for a pic nic from the city or to go read a novel away from everything in the summer.
At winter, the shipyard becomes busy from the work done on old wooden sailing ships. The very old looking dry docks are filled with the finest ships you can find around Finland and the long necessary work begins, going from changing most of the hull to painting a bit the visible nails (I did that part).

Many thanks to the people of Valborg!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

En meute - bike trip to Nuuksio

... et retrouver des vieux et doux souvenirs, tous sur son vélo, en bande dans la fin du jour à faire route vers la forêt. Du coup j'ai rien à écrire, tout est là:

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Kantava hanki - commuting by ski

It happened rather early this year in Helsinki. After a few cycles of warm days and cold nights, the snow forms a solid crust that can carry one's weight: kantava hanki in Finnish. For me this means the possibility to cross the frozen sea of Laajalahti in no time to go to work. A picture of my commuting trip. 07.03.3012

I take the opportunity to mention another blog: the Finnish snow dictionnary.

Kaivopuiston tähtitorni - star observatory of Kaivopuisto

What about having a glance at the four moons of Jupiter tonight? Or see the surface of the moon through a telescope? Aim at a clear sky night and head to kaivopuisto observatory. A small fee, a guy explaining what is to be seen and two telescopes, here you are. 08.03.2012

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Au conteur et sa légende.

L’histoire qui suit est celle d’un savant qui s’était fait ermite Il vivait pauvrement, errait la campagne et à force de raconter ses histoires, il était devenu conteur. De nombreuses années, il avait vécu dans sa baraque à demi-enterrée dans la forêt, vécu de collecte et de la générosité de ceux qui voulait bien écouter ses contes. Ses auditeurs devinrent de plus en plus nombreux avec les années car il était devenu un habile conteur et les soirées d’hiver sont longues en Finlande.
Mais ces temps étaient durs et une année l’hiver fut précoce. Le conteur arriva la veille de Noël dans une famille qui voulu bien l’accueillir lui et ses histoires. On dit que parfois le repas de noël suffit à nourrir l’homme jusqu’au prochain printemps avec toutes ses victuailles, poissons fumée, saucisse, jambon et marinades. Le conteur mangea tant et tant que habitué à toutes les privations, il en devint malade d’une terrible indigestion qui l’emporta dans la nuit.
Cette histoire paraît venir du fond des âges ou d’une imagination trop féconde et pourtant si on questionne les habitant des environs de Nuutajärvi, ils vous indiqueront un chemin qui serpente dans la forêt jusqu’à aboutir à une maison à moitié-enfoui dans le sol, faites d’immenses pierres non équarries et assemblées sans mortier. L’habitant de cette maison aujourd’hui inhabitée l’avait agrémentée d’un confort rustique au fil des ans. Une terrasse avec des immenses meubles fait de granite, sculpture de pierre. Il faut emprunter une porte basse pour y entrer, en utilisant un astucieux système de serrure artisanal. A l’intérieur se trouve une couchette et une table autour d’un âtre qui occupe la moitié de la pièce. La maison est conservée ouverte pour que les visiteurs puissent se rappeler le conteur et raconter sa dernière histoire : celle de sa vie.

Pour plus de photo: album. Merci à T. pour les photos.

Down the ice are the made (burbot fishing)

It was a strange Friday night in Helsinki winter. I met four guys on a parking at dusk all geared up for the cold cold night. We drove an hour behind Porkkala. We added some extra cloth until we looked barely recognizable and walked to the ice. Far from the city lights, the stars were bright and we were all shadow moving on snow.
There we meet another group of shadows, bend over the ice, silent. A brief talk in Finnish. Sounds promising, the guys caught already two burbots (made: fi, lotte: fr). We went a bit further, dig our holes in the ice, add some fish baits to the hooks. And very attentive, we moved our baits just over the sandy bottom. For hours. Moving the toes inside the boots to warm them up,imaging all these burbots so close under the ice, watching our breath freeze and be carried away by the breeze. Moving from an hole to an other.Exchanging a few words with new fisherman coming for their luck.

Four hours later, the cold took over our hopes and we left we a single too small made back to the car, leaving the beautiful frozen night behind us. 10.02.2012

Monday, January 30, 2012

Winter comes at merikarvia

Merikarvia first week-end of the winter. Spend mostly at watching the ice forming, breaking it to go for a last trip with the rowing boat and for the dip after sauna.06.06.2012

Back on tracks

Magical winter. White thick coat, trees loaded with snow. Family are outside on ski, direction: an old kahvila (maunulan maja) full of tasty pastries. 29.01.2012.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Ravintola päivä

A fantastic idea: a guy organized a restaurant day in Finland. Everybody can open a restaurant for one day, without licence. Wherever and whichever concept. It turned out to be a huge succes, repeated 3 times in a year and the guy was acknowledged to be "Helsinki citizen of the year".

Below some guys thought: Hey why not make a huge soup of suppilovavero (chantrelle grise ou à tube) next to my tugboat-home by Suomenlinna? Ah and indeed we set up the tent sauna for the customer!

Pêche et tradition

Les plaisirs très simples de ce bas-monde. Partir deux heures sur une barque sur la mer. Lancer sa ligne encore et encore plein d'espoir. Sentir le vent de mer. L'excitation quand un poisson a bien voulu mordre, la bataille qui s'ensuit. 
Et puis la préparation, nettoyer ça. Qu'est-ce qu'ils sont beaux d'ailleurs ces poissons. Et finalement couper du bois pour chauffer le fumoir à poisson.