Saturday, 25 October 2008

Sangria in the park

Yesterday was a well deserved day off. Although the weather wasn't brilliant and we slept in we decided to take a road trip to Hämeenlinna anyway. I am really pleased we did. Late October is not the most obvious time to be a tourist in Finland and we seem to be masters at avoiding high season. The town of Hämeenlinna is about 100km from Helsinki up the main highway to Tampere. Nice easy driving through the same unending scenery for little over an hour brings you to the town and its castle. The guidebook we have lists other things to do in the town but we decided to visit the castle and go onto the village of Iittala. The castle was excellent and well worth a visit. Iittala was less so although the factory shop there does offer some excellent bargains.

For me though the best thing about it all is the sense of making the most of our time here in Finland and of not falling into the trap of being lazy arses.

The photo above was taken in one of the rooms in the castle. I love the simple white wash of the walls and the contrast with the tiled floor both in terms of colour and geometry. I also took some black and white versions of this while lying on the floor but they were not as good. Just as well we visit places in off season as all the other tourists probably wouldn't appreciate a ginger haired english man sprawled on the floor getting all arty in the quest for an interesting photograph!

Today the kitchen will be on location in Tapiola. The original plan to cook some fancy Thai food is fast being dumped as it is getting too complicated to carry a heavy pestle and mortar and food processor round Helsinki while hunting for authentic ingredients! We may retreat to the simplicity of something Italian but I like the idea of chili and rice today so who knows what we'll be cooking. The chef certainly doesn't!

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