Helsinki, pt. II

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I'm just racing through these Helsinki pictures, huh? I have no excuse for it really, since life is just always busy and crazy it seems. But anyway, let's get back to it. I want to show you guys the apartment we stayed at. Have I mentioned it had a sauna?! It was probably one of the best parts of the trip, which sounds a bit sad if you just think of us sitting around being sweaty. But it was so relaxing, and cozy having a sauna all to ourselves. It quickly became our routine to shop at the market on the way home, make a simple dinner, then spend the rest of the evening alternating between being inside the sauna and cooling off on our balcony sipping some cold drinks. We got a 'sauna mix' of essential oils (pine, mint, rosemary) to put in our little ladle of water to pour over the hot rocks. I loved the ritual of the sauna, how it's such an ingrained part of Finnish culture (and how it's totally normal to have one in a tiny apartment) and all the traditional accessories that go along with it. Some of my favourite memories of the trip are of sitting in the dark sauna, with the smell of wood and the sound of water hissing on the rocks. And of watching the black ocean outside our balcony while steam rose off our shoulders. I think the Finns are on to something. 

Helsinki, pt. I

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Despite both of us having projects due last week, we managed to make it over to Helsinki for a few days to celebrate our ten year anniversary (!). Everyone thought we were crazy for going there in April, and during a cold spell at that. But we'd been wanting to go for Helsinki for a long time and luckily had booked our tickets back in the fall, otherwise I'm not sure we would have made it happen. I'd always had this idea of Helsinki being very 'exotic', the blend of Nordic and Russian is so appealing to me. I love their design traditions, and the connection Finns have to nature. It's always different being somewhere you have high expectations of, but we both really liked it there. It felt so much further away from Copenhagen than a one hour flight, which was a treat after my usual 24 hour long marathons home. The Finnish culture is very different from Danish culture, and it was really interesting to learn more about it. The weather wasn't amazing, but it wasn't nearly as cold as it looks and the mist made everything look a bit magical. It also gave us a good excuse to hang out in our cozy apartment, with a view to the sea and a sauna inside (more on that later), which is what we did for our first day there after arriving in the afternoon. We ventured out Saturday though, stopping for the requisite carrot cake and seeing some of the highlights of downtown. We attempted to go to a couple of different food markets, but without much luck, so we consoled ourself with chai lattes from this lovely cafe Susk had recommended before heading back to our sauna. Although we weren't nearly brave enough, we did see an older woman go into the semi-frozen sea on our walk home, before calmly sauntering to the public sauna nearby. Finns! 

Iceland Poster

Friday, April 5, 2013

One of the things that I did during my spring cleaning this year was this project, something I've been meaning to do for a long time. I'd been wanting a large-ish photo/poster/art piece for this wall and had thought about one of Debbie Carlos' prints but wanted something more personal, and a bit brighter for the space. I looked into printing here, but large posters cost a fortune so I got one of our photos from our honeymoon to Iceland printed as an engineering print when I was back home in Canada. It was the largest size (24 x 36, although I would have liked even bigger) and cost $4. Hung up with some washi tape, it's a pretty cheap and easy way to cover our walls. It's so nice to have something different up, instead of the temporary small pictures that stayed up for two years. I have a few more small projects (my favourite kind these days) too, but I have started on my next school application project, so things might still be kind of quiet around here.

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