Archive for July, 2005

July 28th, 2005

A few days between travelling

I’ve been handling day-to-day business and life matters after we’ve returned from northern Finland. The days have been flying past with various activities that are not really creative — just tedious. Half of them are stacked up when we’ve been away for almost two weeks, and the other half seems to be just normal life of family with a baby…

One thing keeps me going: we’ll go to Berlin on Saturday and spend a few days in the German capital without any plans… To be honest, we have one goal: to visit Guggenhein Berlin. Hopefully we don’t add too much of things to do and visit, so the holiday feels like holiday.

Consumer electronics with a French twist

FNAC is absolutely the best store to buy electronics and computers in France, as their selection is really extensive and the prices are not that bad. Language barrier may be a problem for those that don’t speak French.

FNAC in Grenoble

Grenoble has two FNAC stores — one in the city centre is located between Galeries Lafayette and McDonald’s. The store is located in the basement, and has all the major categories in home entertainment, including music.

www.fnac.com, 4, rue Félix-Poulat, Grenoble, France, +33 4 7685 8585

Cheap looking fashion

C&A looks like a better fashion store outside and a discount store inside. The garments are packed really tight and they look already somewhat worn — and this is not a fashion statement.

C&A store in Grenoble

The store has clothes for both sexes. The garment design is barely mediocre, “me too” kind of emblems and colours. Sort of Diesel without the twist and the quality. Don’t go there.

www.c-et-a.fr, C.C. des 3 Dauphins (14 Place Grenette), Grenoble, France, +33 4 7646 8798

July 25th, 2005

Finland Travelogue

I’m writing this in my parents summer cabin that has no electricity or internet connection, but instead has excellent views to lake Höytiäinen and the luxury of not being disturbed.

Polvijärvi
Our travelling started on Wednesday, July 13, when we packed our stuff (a lot of stuff) in the trunk of our new car and headed towards north. I’ve been privileged to have a company car and some part of my holiday will be spent looking for the car model and make suitable for us. The current car, Peugeot 607, is just temporary, until we can order and the manufacturer can provide the new car.

The car is a little bit too big for us; hard to get it parked and manouvered around the city. On the upside, it is really spacious. We had a huge load of luggage with us, and all of them could be fit in the trunk without problems.

Getting back to the travelogue, we drove first to Polvijärvi on Wednesday. We stopped for an art break in Mäntyharju, in Art Centre Salmela that has exhibition of contemporary Finnish artists. Salmela is located in really beautiful spot by the lake, near the church of Mäntyharju. The exhibition continues in other old buildings near the shore. This year’s exhibition had some ten artists with almost 200 works. All works are on sale, so prepare with a thick wallet.

Idyllic art experience in Salmela (the grey building across the lake)

The drive from Helsinki to Salmela was really swift, and the usual bottleneck between Lahti and Heinola didn’t cause any traffic jams. After Salmela, the speed somewhat declined, a lot of people drove 15-25 kmph below the speed limits — and the road is so curvy that there are not so many places to overpass. The last leg between Varkaus and Viinijärvi was once again fast enough.

The weather has been really sunny and warm, something like 25-28 centigrades during daytime and constant sunshine.
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THE department store

Galeries Lafayette is the original department store in Paris that has been imitated in every self-respecting store throughout the world. The original store has been later expanded into a chain that has outlets in every major French city. Grenoble is not an exception, and the department store is located on very prime spot in the middle of the walking centre.

Galeries Lafayette in Grenoble

The store has four floors. The first one is dedicated, as usually, to cosmetics, fragnances and accessories. The second floor hosts menswear and third womenswear. The fourth floor is dedicated to children. Most major middlepriced brands can be found in the store, but I could not spot that many luxury brands. Maybe they are exclusive to the Paris store?

The Grenoble outlet is surprisingly compact. I thought that it would be much bigger, but the space is quite limited and thus the items are packed — this creates a little too claustrophobic feeling, at least to me.

www.galerieslafayette.com, 12, Place Grenette, Grenoble, France, +33 4 7647 2854

Basic business accommodation

Hotel Novotel Centre is a centrally located business hotel in WTC Grenoble, just behind the railway station. Take the passage under the rails, climb the stairs and you find yourself at the front of the hotel.

Grenoble Novotel Centre

The rooms are spacious, but the furniture is really aged — the lobby had information about a forecoming interior upgrade project, so hopefully the situation changes. The bathroom has been already renovated, and it was a bright spot in otherwise so dull room.

The price is not that bad, less than hundred euros per single room. The breakfast is not included, and I did not feel spending several euros for continental breakfast — so I cannot say anything about the quality.

www.novotel.com, 7 Place Robert Schuman (
At the other side of the railway station), Grenoble, France, +33 4 7670 8484, h1624@accor.com

July 11th, 2005

Holiday is a holiday is a holiday

Today was the last day in the work, and now I’ll have three and half weeks of holiday. This means, among other things, that I won’t be writing much anything here for a couple of weeks — instead, I’ll try to enjoy the exceptional good weather in Finland with my family.

We are pondering on visiting an European city during the holiday, but the selection with low prices is not that great from Europe. Seems that everybody is flocking to airports these days. This has also some perks, I have been updated twice to business class in two weeks, as the planes have been overbooked.

Restaurant with a view

Palace Restaurants have been busy expanding their culinary empire in Helsinki. The latest addition to their collection is Boat House, a summer restaurant located at an islet hundred meters or so from the south bank of Kaivopuisto. The location couldn’t be any poshier — the boat leaves at the end of Kapteeninkatu, in Merisatama.

View from Restaurant Boat House

There is a small boat that takes you to the restaurant every half and hour or so. The fee of 3,50e is added to the bill, so don’t pay to the driver. Better have a reservation as otherwise you might have to pay for being turned away.

The food is normal better Finnish restaurant fare. Nothing extremely fancy, but no big disappointments either. The atmosphere is very relaxed, so you can leave your tie home. The view from the seaside tables is magnificent, especially during long Finnish summer nights, so try to get yourself seated there.

In our evening, the service was really slow. We had to wait for every meal and some of us left before the dessert was ordered. The staff was apologising this and handled the situation quite well afterwards.

www.palace.fi, Liuskasaari (On an island near Café Carusel), Helsinki, Finland, +358 9 6227 1070, tables@palace.fi