Archive for July, 2007

July 31st, 2007

Holiday wrap-up

I’ve been working for a day and a half already, but haven’t got time to inform my both readers about our escapades in the north. Sorry about this, running a company seems to take its toll.

Tuesday was, against my forecast, a rainy day. That didn’t stop us enjoying one of the best sceneries in Taivalkoski (so I’m told) in Soiperoinen. We packed a backpack with all necessary items to do mild trekking with a two year old toddler.

It was raining cats and dogs when we arrived to the recreational area, but fortunately there was a cottage (looked a bit like tepee) with fireplace, so we could make a fire and roast some sausages. I think that this was the best part for Aapo, he enjoyed the hot sausage and juice immensely.

The weather got better while we were eating and then we walked around the small lake. The views were magnificent from a ridge between two lakes, and I took a ton of pictures. Aapo walked a long stretch, and then Sanna carried him on a special backpack.

We drove to Oulu on Wednesday afternoon. Weather was again very nice, maybe we should have spent the whole holiday in the car to ensure constant sunshine… Sanna’s schoolmate Aino-Kaisa and her family provided accommodation for us. Aapo was joyful, as they have a boy only three weeks older than him. A lot of play, some wrestling and screaming.

On Thursday I met a couple of my former colleagues from Continuent, had a nice lunch and talked about this and that. I also found a new pair of sneakers that I’ve been hunting down for a couple of weeks in Joensuu, Helsinki and Espoo. Bought also two t-shirts.

Thursday evening we met another Sanna’s schoolmate in their nice flat facing the sea. Weather was beautiful and we had excellent time together.

Friday morning we got a boat ride by Arttu (Aino-Kaisa’s husband) on Oulu river. The weather was perfect, the river was still when we cruised towards Oulu downtown — near the dam that blocked our way to sea. Then Arttu took us some way upriver and then back home. Fantastic trip, maybe a boat would be nice for us, too…

After lunch we drove 300+ kilometers south to Tuuri, to visit the world’s biggest village shop (been there before) and spend a night at the adjoined hotel (read review). The place hadn’t changed that much — the concept is still working; we ended up spending almost €300 in less than 20 hours.

We arrived home on Saturday afternoon and took the rest of the weekend easy; unpacked stuff, read a couple of books, had a good sauna and so worth.

The church in Milan

Duomo is one of the few sights in downtown Milan. It has been built from 14th century onwards and is a masterpiece of gothic architecture. The amount of details is astounding and the contrast between the cathedral and the surrounding buildings is striking.

Inside Duomo in Milan, Italy
The cathedral is open for the public without fees, and usually the queues are not that long. So, step inside to admire the huge open space with stained glass art in every window. There is always some people praying, so remember to be quiet.

Duomo, Piazza del Duomo, Milan, Italy

Inexpensive and good

Chiesanuova is a nondescript Italian restaurant at the northern end of Corso Como. Their menu is relative inexpensive — even to the degree that we were a bit unsure should we go inside. Fortunately we decided for the restaurant, as both pastas and pizzas were delicious.

We got good service, the food arrived timely and the bill was a snap. Price for two people having pastas and something to drink (not wine) was mere €26.50, including the cover charge. Next time we ordered a couple of pizzas for takeaway and it cost around ten euros. Not bad.

Chiesanuova, Corso Como, 10, Milan, Italy, +39 02 657 1624

July 23rd, 2007

Lazy days in Taivalkoski

Today is the first day of our holiday, and we have done nothing — a perfect start for the days off.

To be honest, we did stroll to Taivalkoski centre in the morning to see monster trucks and other stunt cars. There’s a stunt car show this evening, but the tickets are so expensive (€15 for adult and €10 for child) that we decided to skip it.

We visited also a couple of local stores and bought a couple garments for Aapo. We visited the local playground and threw some stones to water on the river. I’ve also read one novel by Jan Guillou and started other one by Henning Mankell. Swedish literature day, it seems.

Tomorrow we’ll probably do even less. Wednesday is a travel day, as we relocate to Oulu. The recent weather forecast promised the good weather to follow us — it has been sunny and warm day today and tomorrow should be an exact clone. Wednesday good weather stretches all the way to Oulu that has had some rains now, and on Thursday Oulu should enjoy sunshine and Taivalkoski should have some rain. Not bad for us.

Good local choice

If you are strolling around Corso Como and feel hungry, check out restaurant Rocking Horse at the northern end of the street. Usually filled with eaters, the restaurant has an excellent price quality ratio combined with good service.

We ordered a pasta dish for each and some tomato bread. Pasta was good and the bread was delicious. The size of the portions were just right; you don’t feel bloated and still don’t leave the restaurant hungry.

They also have take-away for pizzas.

Rocking Horse, Corso Como, 12, Milan, Italy, +39 02 657 0433

A rip-off

The small alleys near Via Pontaccio (and Lanza metro station) are filled with restaurants with opportunities for al fresco dining (outdoors), as their patios expand to the street. We loved the atmosphere of the area, but went to the wrong eatery.

Al Treno di Mezzanotte in Milan, Italy
Al Treno Di Mezzanotte looks ok restaurant, and the prices are okay for the first glance. There’s even a bunch of waiters and waitresses lounging next to the door to create Mediterranean atmosphere to the max.

Unfortunately, the restaurant does not deliver. We ordered pasta dishes that were priced quite reasonable, around 10-15 euros each. Then we waited for ages them to arrive, just to see that the portions were minuscule. I left the restaurant hungrier than I’ve arrived. Making the bill took also a small eternity, and the cover charge was €2.50 each — outrageous. Don’t go there.

www.orient-express.it, Via Fiori Chiari 8, Milan, Italy, +39 02 805 6227

July 20th, 2007

Holiday starts now and ends too soon

My holiday starts today … and lasts for a week. This is the glorious life of an entrepreneur.

We’ll drive up north to Taivalkoski on Sunday and come back from Oulu on Saturday — about 1,800 – 2,000 kilometers with leisure driving included. There is not much planned, just being with people and relaxing.

After holiday, I’ll fly to London on Sunday for a couple days for overseeing a training.

Very Italian café

If your legs get tired of walking from high-end fashion store to another, check out Bar Senato on Corso Venezia — a couple of blocks from the “center” of the Milan fashion district. The café is traditionally Italian, so expect to see small tables, good coffee, male-only staff with excellent attitude and generally a jolly good time.

Bar Senato in Milan, Italy
The bar is not cheap, as it can monetise the hordes of fashion shoppers, but fortunately it is not ragingly expensive either. As there is only one room at the café, it can get noisy sometimes. There are also balcony seats available facing the street that are a good choice on nice weather.

Bar Senato, Corso Venezia, 23, Milan, Italy