Archive for November, 2008

November 26th, 2008

Train trip with Aapo

I and Aapo spent the last weekend in Northern Carelia with my parents. We left Sanna and Niilo home to sell stuff on a flea market and also Sanna to work on some pressing items.

This was the second trip Aapo travelled in a long-haul train. The travel time was four and half hours to Joensuu and more than six back to Helsinki, but more about the latter a bit later.

The trip to Joensuu was really nice. I wouldn’t have guessed how well Aapo behaved, watched DVDs and played in the play area of the train car. I could code, read a few presentations and in general work. The only hitch was that my MacBook’s Bluetooth chip decided not to work after two hours of use. It is still broken, need to bring the laptop to service soon.

There was a real winter in Joensuu and Polvijärvi. Almost ten centimeters of snow and a few Centigrade below zero. Aapo sledged, visited the local swimming center (in next town, 25 kilometers away…) and helped grandma to bake gingerbread cookies.

We started our journey back to Helsinki at noon on Sunday. First, we did some shopping in Joensuu and ate cakes in Café Houkutus (much recommended, by the way), and then embarked the train at three o’clock.

There was a snow storm developing and it hit southern Finland in the afternoon. Due to this, the train was more than an hour late. Sanna couldn’t leave home, as Niilo was already sleeping. So, we decided to take a taxi from Tikkurila station.

The plan sounded simple, but execution was not perfect. There were no taxis in the station, and we had to wait 20 minutes before getting one. Aapo was so tired that I had to talk to him all the way home, and he fell asleep twice — but fortunately woke up and was able to walk to the door by himself. I was buried under our bags and safety seat.

Sanna hadn’t cleaned the yard, and there were more than twenty centimeters of snow. So I spent half an hour removing the snow, cleaning up the car and driving it into the carage. I wasn’t the happiest camper when I finally was able to enter the house. Fortunately, I am not slow to forget…

Excellent café

Aschan has several coffeehouses and bakeries around Turku region. One of these excellent cafés is located on Hansa center, in the middle of the city. The café is quite small, but the space doubles with an indoor patio, and doubles again with another Aschan café on the second floor.

Aschan café in Turku, Finland

They offer a good selection of both sweet and salty goodies, accompanied with a selection of coffees, teas and soft drinks. The best part of the deal is the price; not exactly cheap but inexpensive compared to the quality and the size of the portions., Eerikinkatu 15 (in Hansa center), Turku, Finland, +358 20 446 2949

The other department store

Sokos department store is located adjacent to the market square, just next to the department store of Kuopio’s own people, Carlson’s. The ground floor makes you think that the store is really miniscule, but the second floor expands the space greatly.

Kuopio’s Sokos is part of Sokos chain that covers all major cities in Finland (except Oulu — a fact that I find somewhat puzzling). Their selection is geared heavily towards the middle class, so don’t expect any haute couture brands. Sokos is quite good at tableware, carrying Iittala and other Finnish brands., Haapaniemenkatu 24-26, Kuopio, Finland, +358 17 192 800

November 18th, 2008

Thousandth post

This is the thousandth post in! More than four years have passed since I created the first incarnation of the site.

During this time, I’ve got two sons, moved to a new apartment, changed my employer twice, and finally established my own company.

The site has not fulfilled its original promise of freeing me to be a digital nomad — and now the times have changed. With the kids, you do not want to wander around, but stay put. Of course, it would be nifty to have gained enough capital to be independently wealthy, and be nomadic at least in mental sense. That hasn’t happened yet, but Exove is on its way to a bright future.

Despite not meeting the targets, has given me a lot of good openings in both privately and business-wise. So let’s call it a moderate success.

I’ll plan to continue writing here, and reviewing the interesting places I’ve been. Stay tuned for the next thousand articles.

Department store complex

Carlson is an old trading house from Kuopio. Incidently, their flagship store is located also in the very same town. The location could not be more central, just next to the central market square — but this is a bit deceiving, as the store continues in a series of buildings that are joined with underground tunnels or walking bridges.

Carlson department store in Kuopio, Finland

The first store from the market square has men fashion, the next specialises in home decoration and hardware and the third has clothing for women and children. Some special departments are put here and there. In other words, prepare to get lost or at least confused.

The brands and prices are both okay, nothing spectacular or cheapish. Don’t let the look and feel of the store to depress you, the stuff is good even if some of the premises aren’t., Haapaniemenkatu 22, Kuopio, Finland, +358 17 376 111

November 11th, 2008

Becoming kid again on Father’s Day

Father’s Day is celebrated in Finland on the second Sunday in November. For me, the event has been much more low-key than Mother’s Day in May, and that’s the way I like it. The day somehow feels a bit too much like a commercial ploy to sell more books.

Anyhow, I got to read newspaper in the bed — luxury that we haven’t been able to do for years. After that I continued to build a Lego Technic mobile crane (8421) that I bought during last summer in Oulu. Sanna had her parents to bring it home. She didn’t bother to inform me, so I was taken by complete surprise when the box was hauled from under our bed on Saturday evening.

I and Aapo spent almost two hours on Saturday evening, and at least four or five hours on Sunday to get the crane up and running. It was completed just before the bed time, but fortunately it didn’t disturb Aapo’s sleep.

I was really relaxed after the building — my fingers were sore, but I could still write on my laptop, so no real harm done. All in all, very good Father’s day.

Plethora of freshness

Dean & DeLuca is an institution in world of delis and grocery stores. A store worth visiting for everyone interested a bit of food, but a must for all gourmands visiting New York City. Dean, DeLuca and their staff have been serving gourmet food from all over the world over 30 years now.

Dean & Deluca store in lower Manhattan, New York, USA

The store is located in NYC downtown in SoHo district, next to a set of fashion concepts stores. The bulk of the floor space is occupied by normal grocery store that sells everything and between in food. There are several stalls for fresh meat, fish, sushi and so forth.

There is also a small place for eat the stuff inside the store, but it is usually quite crowded and there are no seats — to get people out quickly for releasing some space for the next ones., 560 Broadway (at the corner of Broadway and Prince Street), New York, NY, USA, +1 212 226 6800

Famous and original

New York City has several Ray’s Pizzas, “Original”, “Famour” or just plain Ray’s. We visited one of them on 7th Avenue between 53rd and 54th Streets, a “Famous Original Ray’s Pizza”.

Ray’s Pizza in New York, USA

The pizzas, sold by slices, were good, but otherwise the restaurant was a bit rundown and dirty. Don’t let the place fool you, the place seems to be local favourite, as it got packed really fast during lunch hour.

Three big slices of pizza and drinks cost about $20 and three people satisfied their appetite, so the place is quite a deal compared to the most of NYC eateries., 736 7th Avenue (in between 53rd and 54th streets), New York, NY, USA, +1 212 956 7297