Archive for July, 2009

July 30th, 2009

Going to Tallinn

We, the Kalliola family that is, are going to Tallinn tomorrow for two nights. We’ll take a fast ferry over the Gulf of Finland tomorrow noon and board the return ferry 49 hours later. That should be plenty of time to stroll around the old city, visit a few shops and have quality family time.

I’ve reserved a kids special room from Swissôtel Tallinn — connected rooms, one with twin beds, decorated for kids, and other is normal hotel room for adults. Boys have not yet slept in a separate room in a hotel, so the trip might be “interesting” in that sense.

I’ve been longing to that hotel for a year or so, the pool and spa area looks fabulous on pictures, and the rooms are not bad either. Hopefully the website is on par with the reality.

July 21st, 2009

Prada has arrived to Helsinki!

We had a nice visit to downtown Helsinki: Sanna found pair of shoes from My o My, I got mine from Kenzo store, boys acted like angels, and we found a new store that carries Prada, Lanvin, and Dior: Via MonteNapoleone, named after the famous fashion shopping street in Milan.

I’ve got a few Prada shoes and they have the best fit for my feet — except one pair of winter boots that were too small… Later, I found that the model wasn’t that good for me feet even in the correct size.

Let’s hope that the new shop prospers in Helsinki. The competition is fierce, there are several new stores, such as Louis Vuitton and aforementioned Kenzo, opened during the last year or so. Also Finns are known for not spending any decent money to fashion.

I need to pop over regularly, and hopefully find something worth buying to support the shop.

Bags, bags, and bags

Mulberry, the British design brand renown for quality leather bags, has a spacious store on Madison Avenue. I visited there some time ago with my wife, to get her a good bag.

The selection was was excellent, and in par with the service — we went through most of the bags before finally settling into a shiny black classic bag. The prices are high, around $1000, but both the quality and the design of the bags are excellent.

There were also clothes and accessories available.

www.mulberry.com, 605 Madison Avenue, New York, NY, USA, +1 888 685 6856

July 10th, 2009

Leaving for a holiday

My holiday starts today, after I’ve been able to push through the last remaining tasks on my plate. I’ll head towards Oulu on tomorrow morning, as early as possible. Sanna will be waiting me there, she’ll come from Taivalkoski by bus. One night in the hotel without the boys and then driving to Taivalkoski.

This is the start for our summer Finnish round-trip. After Taivalkoski, we’ll probably go to Kuopio for a day, and then to Polvijärvi for a couple of nights. We’ve been planning to visit Savonlinna, too, but hotel rooms might be scarce now, as the Savonlinna Opera Festival is going there.

I’ve been toying around idea of going to Tallinn for one night after returning to Espoo. The hotels are dirt cheap there, and Estonians are in dire need of foreign money, as their economy is going downhill really fast. Helping the cousins, or something along those lines. There is a practical angle to the trip; I need shoes, and Tallinn has way better shoe stores than Helsinki.

The last week of my holiday will be spent with the boys, as Sanna will go to work. Then I go back to work for relaxation…

I might or might not update the blog while I’m travelling. Nowadays, time just seems to fly with the family.

July 5th, 2009

One week of solitude

Sanna and the boys have left to Taivalkoski, and I have the house for myself for a week. Next Saturday, I’ll head towards Oulu — I and Sanna will have a rendezvous there, without the boys. On Sunday, we will drive to Taivalkoski and then a couple days later to Polvijärvi and finally back home.

I’ve spent my first “bachelor” hours surfing the net, and fixing minor issues from here and there — items that have not been that significant to be on the radar while spending time with boys. Maybe I’ve got more time to update this site, too…

Speaking of updates, our trip to Stockholm was good one. We didn’t find that much worth buying in the city itself, but cruising was an excellent pastime. We had a bit bigger cabin for ourselves; it included also a free minibar and excellent buffet breakfast in one of the ship’s multiple restaurants.

We spent the time in the ship wandering around, popping into shops, spending time in the children playing room — which was quite huge — and eating well. Or almost well; I had my worst hamburger ever on Friday night, can’t recommend that dish to anyone.

The ships cruising between Finland and Sweden are quite old, fifteen years or so, but it was in surprisingly good condition. On the other hand, I’ve never been in the Caribbean cruises (yet), so I don’t know what to expect from a high-end cruise ship.

One of the major reasons for visiting these cruise ships is buying inexpensive booze. Alcohol is quite pricey in Finland and especially in Sweden. The duty-free liquor store on the ship had very good selection, but somehow we ended up buying only champagne, candies, and chocolate.

I felt a bit snobbish when looking at the other people’s selections while queueing to the cashier. Spirits and cases of beer were the usual choice. If you spent more than €150 in one blow, the cruise company sponsored you a new cruise. A good way to keep the heavy-spenders spending…

One of the best aspects of the whole trip was the timing. We were at Helsinki late in the morning, and whole Sunday was available for other things. It felt like there were three days in the weekend.

My parents arrived on Sunday to look after the boys for a week. The kindergarten was closed at the end of June (or a couple days earlier), so Aapo and Niilo needed a guardian or two. My parents enjoyed the company of the guys. Also, my mom baked a lot and dad made a treehouse for the boys, so it was mutually beneficial week.