Archive for December, 2010

December 28th, 2010

Christmas travelogue

This year, we decided to visit Sanna’s parents for Christmas festivities. As they live quite far north (800km for Helsinki) and the holidays were short this year, we drove first to Kuopio to meet Sanna’s younger brother and his girlfriend, spent one night there, and then headed again towards north. This approach cut the distance into two almost equal-sized pieces that took “only” five to six hours. We did the same maneuver while driving back to Helsinki with my parents house in Northern Carelia.

The whole season was extra crispy regarding the weather, temperatures never rose above -10C — and some days were just frozen, as the temperature dropped to -30C or below. We got a lot of advices what to pack in order to survive if there would be an issue with the car or we would be in an accident; pack warm clothers, remember to have a flashlight, and so on. We dutifully packed all that stuff with all the presents and other stuff, and still managed to fit in to our car.

The boys still believe in Santa Claus, and one visited us on Christmas Eve. The boys were nervous, as usual, and Sanna had to do most of the talking with Santa. Despite that, the presents were plentiful. Toys dominated, including my Lego Tower Bridge (over 4.000 bricks!), but there were some other cool stuff, including books and a Hermès scarf for Sanna. The Christmas day was spent in reading (and I coded a bit, too), and on boxing day we started our journey back to Helsinki. As said, one night was spent in my parent house — again very relaxing experience.

It had snowed once again while we were gone, and I had to plough our way through 15 centimeters of snow. It is weird that Helsinki has the most snow in whole Finland by far.

December 13th, 2010

Relaxation at Polvijärvi

I’m writing this in my old room at my parents house in Polvijärvi. There’s some business in Joensuu that I need to attend to, and Polvijärvi is a good base to spend some time and to prepare for the meetings. I did the same maneuvers with the boys a couple of times during this year, but this time the flight tickets were priced so high that I decided to leave the kids home and ride a train alone yesterday.

The train trip was blissfully quiet, and I spent most of my time coding — got a load of stuff implemented. I stopped working when the train arrived at Joensuu, and continued around 9.30 today.

I spent the time between eating well, having a hot sauna with my dad — he provided vastas (sort of a racket looking whip made of a bunch of birch branches with leaves) and we had relaxing hitting-ourselves-with-vastas session. After that, all my pores were open and muscles were tingling. This might sound a bit crazy for people outside Finland (and Russia), but trust me, it is a heavenly feeling.

Then we just discussed, and my mom served cookies. I watched an Indiana Jones movie from the telly, and then dozed off. It was fabulously stressless and relaxing evening.

December 2nd, 2010

To Switzerland despite the strike

Finnish stewardesses have been on strike from Tuesday afternoon onwards. This means that most of the flights have been cancelled. I should have been in Joensuu today, but instead I’ve been at the office. Tomorrow, I’m going with my family to Basel, Switzerland. Fortunately for us, the strike was settled for Blue1, the company we are flying with, while the strike continues with Finnair.

We have been so busy with everything that there are no plans for the trip. Maybe a visit to a museum or two, some shopping, and then just having good time.

By the way, I popped over to Stockholm during this Tuesday; took ferry on Monday and returned on Wednesday. The reason for the trip was business, but I was able to take family with us — boys absolutely loved the boat, especially the playground and the tax free shops with shock full of toys and candies.