Archive for 2016

December 31st, 2016

Christmas in Lohja

Our family spent Christmas in our new summer house in Lohja. And we plan to spend also the New Year there plus several weeks next summer.

The place has reduced somewhat my needs to travel, as I’ve found tranquility and peacefulness there in similar manner as in travelling. It is quite interesting, as in the past I’ve felt these while travelling very far away, such as in the USA, Japan or Singapore.

But it seems that the 15-20 minutes driving the windling road towards our summer house is long enough transfer rite from the hectic day-to-day work life to laidback holiday life. I do hope that it stays like that in the future, too.

November 27th, 2016

Christmas Parties

My company Exove has five offices, and we have a local Christmas party in each of them. So, I’ve been travelling lately on joyful manner.

The Christmas party season was kicked off in Oulu a week ago. I flew there together with my family that continued to Taivalkoski while I stayed in Oulu for the day and took the last plane back to Helsinki. I wouldn’t have been able to go to Taivalkoski on that evening anymore and it would have been pointless to visit there for a day.

The Oulu Christmas dinner was in restaurant Hugo. The food was exceptional and the service was very timely – until we were leaving and wanted to pay the bill. The guys had a lot of fun watching me trying to wave to the waiters with no avail. After ten minutes, I got someone’s attention and could proceed with paying. We fancied of just running out, but decided to act in civil fashion.

As the family was in Taivalkoski on the following Saturday, I spend the first part of the day in Helsinki. I’ve been quite busy due to work – positive busyness, though – and not had the luxury of just strolling around. I did some purchases for Christmas, enjoyed a good meal in a local sushi buffet, and then drove to our summer cabin in Lohja. Did mostly nothing there, too, and then on Sunday drove to the Helsinki airport to pick up the family.

For some reason, we have had bad luck with Finnair flights to Oulu. First, Sanna’s earlier attempt to go to Taivalkoski went bust, as the plane broke before take-off and she decided to get the money back and come home. On this trip, all three flights were late at least half an hour, some of them even more. This has never happened when flying with Norwegian.

The next Christmas dinner was on last Friday in Tallinn. No flying, but a very full ferry to Tallinn. There were a huge amount of Jokerit – a Helsinki based KHL ice hockey team – fans on the ship on their way to Riga to see a game at the evening. Fortunately, they were not too drunk yet, and I could focus on working the whole trip.

Tallinn is always a nice destination for dinners, and this was no exception. The restaurant was The Able Butcher, located in the newly opened Hilton Hotel. The food was good here, too, and the service was very swift. From time to time you could see that the restaurant is new. Minor blunders and confusion, but fortunately nothing major or drastic.

I took the last boat back to Helsinki and was somewhat concerned about the trip beforehand. Typically, the last ships are full of drunk Finns making a lot of noise and flocking all the places. But not this time. The ship was almost empty and it was really pleasurable sailing back to Helsinki.

October 31st, 2016

Family Day in Oulu

I visited Oulu briefly during the weekend to participate on Exove’s family day at our Oulu office.

Due to the prices of the flights and other practical stuff, I left Helsinki after business hours and arrived to Oulu just to have a burger and then do rest of my work at the hotel.

The family day was on Saturday. We met at our Oulu office that got quite cramped due to number of kids, spouses and parents present. It was so good to see some of the most important people of our staff and to discuss with them. Once again, this gives a lot of meaning to me.

After a short speech and a couple demoes accompanied with coffee and buns, we left to Superpark. The lunch at the park was surprisingly good and it gave a lot of energy for the people visiting the activity park itself.

For those who don’t know anything about Superpark: the indoor activity park has number of different areas to do various activities and it is guaranteed to get sweat out of you.

After the family day was over, I walked around in Oulu center, fascinated by the new shopping mall Valkee and especially its grocery store that had excellent selection of all kinds of delicious stuff.

I tried to get hold of a couple of my acquitances in the city for a quick drink, but as they have families and last-minute ideas on Saturday evenings are somewhat hard to put into action due to family reasons, I ended eating alone in Puistola. I had an excellent burger at the restaurant in summer 2015, but unfortunately something had changed and frankly I would have got better fare at the local premium fast food joint.

As there were no cheap flights available for Saturday, I spent another night in Oulu and then flew back to Helsinki on Sunday morning. Nothing to report on that.

September 30th, 2016

Dublin Travelogue

I’m writing this on No. 1 Lounge in Heathrow, in between flights from Dublin and to Helsinki. I’ve spent the past week in Dublin, participating in the annual European DrupalCon.

I’ve visited Dublin once before, in 1998. Back then, the city felt quite drab and expensive. Now, it felt fresh and somewhat expensive. There has been a huge amount of new buildings erected near the docks area and the conference happened to be there – so lot of new and even futuristic vibes.

I arrived on Monday after spending my weekend with junior hockey players in Leppävirta in eastern Finland. Travelling with 43 eleven years old players and around ten adults for two days (and nights) takes it toll. I was dead tired on Monday morning after woking up 5.20 in the morning – I had spent seven hours at home between trips.

Monday was a Business Summit day that I combined with a quick visit to Acquia Partner Day and then the opening of the expo floor. The Business Summit was awesome and way better than I would have expected. Didn’t learn that much, but we had excellent posse on our table and thus had loads of fun.

My company Exove and One Shoe from Netherlands organised a Drupal CEO Survey together with Drupal Association. We got over 70 responses and analysed them before the DrupalCon. A shared press release and detailed analysis was made. We presented the analysis on Drupal CEO Dinner on Wednesday, and discussed about the results with Drupal Association. People welcomed the survey and its results so warmly that we’ll do it again in 2017.

Other than that, DrupalCon was quite normal experience. Met a lot of old friends, made a few new ones, and had numerous good discussions. The venue was the best since Munich and its location near the city centre unrivalled by any DrupalCons I’ve visited from 2011 onwards.

The event ended on my behalf on Thursday evening at the DrupalCon volunteer dinner. I was this year global track chair for the business track, helping the my local counterpart to build a comprehensive and well-balanced track of sessions. There would have been Drupal Trivia Night after the dinner, but I was so dead tired that I decided to hit the bed.

Today has been a day of wading through emails and travelling back home. The first flight was from Dublin to Heathrow where I needed to change terminals. I got nice instructions from Heathrow’s website stating that the transit time is 75 minutes. I got through in less than 30, so I’ve got plenty of time to enjoy the food here and write this entry.

August 31st, 2016

No travels, soon to Dublin

August was really uneventful on travelling front. No trips whatsoever; my time was spent in work, kids’ sport events, and in our summer house.

Fortunately, the month was still international in nature, as we had guests from the UK, the Netherlands, and Serbia in our summer house. I acted as an host for Drupal community members that were either visiting Finland for fun or participating in DrupalCamp Finland.

Speaking of Drupal, I’ll spend a week in Dublin at the end of the month to participate in DrupalCon Europe.

July 31st, 2016

Pula

Our whole family was on holiday during July. We had bought inexpensive flights to Pula, Croatia already early in the spring and set off on Saturday right after the last working day.

The trip was excellent. The flight was short and we could spend some quality time in Helsinki airport lounge and enjoyed their surprisingly good food before buying some candies and drinks for the flight. We had booked an airport transfer to and fro the hotel, so there was a guy waiting for us at the airport.

We had booked a duplex apartment with a sea view from Park Plaze in Verudela, a small peninsula a few kilometers from Pula city centre. The pool was close by and there were also several restaurants, a good grocery store, and an excellent ice cream parlour in the area. So we ended up staying all but two days in the area, just splashing in the pool, lounging in the sun, and reading books.

The first excursion was to Pula centre. There is a Roman era amphitheatre and it was truly worth the visit. Very well preserved and not crowded. After visiting it, we just strolled around. Had a good meal – all meals were good in Croatia – and enjoyed ice cream. Got back to hotel and went to pool.

The second trip was to Rovinj, a medieval town about 40 kilometers north from Pula. It is exceptionally beautiful town, narrow streets and breathtaking views to the sea. Again, excellent food in a local pizzeria and the best ice cream during the whole trip. And then back to the pool after the trip. We did swim in the sea, too.

Croatia is a good destination to visit. It is inexpensive – not cheap, but inexpensive – food is good, and service is great. Not just courteous, but quick. No waiting, no hassles, no touting. Works very well with children.

June 30th, 2016

Tallinn – Lohja – Pula

As mentioned in May, I spent a couple of days in Tallinn. The whole trip was business, business, business, so not much to tell you about it. This time I took my car with me to visit a bit more remote office and to bring some drinks back home to our new summer cabin.

The trip was uneventful – I’ve sort of started to like these kind of trips when growing older. Still, it was fun to drive around Tallinn and suburbs in our convertible (Peugeot 307 CC, nothing that fancy) with roof open. Tallinn was pampered by a heat wave, so convertible was a very good choice.

After that trip I’ve been working like a dog. We did spend the midsummer in our new cabin with extended family – two brother-in-laws and one cousin of our children were there with us.

We either lazed around or then did some remaining construction work, such as cleaning the site or improving the garden.

Day after tomorrow we hit the road again, the destination is Pula, Croatia. We were two years ago in Slovenia, so my expectations about good food and quality time are very high. I’ll write more about the trip during July.

May 31st, 2016

No travels in May

This past month was surprising quiet on travel front, no trips whatsoever.

Instead, two major things happened – and preparing for them have kept me busy. First, my company – Exove – had ten year birthday. The party was a blast, had really good time. Some photos of the event can be found in Flickr.

The other major happening was that we got the permission to take our summer house into use. We purchased a summer house five years ago and decided to dismantle the old building and build a new one. Almost five years later, we finally got it ready enough to move in. I’ve blogged about the process in my other blog (in Finnish, though) at puhettahuvilasta.fi.

On travel front, I’ll pop over to Tallinn for business in early June and then spend a week in Pula, Croatia with the whole family. Looking forward to these.