This week we went mushroom picking – resulting with exactly 0 mushrooms. Fortunately we found blueberries! This is one of the reasons why I love my country, you can just go to the forest and pick some food. As a child I hated people saying this, but it really is true: blueberries are like nature’s candy!
I already made a blueberry crumble pie (recipe coming later!) and I know Stef is planning to make some tarts. Besides desserts, I also love love love blueberries for breakfast. They go great with yoghurt, porridge and smoothies. Blueberries are superfood, and they’re supposed to be healthier than gojiberries. Here is what I did for my breakfast:
Mix everything together and enjoy! If you feel it needs to be sweetened, add some honey.
We are off this morning for our little mini-vacation in Uusimaa & Southwest Finland. We’re going to drive around and visit the town of Fiskars in Raseborg and the Unesco world heritage site of Old Rauma. I’m keeping my fingers crossed it’s not going to thunder the whole time there; at the moment the sky looks pretty bad. Our luck!
I haven’t seen much of Finland yet but this has to change. Since I am currently doing a placement at the National Board of Antiquities and visited an excavation in Vantaa, I wanted to come back on a sunny day and have a closer look around.
The Lutheran church of St. Lawrence is a medieval stone church (built in 1460). Before there used to be an earlier church building made from wood. Of course it has gotten under many changes during the time. It used to have smaller windows for example and the outer walls were whitewashed. Inside, the walls used to be covered with paintings and were whitewashed after the Reformation. After a fire in 1893 parts of the white paint burned away and the old paintings showed through. Fortunately copies could be made. The fire also damaged part of the stone structure while altarpieces could be saved. The church and the bell tower were rebuilt afterwards. Not all wooden sculptures made it through the fire. Four out of eight remained. A statue of Job made in Lübeck, Germany can be seen in the National Museum in Helsinki. *
*The church of St. Lawrence, Vantaan Seurakunnat, Kari Autero 2009
You should also have a look at the cemetery. It’s especially pretty in spring when the cherry trees are blooming.
Right in the front of the church is a really nice café that offers freshly baked cookies and sweet buns. There is lots of space inside but if the weather is nice you should enjoy your coffee outside and enjoy the view.
If you walk around in town a bit you will come across lots of nice wooden houses. Some of them are new, some of them are old but every new house that is being built has to match the appearance of the town.
Afterwards we decided also to pay the tuomiokirkko (cathedral) of Espoo a visit.
This stone church was also built in the 15th century but only became a cathedral in 2004.
Like in Vantaa the wall painting were covered up in the 18th century but uncovered during renovations later. They show biblical seens as well as scenes from daily life. *
I am a bit late with this post. We went a few weeks ago to visit a friend of ours and stayed for a few days this time. Estonia has been really lucky with the weather this year as well and so there wasn’t any snow during our stay. I guess they are waiting for the trees to get green as much as we are at the moment.
Of course there are just too many pictures to post but I’ll leave the best ones here so you’ll get a better impression of Tallinn. Feel free to ask questions in the comments; I will keep this post like a picture diary without much text.
And no, of course we didn’t eat all the cakes in one day. Even my cake stomach is full at some point.
If you’re into knitting and crocheting I would definitely recommend this store. The amount of yarns being sold is just unbelievable. I think Tiia and I actually spent more than an hour in there, just going through everything. In the end we spent around 50€ on two big bags of yarn. Well worth it!
We haven’t managed to go to the restaurant Peppersack but I can still admire the building.
You should try the roasted almonds that are sold by Olde Hansa. They are flavoured with smoke and even garlic!
You should also check out Olde Hansa’s Krambude. They sell well made replicas of historical tableware. We will definitely have to buy some more glasses!
We usually have to pay a visit to III Draakon. This time we had a cabbage pastry each and left enough space for some cake later on.
After lots of walking, coffee and cake seemed to be reasonable. I can’t praise Café Matilda enough! Good cakes and nice coffee or tea are being served for a really good price in the heart of the town.
In the evening we went to Sushimon to get some fresh sushi. It was made directly in front of our eyes and tasted delicious.
Another day, another cake day?
In Vanalinna, right in the old town, you have the difficult choice between lots of cakes and sweet or savoury pastries for a really good price. They also have a nice terrace in the summer time.
Unfortunately every trip has to end at some point but I am sure we’ll be back for another soon! If you haven’t seen my older post about Tallinn, you should click here.
In the last two years, it seems all our vacations have always taken us to Lüneburg in Lower Saxony, Germany. Both of us have history in that town, but Stef – who is from there – more than I.
I moved from Finland to her place in Germany in 2011, and stayed there for eight months. Even though I didn’t live there for that long, Lüneburg is still a home to both of us. I hope we’ll be able to move back there soon.
Lüneburg is a town of history in many ways. Coming from Finland – a country with just a handful of well preserved medieval buildings – I was amazed to live in a city where houses made in the 19th century felt new to me.
Lüneburg has been built on a salt dome and therefore it was quite the wealthy city, and it shows. It was also lucky to not have been bombed in the WWII, so its original charm remains.
December wasn’t really the prettiest time to visit, especially since it was mostly rainy and grey during our few days of stay. I know I sound a bit fanatic, but I loved it anyway. It was really nice to see friends, walk the beautiful streets and visit my favourite cafés.
Not everything was as it has always been though: sadly enough the beautiful Von Lösecke house on Stintmarkt had a gas explosion before Christmas and burnt down completely. Apparently it was not even an accident, and the police are trying to find the arsonist. Thankfully no-one died in the fire, but the people who lived there lost everything. My favourite Irish pub Old Dubliner and a lovely Italian restaurant La Trattoria were also located in the building, so those are gone. I hope the owners will find new locations in Lüneburg.
How someone can do something like this is just beyond me. The building will be preserved to how it had looked like in the 16th century, but I imagine it will take a long while.
Without the awful looking burnt building, Am Stintmarkt with its river Ilmenau is one of my favourite places in Lüneburg.
The building on the right was also new, and I’m amazed how well it fits with its surroundings at the river! Apparently the old house there was in a really bad condition and it was taken down. Now the new house has apartments for rent, but they are so expensive… I would just love to live in there.
You pretty much can’t walk in Lüneburg without seeing the more than slightly wonky St. Johanniskirche behind some building!
No vacation without some drama, or in this case, a lot of it. First my suitcase was delayed for three days, which was half of our vacation, and then both Stef and I got food poisoning and were utterly sick for a day. With all of this and the almost constant rain I’m quite surprised I enjoyed being in Germany as much as I did.
On the weekend we spent a whole day in Tallinn. For us it’s only a two hour ferry ride away but I would definitely recommend it to anybody. Such a lovely town and so much to see!
We arrived pretty early since our ferry left Helsinki at 7:30. The weather turned out really lovely so we decided to take some pictures and walk around in the city.
We had a long list of things to do and going to handicraft stores was part of it. Jolleri was recommended to us by a friend so we paid a visit. It’s a really nice, cosy little store with lots of yarns and a separate section for wools made in Estonia. The owner recommended some made out of dog wool but we didn’t quite have use for that (yet).
Afterwards, and finally paying attention to our rumbling stomachs, we decided to go to III Drakoon which serves meat and vegetarian pastries and some fantastic elk soup. It’s located in the town hall and almost everything costs 1€. It’s one of our favourite places. People wear medieval gowns and everything is only lighted by candles. No spoons or forks: only wooden benches and historic earthenware for the food and drinks.
Filled with hot elk soup, and a veggie cabbage pastry in Tiia’s case, we walked around some more. The Christmas market was already open and offered lots of hot glögg. I have to admit that the American Christmas songs seemed to be a bit out of place when you look around and everything seems to be from a different time.
Another nice place to eat is Olde Hansa . A medieval restaurant in the old town and former merchant house. It’s a bit on the pricey side but the food is amazing and the atmosphere even better. We went there last year on my birthday.
Olde Hansa also has a small shop where you can buy all things medieval. (Historically the Middle Ages lasted from the 5th – 15th century so basically it belongs to Modern History.) Glasses, earthenware and even clothes. As an archaeologist I am always happy to find something that is really authentic and doesn’t sell fictional artefacts for touristy purposes. The glasses, jugs and pots are all pretty good replicas of 16th-18th century artefacts.
Since Tiia had a terrible cold we decided to get a big pot of tea. The best place to do this was Café Matilda . We just love this café and it has really good prices and awesome cake. A big pot of Early Grey was 2.90€ and the cakes were each 2.40€. We opted for a lemon meringue cake and a mascarpone-berry one. Lemon meringue is something we both wanted to make for a while but didn’t have the time for.
As I’m looking at this post it’s seem like we’ve only been eating and drinking all day! This is somewhat true but we did walk a lot also!
So, after a hot glögg on the Christmas market we went to an Indian restaurant called Chakra. In the meantime it started snowing heavily and by the time we got there we were quite soaked. Gladly we managed to get a table in the fully booked restaurant without a reservation. We ordered some naan and roti bread along with Mattar Paneer (Indian cheese with peas in tomato) and Shahi Paneer (Indian cheese in tomato-almond-cashew sauce). It was delicious and a vegetarian main course costs only around 9€.
Sadly, it was almost time to return to the ferry. On the way we stopped at Scotland Yard for a cider and Guinness.
It was a long, exhausting day but totally worth it. After 12,5 hours in Tallinn this little journey came to an end and we arrived in Helsinki after midnight. I can’t wait to return soon!