Thursday, July 31, 2008


Now I think I have probably spelt that place name incorrectly - which I am sure I have done for a lot of the Finnish words. It is near Savonlinna and we spent two nights there in a mokki in a holiday village. The markets at Savonlinna were great. We had a boat ride there also and saw the castle from the boat. The next day we had a bush walk in the forest to see the tallest trees in Finland and another boat ride. Brian & Damon also braved a swim.
Wild blueberries..

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Kalevi's & Anya's

These are images from the farm at my Uncle & Aunt's place in central Finland area. Mainly flowers & the like as they are what are catching my eye. There are the most beautiful wildflowers everywhere in th place there isn't any forest or lawn.

and some more

After Turku we went to Marjo's family mokki or summer holiday house on the lake. We spent a really good night there and stayed up until 3.30 am. The next morning we slept very late and all had headaches. My cousin Juha reckons there must have been smoke in the sauna which gave us all a headache (draw your own conclusions!)
While we were there we had a sauna and then swam in the lake (you wouldn't go in without getting steaming hot first!) We went rowing and Damon went fishing with the kids. Damon got on very well with all the other kids their even though no one much could or would (if they could) speak English and Damon ,of course, does not speak Finnish. We were also given a very fine concert on an accordion by Matti (Marjo's Dad). If I ever work out how to load it I will give you a snippet that Brian recorded on his mobile. Their were many children there as Marjo's sister and her family also came. It is a great example of a wonderful family lifestyle.

Finally got internet access again...

We are now staying near Helsinki with another cousin (from my Mum's side of the family) and her lovely family. I have not been able to get the laptop connected to the Internet for a while so have not been able to add photos to the blog. There is a back log now so I will try to add them in order.

These photos are from Turku still. These first ones are from a Handicrafts Museum which is in original old buildings all set up as they would have been. In a few places people were showing the crafts, such as this lace maker...

This is from Turku Cathedral where we watched a lady play medieval music.
and this is from inside Turku castle..
more to come soon...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


We are now in Turku, in Southern Finland - one of the oldest towns in Finland. We are staying with my cousin and his family - a really delightful family. We spent some time today, walking in a local forest reserve...

and then we walked along the river Aura, which is a beautiful river near the town with many restaurants, boats, restaurants in boats and maritime displays. Everyone rides bikes and many people were enjoying the beautiful summer day.

We also visited the market square and have spent the rest of the day eating, peas, strawberries and cherries.

Hares and squirrels run through the garden, but I haven't managed a photo of them yet.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


A long day flying from up at 6 am, leaving at 11:00 am Japanese time (12 Australian) until we arrive in Helsinki and then transfer to Rovaniemi. We arrive in Rovaniemi at around 5:40 pm (Finland time) and then stayed up until 8:00 pm Finland time (which my mobile phone tells me was the equivalent of 3 am in the morning in Australia) so yes it was tiring but the flight was excellent and very comfortable, even better than the JAL flight which I thought was very good.

Today we went to the Santa Clause Village & met Santa - I can't show you that photo as we had to buy it at great expense and I haven't the facility to scan it in. However here is a photo of Damon & I at the Arctic Circle ...
In the evening ( a very loose term in a place where the sun doesn't go down) we had dinner in a local hotel and tried reindeer meat cooked in a traditional way with mashed potato and lingonberries ...
However this guy was watching me from the wall so I did feel very guilty the whole time I was eating it!

Thursday, July 10, 2008


We were very brave today and got on the train to Tokyo. We did not enjoy it as much as Narita as it was hard to find our way around and we never really found the shopping precinct which I am sure was somewhere. We did see Dimaru which was interesting, especially the grocery area with decadent expensive sweets & cakes. We also saw the grounds of the Emperor's Palace. It was a very smoggy day as you can see in this picture of the base of a 'palace' house built in the 1600's and burnt down 19 years after it was built. Brian & Damon in foreground...

The old and the new of Tokyo...
Plenty of Rhododendrons in the gardens pictured with my Mum...
and a very strange wrapped tree...
It was very tiring and I think you need more time than we had to find your way around. It is difficult in a non-English speaking country - not many signs in English and even though the Japanese are very helpful they only tell you things if you ask a direct question. They don't generally offer advice or extra information.

Japan - Narita

We went into Narita yesterday & had a lovely day. We were very brave & got on a bus which conveniently stops right at the hotel and paid 200 yen each for a seat (about A$2). We got off at the Naristan temple first - amazing place - images below...
I took this photo as the baby 'dog' looks like my Cosmo...
A shrine to birds had this lovely chook hanging...
No Japanese dogs allowed in Naristan Park...
An image from the park- everywhere was a beautiful vista. It was also lovely green shade which was much cooler than everywhere else.
Vending machines everywhere. Easy to use and cheap.
Main street of Narita Village where we had lunch in a Japanese restaurant. I ate Miso soup, tempura and drank copious amounts of green tea.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Japan, here we come!

After a surprisingly easy run to the airport this morning (with a very early start), us and a lot of Japanese folk waited for the plane which was a little delayed.

At the airport, the hostess for the Emirates flights tickled me with their "I dream of Genie" hats - I obviously don't get out enough!

On the flight, we got great service & I watched 3 movies - mostly not memorable. After I coughed a little, and sneezed once or twice I noticed a pile of passengers around me put face masks on - I sure hope they didn't think they would catch my cold! The flight was a JAL one and the service was great, but what really took my fancy (as it is a bit of a soapbox of mine) was that the hostesses put on the cutest aprons when it was time to serve the food. They were in JAL fabric in pastels yellows and greens with a cross over flattering front and the largest decorative bow at the back. I think it is time for a comeback for aprons!

So far, Japan is very warm & sticky (especially for us toowoomba-ites), the people very polite and very efficeint. Tonight we are opting to stay in our hotel room, have baths (deep bath-tubs - yay!), drink our duty free wine and have room service. Don't know much about this place but we will explore more tomorrow.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Getting ready to go

We are leaving for our trip tomorrow. We drive to Brisbane tomorrow and spend the night at my Mum & Dad's house. On Tuesday we get up at sparrow's fart to leave for the airport. The drive to the airport is notorious for being bad so that at this stage is the most worrying part of the trip. Then we fly to our first stop in Japan. I hope to keep blogging while I am away so check back I may have some travel news later.

Apart from preparing to go - which is like a half world of not being able to settle to one task and not really feeling oneself, I am still trying to shake off the world's worst head cold - something my friend Caity & I decided to share! I have also finished sewing V8157, which crazily enough no longer seems to be on the Vogue website.
However I have lost weight this month (woo hoo!) so now the pants look too baggy on me (sigh!) I would be better off now if I made them again to make them in size 14 and not 16 as here. But I have decided to show you the picture still as it is the only sewing article finished recently. I also muffed the waistband finish so I did not get the overlap but never mind - this is a wearable muslin and as such is still wearable so that is something. I look forward to getting more adventurous with my sewing on my return from this trip