Monday, July 9, 2007

Trip to Porvoo


Well, another night with not enough sleep. But getting better. We seem to be in this pattern of waking up about 3pm, and not being able to get back to sleep for a couple of hours. I set the alarm for 9am just before the second sleep, and we got up just in time for the end of the breakfast at the hotel.

And not a bad breakfast. I guess I was prepared for both limited variety and quantity, but I was dead wrong. Eggs, bacon, sausages, breads (lots of great grains), cereal, fruit, juices, sandwich meats, salads, coffee (Pat says rather good too), and several teas. And speaking of food, I have to tell you about the Nepali dinner we had last night. A block from our hotel is the site of the one of the top ten shrimp dinners I've had. Ever since my parents took me to Anthony's Fish Grotto each year on my birthday as a kid, I've been looking for shrimp dinners which match my memories of those I had at Anthony's. Pat reminds me that nothing will ever match childhood memories, but I have nevertheless been ranking shrimp entrees with her for the past 30 years. This one was in the top ten. Coming on the heels of the shrimp salad I had at the Greek restaurant (Minos) on Saturday, it could have been just another competitior. Minos had the entire shrimp (head and antenna, legs, and full body) combined with octopus in a great mound of cucumbers, tomatoes, and lettuce with grated cheese.

Septar served ten large curled shrimp on salad bed with portions of dahl, safron rice, a really excellent piquant sauce, and large soft nan to soak it all up. Add a Foster's beer to it, and I was thanking the chef. Pat's chicken dinner was good, but clearly not the quality to write home about. Tonight's dinner location hasn't been chosen, but we're headed over to the Church of the Rock (carved out of a granite mountain) for a bell concert by a group from Washington state, and will eat later.

Porvoo met the tour guide description of the place to go to if you've only one trip out of Helsinki. Its craft shops, restaurants, and artists occupy two long winding cobblestone streets up a hill from the river to an old church, built in the late 1500's. Unfortunately, the church burnt down recently, and they now sell photos of the fire. The shops are a bit too cute, and the restaurants competed with a great breakfast. We better enjoyed walking the wider town area, and got a good understanding of the great variety of co-housing projects, condominiums, and rentals packed among small parks and businesses. I remember when co-housing caught on in the U.S. that the pioneers had copied models from Finland. The country has a reputation of having the best housed populace in Europe, and we saw many examples of well-designed living spaces on very little land. It really makes me wonder how we have gotten away with doing it so badly.

Unfortunately, I learned a valuable lesson in camera use today. When using a camera you haven't used for a while, test it out before you depend on it to capture a day's photos. The photos in yesterday's post were from the smaller camera that we bought for Pat's trip to Poland last year. Today, I took the camcorder which I discovered yestrday needed re-charging. Once re-charged last night, I forgot to switch off the night use feature I had on the last time I used it, and the photos I took today came out verrry light. Nothing PhotoShop can't fix (when I get home), but resulting in nothing I can post today.

So here's some from yesterday that took some work to rotate before I could post them.

For a look at all of the photos that have turned out okay so far, click on:

Helsinki Photos

Here's hoping that our trip tomorrow to two of the islands off the coast of the city will include some photos which can be included, and we're off now to the Handbell/Choir Concert.

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