Midsummers night

All Scandinavian countries celebrate Midsummer. Because of our very northern location it is practically daylight in the middle of the night at this time of the year.

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Midsummer is the time to enjoy the sunlight, family, good food, outdoors and generally it compresses everything about summer into festivities that last a couple of days.

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Traditionally Finns spend it in the countryside, enjoying lakeside saunas etc. Nowadays more and more people live in an urbanized space so for those with the means and the possibility it is usual to go into the countryside. Others spend their summer in the city enjoying the calm that is not possible almost any other time except on Christmas Day.

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Kuppi & Muffini

After getting tipped by a friend of a nice new café / confectionery that had recently opened near the center of Helsinki I was intrigued.

Kuppi & Muffini is in Finnish Cupcakes and Muffins so the main point of this new cafe is very obvious. The two entrepreneurs are both professional confectioners so tasty treats are to be hoped for.

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Kuppi & Muffin is located pretty much in sight of Stockmann, down Kalevankatu. Beside sweets there is also a possibility to enjoy salads for lunch and other small salty bites. And of course coffee, tea, smoothies et al.

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All treats use fully natural and fresh ingredients and are made on site.

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For the sake of personal enjoyment it was nice to take a couple of different portions and enjoy them with a trusted second opinion on the taste.

The pie was rasberry and rhubarb with vanilla topping.

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And the cupcake was chocolate with lemon topping. Does it not look fabulous? Cupcakes are at least as much to be enjoyed via sight as by taste. The taste by the way was really really good, especially the lower part. The topping was very sugary so it was almost, but only almost over the top! The lemon brought a lovely freshness to the taste. If you love sweets these are really good.

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The pie was less sugary, more substance. I loved the fresh taste and the vanilla topping was spot on and complimented the taste nicely. The pie was quite “tight” so it was a bit more filling than one would have surmised on looks alone. Along with a coffee and a smoothie this was a really nice way to spend time and enjoy delicate taste and great company.
 
The café has a space inside but as it was near closing time we opted to eat outside. Besides, the weather was nice and one always needs to enjoy nice weather in Finland, as it might not last too long.

To the homepage of Kuppi & Muffini from here

 

Nerone – revisited

Nerone is a restaurant I have visited before, but this time there were more of us and the possibility to enjoy a few different dishes from the menu.

For starters a few of us got the local bruschetta. Suprisingly delicious with the base being quite similar to a pizza. So more a”mini pizza”.
Recommended.

I got an assorted starter which is pictured below:

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All parts of the dish were excellent. Even the olives. I find that the olives most places in Finland serve are bad, probably due to the importing and the fact that the chosen varietys are not the same ones as say the Italians or Greek would approve of. Anyway, these were good!

As the main course some chose different pizzas, which Nerone is really known for. Others chose tuna -fillet and risottos. I chose a tagliatelle with chicken, cep and naturally cheese.

After dining there was a huge difference between the happiness of our dining party. The pizza were excellent as well as the risotto and the pasta. The fish however, was very bad. The tuna was deemed as close to being cat fodder. Overcooked with a badly chosen part of the tuna.

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The tagliatelle was great. The amount of food was maybe a bit too much as I was totally full afterwards. I barely had the capability to eat the dessert, eclair of excellent taste. Unfortunately I do not have a photo of the dessert as the rain outside meant I could not get a proper shot anymore.

Monkey Business

Quick blast from the past.

Sad  by Jere Ketola (JKetola)) on 500px.com

Gibraltar is the only place in Europe where one can find monkeys in the wild. The saying goes, as long as there are monkeys in Gibraltar, so long will the British rule. 😉

Any closer and you are going down by Jere Ketola (JKetola)) on 500px.com

This adult, probably a male, was quite aggressive and seemed to mean the business, he had the look: Don´t you dare come closer. The youngling was far more accommadating. Both pictures were taken with a 20mm so I was really close in reality. Not a proper portrait focal length by any means, but you make do with what you have in the moment with you.

Arctic Tern

Terns are a familiar sight where there is water nearby and small fish to prey on. In my opinion one of the most lovely and elegant birds when in flight. A little less elegant when shuffling around on its feet.

Arctic Tern by Jere Ketola (JKetola)) on 500px.com

Arctic tern, pictured above is the longest migrating bird in the world. It migrates from the summer of the the north to the shores of the Antartic and back again. Amazing considering the small size of the bird as well.

A View

One of the more iconic and extravagant looking buildings in Helsinki is the one in the picture. Or the top of said building.

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16 levels in a sort of pyramid-like shape. It rises above its neighbors. I even read a column in the magazine Image which referred it to being scary for the children (which it obviously is not!). Great effort by the architect to achieve a little different look from the typical boxy high-rise apartment blocks. Added benefit, great balconies for each and all!

New life

With the advent of summer new life is everywhere.

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Barnacle geese have little ones as well as many other bird species. Some are still laying eggs, others in frenzied feeding.

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Family of barnacle geese in strong backlight.

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Flowers are blooming everywhere, as well as trees. A bad time to be allergic though..

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Strong and beautiful colors to contrast the dark and the snow of the winter.

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Lovely eh?

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Summer seems to get the best out of us Finns. Love is in the air so to speak.

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Lovely flower placement creating a heart in Kruununhaka, Helsinki

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And a heart engraved into an old cannon from the sea-fortress of Suomenlinna (Sveaborg), one of the city’s prime tourist attractions.

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Somehow even beautiful flowers remind me of love in the summer!