Thursday, August 27, 2015

Sweet seascape

Many had given up hope. In August it finally arrived. For more than a fortnight, until two days ago, we were able to enjoy summer as it should be, warm and sunny. We took the most of it continuing our explorations of this great region concentrating on the archipelago, which is – at least to us northerners – the most beautiful in the world.

On Saturday, we drove with our picnic lunch no further than to the Ruissalo island for a change. Unlike on our earlier visits, the cliffs of the Kuuva cape were far from quiet. We soon realised why it was such a popular idea to go sunbathing on the cliffs that particular day. There was a regatta going on on the Airisto waters south of the tip of the cape.

We hadn’t expected that. For the past few weeks, we’ve been so busy making excursions we haven’t taken care to keep track of the local event calendar at all but this town keeps treating us with pleasant surprises.

We do not know anything about the different types of sailing boats or the procedure of boat racing. Nevertheless, despite the rather light breeze, it was fascinating to spend the sunny afternoon watching the groups of boats gliding to and fro against the glittering seascape.

I later learned there were a total of one hundred participants in seven classes in this regatta. Admiring an event like this at close range makes you wish you weren’t such a landlubber.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Art by the river

There is so much going on in the cultural scene of this town you simply can’t participate in everything that would interest you. What’s more, many of the happenings are free.

One of the current events takes place by the riverfront along the boardwalk where we often start our daily walk. It is an exhibition of paintings entitled Enlightened by the Turku-born, Helsinki-based lighting design student and interdisciplinary artist Alexander Salvesen.

Each work is painted in oil on a transparent polycarbonate sheet, mounted in a recycled window frame and hung with ropes among the trees and other vegetation by the river. The changing natural light and shadows shape each artwork as the surrounding conditions vary throughout the day.

Maybe we are now reaping the benefits of the extra effort taken and processes put in place for 2011 when Turku was, together with Tallinn, the European Capital of Culture. Whatever the catalyst for the present cultural liveliness and diversity, you’ve just got to love this town!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

On a lake

As soon as my daughter had returned from California and fetched her cats we took a little domestic holiday. We stayed away for a week visiting, among others, my brother and sister-in-law at their summer cottage almost 500km to the northeast from here in the Northern Savonia region in Eastern Finland.

Most of our country is practically a patchwork of lakes. However, I spent my  childhood in a region where there weren’t any close by. Even as an adult I never got friendly with the element of water unlike by brother who turned boating and net fishing into a dear hobby thanks to the many summers he was lucky to spend under his father-in-law’s gentle guidance.

Despite my slightly troubled relationship with water, it is always a thrill to be taken safely on a lake. My brother rode us and my sisters a round on his small motorboat. The evening was very calm and beautiful, one of the loveliest moments this season has given us. I could get used to that kind of cottage living.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Hilltop in July

Last week, we revisited the hilltop of the Old Castle of Lieto. The green and red colours of Midsummer shown in my previous post had now turned towards a brown and yellow palette of blooming grasses of all sorts.

Time flies and our summer is short, which feels a bit unfair now that we still haven’t seen a single period of dry and warm weather this season.

Thankfully, there were some new pink blossoms on the hilltop meadow: quite a lot of maiden pinks (ketoneilikka), which is one of my absolute favourite wildflowers, some willow spiraea (pajuangervo) and even a few foxgloves (sormustinkukka) rising from the steep river-side slope. The two last ones must have originated from a garden that used to be somewhere close by.

This time, the reason for our visit was a concert held in the former cowhouse of the manor that has been turned into an event venue and restaurant. The trio Onda3 (Onda três), consisting of talented musicians studying at the jazz department of the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, performed bossa nova – both well-known songs and their own compositions – to a hall full of thrilled listeners. Another concert very much to our liking.