Monthly Archives: June 2012

Life List Achievement Unlocked: Midsummer in Finland by Water

The S/S Ukkopekka docked at Naantali View of the island sea and sailboat from Naantali Midsummer rose, Naantali Museo Back on the S/S Ukkopekka, rain outside Loistokari Island Midsummer's evening on Loistokari Island Steaming away from Loistokari Island

All photos taken by Ms. Jen with her Nokia 808 Pureview Camera phone.

Sun 06.24.12 – In November of 2009, in a flurry of dreaming about traveling, I made a Life List that was mostly crazy, off the beaten path travel to-dos. This last week and weekend I checked off #16: Spend a week in a cabin / summer house on a lake in Finland.
When I originally wrote my Life List, I had hoped to be able to spend a week in a Finnish summer cottage on or by a lake, but when it came time to book, in early May, such an event for the last two weeks of June, I was unable to find a rental cottage that was not HUGE in my rental price range. By HUGE, I mean for 18-24 people – overkill.
Carol Chen came to the rescue when she found out that I was planning on attending Devaamo 2012 in Tampere, Finland, by offering to let me stay in her extra room at her apartment in the wooded & lake’d Tampere suburb of Hervanta.
For one week, I had the opportunity to get to attend Devaamo, hang out with amazing geeks, wander around Tampere & Hervanta, and walk around local lakes. Not quite the summer cottage by a lake, but close enough for rock’n’roll without the mosquito bites!
This weekend, Carol and I went to Turku on the far southwestern coast of Finland, which is the jump off area to visit the Finnish Archipelago – Saaristomeri. We left Tampere via the Inter-City train mid-day on Friday, which was Midsummer’s Eve and arrived in a very shut down all closed Turku on 2 hours later.
Luckily for us a few of the tourist options were open, like the Turku Cathedral and a few riverfront bars and restaurants. We had dinner at a nice jazz bar with a swing/ragtime live band, as well as bought tickets to tour a bit of the inner islands on the S/S Ukkopekka for the next day.
Yesterday, Midsummer, we went on two island cruise trips on the S/S Ukkopekka, the first one a day tour to Naantali that included four hours of wandering around old town Naantali and the Moomin island, and the second was an evening dinner cruise to Loistokari Island. Due to rain in the evening, dancing on the island was cancelled, but dinner on the boat with a sing-a-long band was still a lot of fun.
Today I returned to Helsinki with much of life still shut down for the national holiday weekend. I am very fortunate to be able to visit Finland in the summer, particularly over one of their biggest holiday weekends of the year.
People, do not allow any Finn to convince you otherwise, but the big secret they like to keep is how amazingly beautiful Finland is in the summer, even if a bit cloudy and rainy at times. Finland is a truly lovely country.

Hyvää Jussia!

Fri 06.22.12 – Happy Midsummer’s Eve to you and yours! While the astronomical / solar summer solstice was on June 20, 2012 at 23:09 UT*, Midsummer is celebrated in Finland on the first Saturday after the 19th of June.
I am fulfilling a life list point by spending Midsummer in Finland. I had hoped to go to a summer cottage on a lake, but that didn’t work out, so my friend Carol and I are in Turku down at the start of the Finnish island archipelago. So there is water and a midnight sun.
Tomorrow for Midsummer, we are going on a cruise to an island about an hour from Turku, as well as visiting Naantali.
Finland is very beautiful in the summer, green everywhere, wildflowers blooming, and well worth the visit.
* 6:09pm on June 20th in the Pacific Daylight Time Zone and 2:09am on June 21st here in Finland.

View from My Window, the London Edition

View from my window in Bayswater, London

Photo taken by Ms. Jen with her Nokia N8 this afternoon.

Fri 06.08.12 – End of the last full week that I am in London, here is a photo from my window taken this afternoon when the storm clouds were dark and peeps of sun were shining through.
I leave on Tuesday for two weeks in Finland – both Helsinki & Tampere with a side trip to Turku, then home to SoCal.
I continue to work on my mobile apps, but I know that I owe you all photos and some updates, which will hopefully come over this weekend.

6 + 6 = 12

Wed 06.06.12 – Rather than comment on today’s numerical date on Twitter, I will do it here, right now, plus put in a few words of update.
I am now one month, or 31 days, into my #AppRetreat and I have 24 more days to go. I have two wishes on this score:
a) I wish I could go home to SoCal for about 4 to 5 days over this weekend and early next week to visit with Scruffy McDoglet, drop off a whole lot of stuff I won’t need in Finland, and pick up a few things I do need that I can’t for the life of me find in London – like an aloe vera based Vitamin C serum for my rosacea that does not have any wheat in it – gah! People, stop putting gluten in stuff! Gah!
It is the 21st Century and I would like to request a teleporter…
b) I would like have another 3 weeks added onto my #AppRetreat as it would give me more time to get things done. Per usual, once I get under the hood and start working on an app a couple more things pop up to make the time to finish take longer. This week it is the wonders of the camera button access in Symbian Belle that has slowed me down…
Adding another three weeks on would not be hard, but where to stay that would be reasonable in price and have good internet connection?
Speaking of internet connections, while London has been lovely, the internets have been flaky here. Very flaky.
Happy 6 + 6 = 12 day. Enjoy!