Nauvo Magic

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I was thinking about what the magic of Nauvo is made of.

Of goosebumps and the feeling of pure wild joy after a  slightly defiant morning swim in the refreshing sea in late September. The bright yellow ferry that takes us from Parainen to Nauvo, reliably, in less than fifteen minutes and so that you have plenty of time to climb to the upper deck to smile big and wave to the approaching ferry.

A home (or cottage) made rich yummy Finnish/French bouillabaise enjoyed around midnight in candlelight. Around midnight despite of how we tried to start the preparations a bit earlier than last year. By the way, a gastronomic tip, crème fraîche with garlic works really well as the aioli.

The sea. The most powerful and charismatic magic factor. Someone wise and poetic wrote that the sea teaches us. It also tranquilizes. The fire inside which brings a sparkle to my eyes and pushes me forward in life is more lenient in Nauvo. By the sea the slight restlessness folds into calmness.

The sea, again: not watching the tv but spotting the different sea birds and everything that goes on at the sea for breakfast fun.

Biking to the village along a gravel road past fields of hay and patches of sun flowers. Sharing a piece of apple cinnamon cheese cake at Köpmans during the afternoon tea.  This cafe-restaurant is a happy yellow wooden house with a bright blue door. They also have oven baked fish pancakes with granma’s cucumbers. A proper archipelago lunch treat.

The dock of the Nauvo yacht club in the harbour with only  a few sailboats in late September. And the beach boulevard with its small stands of brand labels (a good chance to find pieces from By Marlene Birger like -40 percent off).

True archipelago romance: pitch dark, the starry sky and the steaming breathing of another person.

Butterflies with translucent wings that look exactly like autumn foliage leaves.

The crackle of the fireplace. Pure mindfulness right there.

And the taste of crisp archipelago autumn apples.

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So yeah, an autumnal archipelago visit highly recommended. And to my dear readers from overseas, Nauvo’s (Nagu’s) archipelago refers to two main islands and about 3000 smaller islands and skerries.

Nauvo, a big heart.

Something baffling, fascinating and extremely realistic: Ron Mueck in Tampere

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If you are heading to Tampere, here’s a chocolate tip and an art tip.

The first recommendation is the exhibition of Ron Mueck’s big human figures at the Sara Hildén art museum (Laiturikatu 13). This is the first time the works of this Australia born sculptor are on display in the Nordic countries.

The works are very realistic; his art has also been characterized as hyper realistic.  The body hair, skinfolds, a short bristle, wrinkles, a chip in the toe nail, the blood stains on a gigantic four meter long newborn baby and a bleeding wound.  The size, realism and the subjects of the works make them very impressive, and expressive. Mueck is talented, no question about that. I was both fascinated and baffled while looking at the sculptures.

I almost had to pinch myself from touching the works. The museum has tried to solve this problem by providing a material model with which the visitors can gently feel the materials that the artist uses.

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In addition to the works themselves one fascinating thing was a video showing how the works are made. I watched it twice because the first time I didn’t quite grasp the whole process. So many work phases, an arduous process and so many people that are involved in the making of the pieces.

The exhibition is on until October 16, 2016. Check it out. The art museum is located right next to or almost inside an amusement park.

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And not to forget, the chocolate tip: the chocolate shop Tallipihan Suklaapuoti in Tallipiha (Kuninkaankatu 4) won’t let you down if you want to keep your blood sugar levels high with chocolate truffles and traditional style caramels.

Charismatic off-season Nagu

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One of the most anticipated home country travel plans for the autumn was a weekend getaway to a cottage in Nagu. Before the long weekend was confirmed I looked at flights to for example Vilnius and Prague, but still at the time I was most excited about Nagu. And it came true.

There’s something very captivating in the archipelago. The magic of that Friday evening was intensified in the mysterious fog that hovered above the fields after we left the ferry from Pargas. The air was crisp and brisk and the scene dark green before the darker shades came down.

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Definite highlights of the cottage weekend included morning swims in the refreshing sea and the tingly feeling of being very much alive afterwards, long moments spent staring at the log-fire and in the eyes of another person, a tranquil breakfast with a sea view and the serene sense of calm.

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The gourmet mastery of the weekend was a Bouillabaisse, prepared with time and love. And time. Yeah, a tip from one amateur chef to another is that if you want to enjoy the soup before midnight it can be a good idea to start before ten in the evening. I recall that there’s a saying that goes something like people tend to overestimate what they can do in one day and underestimate what they can do in a lifetime. Well, at least on holidays the first might apply occasionally to me. But the post-midnight fish soup was delicious and rich (here you can find the recipe in Finnish).

I was surprised that although we were in Nagu in late September the ferry went every fifteen minutes still on a Friday evening and that on Saturday afternoon some of the cabins selling brand clothes on the strand boulevard were still open. We did our bike trip with money for a cappuccino in our pockets but there would have been the chance to get for example an autumn cape made of alpaca fur 50 percent off.

What hit me in the woods when we were searching for chanterelles was berry mania. I don’t think I’ve eaten that many blueberries at once in twenty years (the frantic berry picking continued after taking the photo).

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Nagu makes you happy. Makes me happy. And serene. It’s the archipelago effect. Till next time!