This Strange Corona Spring

First I thought I’d write my next travel post about a nature destination here in Finland – one which we plan to visit during the summer holidays. I want to present some beautiful gems here in Finland. But before that, I thought I’d write down a few notes about this peculiar and unprecedented time, the corona spring. A few personal observations from this strange period before spring officially folds into summer.

I fully get that the coronavirus and the lockdown period treat people unequally. These exceptional times impact families and individuals very differently. Many struggle to make ends meet when their income is being threatened or taken away altogether; others feel the weight of loneliness during the isolation. Healthcare workers, those who are at high risk to get sick or countless entrepreneurs feel stress that many others do not. And in the most severe outcomes people lose their lives or their loved ones.

And then there are many who can enjoy the slower pace and the simple joys of life or use this time for personal development, maybe even a fitness sprint. But, despite the differences and the divides, there is also a sense that we are in this together. And we’ll get out of this together.

Even though this Spring 2020 has been very worrying globally, I want to take up positive and good things as well – things that have made life happier, brighter, lighter, and more delicious.

First of them is, you might guess, cooking. As we’ve not been able to adventure around the globe, we’ve travelled the world in our very own kitchen. We’ve cooked Melanzane alla parmigiana and lasagne and reminisced our former joyous summer days in Italy, Thai curry, Revuelto (a yummy Spanish take on scrambled eggs) with tomatoes and green asparagus, meat prepared by using the sous vide method (time consuming but an absolutely genius way of cooking) and Karelian stew, a delicious traditional meat dish from Eastern Finland. Cooking is both soothing and yummy. It seems that half of Finland has been baking their own sourdough bread this spring. Or planting their own herbs. Me included. Gardening game going strong: or at least there’s the will to master the art of gardening a bit better one gorgeous day.

Nature has always been my place of focus, quieting down and green meditation. I think that the significance of nature has grown and will continue to grow in people’s lives because of this spring. I anticipate that many will move closer to nature and invest in a community garden patch paired with a cute cottage.

What else? A few selected random recommendations: The miniseries Unorthodox in Netflix – a captivating story of a young ultra-Orthodox Jewish woman (played by the talented Shira Haas) who escapes an arranged marriage and the strict and conservative religious community to Berlin. High recommendations, it is shocking and excellent. Second, home workouts. There are many good and free ones on YouTube (I’ve for example done the full body workouts by Pamela Reif). Only 20 or 30 minutes at a time and the powerful feeling of accomplishment will be with you for the rest of the day. Third, having a rhythm in one’s day even if that rhythm is not given by a 9 to 5 job. Fourth, limiting one’s news consumption to one time a day (versus the 10+ times on the day the corona situation escalated). Fifth, mercy: an exceptional time brings forward all types of feelings, both the bright and the gloomy. And finally, talking to your dear ones.

Many say that small things have become big things this spring and that normal life has become a luxury. I’d also say that as a lot of the hustle & hurry of our everyday lives has been stripped away, the good things are highlighted and get more attention and value: a beautiful and colourful breakfast, a good and sweaty run by the sea while sniffing the salty sea air, the bright green birch sprouts pushing their way through optimistically. Puppies. Wild bunnies (countless of them hopping around here where we live). A cup of quality ristretto coffee enjoyed in the garden with a good book. The scent of fresh cut grass and lilacs. Bright Finnish summer nights. Seeing our one-year-old godson after two months and having a barbecue and an abundant brunch with the family.

I can’t wait for things to get back to normal again. But I believe it will be a new kind of a normal which will follow this odd period when we’ve had a chance to think things through and come up with new ways of doing things. A new normal with maybe a new type of a brighter focus. We’ll see.

And then more travel inspo will come, be it here from the Arctic or from a distant corner of the globe!

Nauvo Magic

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.




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


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.


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.



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.