Monday, 31 October 2016

Happy Halloween!

What do you think, did I manage to pick an appropriate book for the season? Also, this is one of my favourite songs at the moment:

I also thought I'd let you know that today (appropriately) is the launch day of "666", an anthology of bite-sized horror stories by Fantastic Books Publishing. Each story is 666 words long (or short, depending on how you look at it). This collection features a grave story (yes, pun intended) which I wrote together with my DH. And I'd like to welcome you to the launch party tonight! It takes place at 6:66... or 19:06 UTC in Facebook. You can find the event here:

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Medieval Tallinn and Olde Hansa Restaurant

As you may have deduced from my posts from the Turku Medieval Fair and the Häme Medieval Fair, we are something of Medieval enthusiasts. This is one of the reasons we like Tallinn: the old, Medieval part of the city is so beautiful. We always spend most of our time in Tallinn walking around the narrow alleys, admiring the lovely houses and just enjoying the atmosphere.

The old Town Hall Square and the Town Hall (during the day and at night).

You always discover something new. This time we ended up in an apothecary museum. It was a lovely old room with lots of information about medicine in the past. The glass jars on display featured such items as a mummy’s hand, a hedgehod, a frog... These fascinated my daughter endlessly. It was a small place, but very interesting!

One of the places we always go to is the Medieval restaurant Olde Hansa. It is a stunningly beautiful place, the staff is dressed in Medieval garments, and there is often live music in the evenings (the ”house band”, Olde Hansa Musicus). Downstairs you can find a Medieval Shoppe with pottery, glass ware, jewellery, soap, leather belts and purses, clothes...

As we often do, we spent one night in Olde Hansa. I said one night, because this is a restaurant where you want to order three courses or linger over drinks just to enjoy the atmosphere, it truly is something special. It also gets rather crowded when the night progresses, so it's good to plan ahead and not be in a hurry. The food is very authentic; you will find no potatoes or tomatoes or chocolate here (alas, no mead, either!) but barley, various meats and fish, pastries etc. Olde Hansa is the house of a rich merchant, so you dine like well-to-do people might have done (not everyone had access to expensive spices, like ginger and peppers, for instance). The service is friendly, and you get to hear little stories about the dishes and old dining customs etc.


We started with delicious toasted cheese flavoured with juniper and herbs which was served with nut bread. This was very good. The main course was chicken in almond sauce. This was also very tasty, although the portion was much too large for me (especially after splitting the cheese thing with my daughter).

For dessert, we ordered rose pudding. This dish looked absolutely charming, very romantic – and it did taste like roses! It was a creamy, silky, rich pudding but not too filling. Just the right thing to finish off a wonderful meal.

We like this place so much that, three years ago, we chose it as the place (well, one of them) where we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Viking Exhibitions in Tallinn

Since I found out about the Viking exhibition in Tallinn earlier this year, I wanted to go. Now, during the autumn holiday, I finally got the chance... and visited not only one but two Viking exhibitions!

The first one was ”Vikings: The Reality behing Legends” in Lennusadam, the Estonian Maritime Museum. The objects of the exhibition come from the Historical Museum in Sweden and include all sorts of things from weapons, jewellery and pottery to (reconstructed) boats, sails and rune stones. You could try on a Viking helmet (no horns! Seriously. No horns.) and try carrying a Viking shield.

There are other interactive and hands-on pieces as well (such as writing your name in runes), which my 8-year-old daughter enjoyed enormously (though she would have enjoyed the exhibition anyway – when she first heard about the Viking exhibitions she asked, ”Can we go, can we go, please!” and when we told her that this was exactly why we were going to Tallinn, she jumped for joy!).

If you don’t know much about Vikings, the exhibition is a good place to learn: the numerous objects on display are accompanied by long, informative texts. You can learn about the Viking culture, beliefs, history etc. If you are a Viking enthusiast, you will perhaps not find a huge amount of new information here, but... well, you're a Viking enthusiast! You will want to see this.

This is a rather large exhibition – it took us about two hours to view it... and I could go back. ;) Catch it before January 15th, 2017.

Here are a few pics (we took many):

The other exhibition was ”Viking Era Treasures in Estonia” at the Fat Margaret’s Tower. This exhibition focuses on Viking Age finds in Estonia and the importance of Estonia as part of the trade routes of those days. This is a much smaller exhibition; still, it was worth a visit. The rest of the tower is dedicated to Estonian seafaring museum.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Ghost writer?

It seems that the Halloween season is almost upon us... so I just wanted to share something I came across the other day. Because it's just the kind of thing I think is awesome. ;)

Monday, 10 October 2016

Review: Fazer Winter Edition: Cinnamon and Biscuit in Milk Chocolate (Jouluisia mausteita & rapeita keksimuruja)

A sure sign of the approaching winter are Fazer’s Winter Edition chocolates. Sometimes I’ve found them in September already; this year, it was early October when I saw them in the supermarket. I’ve previously reviewed the dark chocolate with apple, caramel and hazelnuts and the milk chocolate with almonds, cranberries and Christmas spices; today we take a bite of this year’s newcomer, milk chocolate with cinnamon and biscuit. The Finnish text, however, says “Christmas spices” instead of cinnamon... but whichever it is, I wanted to have a taste!

The wrapping is the classic Fazer bar wrapping with a bit of Yuletide spirit in the form of golden snowflakes etc. Very pretty.

The scent of milk chocolate is sweet and there is a hint of spices, but it is not at all overwhelming, just enough to make the scent warm. I like that!

The milk chocolate is what I've come to expect from Fazer: smooth and silky and not too sweet. My favourite milk chocolate to date. The biscuit crumbs are small and crunchy but have no particular flavour. As for the cinnamon – turns out the Finnish text about “Christmas spices” is more accurate, for the ingredient list includes not only cinnamon but also cardamom, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Now, such a medley could very well result in inharmony and give the chocolate a sort of fusty, stale taste, but this is not the case here. There is just a pinch of those spices, enough to give the chocolate a lovely, warm, Yuletide flavour.

While I secretly hoped that this might replace my old favourite, gingerbread chocolate from Fazer (which, alas, is no longer available! It was not only delicious but it came in big bars with thick pieces... mmmm....), it does not really compare. It does, however, go nicely with the cold, darkening evenings – and I’d imagine it would make a perfect companion to a glass of hot, spiced wine!

Monday, 3 October 2016

October - the dirt month

We’ve come to October, which concludes my series of Finnish month names. I started it last year in November, the month of the dead, simply because I found that name intriguing... but ended up writing a short post about each month.

And now for October, or, in Finnish, lokakuu. ’Loka’ means mud or dirty, wet snow. The month has also been known as likakuu – ’lika’ means dirt. Where such a name comes from is rather obvious: it often rains in October, and everything is muddy and dirty. Or, if there is snow, it usually turns to grey slush. No snow here so far, but it’s still early October...

But I don’t really want to post pictures of mud and dirty, slushy snow, so here’s one from last weekend instead. ;)