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A Finnish Sauna

15 Mar

Now that the days are longer the views from the sauna are stunning (it’s on the eight floor of the apartment block), so I wanted to share some pictures and show you all what a Finnish sauna looks like =)

finnish sunset

finnish sunset

finnish sunset

Finnish sauna

 

This is the main changing room

Finnish sauna

 

A door leads you into the shower room, and to the right in the sauna entrance

Finnish sauna

Finnish sauna

finnish sunset

finnish sunset

finnish sunset

finnish sunset

 

Have a great weekend!

 

Learning to Walk on Water

15 Mar

With spring break hitting in the US and my friends all heading to the beach to catch some rays I felt inspired to do the same. I needed some vitamin D and I was looking a little pasty so I grabbed my shades and hopped on the next bus.

The beach here, by the way, is covered is snow. And the ocean is frozen over. Did I forget to mention that? Oh, and it was minus 15.

It was quite an experience though, walking on water, if a little terrifying! It was freezing cold in the wind and it felt a little like being on a winter landscape, but it was incredible! I’ve never seen anything like a frozen beach. I really can’t describe it, so instead I’ll show it =)

beach huts

nallikari

nallikari frozen ocean

This is the sea, all frozen over.

nallikari frozen ocean

nallikari frozen ocean

nallikari frozen ocean

nallikari frozen ocean

The ice is so strong it can be driven over!

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nallikari frozen ocean

nallikari frozen ocean

 

Beautiful huh?

Spring is Coming!

3 Mar

I spent the afternoon on the Hietasaari island just walking and enjoying the sunshine! The temperature has been much higher lately and, although it’s dropped again this weekend, you can finally start to feel the warmth from the sun when you’re outside. The roads and pavements are a little dangerous where the snow is melting and they’ve turned to sheets of ice, but a pair of ice spike covers on your shoes will do the trick!

On another note I’m quit behind on all of your blogs – my apologies but I’ve got a scratched cornea and too much computer time is really painful for my eye. It’s slowly healing and hopefully I can get up to date next week.

Here are the pictures from my walk.

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In And Around Ainola Park

27 Feb

It’s been a long time since I went to the park, but since the weather was nice and the art gallery was open until 7pm, I decided to take a stroll.

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As usual I got a little lost an ended up taking a detour under this bridge, but I stumbled across this lovely bird box, at which birds were gathered, and it was a very pleasant place to have ended up. Sadly, it came to a dead end and I ended up doubling-back onto the main road, but I felt a little jealousy towards the people who lived right next to it in the apartment blocks.

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IMG_0323In the right-hand corner of the above picture is the cathedral, visible from most places in and around the city centre. It’s a good marker when you get lost!

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IMG_0327I finally made it off the road and into the park!

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Here stands the ominous building of the Northern Ostrbothnian museum – worth a visit for the local history.

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Some quirky, Sherlock related graffiti.

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There’s an exhibition of textiles at the art museum currently – these guys take up most of the floor, and made me chuckle when I entered. It was, however, a bit weird being all alone in the room with them.

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Every year the art gallery holds an exhibition dedicated to the work of just one artist. This year it’s Petri, and the top floor is filled with his paintings, a large, emotional collection. They were quite fascinating; morbid, beautiful and mind-bending. You really should check them out for the full effect.

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My last view on the way home – a great way to spend a quiet Friday evening!

 

 

The Monkey at Linnanmaa

25 Feb

On another bright, blue, beautiful day I took a walk around Linnanmaa and through Kaijonharju, and just look what I stumbled across.

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A big old ape reading in the sun. Why is he there? How long has he been there? What is he reading? I wish I had the answers. I think he’s meant to be a marker for the local library, but many have come to know the apartment opposite him a ‘The Monkey House’. He made me smile, anyhow.

Some other pictures from my walk:

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I just love the blue colour of the sky when it’s clear!

 

Watch Out, Icicles!

24 Feb

Did you know that a falling icicle can kill a person? Me neither, until I moved to Finland. This is the country where there’s a whole new world of things to be considered, every day tasks that had never before crossed your mind. Evading icicles has become one of them.

Take a look at these badboys hanging from the roof of the kauppahalli:

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Now imagine getting hit in the head by one of those things – not so pretty any more are they?

Okay, they’re still a bit pretty in the sunshine, but also a lot more menacing. Like the jaws of an animal waiting to bite. All around Oulu paths are blocked off and warning signs placed alongside buildings to warn people of the danger. Just last year an old lady died in Oulu after being struck by one.

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As with most random things, if you Google it there’ll be a website. If you’re a bit morbid/bored here’s a list of ’10 Chilling Tales of People Killed by Icicles Around the World‘. I’m not even kidding, go see for yourself.

There is one positive side to icicles: they signal that spring is on its way. Finally. Okay, so it’s still going to be a long wait until the snow melts, but the temperature is climbing, the days are getting longer and there are birds in the trees. I’d never really realised the absence of birdsong until it came back, and it lifts my spirits to hear them singing in the morning.

At the moment, when there’s a some sunshine, I just can’t help myself and I have to go for a walk. I’m like a labrador scratching at the door with my lead in my mouth. Even if it’s cold I’ll find a long way to walk home, just to soak up the weak sun. Today I took the bus to town and walked from Linnansaari to Pikisaari and through the market square. Lots of other people had the same idea and I was surrounded by joggers, cyclists and nordic walkers, all out to make the most of the weather. 


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Oulu is so beautiful when the sun is out! My top tip for this season is: buy sunglasses. The snow gets awfully bright in the sunshine and can cause snowblindness if you stare at it too long. Don’t be worried about looking silly, everyone wears shades, even if they’re bundled up in a hundred layers!

I hope everyone else has some lovely weather this weekend! Are there any signs of spring yet where you are?

 

Natural Oulu vs Industrial Oulu

17 Feb

I took a walk this weekend (attempting to find the beach but, as usual, ending up in a wrong turn and a long walk back to the right place) and found a side of Oulu which I hadn’t yet seen.

I started by the library in the city centre, crossed to Pikisaari, ended up in Nallikari and finally made it back to Tuira. It took about an hour and the first half of the walk I spent almost utterly alone in a snow-filled wilderness, while the second half took me through industrial building sites and rows of apartment blocks.

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Nature and development seem to go hand in hand here. Even in the woods I could smell the acrid-scent from the paper factory; even in town I could see the water and the snow-filled trees.

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