"This blog is not necessarily for lovers of art, it includes a variety of topics and whatever. I'm a painter who likes to know what's really going on in the world today. So you might find anything from Shamrocks to Salmiakki mentioned here on my blog. There will of course be some boring, factual and informational posts, but I'll keep them to a minimum, I promise!
And I might get a bit nostalgic now and then.
So you have been warned!"
Friday, December 6, 2013
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Some of you reading this blog will probably know little about Finland, just as I did once upon a time. Most of what I knew usually involved snow, Santa Claus and film locations for old spy movies. Add to that names such as Mannerheim, Sibelius, Viren, Hyypiä, Räikkönen, Litmanen, Häkkinen, Grönholm, Lordi and that was about it for me.
Ten years later including three years living here and the story has changed. I now know more about Finland, a lot more.
However, if you do have more than just a long weekend, I can recommend looking beyond Helsinki.
Anyway, here's a little video I made from some photos I took while visiting Turku. I hope it gives you a mild impression of the city.
Nowadays Turku is probably best known for constructing some of the largest cruiseliners in the world. Coming from a part of Europe that also produced large ships at one stage long ago, it’s great to get the chance to see these giants of the sea this time around. I can almost imagine what the shipyards of Belfast must have been like in their day. It's sad to see what happened to the industry back then. I believe however that they have finally found a new use for the Titanic's old yard. I recently found out it is now used as a facility for culture and film. In fact I found out from a documentary while watching a dvd movie that it has the largest indoor film-set in the world. The film I watched was a fantasy adventure made here called ‘City of Ember’. It’s good to see some enterprise, employment and rejuvenation being brought to this old part of Belfast.
Now you'll have to excuse me for rambling, I tend to get sidetracked in my typing sometimes. More often I forget my initial subject completely. I suppose I'm not getting any younger, and anyway I’m no Charlie Brown,... or is it Dan? ....I don't know anymore!!
Last summer during the month of July I was lucky enough to be presented with a voucher from some Finnish friends to a luxury spa hotel in the small town of Naantali near the city of Turku. This gave me the chance to spend some time in this part of Finland. Naantali is a nice place were the Moomins live, and you can read about it in a previous blog I posted by clicking the word Naantali here or at the end of this blog. Normally I would only go to Turku to take a ferry to Sweden or whatever, so I never got to a chance to see much of the area. The first thing I noticed about Turku was the larger number of public bars compared to Helsinki. Being Irish I’m probably more qualified than most to notice these differences. Maybe I’m wrong maybe I’m right, but there just seemed to be more bars in Turku! I get the feeling that this is perhaps due to its big population of students. Then again, Helsinki has an even bigger population of students, so I don’t know why there aren’t more bars in Helsinki. I should check the facts and statistics out before writing any of this really, but hell, it's only my small observations that are at stake here! Or maybe I'm just conjuring up a subliminal message aimed at certain readers to make more bars! :)
I felt a more relaxed atmosphere as I walked about Turku. Was it because of the lazy river Aura running through it? Or was it the lack of traffic congestion I always see in Helsinki, I really don't know! It put me in mind of two cities in Ireland, Cork and Dublin. The city of Cork can feel more relaxing than the capital city Dublin, which also has a lot of traffic congestion like Helsinki.
|Beer garden at 'Koulu' Pub, Turku.|
Like a lot of European countries, Finland also has a few Irish-themed bars, most of them being in the major towns and cities. And Turku is no exception. Usually I prefer to go to a Finnish bar and meet the locals, but a lot of Finns seem to like their Irish bars and tend to party harder than any of us Irish, hence I usually end up in an Irish bar by the end of the night whether I like it or not!
After spending my day walking around Turku, and popping into one or two Finnish bars and restaurants, I happily ended up in The Castle Irish bar. It was an average Irish-themed bar inside, with a good crowd of people, most of whom seemed Finnish, all having great fun, or as we Irish say "having a bit of craic!". In fact I didn't meet one Irish person there. The bar staff seemed to be mainly English I think, so they were friendly enough :) ... And they served a nice pint of Guinness!
It's a shame it was so expensive though, I could have drank a lot more. There were a few good singers performing in the bar that evening. Two Finnish guys singing covers of their favorite songs. A good night's entertainment!
During my evening in the Castle bar I had the honour of bumping into a local guy called 'Tumppi' (see photo above). I remembered him from a video I found on YouTube last year. He made a very informative tourist video for the city of Turku featuring himself and his dry brand of humour.
......So stick the kettle on and grab some biscuits!!
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
The band recently received accolades from the media and press in Finland after their album entitled 'Relief' (shown below) won the 'Best Alternative/Indie album' award at the Emma-Gaala music awards.
|Magenta Skycode - Relief|
Monday, January 31, 2011