James "LJ" Moore


James "LJ" Moore

Europe » Finland » Eastern Uusimaa » Porvoo March 22nd 2009

Rising early, relatively, Liz and I grabbed breakfast at the hotel whilst plotting out our course for the day. On the agenda is the town of Porvoo and the castle in Hämeenlinna. So, plan of attack in-hand we jumped in the Prius and hit the road. We rolled into Porvoo around lunchtime, grabbed a tourist guide and headed to the closest cafe. Over coffee and pastries we decided to take the walking tour of the town. Porvoo is an old town, mention of it in documents begins in the early 14th century, with sufficient history. Taking it's name from a nearby Swedish riverside fortress, Porvoo gained notoriety in the 18th century when Sweden lost land to Russia and the town became the episcopal seat and eventually housed the Diet of Porvoo. It's a quaint town with ... read more
Treacherous Stairs
Porvoo Cathedral
Porvoo Cathedral

Europe » Finland » Pirkanmaa » Tampere March 21st 2009

After an exciting sauna party and a late night out in Tampere it was well worth sleeping in this morning. Liz and I did make it up in time to grab the hotel breakfast though. The highlight of this was her agreeing that their scrambled eggs are definitely not good. She'd been trying to defend them everytime I described them to her, but now she agrees they are an abomination of what we call eggs. It's nice to be right on occasion ;) Breakfast over, the friendly (and quite attractive) staff of the hotel restaurant gave us walking directions to Näsijärvi; this is the frozen lake I've walked and talked about earlier. It was chilly, but a beautiful day out and I figured Liz deserved the experience of seeing hundreds of people treating a frozen lake ... read more
Mittens a la Wegscheid
Finlayson Palatsi

Europe » Finland » Pirkanmaa » Tampere March 20th 2009

The day has finally come for the much anticipated sauna party. Work went well and let out early as Dave, myself and several compatriots boarded the Himos-bound bus. Arriving at the ski resort we immediately made the tricky walk down the icy road to the sauna building. This building housed a regular sauna plus a lounge. The girls had gone to the savusauna (smoke sauna) first so the guys took advantage of the lounge, the snacks and of course the booze. Finally, savusauna time came. The savusauna is a very traditional type of sauna; it's lack of a chimney makes it special. Heat is provided by a wood fire set beneath the kiuas (bed of rocks) and the smoke is allowed to fill the sauna. When the sauna is hot enough the fire is left to ... read more
Sauna Party
Dinner Time

Europe » Finland » Pirkanmaa » Tampere March 19th 2009

So... Another pretty lame day. I came straight home from work and went to work on the taxes again. In an effort to stay productive I opted for takeaway instead of saddling up to the bar like I did last night. This plan worked somewhat. I did end up staying and working longer than I did last night, but I pretty much gave up after I got my food. I just went for "New Chinese" which is pretty much like any chinese takeout joint in the US. For entertainment over dinner I chose some curiously Finnish science fiction by the name of Star Wreck. It's a crudely animated, crudely translated and immeasurably bizarre parody of Star Trek. I recommend it. After all, it is another bit of Finnish culture per se.... read more

Europe » Finland » Pirkanmaa » Tampere March 18th 2009

I predict this to be the first of many lame blogs coming up as I've begun to work on my taxes. Pretty much the night consisted of staring at my computer until I couldn't stand it anymore and then heading to Celtic House for some fried food and beer. That'll cure the tax blues ;)... read more

Europe » Finland » Pirkanmaa » Tampere March 17th 2009

Since arriving in Tampere I have been advised that there are three notable wing joints in town. I'm talking hotwings, in the Tampere vernacular it's 'hornets'. So far I've tried two of the three which were Captain Hooks and Speak Easy. Dave and I opted to head straight to the last of the three after work today. It's name is so simple for the English tongue: Siipiweikot. The closest translation I can come up with is, "Wing Buddies." It has my vote for the best hot wings to touch my numb lips in all of Finland. To tell you the truth, it was almost like being back in the U.S. If you've been in Finland for a few months and are craving some typical American bar food then Siipiweikot will not do you wrong. Plus they ... read more

Europe » Finland » Pirkanmaa » Tampere March 16th 2009

Needless to say I wasn't up for much today after the fun weekend in Helsinki. A bonus of checking out for the weekend though was that an executive room with a private sauna became available. So I upgraded to that when checking back in last night. My monday night consisted of unpacking and settling in. I had dinner at the hotel and then enjoyed the sauna before bed. Attached are a few more pictures from Helsinki to make up for my lack of writing.... read more
Cozy Market Cafe

Europe » Finland » Uusimaa » Helsinki March 15th 2009

Surprisingly, I awoke to minimal hangover symptoms, ready for another day of exploring Helsinki. The plan of attack for today was a good breakfast and then as many museums as I could handle. Now, if one wants a great breakfast in Helsinki the obvious choice is Cafe Ekberg. I believe this is Helsinki's oldest cafe, possibly the oldest in all of Finland. Starting out as a bakery, opened by F. E. Ekberg in 1852, it survived through the years as a coffee shop, a spirits factory, an alcohol shop, a tabacconist and a traditional cafe. The brunch buffet is great and the coffee is strong. Satiated, I pulled out my overtly touristy map on which I'd highlighted some museums that piqued my interest and aimed myself at the nearest of the bunch. This happened to be ... read more
Finnish Architecture Museum
Finnish Design Museum

Europe » Finland » Uusimaa » Helsinki March 14th 2009

I woke up early enough to make it to a nearby market for breakfast before the tour I signed up for started. At the small market square was a tent serving coffee and pastries. Perfect! I went with the voipulla, directly translating as “butter baked roll”. It's a butter-filled donut type of thing, not quite as sweet as our donuts though. This should go on your "Must Try List" if you ever make it to Finland. The tour bus picked me up at the hotel, swung by a couple other hotels with no additional passengers and then headed to the tour’s starting point where the bus became a crowded mess. Luckily the speaker system was robust enough for me to hear the guide over the excessively loud and rude Middle-Eastern group that either didn't understand or ... read more
Sibelius Monument
Rock Church

Europe » Finland » Uusimaa » Helsinki March 13th 2009

After work I dropped Dave off in Tampere and pressed on to Helsinki. I rolled into the Crowne Plaza approximately 18:00, got checked in and dumped my bags at the foot of the bed. The hotel presents itself as brand new (maybe it is) and was very nicely appointed in modern decor. I was quite happy with the heated tile floor in the bathroom, ample closet space and aesthetically pleasing, but still useful lighting. This place is definitely recommended if you're staying in Helsinki. It's especially fitting for business travel, IMHO. After some discussion with the concierge regarding a place to dine, I settled on Ravintola Saaga. The concierge made a reservation for 20:15, which gave me plenty of time to walk there. The walk was pleasant and took just over 20 minutes. I passed most ... read more
Roast Reindeer
Kuksa of Rosemary Sorbet
Snow Grouse & Reindeer

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