What a lovely first half of the weekend!
Friday evening we spent some time hanging out with other residents from the Toolo Towers. We’d spotted a poster in the elevator saying that there’d be a party in the communal lounge on our floor – and decided to pop by and see what was going on. We ended up staying a long time, enjoying very relaxed and easy conversation and swapping tips and stories about experiences in Helsinki with people from a wide variety of other countries. It was interesting / amazing / amusing that the first person we spoke to turned out to be a friend of a friend back in Stellenbosch!
This morning (Saturday) we took a walk to the Hakaniemi market, walking directly there over the frozen Töölönlahti. The market was interesting (it reminded us a bit of the slow food market in Stellenbosch) – particularly all the different varieties of potatoes that were on sale (including a variety known as the van Gogh potato). We also found a fruit & veg stall that sells butternuts – so we can always track this favourite food if we get a craving for it. We also walked around the Kallion kirkko (a rather large church on top of the hill in the Kallio suburb), through the university’s botanical garden (covered in snow), and along part of the Esplenadi (a beautiful old street where all the posh shops have outlets). An interesting morning, but I was glad to be home for some warmth and lunch after a couple of hours in a cold wind.
And we’ve now just returned from a sumptuous dinner with my host and his family – three delicious and uniquely-Finnish courses, complemented by lovely wines. I hope all Saturdays can be this good!