Monday, June 22, 2009

New York New Yoooork

So off we went to the BIG CITY and loved every second of it. Did lots of touristy things including the Red Bus (extreme tourist behaviour but worth it!), up the Empire State Building, wandered in Central Park, saw the Statue of Liberty and saw Wicked on Broadway. In the middle of all this, Mark went to a conference while I did some damage on 5th Avenue.
Great fun and we are already plotting our return...

Weekend in Säkylä

A weekend away in the most peaceful place on earth, our friend's Summer Cottage about an hour away

Monday, May 18, 2009

Adventures with Sarah!

Dinner in Turku

Walking home past the Cathedral

We did a 4 hour Bike tour of Paris

     Rialto Bridge in Venice

     Amazing Positano

So after the Arctic Circle adventure we came back for awhile, then off to Joensuu (near the Russian border) for M to teach a bit more, then a weekend in Helsinki where we found SARAH!!
It was most wonderful to have our beloved friend here for a few days, exploring Turku castle, riding bikes around nearby islands and touring the best coffee in town. Gold. Then she and I were off for some more adventures- we conquered Paris, Venice, Florence, Positano and Rome in 14 days!! Was an amazing trip with many hilarious moments.
Warming up here finally, the snow is all thawed and grass and tulips are popping up everywhere. It's also getting dark later all the time, the sun set at 10:30pm tonight. Very weird but my nocturnal husband seems to like it.
That's all for now! xo

Friday, May 1, 2009

Artic Circle

Hello bloggees,
Well, long time between posts - apparently I was meant to do this while Lauren was away but maybe I forgot. So expect some exciting posts of wondrous adventures and the more mundane day to day life in the coming weeks.
OK so pics below from our time in Rovaniemi and then 250km further north into the Artic circle. I taught at the Uni of Lapland, strained, toiled and engaged in intellectual rigour - Lauren snowboarded. Good times :)
But before that we went up to a place called Kakslauttanen for 2 days of wild Artic RnR. This included a reindeer safari, where Lauren had a mangy little dude who liked to nuzzle her ear - enough said! 
Two different forms of accommodation; one a very sensible log cabin with the now famous one-match fire (I'm happy to expound details of my technique in this regard over several hours for interested parties. For more on this see The other was a snow igloo, -5 degrees. Cold! fun?! but Cold! The morning sauna was most welcome!
My first time ever on skis resulted in extreme downhill sections on suspiciously flat bridges like the one pictured. I did have an excellent teacher, although details on how to stop were never forthcoming.
The final pic - my fav - is the high level of security required in this part of the world. I mean, you never know who is trying to steal your sleigh. This is, after all, the official home of Santa so one can't be too careful.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Hi again, thought we'd put up some photos from our little trip to Stockholm last weekend.
We booked a cabin on the Viking Line (the aforementioned best ferry ever) which takes 11 hours to get there, and had 3 days in Stockholm. 
We absolutely LOVED it, such an amazing and beautiful city. We both loved walking around the old town (Mark says especially at night in the rain), and we visited some museums, did tours in the Royal Palace, had GREAT food (lobster soup... so good), and there was even a bit of shopping. I really loved the Vasa museum, which is a massive warship that sunk in Stockholm Harbour in 1628 and was recovered in 1961.
Lots coming up, we're off to the very northern part of Finland this week for Mark to teach and I've talked him into a night in a snow igloo village. He's been asked to give the keynote address at a conference here straight after we get back so it's all happening! Stay tuned!! xo

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


This is our trip out to Nauvo last weekend, a very beautiful island in the archipelago.
Below the photos is a video I took on the car ferry over. Have never driven onto a ferry before. Or been on one that breaks through ice.
Good times.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

One Month In...

             Islands in the archipelago

                     Mark heading off to work

     Baked local salmon (and chef)

               A church in Naantali 

       Beautiful street in Rauma, built in the 1700's

Well it's been a month in Turku and there's been quite a bit going on, combined with a lot of chilling out and exploring. February is the coldest month and it's got down to minus 20 (and not over yet!!) The Finnish word for Feb means 'Pearl month' because of the snow- it suddenly got amazingly sparkly and glistens as it falls. 
Mark's been working pretty hard and even has his name on his office door. The others in the Cultural History Department are great and we've had a few nights out with them. I've befriended the social work department here at the uni, just in time to go to their annual research conference last week. I've also enrolled in a course on working with families in the Finnish system- most exciting to find such a course in english!
Highlights have been Mark's department having their annual planning meeting on the 10th floor of a ferry! I went along and while Mark sat in a conference room I shopped duty free, ate and saw a live band. Best ferry ever! It was a 12 hour trip through the archipelago (20 000 islands) towards Sweden- absolutely beautiful.
We've also heard a local choir in the cathedral, visited the amazing Turku Castle which was built in the 1200's, gone to the art museum, and done some trips to really beautiful old towns up the coast. It's been great going to some local churches, Mark is a bit excited about doing a blog entry about that so will leave it for him. There are great places to eat round here, and Mark's also mastered the art of buying local fish. I've found the best coffee place in town, now we just need the Aussie Dollar to improve a bit so a coffee doesn't cost $8!! 
Language issues continue, and by popular demand I will keep telling you crazy stories about us stuffing up in Finnish. My personal favourite involved Mark cleverly ordering us hot dogs in Finnish and when they arrived he realised he'd ordered them without the bun!! Much hilarity, and his 'greatest regret in Finland so far'.
That's all for now, much love from us xo