Weekly Photo Challenge: One

For challenge this week, I’m sharing this hang glider, spotted high above the Pacific Ocean.

We were heading south out of Sydney and decided to take the scenic route… Grand Pacific Drive, which really is grand! A small part of the highway actually is built over the ocean 🙂

If you’re travelling south out of Sydney, I highly recommend the Grand Pacific Drive and pull in at Bald Hill. There was even an ice-cream van with the usual suspects (hot-dogs, ice-creams etc). Mr. 14 was very impressed with his hot-dog.

The spot is very popular with motorists of all varieties. One side of the car park was filled with motorbikes of all shapes, sizes, colours and speeds while the other side had a wide assortment of campers, cars, utes and vans.

Be warned though, hang-gliding is what it’s all about here. Don’t stand on the lawn too long or an impatient pilot will be yelling at you to clear the way. Yes, it happened to me!

Note: This Taswegian is in Australia for some Christmas / New Year cheer. We left a very grey Helsinki (still no snow…) and arrived to one of the hottest days this summer…

Restaurant Day / Ravintola Päivä

All of my worlds have crashed together today. So I present one of my favourite Finnish bands The Crash singing Pony Ride. Sadly they are no longer together, fortunately for you, there is a wonderful collection on YouTube. Check them out. The front man (Teemu Brunila) is one of Finland’s prominent writer-composers, his name pops up everywhere.

Saturday was the 5th occasion of Restaurant Day. Anyone can set up a restaurant, anywhere. It’s a Finnish ‘invention’, the first one was held just 12 months ago and already it’s gone international. Over seven hundred restaurants around the world last Saturday. Early on Saturday morning I downloaded the app and had a quick look at the offerings before heading off to the harbour to do some market research. I passed the information on to my survey participants: I hope they managed to find something yummy 🙂

The city was very quiet on my way to the harbour, although by the time I was heading across town there were all sorts of restaurants setting up. We did a quick check of offerings and decided to head back into town and see what was available.  The app was ‘tipping’ a little bit due to far too many users at the same time. Their web site suffered the same indignity.

We found Riita’s ribs very quickly, and quickly grabbed ourselves ribs and salad to go. They were juicy and spicy with crispy bits. Yummy. The warm weather had brought the crowds out and some restaurants seemed to be running out of food.

I didn’t get any pictures (too busy eating), so instead I’ll direct you to Lumo Lifestyle’s blog all about Restaurant Day. This is one the first Finnish blogs I started to follow when I started writing my own. For the life of me I cannot remember how I found it, all I know is that her mail arrives first thing in the morning and the photos are always a joy to look at. (THIS blog has far too many words and not enough pictures!)

Anyway, there were far too many restaurants open to check them all. There were at least 2 that we should have gone to as they  were opened by friends. Next time… We visited an old friend serving afternoon tea in her garden. P is very proud of her garden and a huge fan of things British and Scottish. So we sat in the garden sipping tea and eating our scones with jam and cream. Oh so decadent. P’s husband J was hiding out in the basement watching Finland not earn a podium spot in the hockey championships.

We had a movie date with The Avengers. Iron Man rules and that’s all I’ll say about the movie. Oh, apart from ‘Hulk got the action and Robert Downey Jr got the best lines’. We decided to finish the day with burgers on the beach. On of the late opening restaurants. Their listing said enough for 100, and they’d only been open a couple of hours. So, we figured that there would be burgers left.

SOLD OUT. One chicken burger and a few tofu burgers was all that was left. So this meat-eater took the vegetarian option. I’m very glad I did, that was one seriously good burger. So we sat on sun-warmed rocks, ate our burgers and sipped on cold beers. Nice way to end a day out on the town.

PS: I’m thinking of participating in the next Restaurant Day as a restauranteur. I think I know just what to sell, just need to find a suitable spot! Stay tuned.

We are hunting lions!

The 2012 IIHF World Championships start today and continue until May 20th. I must confess I’m not a big ice hockey fan. Let’s take that one step further, I’m not a big sports fan! Anyway, I do feel it is a little wrong when I live in a country where I’m sure children can skate before they walk, as well as enjoying ice-skating as a school sport. Ice rinks pop up all over the country at the first hint of chilly weather and the fences don’t come down again until it is well and truly spring.

2011 was the year that Finland won the world cup after many years of being in so close. 2012 we get to host the world championships in conjunction with Sweden. Now because I know ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about ice hockey I’m going to direct you to the IIHF page and you can read all about the upcoming championships there.

One of the stars of last years team was a young man by the name of Mikael Granlund, believe it or not, I know his name without resorting to running Google search! He leapt to fame after ‘shooting’ this amazing goal. To make matters sweeter it was against Russia.

Fast forward to this years Championships.  Every time there is a major sporting even that both Finland and Australia are competing in I have this terrible conflict. Which country to I put my heart and soul behind? Formula 1 is the most difficult: on one hand we have the rugged Mark Webber representing Australia and then there is the taciturn, yet looking like a ‘little boy lost’ Kimi Räikkönen,  back flying the flag for Finland after dabbling in rally. Oh, the conflict!

It doesn’t appear that Australia is fielding a team in the championships this year, they lost to Romania. Due to the large amount of advertising everywhere in the last few weeks Lion-fever is building, even for this confirmed non-hockey fan. Here is this years championship logo and mascot, courtesy of Leijonat.fi.

If the bird seems familiar, it’s because you’ve been playing Angry Birds too much! Yes ‘HockeyBird’ has escaped from the Rovio nest. Here is some background information if you are interested.

On a final note, because I have to put in some music here is an advertisement being run by one of the local cable channels. High on patriotic fervour I would say!

Onnea Leijonat! Good luck Lions!