Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

This winter has not been a normal one. End of January and beginning of February we were enjoying the sun. Daily temperatures between 8 and 14 °C, about 46 to 57 °F. Street bars and coffee shops were open, people were talking about an early spring.

Now, end of March, we´ve got snow here in Leipzig, first time this "winter". It´s cold, windy and dark.

Anyway, Easter is here. Long weekend with Angie. No work, no stress. Picture here shows Easter decorations at Leipzig Hauptbahnhof, central railway station, where we went day before yesterday to buy some flowers and Easter eggs to our friends. Click to see it full size.

Happy Easter to everyone.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

TV from Finland

About a month ago life became easier for us Finnish immigrants. Finally after years of waiting Finnish television is available to everybody with a flat rate Internet connection. Best part is it costs only €10 a month. Viewer should also have a Finnish TV-license paid. I can now watch everything from channels TV1 and 2, Yle Teema, FST5, MTV3, Nelonen, Sub and Jim. It´s not live; I can start watching a program about 5 minutes after it´s finished. For me it´s OK. The provider TV-Kaista stores all programs for two weeks so I can watch my favorite shows whenever it suits me. The quality is super! Watch yourself; the photo here is from my favorite soap Heartbeat, "Sydämen asialla" in Finnish.

It is a tremendous pleasure to watch a nice film or show with original sounds and speech!

Here in Germany they dub everything. Sometimes it is a bit comical, like a musical where some famous American star sings with his / her own voice, in English, but his /her spoken voice is a totally different German voice.

As my friend put it, I rather hear Arnold Schwarzenegger say in his own voice "I´ll be back!", than a totally strange voice in German with bad lip-sync "Ich komme zurück!"

Eero & Teemu in Germany

Finally some time to update this blog. I´ve been quite busy these past two weeks. First Eero´s and Teemu´s visit, then this week a lot of work.

My keenly expected guests Eero and Teemu have already been back in Finland over a week. We had very intensive and fun four days. I really enjoyed, I hope I get guys here quite often. The best part for me was how natural it was between me and Teemu. I hope he is happy, too, but it is not my business to tell how he feels. I am expecting nothing, just happy of this new found contact. Thank you, Teemu. And Eero, of course. It was really nice to have you here.

The visit started well: First drinks in a bar at airport, beers for guys and a cappuccino for me (I had to drive) and I was so confused that I forgot to pay. Next day Teemu asked if I had noticed that we didn´t pay. No, I had not noticed. Anyway, next evening the same happened: visiting a local pub to meet my friend there, we had a couple of drinks and left without paying. Let´s not make this a habit, guys. Next time we will pay!

To find words to describe how good time we had is really difficult. We saw Schloss Burg and the Cathedral of Cologne and quite a lot more. Domenico, my best friend here, heard about Teemu´s first visit to see me and invited us to a superb first class Italian dinner in his Paparazzi restaurant, 50 meters from my door. We had some nice Alt (local dark beer) in my local Kneipe (pub) Kaffeehaus. We talked a lot, Eero watched Salkkarit a lot, we slept incredibly little. My guests ate almost all of the Finnish sausage and bread they brought for me. And of course, we saw the Cebit!

Here´s some photos of those days. Like I´ve mentioned earlier, I am not a good photographer, so please no comments about the quality of my snapshots. Click a photo to see it full size.

To start, here´s Teemu telling a Good Night-story to Eero, first evening.

Next day, in Köln (Cologne in English). Teemu and Eero having a coffee outside Köln Hauptbahnhof (main railway station). Behind the guys the "Kölner Dom", Cathedral of Cologne where we lighted candles.

Of course Teemu wanted a photo of him standing besides a German police van.

Following day was the main event, Cebit-fair in Hannover. Teemu on the wheel, driving on the highway A2 between Dortmund and Hannover. According to him it was his first time legally over 200 km/h. Eero´s comment to me during a coffee break a bit later: "Over 200 is OK, but rather when you drive!" I don´t know why; Teemu is a good driver. I was feeling a bit ashmed to think that I have to know him better before letting him drive. Sorry Teemu but next time it´s no beer for you: you will drive, I´ll sit back with Jekku.

First thing to do was to take a photo to send to Angie, to show we were where we were supposed to be.

For some reason we stayed here longer than planned... To check this company´s products, of course.

Nice car ;)

Teemu found a new keyboard.

Going to have a break in a truck with a cabin bigger than my apartment.

Back home, I promised Teemu can take my smaller car to look a bit around...

Düsseldorf Airport, about one and half hours before the flight back home.

Thank you for you visit, guys. Already planning the next one.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Home sweet home

We had a terrible storm here in Germany last Saturday. In Alps wind speeds up to 220 km (about 135 miles) per hour, inland up to 180 km per hour. Terrible drive for us both, but finally Sunday afternoon we were home in Leipzig. Some quality time together, tonight I have to drive, again, across Germany back to Solingen. My much awaited visitors from Finland arrive at 22:15 in Düsseldorf Airport.

For myriad of reasons Angie stays in Leipzig. In a way I think it is a good decision. This is Teemu´s and Eero´s first visit to me and Angie and me both thought it could be better if I can fully concentrate in my guests. We can speak and communicate only in Finnish, without need to translate all the time, both ways. One main point for me and the guys is Cebit, the computer fair I mentioned earlier; Angie goes to computer show only in her nightmares ;)

I feel incredibly good, having Teemu and Eero here. I hope in a few days I can post some nice photos here.

Now a cup of coffee with my lovely mother-in-law, before hitting the highway. One reason I like Germany: If you like driving fast, here it is possible. It is a nice feeling to accelerate to 210 km per hour and hit the cruise control button! From a bit more than 500 km between our homes, over 300 km is with no speed limit. The rest is limited to 130 km per hour, but it´s only good. You need these breaks; driving over 200 km/h you really need to concentrate.

If you are interested to see this route in a map, here´s route description: From Leipzig A14 to Magdeburg, then A2 to Kamen near Dortmund, A1 to Wuppertal and finally A46 to Solingen.