A fine weekend!

September 16, 2012 - Hong Kong Island, China

We have all had a fine weekend - weather,music, food, shopping (?!) all of the highest quality!!


It all started with a stunning concert on Friday night in the Helsinki Concert Centre -an extraordinary building only opened twelve months ago. It too is sunk partly into the ground and is fundamentally a round building -concert in the round.  Our seats were behind the orchestra and we had a fabulous view!  The concert featured Brahms and Shostokovich and the orchestra and violinist were mesmerizing.

The next day we went to the Ateneum - Helsinki art gallery -where we saw a retrospective of one of Finland' most notable artists - a woman called Helene Schjerfbeck, who painted until her death at the age of 84.  Her style evolved over the course of her life, becoming quite minimalistic towards the end.  Again it was amazing - not one painting really that I didn't like!

Last night we watched our second Finnish film.  A colleague of John's had lent him 3 films.  The first of these was unbelievably awful -as John said it would be hard to imagine a worse film!!  But we decided to have a second go and last night's film was a big improvement -although not a barrel of laughs!

Today it is nearly 4.00 pm and the sun is still shining, no clouds in the sky!!  We have had a perfect day, beginning with a visit to the Russian Orthodox Cathedral (the largest one of its kind in Western Europe).  The service was an exquisite experience - a glorious interior, magical music, graceful liturgy and symbolism - no matter that we did not understand a word of the language - it was just a really meditative experience.

Back into the sunshine and then hopped onto a ferry boat which took us over to the Helsinki Zoo -a really delightful zoo, where we saw reindeer, brown bears, red pandas, snow leopards and my favourite of all - a snowy owl and her baby!!  There were a variety of other animals of course, even wallabies, emus and kangaroos - Heaven only knows what happens to them all in the winter,

Back home through the markets where we picked up more veggies and raspberries and now we have to prepare for our departure to St. Petersburg tomorrow morning.  We will return to Helsinki next weekend and have 3 more days here before we part company with John and head for Switzerland.

Still lovely to receive your comments - and know that all is well at home with you all.  Stay that way!!!

love to all



Anne Kersch:
September 17, 2012
Dear Roe & Wendy,
I want some of the energy pills you are on!!! Your cultural adventures sound amazing. Over the weekend I read that Helsinki is the World Architecture Capital this year, & it sounds like you are seeing some incredible buildings indeed.
I'm sure St. Petersburg will be a fascinating journey of discovery & I long to go there. Take lots of notes please.
Safe & exciting travels,
Love Anne
Anne Rouse:
September 17, 2012
Hi Roe and Wendy,
I left my laptop charger at school over the weekend and so have just got back to reading my emails. Wow ladies you really are making the most of every moment .
What a wonderful mix of experiences you are having ,a feast for the sight and senses. It really gives me the desire to jump on a flight and start exploring !
It will be wonderful to explore the sights of St.Petersburg.
All is well here ,Rachel visited for four days over the weekend on her way back from Thailand to NZ. It was great to see her looking so well.
Emily began her massage therapy course today in the city and thought it was wonderful. Catherine and Ryan had a great weekend at the snow looking like bunnies in Fiona and Phil's matching gear !! So all is well.
Happy exploring ,do hope the wooly socks keep the Russian cold at bay !
Lots of Love Anne xx
September 17, 2012
Wow mum, it just all sounds so wonderful!!! I am so thrilled that you are having such fun and such broad artistic and cultural adventures! It is 11 pm and I have just completed my final assignment for my masters!! Whoohoo!!! I am celebrating alone in the lunge room - all three boys asleep. Oh well - tomorrow Sasch and I might have a celebration - I know he will be happy to be rid of my studying! I am teaching a Russian dancer at the moment, Vladd. He was telling me about St Petersburg today, and it sounds incredible.
x Mick

x Mick
Tracey Puckeridge:
September 18, 2012
I really do hope you have bought your return ticket Roe or I feel we may have lost you! Sounds so fabulous, every part of it. I can't wait to hear about St Petersburg!
Thinking of you a lot this week and sending much, much love. Will light a special candle.
September 18, 2012
What wonderful experiences you are having, Roe and Wendy! I had to laugh at the film not being a barrel of laughs - Baltic humour? The Russian orthodox cathedral sounds soulful and grand, and the art gallery - well, it's not often one can say that about the paintings, that they were all enjoyable. It must be great to have each other's company.

Go on having a ball! Lots of love, Joanna x
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