Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Skiing and Scotland

With about 8 inches of new snow this week, I finally caught the bug and wanted to go out and play in it. Friday night I stopped by one of the sport stores and bought a pair of cross-country skating skis. Unfortunately, they wouldn't be ready for a few days as they had to mount the bindings. Temperatures were in the low 20s F.

Undeterred, I went skiing with a friend at work on the trails at Paloheinä. They also have rentals there. The sun was shining brightly through about 2 p.m., when we finished skiing. By the time I got back home about 3 p.m., it was overcast and snowing again, dropping another inch or two overnight.

The City of Helsinki owns the land that these trails were on, and they maintain them during the winter, too. For track skiing, they lay down the tracks for people to follow, all over the city. It's a service that is free. (Renting the skis, of course, is not.)

Sunday was the charity walk through Helsinki for the FinnBrit Society to benefit the Finnish Red Cross. It was a bit of a scavenger hunt with different stops with questions needing to be answered. Temperatures were much lower, probably in the low to mid teens F, and it was a bit windier. Upon returning to the Society, we were treated to Scottish haggis. From the cited web page: "sheep's 'pluck' (heart, liver and lungs), minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally boiled in the animal's stomach for approximately an hour." Yum! Although it sounds bad, it was a bit like corned beef hash, with a nasty aftertaste. Never thought I'd be eating Haggis in Finland! The walk raised 400 euro for the Finnish Red Cross for disaster relief, and seems to be the start of an annual event.


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