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Christmas shopping in Montreal.

Christmas shopping in Montreal.

Hello everyone! The Christmas is here almost, only three nights until Santa Claus is coming to town. Today we had snow storm in the mountain area and we got near 30 cm more snow on the ground. The amount of snow we have, is pretty impressive. If you want white Christmas, come to Canada. We might have dark and cold winter in Finland, but i have never seen this much snow in December.

Last Saturday we hit the road with Kalle, Emelie, Jamie and Kikka, and went for Christmas shopping to downtown Montreal. The temperature was -26 Celsius degrees and in Montreal it was also windy, and that’s not good combination. On the way we stopped at IKEA and bought lots of Scandinavian food. I even got myself couple Kopparberg ciders. Well it’s non-alcoholic, but it tastes like the “real” stuff and you can always add some vodka. It was pretty impressive what they had there, and for some reason the shop was full of Swedish people buying Kalle’s Caviar, and they were little bit unhappy after losing to Finland in Ice Hockey.

Kalle and Emelie had found couple weeks earlier this store in Montreal, that sells everything from Scandinavia and they had ordered us Christmas Ham (Joulukinkku). I have to warn you, that after being near four months away from your home country, this kind of store might get you nuts. Before we got there, i though i got almost everything i need from IKEA, but boy was i wrong…

Scandinavian food from IKEA. God bless Sweden.

Scandinavian food from IKEA. God bless Sweden.

On the photo on right, you can see what i got from IKEA. There is some blueberry soup (mustikkakeittoa), crisp bread (näkkileipää), Swedish cider Kopparberg (siideriä), Kalles Caviar (Kallen mätitahnaa), glogg (glögiä), cow berry jelly (puolukkahilloa), Swedish meatballs (jauhelihapullia) and rösti. We eat the same stuff in Finland, so it was nice to find them in IKEA.

Like i was telling before, after IKEA we left to Boucherie Atlantique. The store is located in Montreal at 5060 Cote des Neiges in corner at Queen Mary. When i got inside the store, first thing i saw was salmiak candy (salmiakkia) on my left side, and after surviving the first shock, i noticed that they had all the Finnish candy you can wish. The store is full of  stuff from Scandinavia, Europe and they also had stuff from Asia. There was huge meat counter, where you could get everything you wanted, even the Christmas Ham (joulukinkku)! But if you want one, remember to make order well before the Christmas.

Like every Finnish people know, when you eat Christmas Ham, you have to have mustard. So, what did they have in the store, well of course Finnish mustard, Turun sinappia. After discovering the mustard, i found Finnish coffee! They had almost everything you could wish to have from back home.

Finnish candy!

Finnish candy!

The store owner who is German told Kalle, that the reason for having all the Finnish stuff, is that their importer is Finnish. The name of the import company bringing all the Scandinavian stuff is Viking Foods & Imports Inc. They are located in Toronto, so i bet there is a place in Toronto too, where you can get all the Finnish stuff you want.

I mostly bought Finnish candy from the store, and of course i took Turun sinappia (mustard). Jamie bought hapankorppua. Now that i found the place, there isn’t anymore need for people to send me Finnish candy’s! I can go to a store and buy my own!

We are now pretty much ready for the Scandinavian Christmas dinner on Wednesday. I got two days of work left, and on Tuesday it’s time to start to prepare the food for Christmas. Kikka did bring us some brown bread (ruisleipää) and bags to smoke fish (savustuspusseja).

We are going to start the Christmas on 24th with Christmas porridge. It’s really good. And here is recipe for it.

CHRISTMAS RICE PORRIDGE
Traditional Finnish Christmas dish.

Street in Montreal.

Street in Montreal.

300 ml water
150 ml short grain rice
700 ml whole milk

Bring water to the boil in the saucepan. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until water is wholly absorbed in it. Add the milk and bring the mixture to the boil again, stirring frequently.

Lower the heat to minimum, cover the pan with lid and simmer for about 40 to 60 minutes, or until the rice and milk have thickened into a soft-textured, velvety smooth porridge. Stir every now and then to prevent the porridge from burning on the bottom or forming a skin on the surface. Season with a little salt, sugar and a pat of butter.”

The recipe is copy pasted from the site of M. Paavonkallio. The site has lots of good Nordic recipes.


I usually don’t post other peoples stuff to my blog, but this time i am doing exception as the video is really impressive, and I’m having New York fever. I only got 12 days until the trip. Check the video out. Also the Google maps gives for the Los Angeles to New York trip a 1 day 17 hour travel time. That’s pretty fast. By the way if someone knows who made the video, gimme a tip. The music video for Lacquer is made by Gondry brothers Michel and Oliver.

New York in the spring of 2008.

New York in the spring of 2008.

It’s only four weeks until we are going to head to New York for New Year’s Eve, and of course tomorrow is the first day to open your Christmas Calendar. Like chocolate, New York is really sweet and tasteful, and sometimes it’s bagged with surprise, it’s one of the best cities in the world. It has everything, it’s the city of dreams, the city that never sleeps. It’s one of those many places, that everybody has to try for them selfs.

We are heading toward New York from Montreal with a bus. The bus wasn’t first choice, we were also thinking about taking a train. In fact the train is even cheaper, it costs only 60 dollars for one way. But it takes over 11 hours and the schedule is much worse. The train leaves toward New York from Montreal on morning, but it arrives really late, and when returning from New York, the train leaves too early (7am). That’s the reason we end up with the bus. Train tickets you can buy from Amtrak. If the schedule is no problem, the train might be good choise, at least it’s cheaper. Bus tickets we bought from Greyhound, and they cost 64 dollars one way. That’s still pretty cheap compared to flight tickets.

The bus is going to take 7,5 hours including the border crossing. The distance from Montreal to New York is 602 kilometres. You can see the route here from Google Maps. So it is almost the same distance as from my hometown Oulu to our capital Helsinki in Finland. Distance between Oulu and Helsinki with car is 607 kilometres. Well, comparing Helsinki and New York isn’t fair.

Like i wrote in my last post, we have chosen the Pod Hotel with three bunk bed rooms. Before i have been in the single pod room and in the queen one. The single pod room was really small, but it’s still okay for travelling alone. The only negative thing is that you don’t have your own toilet and the room costs somewhere near 100 dollars per night. You might be better of with some of the hostels in the city. But if your wallet isn’t empty, the cool, funky, design Pod Hotel is good choice. The Queen bed room had it own toilet and shower, but the room costs near 200 dollars per night. With that budget you have lots of choices in New York. The bunk bed room is great, with price of little over 100 bucks per night, you have room for two, who doesn’t need to be couple as both has own beds. The Pod Hotel is cool and great choice, so try it if your budget allows it. Another cool hotel is the Hotel Chelsea.

We made the reservation for the two of the hotel rooms already in end of September and the third room we got in middle of November. If you want to have the hotel you want in New York in the New Year’s Eve, i recommend that you make the reservations already. Also remember that most hotels ask more money for the rooms on New Year’s Eve.

The Brooklyn Bridge.

The Brooklyn Bridge.

We are taking the night bus to New York and we are returning with a night bus too. This will give as extra time in New York and also we save some money, when travelling on the night. We have couple days before the New Year’s Eve to check the city. I am the only one who has been there before, so there’s lots of things to show to the guys. I won’t mind it, because most of those places are awesome.

The planing what we are going to do on New Year’s Eve might be the hardest part, because if we want to go to the Time Square, it’s going to be 8 hours of waiting without toilets, food, drinks etc. That doesn’t sound so good. The city is of course full of bars, party’s etc. but you have to know the right places. You can buy these tickets to bars that cost from 80 bucks to 500, and you get different benefits, but for even the cheapest tickets you get open bar for the whole night, so you can drink as much as you want. Well, what ever we choose, i know it’s going to be blast to be there on New Year’s Eve. You can find more information about the open bar tickets from here.

Even that we are going to New York soon, i am already really excited about the Cuba too. I was checking some hotels over in Havana, and they cost 20 dollars per night. The flights to Cuba from Canada are cheap. They cost from 200 to 300 euros. We are planning to go to Cuba on my or Jamie’s birthday. It’s good, because i want some heat. I still remember those nights in Cairo. I don’t know why, but always when i here this song “Adam Strange – Traveller” i get so excited about travelling…well i know the reason, it’s the Madventures. The guys are returning with new season on next year and they got this time deal with Travel channel, so all you people who don’t speak Finnish are able to check the show. It’s awesome, the best travel show ever, even that Folke West still rules!

Over and out from Canada. I love this place, but i need some heat too and to see again the city that never sleeps! PS. if you want to listen to a radio station from my area, here is good one www.999thebuzz.com.

Winter is here!

Winter is here!

We just survived the really nice colours of Autumn! But now the Winter is here, with lots of snow. One day it was snowing so much, that our front yard has now half meter of snow, well it wouldn’t be a problem, but we don’t have snow shovel!

The Saint-Adele looks really beautiful right now, and all the skiing hills are opening on near by area. The first day it was snowing here, was kind of funny, because at our work place most of the cars couldn’t get up the hill and needed some pushing help. This is the first winter that Canadians have law about winter tires.

The Christmas is also behind the door, and i bough myself Christmas chocolate calendar. Well, i don’t want to miss the Christmas! I’m getting my Christmas present after 25th, we are going to New York for New Years eve. I’m going there with Raymond, Elvis, Tommy, Jamie and Kaspar. We have booked the Pod Hotel. Three Bunk Bed rooms (two guys per room) and it only costs 550 dollars per each. Thats not much for 6 nights at New Years eve time. If we would had chosen Hostel, we could of course get it for cheaper, but i really like the Pod Hotel and its located in nice place. East 51 st. between 2 and 3th avenue.

I love the hills. Its so different from my hometown Oulu.

I love the hills. It's so different from my hometown Oulu.

I really love the New York and it’s nice to go there with bunch of friends. There’s going to be a million people at the Time Square on the New Years eve. Thats the same amount as people living in the greater Helsinki area of Finland. It’s 8 times more people, than my hometown Oulu has population. We are going to the U.S.A with bus from Montreal. It cost 160 dollar for round trip and it takes eight hours (night bus).

I have been now three months in Canada. The time has been really nice and the work is nice too. Theres lots of great things here, like the nature, hills, cheap gasoline, nice people etc. Living in different country is something that everybody should try. Have a nice winter everyone! PS. my couch is always free for anyone coming this way!

You can see my gallery of Winter photos from Saint-Adele by clicking the photos in the post or by going to this site Winter has come to Saint-Adele!

St. Adele painted with colors of the Autumn.

St. Adele painted with colors of the Autumn.

The colourful autumn has arrived to St.Adele and it makes you feel happy before the darkness and really cold temperatures come out. It looks really nice here and in some way it feels like Lapland, with all the nice colours. This morning the temperature was only couple Celsius degrees, but later on the day it went up to over 20 Celsius. Not bad for October. The weather was so nice, that i had to take my camera for a walk to see the St. Adele with the autumn colours and with halloween and thanksgiving day decorations. Just click the photo on left side to see more photos!

Thanksgiving day is on next Monday, so we have that day off from work. Halloween is on the last day of October and this year it is a Friday. I’ll have to get some old horror movies…

City of Montreal, housing almost four million people.

City of Montreal, housing almost four million people.

Last weekend we went to Montreal city with Jamie and Kaspar. I have to say: Montreal is a great place! First of all, i had so much of fun, i didn’t even remember to take photos and there was so much to see and do, that Montreal needs a new visit soon.

We stayed in Hotel Delta at downtown. We took the bus from St. Adele to Montreal and it only cost 38,5 dollars for a round trip. Bus was nice and it only took 1,5 hours. Bus arrived to the central bus station that is located at metro station Berri-Uqam.

From Berri-Uqam we took the Metro to McGill and walked to our hotel. Everything was close. All the shops, film theatre, shopping mals, bars, restaurants and nightclubs. We found a place where you can order a can (couple liters) of beer with 15 bucks. That’s way cheaper than in St. Adele. We went to nightclub called Seven. It was really nice place and the cost to get in was 12 dollars.

On sunday it was hang over day, so we went to look for some stores and after that to watch a movie in Imax. Thank god, all the movies in Imax are in English. No dubbing! Movie ticket cost 12 dollars and popcorns with big Coke 10 bucks or something. It’s not that cheap, but it was really nice. In fact it was so nice, that we went to watch second movie on Monday just before leaving back to St. Adele.

For me Montreal felt like New York City, but in a smaller size. Tall buildings, lots of shopping places, nice bars/restaurants/nightclubs, the European atomsphere, nice people etc. If you find yourself going to North America for longer visit, you shoul come to Canada and check Montreal and Toronto at least.

My home in St. Adele.

My home in St. Adele.

After cold week the weather is getting better. Today i took photo of my house. I’m living with Gaby, Oscar and Jens. Great house mates. If you click the photo of my home, you can go and check out the couple photos i took in Montreal and from my home. Next time in Montreal i’ll do some hardcore photoshooting! And next time i have to see the old Montreal! Good autumn to everyone! Hyvää syksyä!

 

Talo St. Adele -järven rannalla.

Talo St. Adele -järven rannalla.

Kolmas viikko alkoi tänään Kanadassa ja uuteen kotikaupunkiinkin on jo kerennyt tutustumaan melkoisen hyvin. St. Adele kuuluu Quebecin osavaltioon ja on alle tunnin päässä Montrealin keskustasta. St. Adele kuuluu Laurentiansin alueeseen, joka tunnetaan vuoristaan ja luonnostaan. Alue on erittäin suosittu matkailukohde kanadalaisille ja varsinkin rikkaille. Tässä on linkki Google Mapsiin Ste-Adeleen, joten voi olla helpompi hahmottaa missä kaupunki sijaitsee. Kaupungissa ei ole julkistaliikennettä ja kävelykadut on Pohjois-Amerikkalaiseen tyyliin pienet ja kapeat. Kaikilla paikallisilla perheillä on vähintään yksi auto ja näkeepä, jopa neljää autoa talojen pihalla. Kanadassa ajokortin saa myös 16-vuotiaana.

 

Talo katu Rue Moriinin varrella.

Talo katu Rue Moriinin varrella.

Suomalaisena suurin järkytys oli korkeuserot, jotka ovat ihan erilaiset kuin littana Suomessa. Töihin, kun menee pääsee alamäkeen, mutta kotimatkalla nousu on jo pumppua tykyttävä kokemus. Korkeuserot myös luo mahtavat maisemat. Ruska-aika on varmasti täällä aivan mahtava. Ste-Adelessa on pääasiassa omakotitaloja, mutta muutama kerrostalo myös löytyy. Talot on erittäin omalaatuisia ja tälläista vapautta ei Suomen tiukoissa piireissä kyllä hyväksyttäisi. Suomessa, kun valitaan kattojen väritkin ja talojen korkeudet asuinalueiden mukaan. Yhtään räikeän häiritsevää taloa en ole nähnyt vaan talot ovat erittäin hienoja ja jo itsessään piristämään päivää.

 

Rue Morinin varrelta toinen talo.

Rue Morinin varrelta toinen talo.

Isoja ruokakauppoja löytyy kaksi ja niiden valikoima on kymmentuhat päiseen kaupunkiin nähden valtava. Tälläistä valikoimien määrää ei Suomesta löydy. Paikallisten raaka-aineiden tarjonta on myös valtava ja kanadalaiset nauttivat terveellisestä ruoasta. Salaatit, vihannekset, hedelmät, terveysjuomat ym. ovat halpoja ja niitä on iso valikoima. Liha on myös halpaa. Pippuripihviä 400 grammalla lähtee kolmella tai neljällä Kanadan Dollarilla (CAD). Juustot ovat hieman kalliimpia muihin tuotteisiin nähden, mutta silti halvempia kuin Suomessa. Cheddaria saa puolikiloa seitsemällä dollarilla. Kaksi litraa Dr. Pepperiä maksaa IGA:ssa 99 senttiä ja kaupungin toisessa isossa kaupassa Metrossa 1,5 dollaria. Halvempaa limuakin löytyy hyllystä. 

Hinnat pyörivät ruokakaupoissa noin puolessa siitä mitä Suomessa. Kannattaa kuitenkin muistaa, että kanadalaisten ja yhdysvaltalaisten tulotaso on skandinaaveja pienempi. Toinen positiivinen asia ruokakaupoissa on niiden valikoimien eroavaisuus. Täällä asuessa tajuaa Suomen monopoliaseman tappaneen kauppojen valikoimien määrän rajusti ja myös yksipuolistaneen sitä mitä Suomessa syödään. Tänään kävin Metrossa ja ostin 3-4 päivän ruoat ja hintaa tuli 35 dollaria eli vähän päälle 20 euroa. 

 

Rue Morin laskeutuu Ste-Adelen keskustaan.

Rue Morin laskeutuu Ste-Adelen keskustaan.

Ruokakaupoista on hyvä siirtyä Ste-Adelen ravintolamaailmaan, joka on järisyttävän suuri näin pienelle kaupungille. Turismin takia Ste-Adelen koko keskusta on täynnä erilaisia ruokapaikkoja aina perusjenkkien pihvimätöstä kiinalaiseen ja siitä sitten gourmeravintolasta fonduuravintolaan. Hinnat pyörivät alle 10 dollarista 30 dollariin eli ravintoloissa myös hinnat ovat kohtuulliset. Pääsääntöisesti hinnat pyörivät 10 dollarin tuntumassa ja ehkä hiukan yli, mutta 30 dollarilla sitten ottaa jo kaupungin parhaat gourmesetit.

Montrealiin Ste-Adelesta pääsee bussilla, jos autoa ei ole käytössä. Aikataulut löytää täältä ja menopaluu bussilla maksaa 36 dollaria. Taksilla yhteensuuntaan Montreali-St. Adele maksaa 120 dollaria. Asiaa tiedusteltiin viime lauantaina, kun taksilla vaihdettiin baaria. Taksilla matkustaminen on halpaa kuitenkin. Ste-Adelen sisällä taksimatkasta saa pulittaa semmosen 5-12 dollaria.

 

Fondueravintola St. Adelen keskustassa.

Fondueravintola St. Adelen keskustassa.

Lämpötilat pyörii täällä vielä 25 asteen tuntumassa. Montrealin sijainti leveysasteissa onkin yllättävä, mutta sijainti vastaa noin Pohjois-Italiaa. Talvet ovat kuitenkin toista maata. Lunta on luvassa ja kovia pakkasia, mutta ihan Pohjois-Suomen pahimpia talvia vastaavia ei tänne taida tulla. Lumet kuulema tulevat suurinpiirtein samoihin aikoihin ekaa kertaa kuin Suomessa, eli loka- ja marraskuun vaihteessa. Pitää muistaa käydä ostamassa vähän lämmintävaatetta Montrealista. Ste-Adelessa ei nimittäin vaatekauppoja ole. Pistetään taas tekstiä, kun saadaan lisää kuvia. Täältä voi käydä katsomassa muutaman N95-kännykällä otetun valokuvan.

Ps. jos jota kuta ne baarit kiinnostaa niin viime lauantaina käytiin paikallisessa baarissa nimeltä Bourbon Street Club. Kyseisen clubin vessassa oli prätkäjätkältä näyttävä Big Al myymässä vessapaperia, sipsejä, limukkaa, hiushoitotuotteita jne. Harmi, kun ei kehdannut kuvaa ottaa. Ehkäpä tulevaisuudessa tai sitten saatte raahautua itse näkemään Alin!

 

St. Adelen maisemaa.

St. Adelen maisemaa.

 

Terve vaan kaikille! Kanadassa on tullut nyt oltua yli viikko ja vihdoinkin myös sain netin kämpille. Huomenna sunnuntaina pistelen vähän kuvia St. Adelesta ja kirjottelen tarkemmin. Säät on olleet mitä parhaimmat ja tänään ensimmäistä kertaa satoi vettä. Tällä viikolla on monena päivänä lämmöt kohonneet 30c asteeseen asti.

Eilen käytiin työpaikan porukan kanssa potkimassa palloa. Italialaiset vastaan ranskalaiset vastaan espanialaiset, sekä tietenkin me parit skandiinavit sitten sekotettuna. Jalkapallo on täällä vakava asia ja joka perjantainen perinne. Nyt on sitten aika lähtä kaljotteleen ->

 

Terminaali 2F.

Terminaali 2F.

Helsingin lento saapui 14.15 paikallista aikaa Pariisiin. Muutama tunti on tullut mietittyä mitä tehdä, mutta suurimpia ukotuksia länsimaissa on pakosta maksulliset wlan-yhteyspalvelut. Helsingin 8 euroa koko päivältä ei tunnu enää niin kohtuuttomalta kuin Pariisin kentän 15 euroa kaksi tuntia surffailuaikaa. Oululaisena voi olla ylpeä PanOulusta. Internetyhteys on nykypäivänä jo melkein perustarve, joten sen ilmaisuus pitäisi olla tavoiteltu asia, eikä rahastusreikä. Blogin kuvat on sitten ihan ns. “in the fly” muokattu MacBookilla, joten jos värit tuntuvat olevan pielessä tai pixelöintiä enemmän kuin silmä kestää niin kommenttia kehiin.

 

Hengailua Pariisin lentokentällä Charles de Gaullilla.

Hengailua Pariisin lentokentällä Charles de Gaullilla.

Toinen asia mikä näin teknologiaan tottuneena suomalaisena ottaa kupoliin on tulostimien puuttuminen kokonaan terminaali 2F. Vaihtoehtona voi olla myös haluttomuus tulostella tuntemattomille virkailijan toimesta, mutta minkäänlaista yleistulostinta ei löytynyt edes Euroopan suurimman lentoyhtiön Air Frenchin loungesta. Muuten lentokenttä on sitä tuttua vanhan sukupolven Euroopan lentokenttää, jossa myös muut palvelut ovat heikot. Terminaalin puolelta löytyy pienemmät putiikit kuin Iinatin kirkonkylältä ja yhtään ainoaa kunnon ruokapaikkaa ei ole. Jopa Cairon lentokentältä löytyi erilaisia ruokapaikkoja, mutta miinuksena oli kaikkialla juoksentelevat torakat.

 

Gate F49.

Gate F49.

Lento kohti Kanadaa Montrealiin lähtee 1,5 tunnin päästä ja luvassa on hieman yli seitsemän tuntia istumista. Air Frenchin koneiden pitäisi olla hieman Finnairin vastaavia paremmin varusteltu ja näin, kun Ranskassa ollaan niin lentokenttäruokalan uskoisi myös loihtivan lennolle paremmat ruoat. Viinivalikoimasta puhumattakaan!

 

Ole kuin kotonasi Helsinki-Vantaalla.

Ole kuin kotonasi Helsinki-Vantaalla.

Aamulla herätys 04.30 ja heti kiire päälle. Pyykkituvasta vaatteet, laukkujen lopullinen pakkaaminen, tarkistus että kaikki mukana jne. Ikävä iski sitten lennolla Oulusta Helsinkiin, mutta onneksi näin nykyaikana on helpompi olla yhteyksissä. Tästä hyvänä osoituksena, kun Helsinki-Vantaalle saavuin niin samantien wlan päälle ja sitten kamera käteen.

Helsingissä paistaa aina aurinko.

Helsingissä paistaa aina aurinko.

Lento Pariisiin lähtee 12.15. Pari tuntia kulutettavana ja vielä Suomea nautiskellessa. Ruisleipää ja salmiakkia sekä yksi Lapin Kulta. Huomaa kyllä, että lomakausi on ihmisillä ohi, sillä kenttä on melkeinpä tyhjä verrattuna alkukesään. 

 

Portraitti itestä!

Portraitti itestä!

Terveiset vielä täältä Helsinki-Vantaalta tutuille ja tuntemattomille! Raporttia ja kuvia pukkaa, ehkä seuraavan kerran Pariisista kello 15.15 ->

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