A Day in Lappeenranta

After I woke up and had breakfast, Jussi and I went into the city (he lives in a close suburb) to get his car inspected.

I forgot to take a photo of that, but he took one for me 😂.

I’ve noticed that because things here are so familiar to me, I need to make more of a point to take photos of “ordinary” things.

Then we met up with Sirpa at her apartment (in the city near the harbor) and left the car there while we walked around.

Breakfast: Karelian pasty, butter, and hard-boiled egg plus tea
Street view from Sirpa’s apartment looking toward the harbor

The Harbor and Fortress

We went to the harbor and climbed up the hill to the old fortress.

The fortress in Lappeenranta was built in the 1700’s to protect the harbor. It’s part of a network of defensive structures around the Baltic Sea.

Now the buildings there house several museums, shops, galleries, offices, and art studios.

We went to two of the museums – the Etelä-Karjala (South Karelia) Museum and the Cavalry museum.

The disappointment with the South Karelia museum was that their permanent historic exhibit wasn’t on view because they have been renovating the space where it usually is. That has the Iron and Bronze Age artifacts from this area and I’d wanted to see it again.

We went into a shop in one of the old buildings that sold all kinds of handmade things. I bought wool socks and a wool hat, plus a pretty wooden two-pronged fork for myself.

Then we left the fortress and went back to the area next to the harbor where there are lots of restaurants that are mostly open in the summer, but I was interested in having a specific thing for lunch. Vety.

Vety is a regional delicacy – something only found in the Southeast region of Finland. It’s a meat pie made from yeast dough with ground beef and rice filling. The dough is deep fried like a donut, but it isn’t sweet. Then they cut it open, fill it with your choice of fillings (I had mine with smoked ham, hard-boiled egg, ketchup, and mustard) and you eat it as a hand pie.

After that, we walked a few blocks into the city center and went to an indoor shopping center I remember from the old days – Iso Kristina. Many places looked familiar, but many places were new to me. I did a little more shopping.

I was surprised that the bookstore didn’t have any Finnish-English dictionaries! Also, there’s only one bookstore in town now when there used to be many. The bookstore was one of my favorite places when I lived here.

We also stopped into an art supply store where I asked the person who worked there if they sold calligraphy supplies. They had some things but nothing different or surprising. The shop worker and I ended up having detailed discussions (in English) about ink and watercolor and gouache, and we both learned things. We were having a great time! 😂

Evening Meals

Jussi and I went to the grocery store to get some food for dinner and came home to eat.

Then as soon as we finished eating, we went to Kaisa’s house for dessert, but they hadn’t eaten their evening meal yet, so Kaisa put out savory and sweet things.

So we had yet MORE food.

After Kaisa’s, we returned to Jussi and Satu’s place and some snack tasting happened. The peanut butter cups are a big hit with Satu and Maisa. Apparently, they are Antti’s favorite.

Here’s a photo of things I bought today (except for the calligraphy supplies that I forgot to take out of my bag)

A handmade orange wool hat, 3 Muumi hand towels, a pair of handmade wool socks, the wooden fork, three postcards, a book about making “Favorite wool socks” that looks complicated enough to keep me interested in making the socks, and the brochure from the museums.

Oh! And some reflective thread that you can knit into things or sew onto clothing so it reflects when light hits the garment. I’ve never seen that before!

That was a full day.

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