Helsinki: Day two – day trip to Porvoo!

June 17th, 2011

We woke up day two with a smile on our face, because we were going on a day trip out of town. We had already planned to have some breakfast at Cafe Bar No. 9 located on Uudenmaankatu. The only problem was we were way too early! Breakfast isn’t served during the week until 11:00! Thankfully there was a beautiful little cafe called Cafe Fleuriste just a few steps away.

The cafe is a brilliant concept, a flower shop and cafe in one! The inside felt like a real authentic Parisian cafe, and the coffee was fantastic.

How could you walk by this place without peeking in?

Well we killed some time and walked over to Cafe Bar No. 9 for some much needed breakfast.

A really good platter of food, I had just finished a coffee a few minutes before so I opted for fresh squeezed orange juice, always a good decision.

A cool art installation was happening down town.

After breakfast we met up with Milla and Hiro from Kauniste and Minka, Milla’s sister at our hotel. We piled in Minka’s car and headed for our day trip to Porvoo.

We were really excited to meet Milla and Hiro because we never had a face to put to the people we talk to through emails! Kauniste is a special brand for us because we were the first retailers in North America to carry their linens, and it’s always been our go to gift recommendation. I mean they’re $20 bucks and they’re hand screened!

We were in Porvoo to check out the local antique shops, and of course the beautiful old city. Milla told us that a lot of tourists forget that the city is real and people actually live in all of the homes. Many tourists end up peeking through windows and hanging out in resident’s backyards.

It is really easy to think that way, it feels like an open air museum. Plus the gaggle of teenagers on school trips add to the congestion in narrow alley ways.


We really loved this painting.

A big collection of Finnish glass, the purple i-glass decanter (top left…can you see it?) was really tempting but it was still over 100 euros.

We tried our luck at the local Salvation Army type place. Minka and Milla found a book on foraging mushrooms. It was so interesting to hear how connected to nature a lot of Finns are, they told us that it is not uncommon for neighbors to lie about having mushroom patches to keep all of the mushrooms for themselves.

Mushroom season in an exciting time!

A vintage Wirkkala vase for 17 euros.

A quick stop to get some chocolates.

Lunch time, there is one really good place in Porvoo for lunch, I’m not sure what it is called but it was the perfect place to sit outside and have some lunch, and a pint.

The interior was warm and woodsy, there was a little salad and soup bar set up inside.

Juli had the quiche.

I had the roast beef with root vegetables. The Marimekko dishware was a nice touch–love this line.

This shop wasn’t open. What a tease! It looked like it had some of the best selection…

Peeking in the resident’s backyards, like a bad tourist.

We’re sad that we didn’t get a proper shot of Hiro and Milla! We thought we would at the end of the day but Hiro left us before the end and we missed our opportunity.

We love white plaster covered bricks, it reminds us of Alvar Aalto.

Afterwards we headed over for some tea and biscuits at Milla and Hiro’s studio.

In the studio each of the tea towels are hand screened and hung up to dry.

Milla, Minka, and Hiro: Thank you so much for spending the day with us, we had a wonderful time with you guys! Hopefully we’ll be able to return the favor if you ever come to Toronto!

After our visit we headed over for an early dinner at Ateljé Finne, the former studio of famous Finnish sculptor Gunnar Finne. There are those white plaster walls again.

The restaurant is really beautiful but we didn’t get any shots of the inside because we didn’t want to weird out any of the other diners.

Juli started with a salmon and sesame spring roll.

One of the most delicious things in the world – white asparagus soup, so good, so buttery.

For the mains Juli had the fish of the day, which was caught that morning.

I had the protein and starch dish, delicious.

We walked our dinner off and headed back to the hotel.

There’s a little more travel posting to do, but it may get spread out among other content. Thanks for traveling with us!

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