August 20, 2015

Puppy puppies

Fitting to our current family situation, the choice for our family movie night was The Spacepuppies.
I really am surprised how much I enjoy having puppies around. 

We have people come in every day just to see the puppies and play with them.  

They are outside doggies, which means they spend the nights in our court yard.  
Just when you are falling asleep
yap yap yap yap.

Tomorrow will be sad though, when they leave to their new homes.  

It was hard to take photos of lively little creatures: 

We will miss them!

Good bye sweetie!
Mommy loves you and you can always come back home! 

But this picture will help me remember why we don't have seven dogs: 

Random bones and trash in the yard, dead berry bush, dead lawn, holes...


Cute, but not in too big doses! 

August 15, 2015

Lake Issyk Kul in Kyrgyzstan

Another lake in Central Asia.  Two years ago we visited lake Iskander Kul.  This summer we spend few days at Issyk Kul in Kyrgyzstan.  

Issyk Kul falls second in couple of comparisons:  
It is the second largest saline (salt water) lake after Caspian Sea.
It is the second largest mountain lake after lake Titicaca in South America. 

Still pretty impressive.  

We stayed on the popular north side of the Issyk Kul, at Aurora Plus resort, sometimes spelled as Avrora Plus.  Plus in the name separates it from the Aurora resort where the taxi took us as we forgot to mention the Plus on the resort name.  We heard that a father owns the Aurora and his daughter owns Aurora Plus.  They were right next to each other, so the mistake was easy to correct.  
On our first day, as soon as we were ready, our family started the walk across the resort area towards the lake.  After the last little hill the excitement was palpable and finally we saw the beautiful, huge water sparkling in the sun.  

Early June is still pretty early at the Kyrgyz mountains and the water was cool.  The name Issyk Kul means hot lake.  Even if the temperatures get frigid here in the winter, the lake never freezes.  But I would not call it exactly hot.   

Our children, however, combination of Northern - really northern - European and Northern - pretty northern -American blood, are fearless and so we settled at the beach for the morning.  
Beach times are our family's favorite memory making times and I always have tons of pictures of us enjoying the water and the sand. 

The snow topped Kungey Alatau of the Tian Shan mountains runs parallel to the north shore:

If you look carefully, you'll see the  Teskey Ala-Too Range of the Tian Shan mountains on the southern side of Issyk Kul lake in the background: 

The resort compound is large. On the next day we enjoyed a walk to the swan lake.  I think it's an artificial lake, but I'm not sure.  

There are different kinds of accommodation available at Aurora Plus.  These wooden houses (below) were next to the swan lake.  

We stayed in a two story apartment house.  It was surprisingly luxurious, but remember that I have been living in Central Asia for over 10 years.  I find warm running water, floor heating in the bathroom and curtains you can close luxurious.  Still, the large rooms were nicely decorated, beds were comfortable and we found the little kitchen in the apartment very useful for our family.  Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures in the apartment :(    

In the evening I went for a walk by myself... Well, with my camera  :)  

The summer season starts mid June, so this kitchen at the beach was not open yet.  Seems like they offer traditional Central Asian dishes here.

When I had been living in Central Asia for about two years, we were suggested to take a little holiday in the area.  I really did not find that an attractive idea at all:  "I cannot eat this food on my holiday!" was my gut reaction.  I still find that many places in Central Asia offer mostly Central Asian national dishes.  They taste good to me now!   Therefore if I say the meals at Aurora Plus restaurant were fine, it might not mean what fine dining means to you!  They serve more European type food though.  Our only complaint was that you only get one glass of compout (home made fruit juice) per meal.  Bring more with you if you want to drink more!   

Our friends went on to camp in a Yurt nearby after our week together, so there are other fun things to do around Issyk Kul lake area.  Traveling there takes many hours, but it is part of the journey in Central Asia.    

July 29, 2015

Vintage houses vol 2

Here are some street views from Kokkola old town in Finland.  

I love the old houses and I really appreciate that Kokkola has maintained the old part of the town.  But I don't get the new church architecture.  You can see the church tower in the background, square and straight as can be....not fitting in with the neighborhood in my mind. 

Rows of colors are really fun and actually not so unusual in Finland.  We have lots of pastels and light colored houses here.  

Seems like the white trim is the winner! 

I popped in to Zinna, a home decor store in old town.  Several rooms of beautifully arranged stuff.  :)

Rustic dish brushes and crisp towels are a winning combination. 

Using robe as a napkin ring... I might try to do something like this sometimes! 

Quite close to Zinna is an antique store Puu-mi.  Antique in the name almost always means expensive.  

...but I really liked this framed picture!  I wanted to buy it for the boys, but my husband was all like 'We can print something like that' so I didn't.  

So it's still there for yours to take! 

Kokkola museum block is worth visiting.  It was lovely in the summer but it must be beautiful around Christmas time with all the lights and decorations too! 

July 26, 2015

Vintage houses in Kokkola

I wanted to check out Finland's west coast towns and Kokkola was one of the recommendations.  It has a beautiful old town with protected but lived in wooden houses.  This post is all about those houses and lots of pictures!

Kokkola old town houses are mainly from 1700s, if I understood correctly.  

First  of all, I would love to have a pink house.  This house pretty much sums up my dream house look.  Lovely old door and gorgeous decorations around the windows.  The flowers are the perfect thing to put on your doorstep!

I am always looking for inspiration how to do windows.  Not that we are building or anything, but you know, just in case I will have an old wooden house one day.  Brown is not the color I would paint my house, but with the trimming this is pretty amazing! 

Many houses in this museum block were under renovation.  Another pink one with fun little attic windows!

Many houses function as cafeterias, stores or guest houses.

Here is my dream house from another angle  Look at that gate!  It is all wooden with square grooves as a decoration.  

The inviting path to a pretty  yard.  Many houses had barns...In the middle of the town!  Not in use anymore, but freshly painted and well kept, of course.  

Mission corner with an appropriate lamp shade.  Creative! 

Wonderful flowering bushes make this gate! 

This is not wooden, but lovely in its own old impressive way.  

Gorgeous entrance.

I love the way poppies are lining the streets...

House covered in vines...

There is something in this house that says 'I have been here awhile and have no plans to leave soon'. 

Cute color combination!  And the rocky foundation makes them pop so well.  

Two color choice?  Or painting project?  Either way, I love the face of this house.  But I would always draw the rolling curtains symmetrically, if you know what I mean? 

Traditional red with white trim.  My husbands favorite.  He would love those flower boxes as well. 

This lovely corner house houses a second hand store downstairs and a cafeteria upstairs.  

Next I will post street views.  

Do you like wooden houses?  They are my favorite!