September 25, 2015
Finland. What a lovely and unexpectedly super amazing time we had! When we were contacted to come to Tracon the cosplay convention in Tampere, we were extremely excited. We love cosplay, anime, comics, and all that jazz, but to be honest, we had no idea what to expect of Finland. We’ve been to Sweden and Norway but both those countries were surprisingly different from one another, so we knew we couldn’t lump Finland into a “Scandinavian countries are all the same” category since they are absolutely not. Well everything in Finland just blew us away.
To begin with, the food was amazing! We only had one night in Helsinki but we knew we wanted to eat at a famous tiny restaurant called Ask. You have to make reservations in advance because it only holds around 20-30 people. There is no menu, only a set course meal and they served us mini-meals for two to three hours! It reminded us a lot of the best sushi we had in Japan which was three hour meal. Restaurant Ask is famous for using local ingredients in unique ways. They even grow their own vegetables and mushrooms in a local garden that they use for their restaurant. Nobody was pretentious, they were just super passionate. The server would bring out a mini-masterpiece accompanied by the chef that prepared it, and the chef would explain the food. It was a totally wonderful experience.
Outside of Ask, all the local bakeries, coffee shops, and restaurants we had were just bursting with flavour. We enjoyed simply prepared fish lightly battered and served on silky smooth mashed potatoes, we had so much salmon, including an amazing salmon soup with huge pieces of salmon and potato resting in a slightly creamy broth infused with dill. Oh man. Finland. You do food so right.
Speaking of food (again), one of the best experiences we had in Finland was during our picnic at Tracon. We had an amazing chance to sit down with 20-30 lovely Finnish Nasties who prepared homemade picnic food for us to enjoy. We chatted and talked about so many various topics (like how to pick cloudberries and England’s outrage over reindeer meat at Christmas…hahahah) while enjoying a huge spread of food. It felt just, really really lovely and we wish it could have gone on for longer.
Tracön itself was a totally enjoyable event laid out in the beautiful city of Tampere. We had the chance to eat cake and coffee at a maid cafe which was hosted by the most adorable maids in puffy dresses with kitten ears and kitten mittens. Simon got to dress up like Tifa (oh I’m sorry, I mean Tofu…Tifa’s lesser known step-sister) and I enjoyed being Princess Serenity from Sailor Moon for the day. And let’s not forget the amazing final event after Tracön was done…heading to a cabin in the woods with the staff, jumping in a freezing cold lake while it’s raining, and enjoying a sauna with a whole bunch of naked people while I awkwardly sit in my bathing suit. And I don’t mean my birthday suit, I mean my cherry bathing suit. I didn’t realize people got totally naked with all genders and just hung around naked enjoying the steam together. It was a bit of culture shock for me BUT I DID IT! I had some awesome conversations about nerd culture as well! Sadly, Simon can’t handle steamy places (due to a lung disease when he was a child) but he did jump in the lake with me. We both really want to return to Finland in the winter time. I think Christmas in Finland would be an amazing and magical place.
Thank you to the organizers of Tracon for inviting us over! We had an amazing time and it was great hanging out with you all and eating your entire supply of salmon and meat. We’ll be back to finish of Rudolph one day. And thank you as well to Helene for taking awesome pictures of us over at Conikuvat. You can see more from our fun days there!
But if you’d like some extra scenes, because 11 minutes wasn’t enough, we’ve got em here below in the bloopers!