Saturday, April 22, 2017

Takatalvi and Curling

Easter was last weekend and while the snow has melted, it was still really chilly to be looking for eggs first thing in the morning. The Easter Bunny hid them a bit early the night before so the boiled eggs were frozen. My egg salad breakfast had to wait while they defrosted and some were inedible due to a change in texture. But the kids had fun and found tons. 

The cold snaps and snow flurries we will continue to get right into May is called takatalvi - a return to winter. Sad that they even need a term for it, but I'm taking advantage of to add a quick mention of another winter-ish activity I recently joined.

Curling. A Scottish sport in Finland. Invented to be played on frozen lochs, it is perfectly suited to Finland. I'm lucky to have a curling hall local to me, but I didn't even realise until the British Women's Association (BWA) organised a taster lesson this week with the Oulunkylän Curlinghalli. Sorry the site is in Finnish, but you can do a 2 hour lesson for up to 10 people for €170. I'm guessing the hall is open all year long, but I can't find anything on the website to confirm. If you look at the Facebook page, it also looks like they have a teen group.

I didn't know what to expect or what to wear, so I'll warn anyone considering trying this, the hall is cold. Wear thick soled comfortable shoes and warm layers. You spend a lot of time standing on the ice not moving much, so you will feel the cold. 

That said, it was fun. I wasn't particularly good. My first attempt at pushing the stone, I fell flat on my stomach, but my technique improved. We had a instructor who taught us the basics and the rules and then showed us how to play a game and then left us to it. 

It's not a strenuous sport, but you feel that postion the next morning. My thighs are still aching 2 days later. I have bad knees but they weren't bothered.

Practicing our sweeping.

In two hours we managed to learn the game and play 4 sets (I'm not sure of the terminology). My team won 3-1 and I even scored one of those points by clinging on to the edge of the blue circle while everyone else got knocked out. 

Our group enjoyed it so much there's talk of doing it again. If you're local to Helsinki, it's worth looking into the BWA. They organise monthly coffee get-togethers and other social and cultural acitivites like curling, museum visits, trips to other towns. It's a great way to meet new people and get to know Finland a bit better. There is no longer any requirement to be British, so all women are welcome. 

Come and join us. Happy Spring!

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