Wineweek 96: Colors of the Fall

This week I do not have many pictures to share with you. Or actually I do, but they are still nested on the memory card of my camera. I am in Helsinki and forget to take the connector with me. But I promise to publish them next week. We have had great fun all week from sailing to Helsinki on the boat to dancing all night at a wedding. We also visited a new-ish restaurant in the Center of Helsinki called OX. Good food and really good wines. So much fun and wine in three days, I can feel it in my bones. If you have never taken the boat between Stockholm and Helsinki, it can sound like quite a nice experience. A big cruise ship with restaurants and shops, a wine bar, big tax free, spa, movie theatre and night club. But if you have, you know that the reality is quite different. The boats these days are quite worn, the food is like it is at airports – mediocre at best, and what they call a spa, I call a Jacuzzi with too many people. The boats have also long suffered from herds of drunk students and other groups congregating at the ship buffet which includes all you can drink beer and wine. Lately though, I think the boats have tried to clean up their act. The best thing, if you ask me, is the wine selection which is actually good and cheap. You can find lovely grower champagnes for 20-30% less than what you can hope to find on land. The boats actually apply tax free prices in their boutiques.

We were a bit skeptical at first, but we eventually booked a trip with Tallink Silja from Stockholm to Helsinki. We also pre-booked Bon Vivant, a French restaurant on board for early dinner. It was actually pretty good. We had a bottle of Agrapart Champagne and lovely lamb and duck mains. The wine was criminally cheap (58€ per bottle to drink at the restaurant) and we did not really pay much for the food either (28€ per main). They also had quite many interesting wines by the glass so we stopped by for another glass later on. Another place we could have imagined stopping by for a drink was the ships pub, which clearly had over 60 different beers by the bottle. We also made some really nice purchases at the specialty wine shop. If only we would have been going the other way..

However, that is where the fun ended. The rest of the journey was a bit of a pain. The cabin was small and windowless (just like we ordered), the night club was so tacky that I could not bring myself to go in and the breakfast a horrible disappointment. Seriously, how hard can it be to upgrade the breakfast a little bit – at least have some freshly baked bread and fruit. Everything felt like it came out of a can. But perhaps it was meant to be a hangover buffet where volume exceeds quality. Anyway. I will not be taking the boat very often, but this once it was well worth it.

I could also write a lot about our visit to restaurant OX as well as the beautiful wedding in the Helsinki archipelago, however I would rather be patient and wait for the pictures. Without them, the stories feel a bit dry. Tomorrow I will fly back home to Stockholm, so by Wednesday I should have all edited.

Wishing you all a great coming week!

xx Soile

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