Thursday, November 9, 2017

Porvoo Surprise

A follow up from my last post.

After all my stress and futile searching, we ended up having a fun weekend anyway. Saturday morning I checked out the Facebook group Lastentapahtumat Helsinki where locals post information about children's events in Finnish. There is usually someone asking every weekend what's there is to do and people always come up with a few suggestions: many in Finnish like children's theatre shows, ect. but if your kids are like mine, they probably speak better Finnish than you and they will love something like that. 

I was lucky to find a recommendation for a kids' Halloween kurpitsajuhla / pumpkin party at the toy museum at  WeeGeeTalo. I've written a previous post about the museums at WeeGee here. Our guest managed to fill some of the time by wandering around the four other museums, getting a break from the face painting, wand making and other general chaos of the kids' activities. 

Sunday we went to Porvoo. Our previous experiences of Porvoo left us wondering if this was a good choice. It's a lovely city, at least the Old Town where we've visited, but there's not a lot for kids to do and the weather was quite horrid with sleet so we didn't want to be wandering outside much. It's great if you like boutiques but the kids are bulls in china shops when it comes to antiques and crafty shops and they get so bored. And shopping was not something any of the adults were interested in either.

Disappointments: the Pieni Sukklaatehdas (Little Chocolate Factory) was closed on Sunday and you have to book in advance for the tour. The Lelu Museum  (Toy Museum) was also closed for the autumn/winter. The kids were quite keen on both so something to save for the summer. 

By the time we got ourselves to Porvoo we were very hungry. We didn't know what would be open, but we stumbled across a restaurant across from the Cathedral, just recently opened called Vanhan Porvoon Glassiko. They didn't have a menu posted, but they said it was a brunch so we thought we'd give it a try. I imagined a buffet brunch similar to what we've often found in Helsinki which usually has something my kids will eat, but we were blown away by Glassiko's Swedish-style brunch. 

They brought platter after platter, course after course to the table - starting with homemade bread, croissants and jam, then fruit salad and Greek yogurt with museli, then the best Eggs Benedictine (bacon and spinach) I've had in Finland, then Swedish-style cold salads with smoked salmon, pork terrine, potato salad and bread and cheese. And just when we were totally stuffed they offered apple crumble and ice cream. We didn't realise there would be so much food, so I probably shouldn't also have eaten one of the kids' serving of eggs, but I don't regret it. 

Even though it was obviously a sophisticated, proper grown-up restaurant they made our mob of children feel very welcome. Some of the food was just too strange for my picky kids, so they brought extras of the things they would eat, croissants, watermelon, a bowl of bacon, honey for the bread. We even had our own little section so the kids had a bit of space to be themselves without bothering other people. 

The meal wasn't rushed. The staff were lovely, understanding and patient and even the owner/chef came out to see us (though I didn't know at the time that's who it was), Michelin-starred chef Samuli Wirgentius. Vanhan Porvoon Glassiko doesn't have a website that I can find yet, but here's the Facebook page

Apple Crumble and Tea.
The brunch cost 28 euros per adult and the kids cost a sliding scale with our four-year-old only 1 euro. There was so much gorgeous food, it was totally worth it, especially as a treat. I'm sure we will be back with other visitors, a perfect reason to get out of the capital. 

It was still cold and sleeting out when we finished our extended lunch so we had to find something to keep the kids entertained. We bought tickets for the three Porvoo Museums around Vanhan Raatihuonetori, Holm House, The Porvoo Museum and The Old Town Hall. Each museum cost 8 euros for adults and the kids were free. 

Some of the kids ran through them all rather quickly, but Holm House and the Old Town Hall had a few old toys that entertained them, including manual typewriters which they loved. This gave the grown-ups some time to actually look at the exhibitions. They weren't terribly exciting, but they do give you some interesting info about Finland and the local area, covering many different time periods. We maybe spent about a half hour in each museum. It got us out of the sleet, but I don't think I'd go back now that we've done them. 

I'm looking forward to Porvoo in summer, but back to a Helsinki autumn/winter and a bit of flooding from a burst pipe. 

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