Despite being up into the small hours watching Argentina & Netherlands try to bore each other into submission, Otto, Paula and I were up early this morning to drive to Jyväskylä. It is around a 3 hour trip, but we needed time for a break along the way and to allow for Unexpected Roadworks. In the Finnish summer there are always Unexpected Roadworks, the unexpected thing being exactly where they are, not that they will be happening.
For our break we stopped at Karoliinan Kahvimylly, which is the sweetest little coffee house I have ever seen.
The cakes were amazing. We had cinnamon buns. One each. That was lunch. I could not have eaten any more.
Despite the Unexpected Roadworks, which turned out to be the closure of the main highway into Jyväskylä from the south, about 30 km from the city, we arrived at the University in good time. It was great to see Irma Hirsjärvi again. As usual her kindess managed to embarrass me. This time I got presented with a honorary membership of Finfar, the Finnish Society for Science Fiction & Fantasy Research.
The first batch of papers were all very interesting. Hopefully several of them will turn up in Fafnir at some point in the future. We have another batch scheduled for tomorrow, but this evening it was time for sauna.
So: there was beer, there was roasting of sausages over an open wood fire, there were rooms that were hot & steamy, and there was skinny-dipping in the (surprisingly warm) Lake Doom (English translation, so called, as Bear reminded us, because Victor von Doom once had a secret base on the lake floor). There was also a considerable quantity of Death Whisky consumed (Jura Superstition, which you will understand if you have ever seen the bottle).
I shall leave Bear to report on her first experience of sauna. She has Nordic ancestry and clearly has the genes for it.
Meanwhile, as Irma is picking me up at 9:10 tomorrow for the rest of the academic conference, I am going to do some serious re-hydration.