We left Canada on Tuesday the 25th of
August for two weeks in Scandinavia. Richard had been asked to judge
at two International Shows, the first in Finland and then in Sweden.
The show in Finland was the Etela-Hameen Kennel Club and would be
held in Tervakoski, about an hour north of Helsinki and the second
was the Gastriklands Kennel Cub in Hogbo, Sweden. Richard had been
invited through our friends Bo and Anne Scalin who lived in Hollola,
We were excited to see our friends, Bo and Anne again. They had recently
come to Canada to judge in Sudbury and we had spent a week together
skiing in Mt. Tremblant, Quebec. After an 8 1/2 hour flight to Helsinki,
Bo and their 3 year old son, Samu, were waiting for us at the airport.
After a short drive, we arrived at their home in Hollolla to greet
Anne and a litter of ten 7 week old Dalmatian puppies. Very cute!
With a 6 hour time difference and an overnight flight, it was not
long before we had to give into jet lag and have a nap. Three hours
later, we felt as though we had awoken at a spa, as Anne had set us
up for "revival" in their own private sauna-bath room. A
huge bubble bath with mint leaves fresh from the garden, heated sauna,
cool drinks and candle light awaited us while music set the stage
for recovery in the finest form. Later, feeling extremely refreshed,
we joined the family including their daughter, Natalie for dinner.
We were quite impressed to discover that Bo was an amazing chef who
created the most delicious meals for us during our stay. After a relaxing
evening, we retired to bed, anxious for tomorrow.
The next day, Bo and Anne had plans to host a party that night and
the day was spent in preparation. We took their car and went into
the nearby city of Lahti to do a bit of sightseeing and grocery shopping
as Richard was making his 'award winning' Caesar salad for supper.
It was a fun filled evening meeting new people and enjoying the beautiful
weather. Richard's salad was once again a hit and Bo did not disappoint
with grilled Thai chicken skewers and beef tenderloin.
On Friday, preparations were in full
swing for the weekend shows and Wendy and I left for the judge's hotel
in Rittimaki. On Saturday, we were picked up by Bo, who was also judging
and arrived at the show sight to be greeted by the rest of the panel.
The FCI International Dog Show in Tervakoski, Finland on August 29
& 30, 2009 had an entry of 3263 dogs was judged by an International
panel of judges over two days.
As a Canadian judge, this was my first opportunity
to judge at an International show since the recent ban imposed by
the FCI on Canadian Judges had been lifted. The background on this
subject is that due to some communication issues between the CKC and
FCI a restriction was placed on CKC judges in recent years officiating
at International shows. A new Memorandum of Understanding has now
been signed between the two organizations and Canadian Judges are
once again welcomed to officiate at shows where the CACIB is being
awarded. Under the new protocol any Canadian judge who awarded CACIB
prior to December 31, 2007 would retain that same privilege while
judges who had not awarded CACIB would need to judge at least 4 National
shows, in 4 different member countries before being allowed to judge
CACIB. As I had judged my first CACIB show in 2000 I am among the
Canadian judges considered "grandfathered".
Best In Show from a very strong line up was awarded by Judge Bo Skalin
from Finland to Lagotto Romagnolo, named Foogel Basileo owned by Eija
& Sanni Fernelius from Pirkkala, Finland.
The show was well organized in an excellent outdoor venue. Hospitality
extended to the judges by local Finnish judge Tapio Eerola was outstanding.
I look forward to returning some day.
Sunday evening we returned to Bo and
Anne's as we had plans to see Finland and the surrounding area until
Thursday when we would leave for Sweden.
On Monday, we decided to give Bo a break and cook supper. By request
of Anne, we prepared a Mexican meal of chimichangas, Mexican rice,
refried beans and corn and all the fixings of salsa, guacamole and
chili con queso. Washed down with Sol, it was a festive evening.
On Tuesday, we borrowed the car and went into Helsinki for the day.
We spent hours wandering our way through the downtown district which
is rich in history and architecture. Several areas have markets, both
open air and in buildings and here, you can purchase anything your
heart desires. Fresh fish and meat, vegetables, fruit, local handicrafts,
delicious assortments of meat and cheese and the most decadent desserts,
of which we did fall prey to and bought a chocolate cake to bring
home for dessert.
We also took the ferry to the Suomenlinna Sea Fortress, The construction
of the sea fortress on the islands just off Helsinki in the middle
of the 18th century was the most extensive building project during
Swedish rule. When it was complete, its military shipyard was one
of the biggest dry docks in the world and centres of know-how at that
time. At the end of Swedish rule the fortress was being compared with
the maritime fortifications at Gibraltar. The 250-year-old fortress,
which has been preserved intact because of its military use, is today
part of the world heritage. In 1991 it was included in UNESCO’s
World Heritage List. Suomenlinna is one of Finland’s most popular
tourist attractions while at the same time it is a suburb of Helsinki,
with 850 people living in the renovated ramparts and barracks.
We then returned home, with chocolate cake in tow as well as two large
wedges of Camembert and Brie cheeses and two bottles of wine to enjoy
On Wednesday, we took the train into Helsinki and caught a ferry to
the town of Tallinn in Estonia. This town made you feel as though
you had travelled back in time. Cobblestone streets in winding narrow
lanes and streets with the original buildings, street lights and hardware,
some dating back to the 1300's. It lies on the southern coast of the
Gulf of Finland, only 70 km south of Helsinki. At the historical heart
of the city is the hill of Toompea, covered in cobbled streets and
filled with medieval houses and alleyways. The lower town spreads
out from the foot of the hill, still protected by the remnants of
a city wall. Around the city wall is a series of well-maintained green
parks, great for strolling. The old town has been astonishingly well
preserved and was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997.
We strolled through the streets and shopped a little bringing many
pieces of the famed "amber" back for souvenirs. We each
also purchased the Scandinavian sweater for substantially less than
we would have purchased them for at home.
Our time in Finland had eneded and we sadly left the Skalin home to
take the ferry to Stockholm. Anne would follow the next day so Bo,
Samu, Natalie, Wendy and I boarded the ferry for a 12 hour trip through
the archipelago of islands to Stockholm.The ferry was more like a
cruise ship with restaurants, nightclubs, pubs and duty free shopping,
which boasted a fabulous wine selection at incredibly low prices.
We had a wonderful room overlooking the water and enjoyed the breathtaking
scenery both there and on deck. For supper, Bo took us all to the
International buffet in which foods from all over the world were being
served. We started with traditional Russian of several types of caviar,
cream, onion and a soft bread. On to the next course of lamb, seafood,
Asian.....we were shortly very full! After a bit of shopping, Bo took
the kids back to their cabin for bed and Wendy and I headed for the
nightclubs. The music was excellent with live bands in each venue.
We finally headed off to bed in the wee hours, exhausted but still