Charming Kuopio

Our first view was from the tower, looking down over the ski jump to the city spread out around a huge lake.

These posters inside the tower gave clues about the city’s past.

A walk around the town – the evenings never seem to end – gave a closer perspective.

Looking at books

Bookstores are a magnet for me, even when the language is incomprehensible. I browse the displays and try to “read” the covers.

The Finns are clearly fond of dogs.

Some titles or authors’ names are recognisable.

Some children’s books are very familiar.

Guess the English titles of these ones:

And some are in English. These popular cartoon books, about a typical Finn called Matti, give English speakers amusing (and familiar) insights into the Finnish psyche.

In Norway too I found myself drifting into bookshops to just soak up the bookish vibes and feel calm.

These books were taken on board Amundsen’s Fram voyage. He was meticulous about ensuring the wellbeing of his crew.

These books were part of a floor-to-ceiling display in the Thon Opera Hotel in Oslo:

Some more familiar titles:

And while I’m featuring these grim subjects, these even more sobering plaques are set into the pavement of an Oslo Street outside shops owned by Jews deported to Auschwitz during the war.

Just when I thought I’d covered the subject, I discovered the wonderful bookshops of Lisbon. First, an antiquarian one, Sa da Costa, founded in 1913:

Then Bertrand’s, which I’d researched at home. It claims to be the oldest bookshop in the world.

It has a cafe – feed the soul and feed the body.