Helsinki Finland is about 5200 miles east of New Orleans Louisiana, where Jazzfest is right now underway (April 26 – May 5 http://www.nojazzfest.com/). There are not really any similarities when compared to what goes on in this part of the world at the end of April. Traditionally in the Nordic countries there is a celebration of the arrival of spring. In Sweden for example there are bonfires and especially in the University town of Uppsala there are extensive student celebrations happening on the very last day of April. In Helsinki the celebrating is also extensive and especially so “student celebrations” – young and old. The more yellow stains your white capped student hat has – the higher the status of the person wearing it is.
Even the CHP (California Highway Patrol) had a unit at the ready in Helsinki on 4/30/2013. It would seem like budget cuts are not one of the CHP’s concerns.
The news in Europe today has been somewhat dominated by the enthroning of the first king in the Netherlands since 1890 after his mother Queen Beatrix abdicated today. The ceremony is being broadcast on many television stations throughout Europe. In Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam the ceremony is now underway to enthrone the new king and celebrations were ongoing in Amsterdam and other parts of the country. Many people were wearing orange colored pieces of clothing since this is the color of the house of Oranje, the current ruling dynasty’s color. One can certainly discuss the merits of having the monarchy system in these times, it clearly seems out of the times to me, thoough this particular and many other Royal families still have a wide support among their “subjects”. The ceremony was not a crowning of the new king, but just an enthroning because the Netherlands does not crown their kings. The new king wants to be known as “a man of the people” and has said that people do not need to address him in any certain manner (your royal highness) but can call him by his name if they want to.
If you visit New Orleans you must try the Green Goddess restaurant. They have some really innovative – different and really good dishes on the menu. I suggest you try the South Indian Uttapam, vegan version – It is soo delicious. Then you can finish off with a super dessert, I can strongly recommend the Chocolate Dutch – French Toast with Steens sugar cane syrup and salted caramel – It has Gouda cheese in it – it is one of the best desserts I have ever tasted. The Green Goddess also have a super selection of interesting spirits, wines and fortified wines to accompany your meal. They also have friendly and helpful waiters. I give it all thumbs up! Green Goddess is located in the French Quarter at 307 Exchange Alley, between Conti and Bienville. No reservations, first come first served.