Monday, 26 July 2010

Christmas in July - 2010...

Deck the halls with boughs of holly...
The sunny, crisp mountain air and our warm hosts Eeva and Tapani Soini bid us welcome as we made our arrival at Hilltop on Tamborine. Christmas decorations were the first signs of the season and gave a lift to our already high spirits – a taste of the hospitality and exciting festivities to come.

Our hunger for caffeine was satiated with great coffee (thanks Petri and Tapani) and cupcakes with reindeer ears first up.

The Gold Coast skyline, and ocean and mountain views opened up from the main room of the guesthouse and huge open air verandah. After some exploration of the guesthouse (where Tapani ensured the wood fire was well stoked) and surrounds, we checked in to our rooms.
We welcomed sunset with glögi in hand, while admiring the lights and atmosphere of the 100 year old timber chapel. Views of Brisbane city in the distance from the huge front window to the nightlights of the Gold Coast in the other direction ensured oohs and aahs from all of us.

As for dinner... the dinging of a small dinner bell brought Eeva into the room to introduce the various courses and to impart titbits on Scandinavian traditions. (That custom of drinking your vodka schnapps in one go was one I had trouble with! Maybe I would have done better with the children´s lingonberry juice.) While we enjoyed three seafood entrees, to their delight the children were entertained with special versions of their own, including biscuits resembling oysters served in a huge oyster shell! The main meal was a buffet of traditional ham, casseroles and breads, and then of course there were the sweets! We were treated to cloudberry jam roll, blueberry and lingonberry pies, ice cream, torttu pastries, gingerbread and of course, coffee.
We had a wonderful evening, filled with good food, music and company, and the conversation was lively, both making new friends and remembering old times. The children handed out gifts from under the Christmas tree and everyone had the opportunity to wonder on how good they must have already been this year!

The next morning was sunny and warm, and found us again enjoying a lavish feast, this time for breakfast, and learning more about Scandinavian traditions. We relaxed, we celebrated, we feasted and we were left anticipating the next time...