Bosporus Calling

There is something magical about the Bosporus, the straight running across the city of Istanbul. It forms part of the continental boundary between Europe and Asia and separates Asian Turkey from European Turkey and it connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara. The Bosporus is very present in the city of Istanbul. You can view the enormous container ships as they slide past, as well as take a small sailing vessel to explore its shores and nearby island. This week I was very privileged to be invited on a cruise, starting from the European side, along the shores and ending up on Büyükada island. Continue reading “Bosporus Calling”

The Little Red Riding Hood

When I still lived in Helsinki, my objection to it was mainly that it was too silent. I traveled for work, and longed for big city life with a plentitude of bistros, bars and terraces. I imagined myself mid-March holding a Cappunico on a sunny terrace in Paris, or having cocktails in a speakeasy in London’s’ Soho. Somehow Helsinki was quiet, monotonous and grey, and I felt a belonging somewhere else. Maybe it just felt like that at the time, however, looking at Helsinki now, it has changed. The atmosphere is more open, people like to go out, and that Parisian terrace, and many like it, can be found right there, close to the center of the City. For example, Le Petit Chaperon Rouge, which is a French wine and snack bar in Katajanokanranta, just a stone throw away from the Senate square. Continue reading “The Little Red Riding Hood”

The Berlin Beat

Poor but sexy – said the city’s mayor in a speech a few years back when describing Berlin. I don’t know about poor any more, but sexy, vibrant and overgrown. Its like a controlled chaos: bombed down buildings, street art and untended vegetation mixed with clean, modern and orderly. The same goes for the food scene: national street food delicacies like currywurst and Döner kebab from run down kiosks, mixed with sleek bistros, wine bars and even Michelin restaurants. Its like the Bangkok of Europe – where you can, during the same day, eat from a cheap looking food cart , and then continue to a restaurant with white table cloths and fancy pants service. We only had a few days in the city, but here comes a few tips for food, coffee and wine Continue reading “The Berlin Beat”

Meet me on the Silk Road

My job keeps me on my feet. It takes me to far away places and lesser known countries in Central Asia: For example to Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. When I started my current assignment, I did not know much of these countries. The whole region has been a bit of a black box in my world knowledge. I was very cautious in my expectations, but now that I am a bit acquainted, I just can’t seem to get enough. One of the most fascinating things I have discovered is the ancient Silk Road, that has left its marks along the plains and desserts. So on my last trip, I took the opportunity to spend one day in Bukhara, a historical city in Uzbekistan, and one of the major stops along the ancient commercial route.  Continue reading “Meet me on the Silk Road”