The Escape to Budapest

Midsummer is a special time in the Nordics. It’s a national holiday to celebrate the longest day of the summer and the midnight sun. For those who have not been in the Nordics this time of the year, it might sound a bit absurd, but it is light clock round (or at least almost). The Finns, Swedes, Norwegians and Danes celebrate Midsummer usually at their cottage, with barbecue and too much wine. Nothing is open and even the food stores are half empty after people of their way to the countryside have ransacked the shelf’s to stock up for the long weekend. We don’t have a cottage, and usually do not enjoy visiting one, so every year, we escape Midsummer to somewhere it is not celebrated. Last year, we were in Krakow (which was wonderful), and this year, we decided to continue with Eastern-Europe, in Budapest.  Continue reading “The Escape to Budapest”

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”

Helsinki Summer City

Two weeks ago, I was still clutching on to my winter coat – today the sun is warming the city like its July. The change in weather during the past few weeks has been phenomenal. Everyone hopes it will last through the coming months, and signify the best summer known in decades, but we all know it won’t. I am a realist, and by midsummer the cold will be back. But, that’s the wonderful thing in the Nordics: a beautiful day and everyone forgets they had a thousand things to do. We Finns run out to bathe in the uncommon warmth of the sun as if it the only day of the summer. Live in the moment – fantastic! I celebrated the weather with a nice photo-walk, and I found some novel places, that I am very happy to recommend to you. Continue reading “Helsinki Summer City”

Another Side of Bangkok

When we last left Bangkok, during our winter holiday, I thought that I was done for a while. We have spend long vacations there for the past four years, and become a bit too comfortable in our habits. To be able to have a more adult vacation, me and M booked one last long weekend, to really be able to go through the restaurants and bars that were not suited for the youngest in our family (she is quite good at sitting at restaurants though). And boy, was this trip a surprise. It was fantastic to see, that there was still a side of Bangkok that we had not seen before. Here are the highlights! Continue reading “Another Side of Bangkok”

Skansen for Grownups

This weeks post will be a bit unusual. We are on our way back from Bangkok, and I have not had time to edit any pictures at all. So, I chose to write about something else: Skansen,  an outdoor museum and Scandinavian zoo in the heart of Stockholm. It sounds like a kids attraction – and it is – and I was there with my kid – but I actually think that Skansen is for everybody, not only the short members of the family. If you are visiting Sweden, it is a fun place to visit to get a taste of Swedish culture, food, flora and fauna.  Continue reading “Skansen for Grownups”

Stockholms Little Eataly

It looks grand, Stockholm’s latest food market Eataly. The name is a giveaway. Eataly is an Italian food court, store and educational space right in the center of Stockholm, Biblioteksgatan. I’m usually not a fan of Italian food, but I really enjoyed when visiting here. Mainly because I felt instantly transported to somewhere in Southern-Europe – Milan maybe. Continue reading “Stockholms Little Eataly”

The Grand Champagne Report

Look at that silly smile. That is me scanning the room for my next glass of bubbly at Grand Champagne 2018 – one of the best wine events in the whole of Europe. One would not guess Helsinki to be the venue for such an event. Maybe Paris or London sounds more natural. But it is the hard work of Master of Wine Essi Avellan and winelovers Taru and Christian From, that bring the cream of Champagne to Helsinki every spring for this three day celebration of wine. For the past two years, I have had the privilege to attend the Grand Champagne press event, listening to visiting winemakers speak about their profession and taste through the years new releases of cuvees and vintages. Here is my report of what is new and hot, and what I recommend to buy into the cellar. Continue reading “The Grand Champagne Report”