Where one should stay when in Helsinki is probably one of my most-asked questions. I have family coming over, one of them being a history teacher – so I wanted to recommend a place that has a story to tell. There are countless possibilities and places, kinds of accommodation, and what kind of place feels best is something so subjective. What’s undeniable though is that there are not all that many places that have a lot of character to them, hotels can often be generic and pragmatic, but often lack charm and uniqueness – but the Original Sokos Hotel Vaakuna is different. Opened in the 50s for the Olympic Games in Helsinki, it still managed to retain the vibes from the era, even after the extensive renovations they just concluded.
Often, if you ask for a mocktail at a bar, you get two boxed juices put together, add a bit of lemon and a fancy straw and they be done with it. Which is a shame, because with fresh herbs, juices and fruit, creating a delicious alternative to a traditional cocktail, isn’t that hard. And you don’t necessarily always feel like drinking water or a grossly sweet soft drink when you’re out with friends – no matter if you generally drink or not. At the very much underrated American Bar in the Torni hotel, you can not only order fresh and seasonal mocktails – I was invited to join a small group to try their alcohol-free options and learn how to recreate them at home.
Turku is one of the places I have actually been to the most, but I never got around to really write about it! It’s such a lovely city and I’m always super delighted to be back, hang out by the river, do some shopping and enjoy the great food over there – which was also eventually my focus of the latest trip. Wanna know more?
Last autumn, I did my first multi-day hike of the St. Olav Waterway – together with my friend Rania, we completed the first section of this pilgrimage trail from Turku to Korppoo. Now it was time for the second part: continuing from the edge of the Finnish archipelago to the Åland Islands! And what a beautiful trip it was: in the most perfect Finnish summer, this time with my friend Eva, we hiked for a few days amidst the rugged and wild beauty of Åland – spectacular views, the scent of strawberries in the air, ferry rides, wild trails through the forest and along the rocky shores – it was truly the most stunning part of the trail so far!
I’m not gonna lie, Midsummer always gets me. After all these years, and being super content with my Finnish life, the FOMO is heavy around Juhannus. For us foreigners, it can be a tricky time. We don’t have the strong traditions, the family mökki, the associations with Midsummer, the stories of our youth. It doesn’t have this presence in our mind and calendars, so by the time we notice that it’s midsummer time, cabins are unavailable and rental cars all booked up. While last year was particularly difficult for me, I’m more than happy with the plans for 2020, just getting out of the city and being away, just for a little bit, taking a deep breath and start to actively make my own Midsummer memories.
The traditional Mayday celebrations around Vappu start on day before, on April 30th and is something everyone should experience! It’s probably the biggest street party you’ll see, and it’s the closest Finland comes to a carnival. Things are different in 2020, but despair not! This post includes a list of delicious Vappu options.
In times of social distancing and self-quarantine, one way to keep your belly happy, local businesses running and yourself also occupied and feeling a…
Weekly reviews are somehow always interesting to me, to catch up on people I follow, but also to have something to look forward to…
Happy Finlandiversary to me! Today, 7 years ago I came to Helsinki. When I moved here, the plan was to stay for a year…
The Web Summit in Lisbon was a great excuse for me to finally travel back to Portugal. Having spent many holidays over here when I was young, it was time for me to explore Lisbon properly and attend the huge, huge Web Summit that brings you anything that’s related to digital in any way, it’s a hub for the international start-up scene and a pretty prestigious event.