Stockholm for the day

“A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.”

snapseed-2

Beautiful city

Since we had some time off we decided to take the over night ferry from Helsinki to Stockholm! The ferry was quite big and there were a lot of people, our cabin was bigger than I expected and the beds weren’t all that bad! We decided to have dinner on board and then drinks for the happy hour.  The ferry left at about 5 p.m and got to Stockholm at around 10 a.m. We enjoyed our breakfast buffet before getting off since we knew we were going to be doing a lot of walking.

snapseed-7

Views

 

img_3441

Colorful houses are my fav

 

snapseed-16

Center

snapseed-10

snapseed-8

Structures

img_3442

img_3437

Royal Palace

img_3433

It was actually so cold out

We got off the ferry and made our way to the center of the town, stopping along the way to take some pictures of course, the day was a bit cold and cloudy but we didn’t let that stop us from walking all over !

After hours of exploring we were starving so we went for a quick lunch at the coziest café!

 

img_1883

Cutest café

snapseed-11

Quick coffee break

snapseed-12

Narrow path

snapseed-6

Busy streets

snapseed-17

After a long 6 hours it was time to head back to the ferry! As soon as we got in we dropped off our bag and headed to the bar for happy hour.. 2.50 Euros beer & ciders! Yes please!

img_1767

Happy hour

We definitely took advantage when we decided to do the Buffet for dinner, which included unlimited yummy food, desserts wine & beer… They even had a gluten free section! It was around 35 Euros per person and so worth it!

img_1771

Best spread set up

img_1780

Best part .. dessert

img_3144

just us

 

snapseed-4

Until next time

It was a short trip but we really enjoyed our selves!

 

 

Last day in Barcelona 

“A traveler without observation is a bird without wings.” – Moslih Eddin Saadi

 

In love

 

img_2709

our lunch ritual

img_2953

Churros for breakfast

img_2887img_5657

img_2876

Private show haha

img_2862

img_2828

Best spread

img_2826

We don’t go anywhere without our Hair Skin and Nails !!

img_1010

.

We had our usual morning breakfast at the hotel then headed out and enjoyed our last sunny morning before heading back to cold Finland!

We went back to visit the Barcelona Cathedral one more time and take some pictures then headed back to pack and catch our taxi ride for the airport.

 

 

Barcelona: Day 3 & 4

 

“Adventure is worthwhile “

Our third day in the city the weather was perfect it was 20 + degrees out and sunny.

img_0848

img_2980

Beer break

 

img_2597

Tapas dinner at a local spot

The food at this place was SO delicious and cheap .. I would have to say that my favorite was the calamari!

img_2637

img_2692

Park Guell

img_2672

in love

img_2662img_2682

img_2616

Best traveling partner

img_2647

La Sagrada Familia

We walked for at least 6 hours.. We didn’t know how spread apart everything was (oops).

We saw the “Arc de Triom ” which was stunning, I loved all the palm trees around the path way. After walking for about 45 minutes we made a pit stop at a local café and got some coffee then finally made it to the Sagrada Familia.. No words can explain how breath taking and beautiful this cathedral is.. Left me speechless. Also fun fact, did you know that it has been under construction for more than 100 years!!!

img_2656

Details

 

img_5102

Market

After another successful day of exploring and walking A LOT we headed back to the hotel to unwind and have a few ciders at our friends terrace. We then decided it was time to go see a new place for our last dinner. One of the locals recommended this place so we were pretty excited to check it out..  the food was REALLY good.. But the sangria was not the best. Either way we enjoyed our selves!

img_2959

Last dinner

 

img_2824

Another local tapas resto

One last sleep, and one last morning before we go home!

 

 

 

 

 

Barcelona : Day 1 & 2 

“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.”

img_2839

Most beautiful place

Our first night our friends surprised us with an authentic Catalonian cooking class! As soon as we landed we rushed to the hotel to drop off our luggage and head out, it was perfect because we were all starving!

Angeles was our lovely host, she showed us how to make each and every single dish step by step.. She only acted as a guide and we did all the work, it was so much fun.

We stuffed our faces with the delicious tapas, tomato & garlic bread (Probably the best invention ever, it was so good) and the lovely Paella. We enjoyed a few glasses of the typical red sangria (my favorite) and then enjoyed some delicious dessert!

We really enjoyed our evening and got to learn more about Catalonian cuisine and culture, thank you again Angeles for the wonderful class.  If you are interested in attending one look up “Foodie” Cooking workshops!

img_2209

Cooking class

img_2233

So good

img_2250

Paella

img_2259

img_2290

Such a beautiful day

img_2205

img_2356

Obsessing over the architecture

img_2371-1

Market

We had the ” Las Boquerias” market right behind our hotel, probably the best spot to stay in.. We went for lunch every day .. For 5 Euros you could choose a fresh fruit juice, a savory / fruit salad and a pastry.. Everything was so good and fresh!

img_2379-1

Picnic day

img_2369-1img_0848img_2362-1img_2330

img_2344

Coffee pit stop

img_2339

Patio season

img_2322img_2324

img_2343

Coffee & baileys

img_2338

Nicest day

img_2333

img_2374-1

Best pastries

Only 2 days in an we were in love

 

Favorite cafes: Hämeenlinna

” COFFEE because aldulting is hard.” – UA

img_9994

Café Laurell : Near the town square. They have the best pastries and quite the selection of sandwiches and snacks, a lot of lactose and gluten free options as well. The café is so cozy and quiet.

c2

Café Kauno : Hidden in the town center, this little coffee shop has the best cappuccinos in my opinion. They also have lunch and snack options.

img_9911

Café Tiirinkosken: BEST waffles I’ve ever had.. No joke, they are extra fluffy and made with bean flour which is really high in protein. The store is the cutest I’ve been to here. You can shop around or just enjoy the atmosphere. They also have a variety of teas that you can choose from, and other snack options as well as GF and dairy free options

Kahvila Kulma: Newest shop in town. I love this place because the interior is so nice, its quite spacious and modern. You can buy sparkling wine, snacks, and of course coffee.

cc11

Café Kukko: Near Goodman shopping center. Decent spot with a quiet atmosphere, quite popular… With a decent drink selection.

c

Café il Mondo : Inside Goodman shopping center. Friendliest staff and the best lattes, the food portions are huge and they have really good salmon burgers. Their chocolate cake is my favorite. Perfect place to people watch (that’s right)

cc2

ccc2

Pancake House:  In what used to be an old sauna located outside of Hämeenlinna, only open on Sundays from 11-4.  You can order a sweet or savory Finnish style pancake and enjoy a cup of coffee outside if the weather is nice. They also have GF and dairy free options.

BUDAPEST : Food guide

” Good food, good people, good times.” – Unknown

Café Smúz: Welcoming little shop right beside the Parliament building, you can order brunch, wine and of course coffee. Prices were a bit higher most likely because its beside a landmark.  The green tea latte was really good though.
Price range: 8 Euros for a coffee and a latte.

img_9519

Lactose free Matcha latte

Isolabella Pub: Nice pub near castle hill. Cute patio set up, you can actually see part of the Parliament building from there.
Price range: 8 Euros for 2 coffee and baileys and a biscuit.
img_9431
New York Café: Definitely the most beautiful café in the world, pictures don’t do this place justice. Great atmosphere so nice and relaxing, at one point some one was playing the piano. We paid 16 Euros for two coffees but it was worth it.
img_9640

Obsessing over this place

Vicky Barcelona : This tapas bar was delicious, a must try and the sangria was divine. We ordered the Cube shaped baked potatoes served with some kind of guacamole sauce, fried calamari, blue cheese tray, chickpea stew and chicken skewers.
img_9478

Best sangria

Mazel Tov: This place is so beautiful once you go in, looks like a nice spacious garden with hanging lights from the top… It is also dog friendly.  The menu is Middle Eastern inspired, choose from meat plates, pitas, salads or soups. The service was super quick but the food was average, nothing special. They did have a nice drink menu though and vegetarian options.
Price range: 14 Euros for two meals, a glass of wine and a beer.
img_9574

Perfect for veg options

Trattoria Gozsdu: This restaurant had a nice cozy vibe, they provided blankets with every chair which was perfect because it was so cold.  The individual pizza portions were so big and the crust was very thin and delicious. I had the mushroom pizza.
Price range: 18 Euros for two pizzas, two large beers and a glass of sparkly wine.
img_9379

Pardon the terrible lighting

Hungarian Resto: (Can’t remember the name, but it was located near the Great Market Hall)  Typical Hungarian food, while in Budapest you have to try one of these restaurants at least once. When you sit down there is a plate of two giant pretzels on the table… DO NOT EAT THEM! Unless you see them bring out a fresh batch. We saw a plate sit there while two different parties sat down and ate… touched them too (I totally touched the ones at our table to see how hard they were) finally when the third party sat down they dug right in.. yuck. Also don’t get the fisherman’s soup it was way too fishy.

 

img_9547

Not my fav

Typically food and drinks are really cheap in Budapest, but because we chose to eat at places near a popular spot or landmark we paid a bit “more” than if we were somewhere less touristy.

 

 

Fine dining: Tallinn

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” – Martin Buber 

dbb750bd-c7dd-4580-981e-1655c6212446

obsessing over the “Old Town”

 

Estonian cuisine has been the best I’ve had so far in Europe, the food is so fresh and delicious. I was amazed at the fact that there were no fast food trucks or even fast food chains around.

Restaurant Ö

4.5/5 stars… A Michelin star quality .

We had made our reservations a week prior for the 23. I opted for the vegan option, Annicki and I had the 7 course taste journey and the boys had the 11 course taste exploration. We made sure to have between 2-4 hours free that evening. Everything was so unique, every single course had a different taste and texture.

We ordered two bottles of wines instead of doing the wine pairings.

img_0743

The restaurant was nice and clean and the staff was very profesional. The food was so delicious, the smell, taste and the presentation… It’s hard to explain, you just have to experience it yourself. To my surprise my vegan portions were actually bigger than every one else .

img_0715

Nibbles

Please take note, this was our starter…Two chips per person…

 

img_0781

Cauliflower

img_0728

Bread course

img_0786

One of the boy’s 11 courses

img_0785

Different style mushrooms

I thought it was cool that before our dessert we were able to go into the kitchen and talk to the chefs/ cooks and take a look around.

img_0790

Vegan apple cake .. this way to die for

img_0792

The marzipan was also amazing

 

img_0713

Menu

It was a neat experience but we most likely won’t do it again, the boys were still hungry after their 11 courses.

But if you are willing to throw down the money and enjoy the experience (because that’s what you are basically paying for) at least once in a life time, why not!

For reservations ; Restoran O

 

 


Christmas weekend in Tallinn

 

Open your mind, get up off the couch, move.” – Anthony Bourdain 

img_0602

Medieval Old Town

We took the bus to Helsinki as this was the easiest way of getting there and we didn’t have to worry about the car. After a 2 hour ferry ride we arrived in Tallinn.

THURSDAY EVENING
Our Airbnb apartment was only a 10 minute walk to the Old Town. After dropping off our bags we headed out to Hells Hunt pub to grab some appz and drinks, Annicki and I had some Estonian ciders and the boys had wine and beer.

img_0796

For our first dinner we went to Pegasus, we had a nice view of an outdoor skating rink. After we finished eating we decided to ordered shots of vana liquer the traditional Estonian drink … probably one of the worst ideas we had.

img_0568

We headed back into the Town Hall Square to see the annual Christmas Market and enjoy the magical atmosphere. The square was beautifully transformed with a
Christmas tree, lights, a carousel and many little wooden stalls selling traditional Christmas arts, knits, hot drinks and baked goods.

1938aaec-b425-41d7-b8a3-87721fd90442-1

Market at night

img_0526

A bit of history…

This charming Old Town is very unique and it is also a part of the UNESCO  World Heritage Site. As you walk down the cobblestone paths you can see the history, from the many churches to the medieval courtyards, gothic spires, guard towers and city wall.
-Dating back to the 13th century , also known as “Reval” back then
-This ancient well-preserved walled city is the oldest capital in Northern Europe
FRIDAY
We got really lucky with the weather this day as it was supposed to rain all weekend. Our first stop was Alexander Nevsky, a Russian Orthodox cathedral completed in 1900.

IMG_1819.JPG

12.png

Most beautiful Cathedral

 

img_0623

Pink building are my favorites

d54c6bf0-9870-411b-a829-562e007928a0-1

Narrow paths

50bcd8a6-74b2-4183-b9f7-1ec7db5febf7

The beautiful architecture, eye catching colorful buildings and cobblestoned narrow paths  make this town seem like its come straight out of a fairy tale book.
IMG_1852.JPG

Medieval costumes… Taking you back in time

1db70303-e2b5-4510-b711-a8b7818e28aa

Lookout point

 

img_0612

St. Olaf’s Church on the left side

Fun fact: St. Olaf’s Church was the tallest building in the world from 1549- 1625 and it is also Tallinn’s  biggest medieval structure.

img_0595-1

Tuomiokirkko Church

1deafb34-880d-4251-aa2c-ca0ff25dc2a0

We basically saw everything we wanted to see within the Old Town so we ventured out and went to  see the Russian Market. This area of Tallinn was a contrast from the walled city.
a55e0d38-33c7-4622-a917-3a150a14946d

Industrial looking building outside the Old Town

3f75d2d6-9b9b-4402-a155-75439c3aa0cc

For lunch we checked out another restaurant in the Old Town,  Rataskaevu 16. The food did not disappoint and the bathroom floor was crazy.
img_0675

Craziest floor.. Some kind of cave

For dinner we went to Restoran Ö and had a 7 and 11 course meal.
941b56e9-ac3d-454c-8332-9dc9b8013626
SATURDAY
Unfortunately it was raining all day but that didn’t stop us from exploring, we went to see the Russian castle Kadriorg-palace. It was so windy out that my umbrella actually broke after we took this picture.
51eacbd9-79f7-45c8-bf41-7e93917be175

Beautiful Baroque architecture

Because of the rain we took a 2.50 Euro Uber back into town (ya that’s right… Uber is so cheap here) and stopped at Reval Café for lunch and some coffee.
img_0832
add632b6-d8ff-48f2-9458-28621d6de5f6

Cloudy day at the market

56498863-179f-4050-81c9-d4ef33a2699bimg_1843

7d72eb7f-cf01-4b73-8aee-dec634924286

img_0845-1

Shop stands

IMG_1769.JPG

img_1775

Part of the wall

dbb750bd-c7dd-4580-981e-1655c6212446

For our Christmas dinner “Leon” made us a delicious batch of mussels and some veggie fries, we also had three bottles of wine and laughed a lot, we were truly
thankful to have family over for the holidays.
img_0869

The only christmas décor we had..Kitos Annicki

Christmas in Finland

“To travel is to evolve.”  – Pierre Bernardo

What I love about Christmas in Europe is that there are so many little Christmas markets all throughout the cities. The wintery atmosphere is great and everything is so
beautifully decorated with lights, trees, candles and more.
hhh
A bit of history…
Far North in Lapland you will find Korvatunturi (a mountain) where Santa Clauses lives also known as (Father Christmas) and at the bottom of the hill you will find his work shop.
  • Santa’s little helpers are also known as “tontut”
  • Santa knocks on your door and comes to hand you your presents, unlike some places where you just find your present under the tree.

Some of the traditional Christmas snacks are:

  • Gingerbread cookies
  • Joulutorttu(Christmas stars)
  • Date cake
  • Glögi; Spiced with wine or vodka and a sprinkling of almonds and raisins

    img_0234

    img_0513

    Christmas flowers, gingerbread cookies & date cake

    img_1172

    Gingerbread and berry cake

    Some of the popular Christmas foods include:

    • Herring & raw fish
    • Ham
    • Traditional casseroles: Rutabaga, potatoes, carrots, liver & rice
    • Rosolli (root vegetable salad)
    • Rice porridge
img_0086

Christmas dinner

 

img_1182

Typical elves and candles

 

Now onto the markets, we visited 3 of the closest cities to get into the Christmas spirit.
img_0007

Little town market

Tampere
img_0293
Located in the central square (keskustori). You will find a nice big Christmas tree full of lights and little wooden stalls selling traditional baked goods, glög, wool socks, jams, sausages and crafts. The market is open Monday- Saturday from 10- 8 and 12- 8 on Sundays from Dec 4- 22.
Be sure to grab a Finnish doughnut “munkki” and a cup of glög!

img_0281

img_0296

Munkki

iiii

img_0317

Indoor market

img_0300

Munkki & Glog

img_0476

Beautiful sunset

 
Helsinki
h
By far my favorite city and the best Christmas set ups. Although you can find a few different little markets all throughout some parts of the city at the Senate Square you will find the biggest one; St Thomas market, with over 100 wooden stalls selling , glögi, coffee, Christmas baked goods, wool socks, jams and crafts. The atmosphere is great and the decorations are so cute. The market is open from December 3 – 22.

img_0417

img_0459

Traditional Finnish elves

img_0411img_0415hhhh

img_0436

Small  set up at the Market Square

If you would like to see some beautiful lights head on over to Aleksanterinkatu, also known as the  “Christmas street”.

 Visit Helsinki

img_0557

img_0444-1

Aleksanterinkatu street

Hämeenlinna
i

Snowy day

This market is set up only once a year both inside and outside the Häme Castle. There are a few vendors all around selling wool socks, hand made crafts, jams, smoked fish and
Christmas decorations. The visit is worth it specially because you get to see the winter wonderland all around.

img_0347

Indoor part

img_0346

iiiii

Winter wonderland

 



Copenhagen: Christmas 2015

A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

1

During the Christmas break we decided to go to Copenhagen since we heard nothing but good things about it. I loved everything about this city, from the colorful canal to the delicious fresh seafood, the beautiful streets and magical Christmas market.  As you may imagine the city at this time is super busy.

We took advantage of the beautiful days to walk around and do some sight seeing and of course some last minute Christmas shopping.

33333333333

Each night we ate at a different restaurant, the food did not disappoint and can we just talk about how delicious Irish coffees are?! I am literally obsessed.

4491759_orig

3805918_orig

4845383_orig

Rosenborg Castle

8408134_orig

Little Mermaid Statue

 

img_0432img_0444

Fun Fact: In case you didn’t know Tivoli Gardens is the second oldest amusement park in the world, it was first opened during the mid 1800’s (craziness).

img_0453

8194219_origimg_0470img_0485img_0478

img_0454img_0459-28801904_origIMG_0515

This was our first time visiting a Christmas market, I felt as if I was in a fairy tale. Everything was so perfectly decorated, the fake snow, the lights, the big tree and the cute little wooden houses it couldn’t have been better. It was also my first time trying “glogg” or hot wine, I was totally buzzed after one mug. Lets just say that from now on every Christmas I plan to hit up a market because we absolutely loved it!

For more  info about Copenhagen and what it has to offer; Tours, activities, events and food be sure to check out this mini guide at GoNOMAD !