Anniversary Trip To Helsinki – Travel Log

Today I have been married for three years. We are not doing anything fancy today but go for dinner Friday night. Last year we’ve celebrated our anniversary with a trip to Helsinki.

When we went to our honeymoon we had a lay-over in Helsinki and agreed to come back after seeing the city from the plane. So we did. It was fun.

Most people are probably scared to fly north during winter but than we love winter. Why don’t I tell you a bit more.

Helsinki City

Ok, first I have to be honest. We had tough weather. It was around freezing and it was so humid. Something between fog, sleek and snow-slush-rain… Being outside was sometimes tough so we didn’t wander that far out of the downtown area and had quite a few coffee stops. BUT what we liked what we saw.

We walked and wandered around a lot. It’s our way of discovering a city and we easily get the lay of the land. More than once we ended up at the South Harbor and were mesmerized with the frozen Baltic Sea. I’ve just never seen anything like it. We came back almost every day…

Trip to Helsinki winter skyline

Close by is the Old Market hall – Vanha kauppahalli. A cozy warm roofed market. We had the feeling that locals and tourist were at balance among the visitors. Lots of people had lunch. Unfortunately we weren’t hungry. Still it was interesting seeing local food and warm up.

Helsinki Trip Old Market Hall Vanha kauppahalli

Also around the corner you can find Uspenskin cathedral. A russian orthodox church.

trip to Helsinki Harbor with Uspenskin katedraali

Unfortunately the building is not open for public but we walked around there and the neighborhood and found it was quite different. The heavy fog might have had something to do with it…

Trip to Helsinki houses

Sunday afternoon we were frozen so we went to the design museum. We really liked it a lot. If you are interested in interior design this is for you. If you are into design history go there too. We learned a lot about how strategic the Finnish people planned their design supremacy. Also there are so many objects we knew by sight but had no idea they were made in Finland.

Trip to Helsinki design museum

Just across the street from the museum is the Johanneksenkirkku – a church (ok, I do have a thing for sacred architecture…). I believe it is one of the nicest I have seen in all my travels. While there is pompous decor it is not dark, stuffy and gold but rather light and withdrawn. You can hardly find any pictures from the inside, I think it’s so worth seeing.

Trip to Helsinki st. Johns church

Suomolinna

On our last day before heading to the airport we went to Suomolinna. An island with a huge sea fortress or better an island fortress. Going by boat through the ice floes was maybe my best experience. It is much louder than I expected and you feel every impact. We journeyed through the skerry landscape and I discovered quite a few cute remote houses. I could easily spent a few weeks there…

Helsinki Trip ice floes on the Baltic Sea

The island was somewhat deserted as we went there off season. However it was still nice to walk around and get a feel of what it must have been living there in rough weather. Being at Suomolinna was the only time I really felt cold during our trip to Finland. The wind is crazy, it was snowing a bit and we were outside walking for a long time. We didn’t go to the museum as we didn’t have much time and rather walked to the far end of the island to have a look at the open waters. The history of the sea fortress is quite interesting and it is under UNESCO World Heritage. You could easily spent a whole day there specially in summer with picnics and nice views.

Helsinki Trip Suomenlinna

Food

During our honeymoon we had a tough time with the food. It was just so very different and than we were even further north and not in a city. Being in Helsinki the food scene was much better. While I started to like it and ate my way through fish and crabs and karjalanpirakka Mr. ♥ had a tougher time. Assuming it’s due to the conditions and location of Finland – they just don’t have veggies and if there are they are really horrible… Just be aware. It all looks old and frozen and tasteless – even in the supermarkets. Maybe that is just a momentarily picture in February but that is what we got after two trips to Finland. On another note, Helsinki has a broad selection of craft beer. I had quite a few and I liked them all. So if you like that Helsinki might be for you.

Helsinki Trip Finnish Food

Accomodation

We found a nice and affordable hotel within the city – Hotel Indigo Boulevard. The hotel is located in Helsinki’s Design District. Al lot of small little shops are in the surrounding neighborhood. We liked the hotel as it was clean, modern and had a separated bathroom – something hard to find nowadays.

Trip to Helsinki Hotel Indigo

Transport

We took a flight from Berlin with airberlin and were surprised it’s only about 2 hours. From the Helsinki airport we took a bus to the central station where we switched to the tram that took us directly to the hotel. We found public transport very easy and comfortable to use.

It was a nice trip to Helsinki we had last year. I would go there again. Maybe in summer. We heard and read the summers in Helsinki are legendary with lots of outside activities and festivals … and the sun never goes down…

Have you been to Helsinki? Would you take a trip to Helsinki? What would you check out?

Happy traveling,

Tobia

PARK LIFE #2 – 2017 PHOTO PROJECT

It’s cold. It’s wet. It’s foggy. I grab my camera and head out. To the park. My park. And today I love it. Hardly any people around. Park life winter edition.

The cold numbs my cheeks. It cleans my lunges. It’s refreshing. It’s a reset. The perfect start to the weekend. The mind slows down, the thoughts ebb away. Free…

Volkspark Friedrichshain winter

My feet get wet. Snow is melting, puddles are forming and give sight to most curious reflections. I pause a moment and I am in awe. So much beauty on a grey foggy day in February.

Trees are showing there skeletons and seem suddenly magical. Water droplets imitate fairy dust and enchanting my surroundings.

Volkspark Friedrichshain winter

A wisp of cold air fills my lungs. There is something else. Warm, soothing… The smell of home. Of comfort. Coffee.

My feet carry me back, the sounds become vibrant. But the memory of this magical winter day will stay with me.

Have a whimsical Sunday

Tobia

I took those pictures for my 2017 photo project and Tabea is collecting more

Winter Salad with Savoy, Bacon and Tiger Nuts

I love veggies. But I could eat more of them. During summer that is easy. During winter – not so much. It’s the time I crave soups. Something warm, soothing and filling. But I wanted to challenge myself for Claras veggie expedition. February it’s all about savoy cabbage. I could have easily made a soup… with pearl barley and beef. But no I had my mind set on salad. A winter salad.

winter salad with savoy bacon tiger nut

Best lukewarm… because it’s cold out there. And also something savory… bacon is always a good choice! Are you hungry yet? Ok here is is:

Winter Salad with Savoy, Bacon and Tiger Nuts

Ingredients:

♥ 1/4 savoy cabbage
♥ Salt
♥ Bacon (as much as you like)
♥ 2 tbsp olive oil
♥ Pepper
♥ 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
♥ 2 tbsp Balsamico, white
♥ 1 pinch brown sugar
♥ 1 handful chopped tiger nuts (If you don’t have any tiger nuts you can easily use any other nut you have. I just had them in the pantry.)

Directions:

1. Cut savoy cabbage and remove stem. Wash leaves and cut into stripes. Remove veining. Boil for 3 minutes in salted water. Drain and let cool.

2. Roast bacon until crunchy.

3. Toss everything together and season with salt, pepper and caraway seeds. Add oil and vinegar. Garnish with tiger nuts and bacon. Enjoy lukewarm.

What is your favorite winter salad? Do you use savoy often? I don’t. I think its the second time ever I bought this cabbage. But with the many recipes coming in I am sure I will give it a spin. And I have 3/4 of the cabbage in my freezer. All cut up. easy to make soup…

Happy cooking

Tobia

 

WOCHEN(GLÜCK)-RÜCKBLICK :: MY HAPPINESS REVIEW #24

Happy weekend to everyone.

I had a great, happy, productive week and it calls for Denise’s happiness project.

Lets Dance urban art

It all started last Saturday with my dad birthday party that is a huge thing every since I can remember. After college (or maybe even during college) he decided to throw a big annual gathering every Saturday after his birthday inviting all his college buddies. And throughout his life more people got invited  and some didn’t show up anymore. I grew up with this scenario and I just love it. I meet those people every year. Some I don’t even know their names but somehow its just right. You take part in each other’s life maybe just for this one night.

I had time to walk around the neighborhood taking pictures. Well, actually I didn’t feel like taking pictures but had an assignment for my photo class. And isn’t it great that inspiration comes when you least expect it? I was suddenly seeing so many interesting lines and found so many perspectives of this one building I stumbled across. I love this. And the weather was nice too – crisp winter air.

urban lines and patterns

Another thing I started this week – again – was using my yoga app. I woke up with back pain and decided to give it try again. Isn’t it amazing how fast one (me!) forgets how helpful, relaxing, good something is? So I did yoga two days in a row and hope to do more of it in the future.

A few other things happened for me this week that left me optimistic and energized (like this Shrimp Pak Choi Risotto with Coconut milk) but they don’t fit in here right now.

Overall I am happy. And I look forward to the weekend. Are you doing anything fun?

Happy weekend,

Tobia

 

Shrimp Risotto with Pak Choi – Risotto Love

Did you know I love love love risotto? Well I do. And that is probably the only reason I would agree to walk into an Italian restaurant. Because pizza… not my thing. Not at all. Maybe once a year. Pasta ok, but than I can do this at home any day. For years I thought – and was told – risotto is so hard to cook and it takes forever. Well, guess what: not true.

I only make risotto when I am cooking for my own. The lastest risotto I made was this awesome Shrimp Risotto with Pak Choi and coconut milk. To die for. Really.

Shrimp Risotto with Pak Choi

You know what’s surprising to me: it’s the first risotto recipe on craftaliciousme. How did that happen? I’ve so many yummy recipes and improvise even more. So it’s time to post this one.

Shrimp Risotto with Pak Choi

You need the following ingredients when you cook for one really hungry person (me!) or it would work for two when there is a dessert later on.

Ingredients:

♥ 1 shallot
♥ 1 cm of ginger
♥ 2 tbsp olive oil
♥ 100 g risotto rice
♥ 250 ml strong vegetable broth
♥ 100 ml coconut milk
♥ 4 shrimps
♥ 1 pak choi
♥ salt
♥ chilli powder
♥ parmesan
♥ 1/2 lime

Coconut Risotto with Shrimp and Pak Choi

Directions:

1. Peel and finely dice shallot and ginger.

2. Heat oil in a pot. Add shallot and ginger. When shallot glazes over add shrimp and fry a bit more. Now add risotto rice and let glaze over.

3. Add broth and coconut milk one bit after another. ( I am way too impatient to do this and usually dump it all in at once. Don’t know what the difference would be.) Reduce heat and let simmer until liquids re absorbed (approx. 20 min).

4. Wash pak choi and cut into strips. 5 minutes before rice is done add the stem pieces to the risotto. Let cook for remaining time.

5. Add salt and chill powder to taste as well as leaves of the pak choi and grated parmesan.

6. Set table and risotto is done.

 

Risotto with Shrimp and Pak Choi

Enjoy your risotto. I could eat it for breakfast. Really it’s so yummy. Do you have a favorite risotto recipe? Please leave a link in the comments I would love to venture and try new ones.

Happy Sunday,

Tobia