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Riga - A Baltic City Worth Visiting

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Latvia’s capital, Riga, is well worth visiting! It is the biggest city in the Baltic Countries by its population (almost 700 000) and its long and varied history has left its mark on the city. Latvia has belonged under Polish, Swedish, German, and Russian rule and even these days about 39% of the population is Russian. Riga’s historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and its Art Nouveau architecture is world-renowned.



Unlike most people destined for Riga, we traveled there on a bus, not on a budget airline. The bus from Tallinn took four hours but it was quite all right when the travel company was as great as mine was. It was surprisingly noticeable when we had wandered over the border from Estonia to Latvia; the houses on the way became derelict and not well looked after, the roads were partly in horrendous condition and when we got into Riga the slum-like areas with most terrible blocks of flats were a truly depressing sight. For some reason I hadn’t expected such. The bus lef…

Spring in a Pie

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Finnish people go nuts for asparagus in the Spring. And they do have a point; those long, green goodies taste awesome in a pie, accompanying a steak or just boiled with a knob of butter. But as always, I don’t like to be too mainstream, I don’t like to do or wear what everybody else is doing or wearing. And it applies to food as well; instead of asparagus I’ve gone a bit nuts for spinach.


My main lunch item at work is usually a spinach and feta cheese pastry. I never grow tired of it, it’s just too good. And one day I was flicking through programs available on telly and put on some Jamie Oliver. I don’t usually like to mimic his cooking because he has too many, often weird and unusual ingredients in his recipes: each ingredient or spice costs money and since I rarely cook anyway, I don’t want to get all those rare herbs and spices to waste space from my limited drawers. But this time he made something that was easy and only had five main ingredients + salt, pepper and a little butter. …

The Traveler is Back

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It’s been a while since I’ve written anything and there is a very simple reason for that: I have lived in such lack of money that there has not been much opportunity to visit any places or see new things that would be worth mentioning in the blog. Winter can be very hard and expensive in Estonia because living costs, especially the heating bill, are incredibly high here. Thankfully this winter has been quite “warm”, but the couple cold weeks ensured that the heating has been on full blast for months now. Considering that the wages in this country do not meet the daily living costs at all, I do not want to think how difficult it must be for a family of four to make ends meet if I, as a single woman with a rather high salary, can’t cope.


But Spring is here! And while the weather is getting warmer and the heating is turned down in our building (because obviously we can’t influence the heating in our flats ourselves at all) I am left with more money and it’s about time too! The traveler i…

ABC of Me

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A – Aurinko. That would be sun in Finnish. I remember an advice from my dad when I was struggling with some minor school work: “Always pick the first thing that comes to your mind. Instinct is most of the time right.” And aurinko has been on my mind constantly for months now. There’s a saying in Finnish about people talking most about the things that they lack at that very moment. And I truly lack my doze of sunshine, sun owes me three months’ worth of shine dosage!
B – Bratislava. My former home city, capital of Slovakia and one of my favourite places on this planet. Everything is so cheap in Slovakia and there is a lot of what we have very little here in the North: Sun being just one them!
C – Cocktails. It’s Friday, of course the answer is cocktails.

D – Ducktape. I saw a glimpse of an article about how you can hide fatty parts in your body with ducktape. I didn’t bother reading the article but it brought tears of laughter in my eyes: I have done that! I have never been fat but as a …

2017

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I am the kind of person who doesn’t do well when there’s nothing to do. The state of boredom is more likely to cause me symptoms of a burn-out than a month of explosions on the work front and overlong workdays. That is one of the main reasons why I do not see Finland as a place for me to live in. People there are like a negatively toned gray mass, even more so during the past year than ever before in my lifetime. Excitement and new experiences are not interesting to my fellow Finns. Whereas I count myself among experience addicts; I need action, I need speed, I need experiences! All of them are not good, of course, but they are still experiences, excitement, diverging from the routine, something to talk about.


As a child I thought that I would never want to live the kind of life that my parents’ everyday life was: going to work, coming home, watching TV, sleep, going to work, coming home, watching TV, sleep, and this continues endlessly. And I succeeded to avoid such a life until I mov…

Independent Finland 99 Years

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Having been born in Finland I am one of the few lucky ones on this planet who has had the best sort of starting blocks for life. Today my country celebrates its 99th year of complete and unquestionable Independence so I think it’s time to note some basic points about this extraordinary country. The truth is that if I had been born in some other country, whatever other country, my life would have been very much different, and probably not in a positive way.
Finland has belonged under great kingdoms and empires but still the Finns have always held on to their own language, own culture, and their own way-of-life. And because of that my country has been able to rise from the ashes of the crumbling Russian Empire, civil war, two World Wars and multiple recessions. It is a big country with a very small population, but still it has been able to keep its independence for this long and will probably continue to do so no matter what the future brings.    


Finland is not officially part of Scandin…

Christmas Market in Tallinn, Estonia

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Another November is behind us, the most devastatingly lame month of the year is over! And that means that Christmas is literally on our doorsteps. A little comfort is brought into the crushing darkness all-day everyday by Christmas lights twinkling in people’s windows and at the markets. The Central European Christmas markets are world-famous but what about doing things differently this time and visiting a proper Northern atmosphere with genuine Christmas treats like glögi (aka mulled wine, a better option for the hot wines served in the South) and traditional Christmas tarts shaped like stars with plum jam. Finland has recently brushed up its game when it comes to Christmas markets and there are all kinds of performances and handicrafts on sale. But they are still missing an enormous beat: Christmas markets are all about good food and drink! So, while Finland contemplates whether serving alcoholic glögi in their Christmas markets will ruin the country completely or not you might want…