Paris got it right!

Paris got it right!

After 11 attempts in 11 different countries, they got my name right in Paris! I was surprised and happy at the same time. 🙂

I took back the summer

I took back the summer

The song, We lost the summer by TXT, was kind of my theme song last year. It was one of my most listened song during the pandemic and I hope it will not remain this way. However, today, I felt like the summer is nearly over. The wind is blowing cool air and the nights have been chilly. Tomorrow, I’ll return by my desk and start thinking what is next for me. A lot of reflections need to be done there…

But to end this summer of 2021, I booked a trip to Paris. I thought Paris will be a bit empty, but no, there were a lot of people. Although, there were obviously fewer foreign tourists and the need for a COVID pass (EU COVID certificate for me) to enter museums and other tourist spots like the Eiffel Tower and Sacré-Cœur Basilica made queues disappear. But the time spend just walking, sat at a cafe and having a perfect meal was just so worth it.

In any case, the saying that Paris is always a good idea didn’t fail me. It was a good idea to spend a short trip in Paris and to cheer Hooray to the end of the summer that I took back!

All photos by Ari Vitikainen @ https://www.arivitikainenphotography.com

Budapest and the gradual return to a semblance of normality…

Budapest and the gradual return to a semblance of normality…

Did the world become a friendlier place or is Budapest always been like this?

After a year and 7 months, we were able to travel outside of Finland again. Europe has reopened especially to those who are fully vaccinated. Hungary has also claimed to have reached herd immunity or at least, a large portion of its population has already been vaccinated. It’s very rare to see people wearing masks and there are no social distancing whatsoever. Restrictions have been lifted and it seems like the old times. However, there are obviously less tourists which is nice in many ways. There are no crowds, no tour groups and all that.

I was really loving the architecture in Budapest. I can imagine how glorious this city was in its former days. I can’t stop admiring all the fine details placed into building this city. But what fascinated me even more was how friendly and helpful people were. It was so amazing! This friendly atmosphere was something that I didn’t expect. Is Budapest always been like this or did the world become a friendlier place?

When we booked our hotel room, we chose the cheaper option. But, we were upgraded to the best room of the hotel which has two double rooms, two bathrooms, a living room and a rooftop which faces the Hungarian Opera. It was such a treat! And one of the must places to visit in Buda is the Fisherman’s Bastion. Such a breathtaking view!

I also recommend climbing the Citadella for its amazing view of the city after sunset and when the city lights are on!

All photos by Ari Vitikainen at https://www.arivitikainenphotography.com. All rights reserved.

Visit Jeollanamdo

Visit Jeollanamdo

The world is opening! At least, Europe is! Non-essential travel to and from Finland is now possible, but with special care, of course! Interestingly, my first tour after all the lockdown happening around the world was in Jeollanamdo, South Korea.

Sat infront of my computer at 10:00 in the morning, the tour started. This tour was offered by Trazy! You can click the link on the side bar to know more about Trazy. Here are some photos from the tour!

I’m not much into adventure tour. So the Yeosu ZIP line from Odongdo island didn’t appeal much to me. Neither the U World Luge and the Sky walk at Yeosu Art World. I’m not much a market type either. But the food was really looking so good! I’ve learned that Jeollanamdo has a special type of Kimchi.

The last part of the tour was amazing! We even visited the place where Youn Stay was filmed! It was beautiful!

I asked the tour guide if it is already possible to visit South Korea. There is still a need to quarantine and there are still COVID daily cases. But they are expecting for the country to be 100% vaccinated by the end of the year. So visiting South Korea will be fully possible next year!

My first live online concert was in Seoul and my first ever live tour was in Jeollanamdo. So probably, I will get to visit South Korea someday and watch a real live K-Pop concert. Well, maybe in 2023!

Bunias orientalis in Suomenlinna

Bunias orientalis in Suomenlinna

It’s that time of the year again when the Suomenlinna island is dominated by Bunias orientalis. And to be honest, it is so beautiful! The meeting of the yellow flowers with the blue skies and blue sea is something not to be missed. The sight makes the heat unbearable…

Suomenlinna is a UNESCO World Heritage site located about 4 kilometres away from the Helsinki city centre by ferry. It is a popular destination among the tourists and the locals alike. BTS was here in 2019 too! On this hot summer day, people are here for a swim, for a picnic or just a simple afternoon walk.

All photos by Ari Vitikainen @ https://www.arivitikainenphotography.com

Afternoon tea at Salutorget

Afternoon tea at Salutorget

If you are the type of person who enjoys spending the afternoon sipping cups of tea at a beautiful place, I do recommend visiting Salutorget located in Pohjoisesplanadi in Helsinki.

It is said that Salutorget is one of the unwavering landmarks of the historic Esplanade. Its rich history can be felt in the magnificent Art Nouveau bank hall built in an old merchant building. The restaurant’s location for more than a hundred years on the corner of the maritime Market Square means that Salutorget is part of Helsinki and Helsinki is part of Salutorget.

I’ve enjoyed afternoon teas in different places before, also in different countries. But one thing that stood out for me here was having oyster and a teaspoonful of pouched quail egg with my tea!

Photos by Ari Vitikainen at https://www.arivitikainenphotography.com

Riverside Park

Riverside Park

The Riverside Park is located in Kotka city. This park was previously called Friendship Park after friendship trees were planted here during the mid-70’s. From 2012 to 2015, the park was rebuilt and changed its name to Riverside Park. It used to be a part of the Kotka harbour in the old days for shipping livestock, mainly sheep, to Tallinn and Narva.

Although it’s not a vast park in terms of its area, it was designed to cover an array of colourful plants where people can enjoy a nice walk and a lovely picnic with a view of the river. It’s amazingly beautiful!

All photos by Ari Vitikainen at https://www.arivitikainenphotography.com

Siika Koski Arboretum

Siika Koski Arboretum

In 1986, two tree enthusiasts started planting acorns by the Siika rapids of Kymin River. Today, 80 species of trees and woody shrubs can be found in the Siika Koski Arboretum within its area of about 4.5 hectares. Species include Koreanpihta (Abies koreana) and Japaninjalopähkinä (Juglans ailanthifolia) just to throw in some Asian mix.

It was a very refreshing walk and to be one with nature. At this time, Kielo, which is the national flower of Finland, are in full bloom, covering a large area of the arboretum. I can imagine how beautiful this place is covered in Autumn colours. I can’t wait to see it!

All photos by Ari Vitikainen at https://www.arivitikainenphotography.com

Beautiful Finnish summer

Beautiful Finnish summer

It’s the second COVID summer in Finland. However, the COVID cases are getting lower each passing day with 47 cases yesterday. Vaccination is in full speed. 49.2 % of the population have now received one dose while 12.2 % are already fully vaccinated. Seems like things are going to the right direction and most of the restrictions have been lifted, expect for large gatherings and the recommendation to avoid non-essential travels. This feels like I’m very much affected as I’m truly missing concerts and traveling. This is also affecting my work!

But here I am, grateful of the beautiful summer we are experiencing in Finland right now. Blue skies, blue waters and colourful flowers. It’s just about right. It’s just what I needed! How is your summer? Let me know!

All photos by Ari Vitikainen at https://www.arivitikainenphotography.com