Peaceful Burgas

Peaceful Burgas

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Photo by arivitikainenphotography.com

After all the busyness of the past weeks, I had no other choice but to look forward to a very relaxing few days. Seeing a bit of a gap during these busy times, I planned a holiday where all I can experience is peace and quiet. It’s a holiday that doesn’t need to hurry to go here and there, and to see this and that. Because all I really need is some rest, to read a book, to draw, to listen to music, to do origami… A stroll on a secluded beach will be a plus factor too. And there I found Burgas in Bulgaria!

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Staying some 20 kilometres from the Burgas City centre, it is not even overrated to feel completely isolated from the rest of the world. The resort was completely empty! It felt like I have a complete possession of the place, yet with friendly people cleaning up and serving us good meals. The daily walks on the empty beach was such a wonderful routine. And to hear the constant sound of the crashing waves gave such a comforting feeling. Of course, I didn’t really finish any book and haven’t done much drawing either. But I did sleep and ate a lot!

Beautiful Lisbon

Beautiful Lisbon

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I love Lisbon. The people, the food, the architecture, the sea, the language, the music are just some of the things to love about it. I love how the sun revealed and hid itself during sunrise and sunset. The colours gave so much delight that I wanted to witness these moments of change repeatedly by Ponte 25 de Abril and Cristo Rey, by Cais Das Colunas overlooking the Rio Tejo, by the Belém Tower and by Castelo de S. Jorge.

p1300952Staying at a hotel on Rua Augusta near the Arco da Rua Augusta, it was easy to walk around the city and explore Barrio Alto and Rossio Square. The Santa Justa Lift is just nearby. Rua Augusta, the main pedestrian street of Lisbon, also gave a lot of good food experience. Pastelarias are everywhere to get a taste or two of the famous Pastel de Nata and the Pastel de Bacalhau. Ginha bars are also in many places to try Ginjinha, a sweet cherry liqueur which originated in Lisbon. I recommend sipping it from a chocolate cup. Although the chocolate cups came in later, around 10 years ago from Óbidos, the chocolate town of Portugal.

p1310136Then there were lovely walks in Alfama and the sentimental Fado music experience. The costal town of Cascais was also just an hour train ride to the west of Lisbon, then walking all the way to Boca du Inferno. The weather was pleasant, not cold and not warm. It was just right. The sun was shining and even the light rain added more spice to this wonderful holiday. One thing I was always tempted to say was Arigato instead of Obrigado. After all, Arigato originated from Obrigado. It was also interesting to understand that I can now travel using both English and Spanish. I totally recommend Lisbon for your next travel destination!

Oodi, the new neighbourhood library

Oodi, the new neighbourhood library

As an OD (Organisational Development) specialist, I find the new Helsinki library quite fitting well for me. It’s called Oodi which means ode in Finnish. However, this is not exactly a normal library. Although this library has lots and lots of books, it also has a cafe, a restaurant, a movie theatre, areas for concerts, recording studios, a kitchen, a gaming room and an immersive 3-D space whose walls can be illuminated with digital projections. There are high-tech equipments such as laser cutter, computerised embroidery machines and equipment to digitally sculpt wood. It is said that this library is the government’s gift to the Finnish people on its 100 years of Independence. 

So I’m so happy. The library has lots of creative spaces, including an orange reading room. There are also many books that I want to read and comfortable chairs I want to sit on, even the Eero Aarnio’s ball chairs! And best of all, it’s only a 13 minutes walk from my flat. 

All photos taken by arivitikainenphotography.com

Germany, again!

Germany, again!

It’s my second time in Germany this year. The third in just over a year. Can you imagine that? After all my reasoning to avoid Germany in my recent post, there was no hesitation in me whatsoever to be back again. Why has Germany become so appealing? Why do I have to be in Hamburg for the second time?

The difference between my last visits, I think, was realising that Germany became my visual home. It was here where I found my visual connections. It was here where I acquired inspiration to continue as a visual practitioner. I have been a visual practitioner for many years but it was the conversations that occurred here that made me realise and say, “Yes, I am a visual practitioner!”

One exciting thing was being able to ask advise on visual recording in quite a concrete way. It was wonderful to observe Malte von Tiesenhausen create a picture to inspire me in this work. He, himself, is very inspiring!

Another thing I realised was how friendly and helpful the Germans are. It was unbelievable how easy it was to talk to people and to ask for directions, for example. I was really amazed by this fact.

Will I be back in Germany soon? Sure, why not!

My perfect café in Helsinki

My perfect café in Helsinki

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After three years of searching for a perfect café in Helsinki, I can say this is my favourite one. Because I really did some research and even have a coffee blog for it called Helsinki Coffee Scene. I’ve been to many, many more cafés in Helsinki which many I felt not worth blogging at all until I ended here. Here is where I belong! This is the place where I sit, listen to music, draw and eat huge amount of cakes to celebrate birthdays of whoever is having a birthday that day. It’s my go to café. And the best thing about it, it is some 20 minutes walk from my flat or even longer for my shorter stride. This means I get a bit of a exercise rather than going to the nearest one which is some 3 minutes away. I have to get rid of those calories, you know!

The place is called Robert’s Coffee Jugend located in front of the Esplanade Park. It’s in a beautiful, spacious Jugend house with a high ceiling and comfortable leather chairs. The other thing about this place is that I really like their coffee. The savoury snacks are very tasty too, along with the cakes and ice-creams. I so love to be sat in this place at any time, and any weather!

You can find  my coffee blog here: https://www.arivitikainenphotography.com/blog

Autumn in Helsinki

Autumn in Helsinki

Autumn is my favourite season and Helsinki is one of the best cities to experience it. This is because Helsinki has a lot of parks and open spaces, even in the very centre of Helsinki where I live.

One of my favourite spots for an Autumn photo is under the tree beside the House of Parliament. This spot never fails to display the rich colour of Autumn because of the colourful leaves of this particular maple tree.

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Across the street from the National Museum is another open space with beautiful, vivid trees. It’s a wonderful feeling sat on the terrace, enjoying coffee and just be soaked in the surrounding beauty. Walking further is the Hesperian Park where a full Autumn bloom awaits. It’s amazing how nature reveals itself as season changes.

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Photos by arivitikainenphotography.com

Mountain, sea and sunset in beautiful Norway

Mountain, sea and sunset in beautiful Norway

There is no denying. Norway is beautiful. I have been to Hammerfest before and I know this to be true. This time was about exploring another part of Norway to enjoy the mountain, the sea and the sunset.

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The first day was an easy climb to Ersfjord in Kvaløya. Kvaløya is just some 15 minutes drive from the Tromsø city center. It was such a breathtaking beauty!

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Also climbed Brosmetinden on the same day. Brosmetinden is only 525 meters above sea level but it is very steep and the way is very rocky. It also didn’t help that it started raining resulting to low visibility. Basically walking through the clouds and I did like that!

Can you see me? The one and only! Felt like a weather forecaster in the last photo or at least checking the state of the rocks. Hello rocks, how are you?

Drove to the cold, windy, rainy and pretty Sommarøy island the next day. Beautiful but empty beaches because of the weather that day.

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But such a sunset drama unfolding. It was a spectacular sight!

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Left Sommarøy after a night there and took the ferry to Senja. The ferry ride was some 45 minutes from the Brensholmen to Botnhamn. Stayed in Skaland in Senja to explore the Husfjellet the next day.

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Husfjellet was such a hard climb because of the rain the day before. It was very steep, muddy which made it very slippery and was basically walking on the swamp. But what a lovely view on the top and a peaceful walk going down.

Then a magnificent sea sunset in Skaland where baby whales can be seen from afar.

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After two nights in Senja, it was time to head to Ersfjordbotn. But wait, one last look at the mountain I climbed the day before. This time it was very windy. I was about to be blown away literally!

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Stayed by the fjord in Ersfjordbotn. What a striking sunset view! Can you see me?

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The last evening in Norway this time was spent climbing (again!) to see a better view of the Ersfjorden and thinking of returning to Norway someday soon! One thing about this trip was to understand how the weather changes easily. It was an alternating sunny and rainy days. I also had to retire my red shoes because it was soaking wet!

(All photos by Ari Vitikainen)