Lenny’s show in Helsinki on Saturday was amazing. He was full of energy, yet, so relaxed and so in the moment. He was walking in the stage and connecting sincerely to his audience. There was no rush whatsoever. He even asked the audience, “You are not in a hurry, aren’t you?” His voice was mesmerising. It was the same as listening to his studio recorded songs which means that he has such an authentic voice. His song, Here to love, was so touching with a choir on stage.
I bought seat tickets just to be sure that I can see. Except for Toto’s concert where I was stood in the first row, I struggled with height issue in concerts. I remember being squeezed among the crowd of a Green Day concert. And if not for the generous people infront of me during the Duran Duran and the Mariah Carey’s concert, I will not to able to see a thing, even those were seated tickets.
However during Lenny’s performance of Let love rule, I decided to go down. As luck would have it, Lenny went down the stage too and kept on saying, “I want to see the people.” I saw the security near me looking all nervous. Lenny went across and up the hall. I knew that he will pass my way since the steps going up the stage was on the side where I was standing. People rushed to my side with phones ready while I decided to place my phone on my back pocket. I held out both my hand as he was coming close. I called softly, “Lenny”. And he reached his hand to me and I held it with both my hands. We were face to face. He was infront of me. He saw me. It was a very in the moment handshake. The people before me didn’t get handshakes while they stuck out one hand and phones on the other. I would not be in the moment and see him up close, if I was busy with my phone. I was the second to the last person who he shook hands with before climbing back the stage. The last person who was the guy next to me was not on his phone either. Well, talking about in the moment!
It’s true what they say. Vienna has the most amazing coffee scenes. There are many cafes to choose from and each of one of them has a unique story to tell. However, there was not enough time to visit all of them as I wanted to enjoy every moment rather than moving hurriedly from one cafe to the next. Here are four cafes in the heart of Vienna which I had the opportunity to enjoy during this Vienna trip.
Cafe Diglas in Fleischmarkt was the first cafe I visited. It was just down the street from the hotel. Cafe Diglas was established in 1875. There was a homely feeling about this place. Maybe because it has been around for a long, long time. The place serves good coffee and it has a huge selection of cakes to choose from. But of course, I decided on the Apple Strudel! It was a perfect choice. There was nothing not to like about this place.
There was a queue outside of Cafe Central. I was not about to go in but there was this feeling inside me that I have to. Cafe Central was established in 1876. The place was a bit pretentious. There was also a huge selection of cakes by the entrance. But I ordered the Kaiserschmarren, of course, because it has to be tried. It was a large portion, making it quite difficult to finish up. The cafe has a beautiful interior but very busy. The waiters were rushing about, knowing that the queue outside was not getting any shorter. It was an okay experience but it would have been fine to skip it too.
Next stop was Cafe Schwarzenberg which has been on the premises since 1861. The cafe has certainly an old Vienna charm with its old style decor and nice ambience. Its says that the interior has remained largely unchanged. It has old fashioned waiters too who served me a wonderful Sachertorte, of course. It was a good choice for my birthday cake!
The last cafe was Café Hawelka. This was the most interesting cafe I have ever been. And mind you, I have visited many cafes in many countries. The Café Hawelka was opened by Leopold Hawelka in 1939.
There was a queue outside too which made it quite a gamble since I can’t even see from the outside what the inside looks like. Upon entering while still in queue, I wondered how this will work out as the place was packed. It was a tight mass of people! But they seemed to be enjoying the relaxing ambience. Conversations and laughters were flowing. People seemed to be in no rush whatsoever. The friendly waiter approached with no menu at all. With the three dishes on his mental list, Goulash was the most appropriate. And it was a good choice. It was tasty!
It was amazing how this chaotic place has so much order. For this, I definitely recommend this cafe for such an authentic experience.
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!
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!
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.
Staying 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.
Then 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!
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.
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.
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!