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

Sunny Summer Helsinki

Sunny Summer Helsinki

Helsinki is a very beautiful city. Navigating it by foot is very easy and you can feel the city in just a few steps. No worries! You won’t get lost! And you will certainty enjoy what the city has to offer this summer, with or without the pandemic. So wear your comfortable clothes and walking shoes, and let’s go!

Adults and kids alike enjoy climbing these hill-like shapes at the square by Lasipalatsi. They are mostly sloped so people can walk over them or sit on top of them to enjoy the sunshine. The Amos Rex museum is underneath these structures. Pretty cool, huh?

The skies are perfect today. Beautiful clouds are dominating the skies. It’s a good idea to watch them closely by the Senate Square which is a very short walk from the hill-like structures.

And why not climb up the steps leading to the Helsinki Cathedral and enjoy the breeze from there. You can also catch a glimpse of beautiful Helsinki from here. I don’t know how many steps are there though!

As you go down the steps, you have a selection of places to go for coffee across the street. We chose Café Engel which is situated in one the oldest stone buildings in Helsinki built in 1765. It is an idyllic café with a view of the Helsinki Cathedral and the passing trams.

If you are planning to visit Helsinki someday soon, don’t hesitate to ask me for places to visit in this magnificent city which I call my home and my neigbourhood!

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

Conquering the second year of COVID summer

Conquering the second year of COVID summer

Exactly a year ago, I wrote my first blog about the beginning of my summer COVID style. I thought it was the first and the last COVID summer. But here I am conquering this second year and hoping for the best. My work has been very much affected as it involves travels and gathering of people. But we have gone too low that there is no other way but to go up! Let’s conquer this summer in blue! Blue skies, blue sea, blue dress and coffee! 🙂

Holiday by the sea – a weekend in Hanko

Holiday by the sea – a weekend in Hanko

Known for its beautiful archipelago, Hanko is a port town located on the south coast of Finland. This quiet little town has approximately 130 kilometres of coastline. 30 kilometres of which are sandy beaches.

We planned for this trip in such a short time that most of the hotels were already booked. But we got the last room in a hotel which is conveniently located near restaurants. Finding good coffee was a challenge though. We went to a number of cafes which were all serving the normal Finnish coffee so it was a joy to enter this cafe and see a coffee machine. And the coffee was good too!

It was only a short weekend break, just enough to break the everyday routine and busyness. But it was good, just what I needed. I enjoyed the short hikes, beach walks, the nature’s breeze, good food and the change of environment. It was also nice to visit again the beach where we were last summer.

Do you need a quick break today? Go for it!

All photos by Ari Vitikainen at http://arivitikainenphotography.com

A cherry park in Helsinki

A cherry park in Helsinki

One of the joys of Spring is being able to experience the cherry blossom. Although they came a bit late this Spring, it was such a beauty to enjoy. It was wonderful to be able to see them in full bloom here in Helsinki.

The Cherry Park which is located in the Roihuvuori district of Helsinki was opened in 2007. There are about 150 Cherry trees in the park which were planted with the help of the Japanese community in Helsinki. Of course, one of my dreams is to visit Japan during the Hanami season. But for now, I can enjoy this season without traveling far!

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

Taemin’s amazing concert

Taemin’s amazing concert

Never once in my entire existence in this world would have I expected to have my next live concert online. The last one was in 2019 with Lenny Kravitz in Helsinki. Well, you all know how the story goes and I’ve been missing live concerts ever since. So it was an amazing opportunity to attend Taemin’s Never Gonna Dance concert at 9:00 in the morning in Helsinki.

The concert was no doubt amazing. That one artist singing and dancing simultaneously in perfection was very impressive. I also like how humble he is and very real to his fans. This is my first ever live online concert and I’m happy it was Taemin’s. I’ll never forget this day where I was in Seoul in Helsinki and met Taemin! I won’t lie about it. It felt very emotional and knowing that I was watching with 90,000 fans in 119 countries was an incredible feeling…

Travel, food and playlist

Travel, food and playlist

My book project has been completed and I was very excited to receive the printed version. I’m so happy how it turned out! This small book contains travel illustrations, food illustrations and playlists.