A day in Tallinn

A day in Tallinn

With travels slowly easing, especially to those who are fully vaccinated, we also took a chance to spend a Saturday in Tallinn. I’ve been to Tallinn many times before. However, this time we took a large cruise ship from Helsinki to Tallinn and it was a very nice experience.

There is a list of must-do when spending a day in Tallinn. One of them is having coffee and cake at Maiasmokk Kohvik in the old town. Established in 1864, it’s the oldest cafe in Tallinn. It serves good coffee and delicious cakes. Dining out is another thing and this time we tried a fusion style Asian restaurant. We have passed by this restaurant before but I’ve always been suspicious of anything fusion. However, the food was actually tasty and was not much a fusion at all! We had Yakitori Chicken skewers, Tom Kha Gai, Roti Canai (a bit too oily), Yellow Curry with duck and Korean Bulgogi beef. So it was a bit of everywhere in Asia kind of food experience. They were true to their taste. I highly recommend this place called Tai Boh.

There is much to explore in the old town where one can spend 5 hours quite easily. It’s a pretty town and a nice area for walking. So wearing good walking shoes is a must! The day ended with a record breaking 32,737 steps which is 20.97 kms walk and an amazing sunset on the way home. Tired but happy!

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

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

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! 🙂

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

Let’s make postcards

Let’s make postcards

Where have you been? Where do you want to go? What have you seen? What do you want to see and experience?

This morning, I was reminded of how exciting it was to plan for a trip. Whether it’s for work or holiday, there is something about the process of arranging a future travel that gives me energy. For many of us, the task of organising a trip seems to be a thing of the past. Yes, it has been exactly a year when I drew this picture.

At that time, I never imagined that the pandemic will take us this long. I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel either. However, creating memories and dreams have been a wonderful part of the journey. Yesterday, I started creating postcards and made them available here. It was a fun and an energy giving process.

How are you maintaining your energy level after a year of the pandemic?

Pandemic creativity

Pandemic creativity

Creativity is not meant to dry up during the pandemic. In fact, I feel an overflowing daily dose of supply of creativity. It’s probably my way to distract myself and feel a sense of accomplishment, even more so during this strange time. No travels, no worries. We can always dream and anticipate the moment when we can. This pandemic too will pass!

Aside from work where I also get to illustrate, my official GIPHY channel has been approved on the 24th of February. As I write, my simple gifs have been viewed 54,8 M times. It feels amazing! I also created a TikTok account three days ago in preparation for a bullet journaling project. One of the things I’m really enjoying this moment is creating dream boarding passes. Yes, let’s dream! Here is your boarding pass to Helsinki.

I also created London, Japan, South Korea and New York boarding passes. I’m really enjoying this process. Which city would you like? Let me know! Have a great weekend to everyone.

Walking on ice

Walking on ice

How else would I spend the late Sunday morning than having a lovely walk on the sea. It was a 6.9 kilometres stroll at +2C. Yes, we can indeed walk on water! Most of Europe has been enjoying the frozen waters. We also have the privilege to enjoy this beautiful winter in Helsinki. Walking on ice is very magical especially when a few months back, this was not at all possible. This is definitely one of the reasons why I love the change of seasons!

All photos by Ari Vitikainen @ arivitikainenphotography.com

Outdoor cafe, anyone?

Outdoor cafe, anyone?

There is nothing like a cup of hot, creamy chocolate in this very cold day. You need a warm blanket and another warm blanket to enjoy it outside. But the experience is worth it. It’s not an everyday occurrence to be sat in -10C but felts like -20C, right? A cafe on the island of Suomenlinna is just the best place to have it. This place is so idyllic and you will like its pink exterior. The cakes were lovely too!

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