Helsinki: eating pig’s head and outdoor swimming

On my last trip to Helsinki winter had officially not started yet, but with temperatures around zero and a freezing wind it certainly did feel that it had. So what is the first thing that come to mind: find some warm temperatures. And according to the Fins this is about heating up your body and cooling it down, and then the same all over again. The new outdoor swimming pools in the middle of the centre suit the purpose wonderfully. Allas See Pools has three outdoor pools, one with a comfortable 28 degree Celsius, one with the temperature based on the weather, and another one with the sea water. I was not that brave, but had a great swim in the heated water while breathing the fresh air. The pools are open all year round, and it is the most amazing experience.

allas pool

And then after, you would probably be pretty hungry. Are you up for another local specialty? Go to Birrificio restaurant. They run their own brewery and you are able to try a few local beers. After drinks, sit down and order the Pig’s head (actually you need to call the day before to order this). Pig’s head is a local delicasy and when you order this, you would get half a head with ears, nose, cheeks, tongue to enjoy. The head has been cooked for hours and although a bit hard to look at, the meat is the most tender and moist. As it needs to be cooked for so long you would have to give the restaurant a call the day before to secure this dish. Definitely worth a try.

birrificio

There is much more to enjoy in Helsinki as you might know, but this would be the best start of building memories during your visit to this great city. Please also see my other posts on Helsinki which talk about the design shops in the city and a different neighbourhood for you to explore.

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5 things not to miss in Puglia

Do a day of lido life – a beach, a lifeguard with a six pack, sun beds, and a trattoria, this pretty much sums up  what an Italian lido is. You need to at least do two to know the drill. You will feel spoiled and looked after, and make sure to pick that white beach one:-). Check out my blog on my recommendations for beaches and lidos in Puglia.

Lido

View the trulli – yes, those quirky houses are pretty special and worth a d-tour when travelling around Puglia. But you really don’t need to make the effort to pass by Alberobello which is the Disney village for trulli. Instead I would suggest to pass the valley and go for a nice lunch overlooking some of those Puglia specials.

trulli

Do yoga on a roof top in Lecce – with the historical city all around what is better than to greet the morning with a sun salutation on a roof top terrace? I did just that with Siobhan who had transported her Scottish life to Italy to find out what life is all about. A yoga session with her story about this life changing decision to move from a commercial life in Scotland to an inspirational journey in Lecce, was the best for a slow wake up.

yoga

Go to Matera in the neighbouring provence – I want to call out on Matera, because it is a really special city. The old town of Sassi is carved out in the rocks and declared Unesco historical heritage in 1993. After being abandoned for over a decade this city picked up in the 90s and slowly developed to bring back inhabitants and tourists. It is now a city that breathes authenticity and is not overwhelmed with tourists yet. If you have a chance try to stay the night and wander through the streets exploring every corner.

Matera

Visit a historical Italian town – take Gallipoli, Nardo, Lecce, Ostuni or other and you will see amazing historical buildings (for sale), a wonderful small piazza with a coffee shop, a cathedral, and some nice restaurants for your dinner or lunch. Feel the Italian vibe, sweat with the sun on your back and chat with a mama who just happened to sit on her chair outside of her house.

nardo

Enjoy the sun set with lounge music – when you want to test some of those rocky sun locations, I suggest Santa Caterina. This small town has a lovely Lido, Beija Flor, on the bay with great food and the best chill out vibe I could find in Puglia. Spend an afternoon, go for a swim, have your lunch and wait for the sunset with the music in the background.

beija

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Will you come sailing in Croatia?

That’s was what I was asked this summer. And as I love sailing, hidden beaches, blue waters, sunshine and good company you can easily guess what my answer was. So we flew into Split and picked up the the boat in Marina Kremik. The boat was a Bavaria 37, which was good manageable with the crowd of four that we were with. Let me tell you my highlights during this trip.

Salingskipper

Croatia for sailing – with loads of Island, great weather over summer and those blue waters it is one of the favorite destinations for group sailing. You will be chatting with your neighbours in the harbours, and exchange places to go or to avoid.

saling 3

Mooring in a bay – it was a first for me and I loved it. Yes, you worry whether that anchor is done right, and you are going to drift. And really do we need a thunderstorm with waves kicking in when you are about to go to sleep? But besides from that, it was great. You felt free like a bird, water all around to jump in when you needed, and nobody watching over your shoulder.

Mooring

Zlarin – Zlarin is one of the first islands when you go north from Marina Kremik. And as we ripped our sail (different story), and we had winds at 7-8 knots, it was the perfect place for us to chill. With the restaurant Prslika just on the outskirts of the little village it can be a destination for you also. The food is all organic, they have a lovely secluded garden and great service. All the ingredients you need for a great meal.

Zlarin

Sibenik – is one of the bigger towns on mainland Croatia. It is worth a break though as it has a lovely old city center with little restaurants, cafe and bars. With the sailing boat you can embark right were all the buzz is, so you’re front row looking from your boat watching the visitors to town walk the boulevard. And don’t hesitate to drop in this yoga place in town if you have time before you sail off in the morning. I can definitely recommend it.

Sibenik

Primosten – this is the town where the big cruise ships drop off their tourists for a morning stroll. Build on a rock, it is an authentic, sweet little break when you are passing by. There is a little church on the top worth checking and some nice little cafe’s to wake up with a coffee.

Primosten

Sailing – and then the sailing! Although it was late September it is a busy place for sailing. One of the harbours we planned to go, was full and we needed to do open mooring instead. So if you have specific harbours in mind, you might want to do a reservation. The water was as blue as expected and the wind was perfect. We had a day with a bit of chill, and days where we needed to work to keep it all in hand. Overall a perfect trip to close off summer.

Saling 2

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Drinks in Puglia, Italy

beija

We so like to hang out a bit, chill, watch people pass by and have a few tunes in the background. My favorite place that offered just this in Puglia is Baija Flor in Santa Caterina. We came to check out Barrveco, but were a bit disappointed on the place. We looked over the edge and saw this bar built on the cliffs with sun beds on the scattered decks that they built. The lounge tunes carried you away, a perfect sea view and a nice crowd was just what we needed while checking the sunset.

quantobasta

Quanto Basta is a great bar in Lecce created by two bar men with a passion. In the evening the bar gets crowded and the cocktails keep rolling. Diego Melorio is the hipster looking owner that takes his time for every customer to create one of his cocktail bests. Take a sip, check the crowd and enjoy the night.

lamadiluna

Somewhere in the middle of nowhere and with a great view over the vineyards it is a different kind of place to have a drink. Bio masseria Lama di Luna is a traditional masseria created from an old monastery with a restaurant where you can have some great drinks in total chill. No lounge music, no hip crowd, but just you and your loved one(s) overlooking the amazing Puglia landscape.

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Best restaurant in Warsaw

I’m totally cheating here. I came to Warsaw last week for the first time and only spent two days there. While I was still in the process of learning to love the city I was in the lucky position that I was taken out by a local to one of the newer restaurants that was top on his list.

Warsaw

Kieliszki na Hozej is in one of those Polish streets that doesn’t give away that you might just have come across food paradise. The restaurant has a fresh modern look with a chef’s table on the mezzanine overlooking the kitchen. The menu is a modern take on traditional Polish ingredients and the wine list is a great match. For starters we had a mix of wild chanterelles, amazing tomato salad, Polish sourdough bread with homemade mayonnaise, buttered herring and beef tartare. All with their specific sauces and dips. As a main I had the turbot, but one of the group had the more traditional deer saddles which looked great. It was a great evening in a great environment and taste buds that were challenged by new and different flavours. Give it a try when you are over and let me know if you enjoyed it as much as I did, xx

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Mini street art in Paris

I was a bit distracted the last 3 months, but I’m back to give you more of what we come across when we open our eyes on our travels. This one is about some amazing street art I saw on my latest trip to Paris. As you can see here below, it’s not always the big pieces, but often those subtle notes on walls we pass by that make us smile. Enjoy!

Invader – In Paris there are over 1000 pieces from this artist. Under this pseudonym he started in the 90s deriving his inspiration for his designs on the Space Invaders video games. I walked around Bastille and Marais and picked up on the ones below.

compuman

I loved the one below which is not just about street art, but about the love for this city and the romantic note it has.

jetaime

 

MiniArt

SOBR – The below are by an artist designing under the theme ‘It’s time to dance’. Young happy people seem to dance the night away on the walls of the streets in Paris.

SOBR

And how about this one? In Marais where a lot of fashion houses have some flagship stores, they are challenged by outspoken street art designs questioning their integrity.

chanel

Paris is wonderful for finding the bigger pieces of street art, but more so for the subtle notes on the walls of their historic buildings. It adds this temporary twist on a city that is continuously evolving. Enjoy when passing through next time and drop me a note when you have found something special.

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Dinner in Lecce, Puglia

In a historical town in South Italy which draws in thousands of visitors every day over high season, it is hard to find some authentic restaurants between those touristy ones. Let me give you three that are worth a visit when you happen to be in Lecce.

Vico dei Sotterranei – let Via Giuseppe Libertine for what it is and check this restaurant in one of the side streets. They have some lovely outdoor space in a quiet street and serve great Italian food, mainly fishy stuff. I had a great ravioli with king prawns and tomato sauce. The salad I took as a side had a lovely touch with oranges and raisins. Decoration is a bit different, and service is lovely.

Vico

‘OO’ or Doppiozero – the terrace is an eye catcher and frequented by a nice crowd. This restaurant is mainly about their charcuterie and salads, which are a great treat and should be enough to fill you for the evening. Their main dishes are an Italian twist on some international combinations, and I’m not sure they got it (salmon with soya sauce Italian style?). You will come for those charcuterie boards, the chaotic but lovely Italian service and hanging out on the terrace.

FullSizeRender

Tormaresca – again a fish restaurant, but such a great one. We came for lunch and had some seafood and the authentic tuna tartare with bread. Both inside and outside has got that special touch, the service is great and food is amazing. Just what you want when on this culinary hunt in Italy.

camascera

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