The Gilded Wonderland

Category : Travel
Date : 14/09/2017
Comments :
The Gilded Wonderland

Before we even arrived to the Hermitage Museum I was told of one (of many) theories the locals have, that in order to see all the contents of the museum, you would need to visit the museum five days a week for seven years! That still didn’t prepare me for the overwhelming grand golden overdose that was to come. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many chandeliers in my life! I don’t really know how to describe it, hopefully the images give you just a hint of the extravagance of the place. At some point I couldn’t even look at the paintings anymore because there was so much else to see within the rooms themselves.

When I visit grand and heavily adorned castles like this, I at some point think about how wealth was so unevenly distributed back then (some would argue that things haven’t changed that much). I can only imagine how the poor lived if this is what the rich and privileged enjoyed. At the end of the day it’s the craftsmanship and history that draws me to places like this. I’m not saying we should go back to this way of building and decorating, I’m just appreciative of the skills of the craftsmen who put it all together.

I was at first thinking that I need to go back to the museum the next time I’m in St. Petersburg but then I remembered the other castles in and around the city that my friends tell me I need to visit. I do need to return one day though, to actually see the paintings. Until then I’ll keep dreaming about massive golden chandeliers.

Photos of me by Tong Ren


Breathtaking Blooms

Category : Inspiration, Travel
Date : 23/08/2017
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Breathtaking Blooms

If you’ve been on this site before, you know I have a thing for flowers. I’ve sometimes gone as far as to call it an obsession.
When I was at the botanical garden in Lund, I took a lot of pictures of pretty flowers but there was one that was so striking I thought it deserved special attention. The flower in question is the oriental poppy (Papaver Orientale) and I think this is the one called Turkish delight. What is it about this particular flower you might wonder? The colours! Especially the combination of the salmon pink of the petals and the dark plum of the inside. There was something about the light and crimped petals that also spoke to me. Maybe I was a florist in a previous life?


Hello Saint Petersburg

Category : Travel
Date : 10/08/2017
Comments :
Hello Saint Petersburg

One of my new rules regarding travelling is, if someone offers to guide you around their home town, find a way to make that trip happen no matter how tight your budget is. You experience a place in a completely different way when you’re with a local.

Saint Petersburg is a city I’ve always been curious about but because of the crazy world politics, I didn’t think I’d visit the city for a very long time. So when my friend suggested a group trip to her home town, I jumped at the opportunity. She had told me so many stories of this city and this was my chance to see it with her.
So on an early Wednesday morning we got on the train and headed to the historical city not really knowing what to expect. The dreaded interrogation by the border patrol and customs didn’t happen (our passports were checked by officers with very serious looks on their faces and we were asked what we had in our bags, and that was it) and a few hours later we had arrived to a very sunny Saint Petersburg.

What followed was three days of incredibly fun and intense sightseeing which included endless beautiful buildings and cathedrals, many couples on their wedding photo shoots, tasting a variety of artisanal lemonades and my first ever ballet! And then there was the mind blowing extravaganza that is the State Hermitage Museum. I think I need to do a separate post about it because it’s difficult to describe in words, I have to show you some pictures.

I feel like this trip was like an introduction to this grand city, there’s so much more to see that I’ll have to go back. I need to do a proper metro station tour. Metro stations in this city are something else I tell you! There are also more palaces and hipster spots to discover. Not to forget all the vintage shops and design stores we didn’t have time for.

Thank you to my queens for making this trip possible and so much fun!


Copenhagen is always a good idea

Category : Travel
Date : 18/07/2017
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Copenhagen is always a good idea

I’ve been really fortunate in the past few years that I’ve gotten to visit Copenhagen several times. At this point I have a nice Copenhagen routine going. I’m usually there by myself and most of my visits tend to be brief but they’re always fun and eventful. There are certain places I often return to but I also try to explore a new areas, shops and restaurants each time. This trip was a bit special as I got to act tourist guide to my mum on one of the days. We were on our way to Lund for my brother’s graduation.

So what did I do this time? I visited The Botanical Garden for the first time, tried vintage shopping but found nothing, ate some delicious food at places I’ve wanted to try for a while and visited a friend. I don’t have images of all those things because sometimes I just forgot and sometimes I just chickened out. Like that time I was eating my yummy artisanal ice cream on Elmegade, watching cool Copehageners cycle by and couldn’t bring myself to go full tourist mode with my camera. Well, there’s next time, I’ll make sure of it.


The return to the cosy city

Category : Travel
Date : 30/06/2017
Comments :
The return to the cosy city

The city I’m talking about of course is Lund. The city I briefly visited almost two years ago because I wanted to see where my youngest brother lived. This time I returned with my mother to see him graduate and to see Lund in its full summer glory. This was a short visit as well, you can’t pass through Copenhagen and not see Copenhagen (more on that later) but we also made a quick detour to Malmö since we were in the area.
All in all we attended a graduation ceremony, got a tour of the big university campus and did some sightseeing. I was in my usual tourist mode, taking pictures of all the cosy houses and buildings. I kicked it up a notch when we visited The Botanical Garden. I probably took a hundred pictures and I only photographed some of the pretty flowers. We didn’t plan to but we ended up visiting the garden twice and it was just as pretty on the sunny day as it was on the rainy day.
Now that my brother has graduated, i don’t think I’ll be visiting Lund again anytime soon but I’m glad I got to see more of it and in summer time.

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Wonderful Kamakura

Category : Travel
Date : 15/05/2017
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Wonderful Kamakura

When I booked my trip to Tokyo, I had no plans to go outside the city because I thought it wouldn’t work with my tight budget. So when my friend Sophie suggested we take a trip to Kamakura and told me it was only a short train ride away, I was thrilled! I didn’t look up the location before we went, I didn’t want to build up any expectations.

The main street leading to the shrine had all kinds of small shops, restaurants and food stands. I wish I had a picture of the range of matcha ice creams that came in different shades of green. Some were honestly as dark as the leaves of the trees. At the shrine we managed to crash one wedding and the surrounding garden had a very serene pond and probably the most beautiful bathroom I’ve ever seen.

The best part of the trip was however when we visited the Hokokuji Temple and Bamboo garden. I had never seen growing bamboo before! It was definitely a place where I had a “I can’t believe I’m here” moment. It was pure joy, serenity and tourist frenzy all at the same time. To call the place very zen would be a big understatement.

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How cool is this tree!

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At this point I had seen a couple of shrines but I never got tired of the colours and the detailed craftsmanship.

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The garden surrounding the shrine was increadibly serene, if we weren’t on a tight schedule I would have sat there for hours.

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The pond had some very cute inhabitants.

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The garden also had the most beautiful public bathroom I’ve ever seen! This image doesn’t do it justice.

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There were hydrangeas everywhere and I of course couldn’t stop photographing them.

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We had some soba noodles before heading to the Hokokuji Temple. I had never eaten cold noodles before! It’s such a simple but so delicious dish. The Vivaldi playing in the background somehow heightened the meal even more.

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Despite the amount of other bamboo enthusiastic tourists around me, this place still had a calming effect on me.

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The images I took of these ladies are some of my favourite during the entire trip. I just love their kimonos.

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Bamboooooooooo!

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This bamboo garden was definitely one of the highlights of my entire trip.

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That’s my “OMG, can you believe the amount of bamboo” face. Slightly shocked but very happy tourist. Thank you Sophie for taking me to this very special place.


Tokyo by night

Category : Travel
Date : 29/03/2017
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Tokyo by night

On my second day in Tokyo I got to experience the mandatory Shibuya crossing. It was on a Friday evening so there was a lot of people (probably average for Tokyo standards but massive for a Helsinkian). I think that’s when it really sank in, “I’m really here!” I felt like such a globetrotter in this cool capital city that never sleeps. Did the kiwi cider I had just had have something to do with this sensation? Maybe a little. What really happened was that we were home by midnight because we didn’t want to miss the last metro. Luckily you don’t have to pull an all nighter to see the city in this different light.

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A few days later I found myself at the Shibuya crossing again. This time I took a few minutes to observe the stream of people walking by.

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Walking through a crowd like this and not panic was a big deal for me.



I walked by so many of these small cozy restaurants. I really like the clean yet inviting design of their facades. 

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Cartoon billboards, me like!

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It’s interesting how lanterns immediately make space seem more cozy. 

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I spent a lot of my time in Tokyo in parks, gardens and quieter neighbourhoods. It was on evenings like this, during the after work rush hour that I was reminded how fast paced this city can be.

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I’m surprised I didn’t get lost while wandering these narrow neon lit streets.

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These buildings in Odaiba immediately made me think of The Two Towers!

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Taking monorail to Odaiba is an easy way to see parts of the city from a different angle. It made Tokyo feel even more futuristic to me.

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The lights and signs! I could go on another trip just to photograph them. I wonder if I would be as fascinated if I understood Japanese.


Fairy tale gardens

Category : Travel
Date : 15/03/2017
Comments :
Fairy tale gardens

Yoyogi Park on a summer Sunday is full of locals and tourists having picnics and unexpected performances. When we sat down for a lunch break that hot june afternoon I felt like a local for a brief moment.  I don’t know if it was the group of teenage girls dressed like sailor moon or the rockabilly dancers that got me so distracted that I forgot to take pictures. I did have my camera ready when we visited the Meiji Jingu shrine and the surrounding forrest. There was something incredibly majestic and serene about that forrest, even though there were almost as many people there as in Yoyogi park. The shrine itself was under renovation but we still managed to “crash” one wedding. We also visited the garden with the iris flowers that were in full bloom.

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I was captivated by the shere height and variety of the trees but here I got distracted by the ladies in the lovely kimonos. 

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When you’re walking by serene ponds like this you forget that you’re in the middle of a busy capital city.

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I don’t think I’ve ever taken so many pictures of fish in my life as I did of carp on this trip. Maybe it’s the orange colour or the spotted pattern but wherever I found them I was snapping away.

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Unfortunately it’s the bright coloured carp that get all the attention from us tourists. Can you spot the other fish this picture?

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Entering the iris garden felt like entering a fairy tale movie set.

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I love the intense colours of the flowers.

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I wasn’t the only one trying to capture the beauty of this purple bloom.

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Very tired but very happy tourist.



Everyone is welcome

Category : Travel
Date : 09/02/2017
Comments :
Everyone is welcome

I recently bought a Museum Card as a birthday present to myself. With the card you can visit over 240 museums all over Finland and it’s valid for a year. I think the card is a brilliant idea since museum entrance usually costs 10-15€. It’s great to give as a gift and I think you end up visiting museums more often once you have the card. But let’s not forget that for many people going to museums is just something they can’t afford. That’s why I like the UK’s approach to museums, all national museums have free entry. So everyone has access and everyone is welcome!

On our last day in Edinburgh, we visited the National Museum of Scotland before heading to the airport. I didn’t know anything about the museum before we went so I was expecting it to be about the country’s history. This national museum however had some surprises in store. Besides Scottish history there were artefacts from cultures all over the world, animals, minerals and a whole lot more. It’s like the people who put this museum together decided to put a little bit of everything in it, just for the fun of it. They also have very friendly guides who tell you about some of the special pieces the in the museum’s collection. Definitely worth a visit when in Edinburgh.

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The grand gallery of the museum is so bright and beautiful! This is reason enough to visit the museum.

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Creepy and fascinating at the same time!

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There were all kinds of interesting machines on display.

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I wish they had another one that you could touch and maybe even weave a bit with.

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The craftsmanship!

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I can never get enough of amethyst geodes!

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