Copenhagen is always a good idea

Category : Travel
Date : 18/07/2017
Comments :
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
Comments :
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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The accidental wedding crasher

Category : Inspiration, Travel
Date : 06/02/2017
Comments :
The accidental wedding crasher

Ok, so I didn’t actually crash any weddings per se, I just happened to be among the tourists outside the shrines when these weddings took place. I was so intrigued by the couples’ wedding attire that I couldn’t help taking some pictures, I really hope they don’t mind! I would like to learn more about these garments so if you know about a good book or documentary on the subject, please let me know.

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I just love the pattern and colours of this kimono.

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Funny story, at some point this groom was waving some kind of device in the air as the wedding photographer was telling the family where to stand. I asked my friend what he was doing and while she was telling me that it was some kind of 360 degree camera, he made eye contact. He nodded in our direction and smiled like he was saying “I know you’re talking about this cool gadget of mine”

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This couple seemed very relaxed when they were getting their picture taken. The other weddings parties we saw felt much more formal somehow.

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I really like the shape of this bride’s headdress.

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Every bride and groom should have an umbrella carrier at their wedding!

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How odd it must be to be surrounded by so many tourists on your wedding day.

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I hope one day I might be able to attend a wedding like this in its entirety.



Of Monsters and Fries

Category : Travel
Date : 17/01/2017
Comments :
Of Monsters and Fries

After the first week in Tokyo I started to wonder where all the really over the top Kawaii people were. I was told that it’s a common misconception, the over the top street style we often see in magazines and blogs are actually not as widespread as you would think. Sure, you’ll see people with individual sense style and you’ll find some uniquely dressed groups posing on Sunday afternoons in Harajuku but those “I look like I’m going to a costume party everyday” individuals seemed kind of rare. Maybe I was just not in the right place but maybe that’s why I really wanted to visit the Kawaii Monster Café, I needed a proper dose of kawaii while in Tokyo.

To call the place a theme restaurant is a bit of understatement. I would describe it as sugar overdose colour explosion extravaganza, if that makes any sense. It’s not just the interior and the clothes of the staff that are colourful but the food too. Just when you think it can’t get even more kawaii, it’s time to sing for one of the customers (the place is very popular for birthdays) and that is done of course on a huge revolving cake meets merry-go-round. Most of the food on the menu had a different colour than it naturally is so I just ordered fries and plum wine and observed the the amusing madness of the place. Some might call the place a kawaii-culture exploiting tourist trap but I thought it was crazy colourful fun.

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The interior is just crazy! Everywhere you look there are details that just make you go “WHAT??” The baby bottle lamps are just hilarious.

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It would be interesting to know the amount of colours they used when decorating this place!

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This wall of lips made me think of Salvador Dalí for some reason.

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I was taking a lot of pictures of the interior because I had never seen anything like it. Then one of the waitresses came and offered to take a picture of me but I apparently had to do the “monster” pose. Being the awkward individual that I am it took a few photos before I understood what she wanted me to do.

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When in doubt, order fries! I think the first two dips are ketchup and maybe mustard but I can’t remember what the blue one tasted like.

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If I ever come to this place again I’ll have to make sure I get a booth under a mushroom!

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Nope, baby bottles weren’t enough! Rabbit and sheep heads were also needed.

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Time to sing happy birthday on a stage shaped like a cake complete with fruits and unicorns.

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. . . and most people get up and cheer. . . . 

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. . . . and you get your picture taken. Now that I think of it, I wouldn’t mind celebrating my birthday here!

 


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