Why You Should Visit Finland

There is a good reason why I moved out of Finland, but there is also a good reason why I travel there annually (not counting my family and friends who obviously are the main reason). People often ask me if it is a good place for a holiday and I definitely do recommend it for a holiday, as most people who visit it seem to love it.

Finland is a country that has proper 4 seasons. So unlike the myth that it is always freezingly cold in there, it actually has a beautiful spring and a warm summer of up to 35 degrees celsius.

Winters are cold but full of snow. There are lots of places where they offer snow sports from snowboarding to skiing, whilst stopping at cottages to drink warm hot chocolate (which was my favourite thing to do). In the north, you can visit the Santa Claus and his reindeer or even stay in a glass igloo, which I would really like to do at some point! You can take a very warming sauna and dip into the refreshing cold water afterwards. It does sound like extreme sports, but apparently, it is very healthy for you.

Spring is a beautiful time if you want to see nature coming back to life again. It does invigorate you feeling slight cold on your face while the sun is shining and you can see a flower growing through the snow.

Summers are my favourite time of the year as they are warm and full of light. Actually, Finland is one of the places where you can experience almost never ending lightness. During the summer it can be light nearly the full 24 hours. Finland is full of lakes and forests, so it is easy to feel close to nature and don’t forget about the Aurora borealis. Some of the favourite past times in the summer is going swimming, of course. There are a lot of summer cafe’s with creamy ice cream to be enjoyed at the docks. Summers are also full of various music festivals and you can probably find a festival with the kind of music you like, although Finns are massive fans of heavy metal. There is opera, jazz, rock, r&b… Some of the popular ones are Savonlinna opera festival and Flow.

Autumns are great if you want to see the place full of colour. Trees turn to different colours from green to yellow and orange and people cosy up inside with warm drinks and delicious food. This is a good time if you want to gather some mushrooms or berries, which there is an abundance of in the endless forests.

Finland is not necessarily known as a culinary paradise and I can’t say that I love all the foods there, but there are some gems that I crave for on a yearly basis and make sure to eat when I visit.

  • Karelia pasties/pies are rice pudding wrapped in thin layer of rye and wheat.
  • Leipäjuusto with cloudberry jam. Leipäjuusto is this particular cheese that is a bit squeky. You can eat it cold or warm it in the oven and the cloudberry jam just works with it. Actually, anything cloudberry is yummy!
  • Cheeses, in general, are good. Aura cheese is this blue cheese with a flavour much milder than most blue cheese, but it is delicious!
  • Berries. Just any berries are good and there is lots of them.
  • Ice cream, like I said earlier you can buy it nearly everywhere during the summer.
  • Rye bread can be bought in any supermarket, but many cafe’s offer rye bread sandwiches as well.
  • Liquorice and salt liquorice = salmiakki are one of Finland’s favourite sweet treats. There is also an alcohol drink based on this treat, which is their favourite and available in any club or bar you visit.
  • Chocolate. Fazer is a finnish brand of chocolate and bakery products which you can find in supermarkets, as well as in a Fazer cafe.

Finland has an interesting history being occupied by Sweden and Russia after which they gained their independence in 1917. They have very much of their own cultural identity, although I feel they have a more of a Scandinavian lifestyle than a Russian. There are few castles build during the occupations and there is Suomenlinna, a famous fortress and a Unesco World Heritage site, where you can still see the history of the wars standing in front of you.

Finland, as a country, is quite sustainable. I learned there, from an early age, to recycle everything, to not use too much water and to savour the environment. In addition, you can easily get around in Finland with English and they use Euro as their currency. Transportation has been made quite easy compared to many other countries. So if you are still wondering about whether to go for a holiday toFinlandd I hope this post helped you to decide.

All pictures are from this Pinterest board.

Have you ever been to Finland?

With love,

Lii

Travel Sustainably

If you have followed my blog for longer you know that I occasionally post about my travels and that I do love travelling. Travelling, unfortunately, can often be a burden on the ecosystem and we rarely consider what the carbon-emission of our practices during our holidays is. Why should we abandon our hard learned values when we travel? Well, we shouldn’t. And although travelling sustainably sounds like it is a lot of effort when the only thing you want is to relax and enjoy yourself, it does not really have to be that difficult.

“Sustainable travel is all about making simple choices to lessen your negative impact on a given destination. Indivually, each of the these choices makes only a small difference. But collectively, becoming more coscious about these little things can have a huge impact.” Greenglobaltravel.com

5 easy ways to be more sustainable - byLiiL

Travel

  • Consider using other means of transport than flying if possible.
  • If you have to fly, then use IATA member airlines or pay the small fee that supports carbon reduction projects. Most airlines should have this and the fee is not large.
  • When renting a car opt out for a hybrid or electric car. Although, remember to research first how easy it is to use in your selected travel location.
  • Use public transportation rather than a car.

Accommodation

  • If you are staying in a hotel you might want to consider the following things: what percentage of the hotel’s resources are local, is there sustainable site development, do they have schemes for water savings and energy efficiency and so on. Utilising local resources helps to invest in the local economy and by being energy efficient you are leaving a smaller footprint on the place you visited.
  • Consider using AirBnB. Although some renters are definitely doing it as a profession, it is still an accommodation where you are quite in control of your footprint by making your own food and controlling the heating and aircon.
  • Stay with friends. Of course, this is not always possible, but when it is I usually do stay with friends or family. I am in the lucky position that I have family and friends scattered a bit all over the world.
  • Couchsurfing can be a great experience. You can meet new people, it is economical and environmentally friendly. Make sure you stay in a place that has good reviews of the person so that you feel safe!

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Tourism

  • Take into consideration the local people, their laws and their culture. By doing even a little bit of research you can find out if there are restrictions on how you should be dressed or whether animals are sacred including much more.
  • Do not litter. You can take a bag with you to collect your trash and throw them into a bin.
  • Opt out for a shower instead of a bath, and take short showers.
  • Support the local economy. Find out what foods are good for the local economy and items that are locally made. Restrain from purchasing and eating endangered species (turtle eggs, shark fins, ivory).
  • Do not buy water bottles, but rather bring your own that you can fill. You will save money with this as well!
  • Do not use a hotel laundry, but rather pack with you items that you can wear multiple times and can wash in the sink and dry quickly.
  • Switch off any electric devices when not in the room.
  • When in a hotel leave the “Do not disturb sign”. There is no need for the room to be cleaned every single day with all the chemicals.
  • When walking stick to marked trails. It will be safer for the environment and for you.
  • If you bring your own try to use biodegradable soaps and shampoos.
  • Do not touch coral reefs, they are fragile.
  • Find out what practices are harmful to the wildlife and avoid them. Such as hands-on encounters with animals (elephant ride).

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Travelling is about experiencing something new so try to be open for it. Keep your eyes open, learn from your experience and meet new people. That is the best about these trips!

You can find more about sustainable travelling from Greenglobaltravel.com, Green-Tourism.com and Sustainable Travel International.

 

Do you have any additional sustainable travel tips?

With love,

Lii

Happy Favourites of the Week – Finland Trip

Adventure walk – It probably sounds more exciting than it is, but it was exciting to me. Spending Sunday walking through the city with friends, stopping at places where we’ve always wanted to go and learning more about the city was lovely!

Happy Favourites of the Week - Finland Trip - byLiiL

Trivial Pursuit – I love playing board games with friends and this week it was the trivial pursuit. Funnily enough, I am usually a very competitive person, but with this game, it is definitely more about the fun!

Meeting my Godson ❤ – I finally got to meet my godson, who was the most adorable little baby ever! Calm for a child of 1 month and heart warming. The feeling of responsibility and pride is amazing. I will definitely spoil him to bits! Can’t wait until the next time I will see him!

Happy Favourites of the Week - Finland Trip - byLiiL

A trip to Finland – Seeing my family and friends and spending some quality time with them. Not even talking about all the goodies I took home with me. Now we have rye bread for at least a month 😀

Sea Buckthorn Berry Juice – I’ve been a fan of sea buckthorn berries for a while now. Before going to Finland I got a cold and so my mother made me drink a sea buckthorn berry juice and I fell in love instantly! I love the sour taste of it that almost makes you cry. It makes me feel really awake and the c-vitamin content made me feel better so quickly!

Surprise friendship – This surprise friendship wasn’t mine, but something that I noticed. When flying to Finland I noticed close to me these two women talking together lively with enthusiasm. I thought to myself how fun that they were travelling together. When we were getting out of the plane they hugged like close friends, said how wonderful it was that they met each other on the plane making it obvious to me that they hadn’t known each other previously, and they went their own ways. It made me smile the rest of the day!

My furballs – Getting back home to my furballs was amazing! We were cuddling the whole day long! I missed them so much!

Bloom – The trees have been blooming almost everywhere except outside my bedroom window. The first morning I woke up back home, they were finally in full bloom and it made my day! How beautiful are they?!

 

How was your week?

With love,

Lii

Metz

On my trip to Luxembourg, I also got to visit the beautiful and charming city of Metz in France. It was a pretty quick stop with a walk across the city’s nice little shops, the cathedral (which was magnificent!) and the food market, so there is not a lot to tell. Instead, I will shower you what it was like and reassure that it is one of the places to visit if you are in the area.

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With love,

Lii

Fairytale village Vianden

 

You drive into a small village. It is quiet and peaceful. There are barely any people on the streets and cars nowhere to be seen. Sun is shining on the little patch of colourful little buildings around a sparkly blue narrow river. They are surrounded by hills of green tall trees with a magnificent castle in the midst. It looks like a fairytale and it feels like peace you’ve needed the whole week.

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Everything is closed except the couple cafe’s selling the best array of ice cream flavours which you can eat by the river bank on a beautiful white tiled terrace. Nobody is bothering you and you feel like you could spend hours in there.

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This is Vianden. A small village on the outskirts of Luxembourg right next to the german border. Actually, it only takes 1km to Germany. If you have a car and are visiting Luxembourg or any nearby city this is a place for a visit. It offers hiking routes and cultural pleasures. For me, the best thing was just sitting and enjoying the view and the vibe!

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Have you visited a fairytale village?

With love,

Lii

Luxembourg city

Luxembourg is a small country, however not as small as I originally though. It actually has more than one city. It is a great place if you want to travel around to other countries like Germany, France, Belgium or Nederlands. But there is also a lot to see in Luxembourg and in the city.

Luxembourg city is surprisingly big with amazing history, shopping spots, yummy pastries and gorgeous parks. You can take a bus almost everywhere. A ticket only costs 2 euros, however, most people do not usually even pay that as they check the tickets rarely. And yes, they use euros in Luxembourg. It is told that everything is very expensive. I found that touristy stuff was not really that expensive and with eating you can save if you buy from the cheaper supermarkets, like Lidl. Most museums are closed on Mondays, although many of them are free. The thing that shocked me the most was the opening times of the shops, as not only did the clothing shops close early so did the grocery stores as well. So remember to check opening times if you are planning something.

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What to see

Cathedrale Notre-Dame

The gorgeous sanctuary. With beautiful archways and glass windows. Come here to just sit and relax, or look around the magnificence of it. It is right in the centre of the city, next to the Grand Ducal Palace. It is a favourite with many tourists!

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Casemates

I found casemates to be one of the best places to do city sightseeing of the old town. It is located right above the Grund and the old city and it overlooks the Grand Duchess Charlotte bridge. However, there are parts of the casemates that are not for those who are afraid of confined spaces. Casemates are a set of tunnels initially built in the 17th century. They have a long and important history within the city and I found it one of the most exciting places to visit, although the confined spaces really did give me some anxiety, especially with the narrow and slope staircases.

Grund

This apparently is the name of the old town, which is located in a valley below the centre of the city. It is a very picturesque walk along a river, in a park and between cute buildings. You can get there either by walking down a long set of stairs or going down with a lift. The lift is free to use to everybody and unless you want to do some cardio on your way up to the central, it is the best way to get up (and has free bathrooms right next to it).

Banque et Caisse d’Epargne (Bank museum)

This building is probably the image building of the city and for no wonder, as it was the first bank in the city. Within the building, there is a bank museum, which takes you through the history of the bank, money, and history of Luxembourg. Interesting and free!

There are of course many other museums and parks in Luxembourg as well and other places to see. It might be a small city, but it has a long history.

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Food

Well, to tell you the truth I mainly ate patisserie throughout my trip and it is the best thing to do in the city. We went for brunch one morning only to realise that most people still like to eat something small and sweet next to brunch of fluids such as coffee, juice and possibly bubbly as well.

Rawdish

This was the only place where I didn’t have something sweet, but rather just a chia pudding with this amazing nutty paste. So yumm!! I also had so yummy raw juice and delicious coffee. Definitely a great place for breakfast or lunch.

Chocolate House

This was my favourite place ever! It is located across from the Grand Ducal Palace, but the price is not too bad. They offer massive yummy cakes, great hot chocolates in different flavours (also with alcohol) and different chocolates.

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Cathy Goedert

I know that this place also serves brunch on Sundays, but it is 27euros per brunch with a buffet. We did not try this so I cannot tell you whether it was good. The thing that got me in the patisserie where the great cakes they were serving and the bagels. My cake was the best thing ever!!

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Where to shop

The centre itself is the best place unless you want to travel to nearby outlets, which are not actually situated in the country itself. Rue Philippe 2 is good for the high-end finds, whereas Grand-Rue is best for high street fashion. But just circling around the centre, which is not massive you can find loads of places to spend your money and see lots. Although, if you are planning to travel around, then I would research some outlets, as they are much cheaper than the centre of Luxembourg.

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Where to have a drink

If you are looking to party the old town is the best place. There is a whole little area filled with most of the clubs next to each other. But if you would rather just have a quiet drink with a friend we loved the place next to Gare Centrale, next to the Rotondes. Can’t remember the place, but they had a lovely patio outside and reasonably priced drinks, as well as a grill outside where they made delicious burgers. We tried their falafel burger which was so yummy!!

Have you been to Luxembourg? Do you have any other travel tips?

With love,

Lii

Travelling in Scotland

HOW TO TRAVEL

There is some public transport in the form of a train to the biggest cities like Inverness. Buses travel to most places, as well, between smaller towns as well. However, if you want the freedom to go to any attractions/activities travelling by car can be much easier.

Be aware that roads are narrow and serpentine like. Other travellers are usually very polite and there are not that many people on the roads. Also, when you are driving your own car you can stop and wonder at the beauty of Nature. Like here we stopped to wonder at these deer!

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WHERE TO STAY

There are hotels and hostels, but I would rather stay in an Airbnb, cottage or a lodge. We stayed in a lodge, which was beautiful. We had an amazing view over a hill, lake and flowers, gorgeous! In a lodge, you have more space with your own kitchen and a living room, for relaxing in the evening.

These can be expensive during the season, however, you can find good deals and off-season prices are much more reasonable. Really good places to look from are hoseason.com and embracescotland.com.

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WHERE TO EAT

Seafood in the speciality in the highlands and you can find good seafood restaurants, especially in the big cities. Fish and chips should be available from almost all the restaurants in the area. In small towns and villages, there is not a big variety, but you should be able to find food. We loved having breakfast in our lodge, which kept us full until a late lunch. Also when we went for walking trips we could make lunch in the lodge and take it with us to eat in nature.

I ate the best ice cream ever in Oban. They had this small gelateria on the square (can’t remember the name) and I had pineapple ice cream, which was so creamy and fresh and just yummy!

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With love,

Lii