Splashing in a spa by a 7 year old

When I am traveling, my 7 year old daughter Dania follows travel pictures in our blog. I got this What’s app-message while in Cyprus.
Dania: Mom, really cool pics. Who can write in your blog?
I: I can.
Dania: Only you in the whole world?
I: Uzi too.
Dania: So only you and Uzi? Why can’t I write in your blog?
I: Well, you can. Just think of a good idea.And her idea came from our next short weekend trip to this beautiful Aulanko area. A wonderful place especially in a good weather although there is always the spa if it rains.Dania wrote her text in Finnish which I translated trying to be loyal to the origin :)We celebrate today and tomorrow May day here in Finland… have a nice holiday!
Balcony view from our hotel room.
To the spa!
we went to walk on the beach and got to walk our friends’ dog and we went to visit in an old castle.
A lake view
Eden found a good nest in Aurelia’s lap.
The old spa building. 


A beautiful hill view. Even the kids were overwhelmed by this. 
The 33 meter high tower on the hill.
A bear statue.
An afternoon coffee in Cafe Laurell in the center of Hämeenlinna. 
Hard to decide… 
More info:
about the area:
spa hotel:
Cafe Laurell:

Turkish flavors in Helsinki

Fried zuccini with yoghurt sauce


Turkish mezze at Perho

Some appetizers from Ravintola Perho’s Turkish week. We were invited to taste mezze prepared by the chefs of Istanbul Culinary Institute. I couldn’t resist this kind of invitation, especially when we are exactly planning our next trip – to Turkey! 

Turkish week at Perho (Mechelininkatu 7, Helsinki) until April 27th, 2014. More information at: www.ravintolaperho.fi/en

Uzi took a look what Zeynep Ergin and Ismail Ozkapu were up to in the kitchen. 
Börek with cheese and meat
Finnish students learning the secrets of the Turkish kitchen. 
Busy, busy..
Vege snacks made of ancient wheat (similar to fine boulgur).
A nice meeting with author Reeta Paakkinen whose book At home in Istanbul I am just reading as a preparation for our trip to Turkey.

Travel diary

Long work days, being nauseous, changes in time table, misunderstandings, dead car batteries, being sick…
And on the other hand: meeting with wonderful people, beautiful landscapes, hiking, sighseeing, great food and lots of experiences. And usually I remember only the positive things when I later recall my travels. This is what our stories are made of. Take a look at our typical work day!
The day starts with an early breakfast in Alexander the Great hotel in Pafos.
A bit early for a winery visit… 
This is Finnish Merja and her husband Andreas in front of their winery.
Ulla, our multitasking guide driving and talking. And I.. feeling not so well on the serpentine roads. 
A meeting with the Finnish monk Father Vasilios in Kykkos monastery in Troodos mountains. 
Father Vasilios alias Ville Matias Haukia came to the monastery a decade ago straight from the high school. You can read about him and his way of celebrating Easter  this coming Sat in Helsingin Sanomat (in Finnish sorry!). 


In Vasa village we found one of the best restaurants! Adriane is both the name of the restaurant and the lovely owner and cook. Simple, fresh, home made food. Delicious!


Had so much fun with Tarja and Kirsi, the Finnish representatives of Pafos, making a food article with them. This night we attended a meeting with a Finnish group in which these ladies told about their Cypriot life.


A dinner with Nicos in Pelican restaurant in the harbor. Please note that the pelicans are real! They walk in the promenade, swim in the sea and sleep in the backyard of the restaurant.


Poor Uzi. His every night duty… back up of the pictures. 

Good night!

Have a happy Easter!


Jeep safari in Pafos

Greetings from Cyprus! What a beautiful island, friendly and hospitable people…. Almost no tourists yet and the weather is just like Finland summer at its best. I would gladly stay here for a holiday!This is just a short post with mobile phone pictures (amazing what you can do nowadays with just snapshots). For more stories and Uzi’s pictures you will have to wait until next week.
Sea caves, rock formations and a ship wreck in Akamas nature park half an hour travel from Pafos.
 Akamas Gauge
In a restaurant above Lara Bay
We found this private beach in Lara Bay and got on our swim gear right away. An awesome place with crystal clear, 19 degree Celsius water. Had a nice swim train session here 🙂 
Finished the day with travel to Pano Lefkara village on the mountains. We live in a renovated stone house of our own, the first guests ever!
A Full day jeep safari with a driver/guide will cost approx. 150 euros. We had a really good guide named Panik.  We warmly recommend him!  His contact details are below 🙂
Tel: +357-26951778
Email: pmneofytou@msn.com

Find peace in a monastery

A Different kind of accommodation in Israel

Even in the Middle East you can find a place to calm down, enjoy the peace and listen to the birds singing. The guest houses and hotels of churches and convents offer simple but neat rooms. The gardens could take part in any gardening competition with hundreds of species they have. One will find places to stay as well as in the cities but also in the countryside.

In December we toured around in Jerusalem Christian accommodations. I fell in love especially with the cemetery of Les Soeurs Notre-Dame de Sion convent in Ein Kerem. The view from there was breathtaking: terraces on the slopes of the hills, the golden cupola of the Russian church, flush green nature.

One morning I woke up with this sight you can see in the next picture. Quite an unbelievable scenery in Jerusalem (while in Finland there wasn’t any snow at all!).

Information about Christian guest houses and hotels: http://www.guidedtoursisrael.com/christian-accommodation-israel.html

Prices starting from 70 euros in a double room from per night. The price usually includes breakfast. Some places offer dormitory options.

Sister Ann is the head of  Les Soeurs Notre-Dame de Sion convent. Everybody is welcome to visit the monastery despite of the religion.
One morning we woke up to this view at St. Andrews Scottish Guest House. 
Our story about Jerusalemite places to stay in Askel April edition.