Hundreds of travel hours, unpacking suitcases, unforgettable adventures. Our year 2014.

11 countries, 19 weeks on the road. That’s our trips all together. Many kinds of adventures, new places, wonderful people, delights that would water any mouth. On the other hand hundreds of travel hours, sleepless nights, tens of security checks, packing and unpacking the suitcases, being nauseous (especially me.. on the boat, in the car… ). But on the top of it feeling grateful.

Here is a review to our year.

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Uzi: On January 2014 Merja and I went on a private tour to India. We saw the treasures of Rajasthan, looked for the missing tiger in Ranthambhore, and yes, somebody else took the pictures!

cyprus copyApril 2014. A work trip to Cyprus. Wonderful beaches, picturesque villages, lovely food and hospitable people. We definitely found a wonderful haven on this beautiful island.

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In May it was Turkey’s turn and our task to discover the wonders of Istanbul and Olympus. Also from here my memories bring back the lovely people and the delicious Turkish kitchen.

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In Berlin as a real Tourist! Brunches, shopping, sighseeing. I didn’t even take my laptop or camera with me (luckily my friend borrowed me the last 🙂 ) It was my third and my friend’s third time and she simply loved it.

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A work trip to Muhu in Estonia. Our task was to discover what this beautiful island has to offer for families. My kids loved silk painting and ostrich farm. Their mother misses Padaste manor restaurant most of all 🙂

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Uzi: First weekend of June is always reserved to my Clients from Japan with whom I cover the annual Monde Selection event. The 2014 Monde Selection event was in Bordeaux, France.

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In Croatia we attended a EU conference of sustainable tourism. It didn’t remain on a theoretical level but we explored the beautiful nature of Losing island for example on a wooden boat regatta. Lovely place, lovely colleagues, thank you!

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Uzi: On September I travelled to Israel together with my entire family. We met with my 3 brothers’ families. The meeting was such a big success that we decided to have the next big family meeting at the same time in 2015, this time in Burgundy, France.

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In October we had a 16 long work trip to India. We traveled from Delhi to Shillong and through Rajastan on a luxury train and ended our trip in Mumbai. Here we are in the heart of the famous Taj Mahal.

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From India Uzi returned home but I continued for another 16 days to Nepal where I met my brother who was also my photographer there.  Here we are with Päivi Leppänen from Fida and Durga from Transformation Nepal making our journey to the small villages in Nuwakot. We were treated like kings in the schools that we visited. See the amount of flowers we got from the kids. Heartwarming!

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We finished our year by attending the food festival in Athens in December. We basically sat the whole weekend in restaurants eating and tasting the best the Greek kitchen offers. The new mecca of culinary wonders.

This was our travel year. We already have plans for the next one, let’s see what will work out. Have wonderful year whether being at home or traveling! Thank you for following us this year, hope to see you on 2015 as well!

A vegetarian at the meat market

And so this vegetarian ended up in the meat market in Athens!

Ateenan tori kasvissyöjä lihatorilla

Well well, I am not a total vegetarian… I used to be, for many years but nowadays I eat also chicken and fish although at home I cook mainly vege food.

Athens central market

In Athens we visited the colorful Varvakios Agora food market. There are whole separate sea fruit, meat, vegetable and fruit streets. The things offered there is just the freshest possible stuff available. But still, the internal organs were a bit too much for me 🙂

Trippa soup Athens Greece

The market is famous for its trippa soup. People come here to eat it with a big appetite especially as a night supper after the bars close down.

Kalatori Ateena Kreikka

I have never seen this amount of fresh octopus, lobsters and other sea fruit.

The prices here don’t make a big hole into your wallet. I bought here big bunches of dried sage, wild oregano and wild mint (excellent for a delicate tea!).  I took also some peeled pistachio and mouthwatering, roasted (but not salted) cashews to bring back home.

Fish market Athens

This market is a must for every foodie visiting Athens! From this small clip of mine you will probably get an idea how it differs from the market place in Helsinki 🙂

They really use their marketing skills here if the noise is the measure!

Ela, ela!!! 🙂 🙂


Independence day Greek style

Funky Gourmet degustation menu

This year we celebrated the Finnish independence day in Athens which means a lot of eating. We dined in the two Michelin star Funky Gourmet. Couldn’t think of a better venue to make a toast for the 97. independence day!

Funky Gourmet Athens

The degustation menu included 16 dishes out of which every single dish was just excellent! And innovative…

Desert Funky Gourmet Athens

Or what do you say about this melomacaron, a Christmas scented desert which was the last dish.

Georgiana Hiliadaki Funky Gourmet Athens

Thanks Georgiana Hiliadaki! The sympathetic chef gives her soul to her restaurant.

We will continue to explore Athens food festival. More news to come out soon! Happy belated Independence day!

Christmas atmosphere just across the Baltic sea

Tallina joulutori

I and the girls began our Christmas season by a weekend trip to Estonia. In Tallinn we headed, where else than to the Christmas market. There was a light snow cover on the ground and the weather was a couple of degrees under zero so it felt indeed already like a winter. And the blueberry glög (glühwein) was exactly what you needed to warm up your frostbit fingers.

Maiasmokk marsipaanin maalausta

From the market we headed to Maiasmokk cafe. It is the oldest coffee house in Tallinn with a history of already 150 years! We were welcomed by this lovely gentleman Ott Kubo. He explained us about marzipan. He is the ultimate expert to lead you to the secrets of this sweet stuff made of almonds and powdered sugar as he had done already a 51 year long career with marzipan and sweet business. Nowadays he is a researcher. He himself eats marzipan only once a year – in the New Year’s eve. Together with a glass of Champagne.

Marsipaanipaja Maiasmokk-kahvila Tallina Viro

The girls got the chance to paint marzipans of their own. We took the penguin and cat figures as souvenirs. They can serve as Christmas decoration… if they last that long 🙂

The website of the cafe can be found here. Book marzipan workshop at least one week ahead because everything is made by hand and the figures need one week for drying .

Tarton lelumuseo

Next morning we continued to Tarto which is around 2,5 hourse drive from Tallinn. Also Pekka the Rescue dog from Eden’s kindergarten joined us on our visit to the toy museum. The dog visits each child for a weekend and it was now our turn to host him. The museum organizes workshops for kids and the girls loved the icicle workshop.

The museum’s website can be found here.

Dorpat hotelli Tarto lounas fine dineYou won’t starve in Estonia! This is my desert at Dorpat hotel lunch: chocolate delice, rose sparkling wine sauce and pressed melon. Yummy!

Ahhaa Tarto tiedekeskus dinosaurusnäyttely

The dino exhibition at Ahhaa science center was exciting!

Ahhaa tiedekeskus Tarto

Oh, only Eden’s head remained on the tray. In the science center you get to try many interesting things. A nice place for a family visit!

The dinosaur exhibition will be open until April 2015. Here you find the website of the museum.

Antonius restaurant Tarto Estonia

Pekka the Rescue dog loved his dinner at the lovely Antonius restaurant.

Viimsi ulkoilmamuseo Viro Tallina

On our way back we visited Viimsi outdoor museum in Tallinn. The girls liked the labyrinth and played with Auntie Küllike.

Viimsi ulkoilmamuseo Tallina VIroSeesaw is still a hit!

Hapankaalia Viimsi Tallina

Hilja served us traditional Estonian Christmas meal: sauerkraut, black sausage, root vegetables and wonderful  dark Christmas bread which was filled with dry fruit.

Viimsi ulkoilmamuseo piparin leivontaa Tallina ViroEden baked gingerbread in the old hut.

Joulutontut Tallina joulutoriMy little Christmas gnomes: one from the Tallinn Christmas market and one of my own 🙂

Viimsi ulkoilmamuseo joulu Tallina ViroChristmas atmosphere.

Viimsi open air museum and  Museum of coastal folk website can be found here.