Horseback riding, whitewater rafting and snow shoe walking in – Greece!

Riding in Epirus Greece

An adventure holiday in Greece including riding, white water rafting, hiking and higher up on the mountains also snow shoe walking… ¬†doesn’t exactly fit the picture of a holiday in Greece. But it certainly was a lot of fun!

Ratsastusta Kreikassa Photographer Robert Seger.

Arsenis horseback riding Konitsa Epirus GreeceOur Albanian guide Arsenis.

Rafting in Epirus Greece We continued with rafting in Voidomatis river. More experienced go for Aioos. Maybe next time ūüôā

Koskenlaskua Konitsa Epirus Kreikka

Floating in the canyon.
On our way we took a short walk to an old chapel nearby. Our guide told us about the wonders of the nature. We paddled past a cave which was discovered in the 80’s. The researchers say it dates back to the Paleolithic Era in Greece 12 000 years ago. Some history…

Rafting Voidomatis Epirus GreeceHere the river gave us a real adrenaline boost!
Koskenlaskua Voidomatis-joella Epiruksessa Kreikassa

The water temperatu is only 6 degrees Celsius but we had wet suits and shoes to keep us warm. Voidomatis river is one of the cleanest in the world. And the forel you get from it, just grilled with olive oil and a lemon juice is simply delicious!

Vikos Gorge Greece

We hiked in canyons and gorges. This is Vikos Gorge with Voidomatis river in the middle. They say it is much more beautiful when the spring comes or in the fall foliage Рbut for me it was great  just like this.

Vikos Gorge Epirus Greece Vikos-rotko Epirus Kreikka Vikos Gorge Epirus Greece Kukkia Kreikan kevätSome signs of spring were already visible.

Konitsa bridge Epirus GreeceKonitsa bridge.

_Aioos river Epirus Greece Epirus Greece Juomapaikka Astraka-refuge  Mikro-PapigoOn the hiking trail down from Mikro Papigo village up to Astraka refuge there are sources you can fill your bottle with drinking water.

Astraka refuge Mikro Papigo Epirus Greece

The refuge is located at 1930 meters. I got a little bit desperate at 1800 meters when there still wasn’t any sign of it – or anything at all. The views at the top were a bit cloudy, we could hardly see each other. Only at 1900 m we could recognize a shade of something standing there. Astraka Refuge!

Astraka vuoristomaja Mikro Papigo Epirus Kreikka

What a feeling to open the door of the refuge after several hours of climbing. A cup of hot tea with honey brought back the energies. In the summer time you can spend the night here. The price for a bed is 10 e.

Lumienkeli Jari making a snow angel ūüôā

Chicken soup in Mikro Papigo

A hot plate of chicken soup  in Mikro Papigo village cafe was such a good ending for the hike.

Metsovo Kreikka

We spent our last day in Epirus on snow shoes and were guided by a former ski champion Lefteris Fafalis living now in Metsovo. It was funny that  he knew Finland better than an average Finn because of his ski career.

Lumikenkäilyä Metsovo Kreikka Lefteris Fafalis Greece

Lumikenkäilyä Kreikassa Snow shoe trip Metsovo Greece

Grand Forest Hotel Metsovo Greece Grand Forest hotelli Metsovo Kreikka

After long and sometimes also physically a bit challenging days it was lovely to return to this cozy, pampering hotel. I have been in many five star hotels but ¬†Grand Forest¬†in¬†Metsovo was a place where i really hope to return. Because of the view, good service, wonderful food… ¬†A perfect hide away.

Rafting images by Nikos Kyritsis ja Jari Eiro.

The activities were organized by No limits, a Konitsa based company specializing on nature and adventure sports.

 

Streat Helsinki is back!

Image Eetu Ahanen

Nite bites event in Helsinki gave a nice start for the Streat Helsinki happening. Helsinki city center will be packed with food trucks and crowds of people if the event will draw as many as last year. This year it will be a two day long event + the Nite Bite event which started last night and will continue today.

Nite bites Streat Helsinki Timo Santala

Kuva Eetu Ahanen

Timo Santala, Helsinki city food strategist tasted almost all the portions. His favorite was Karhupuisto grill’s pulled pork-coriander pita and he thinks that the pricing was very reasonable too: 5 euros.

The idea behind this event is to bring good and innovative street food easily accessible. Street food is a big trend now internationally and I am pleased to see that also our tiny Helsinki goes after this!

I seldom go to spend Thursday nights in Helsinki (well, drive from my hometime Espoo would take as long as 15 long minutes if I did ;)). But yesterday it was worth it. It was fun to see that food draws people. Not in the same extend as expected on Sat & Sun but still!

Snägärien yö Streat Helsinki 2015

Image Andrew Taylor.

I and my friend Virpi checked out the Railway station gill. We both took pulled chicken, only with different sauces, price 6 e.

If you are in Helsinki, get out tonight and have a bite. And let’s all head to the city center during the weekend. If the event is as nice as last year, it is definitely worth going!

My post about Streat Helsinki from last year. The weather couldn’t have been better!

Info about Streat Helsinki FB-site and online:  streathelsinki.com/en

 

 

 

Greece in a different way


Metsovo Greece

I knew that I was going to see a bit different Greece when I traveled to Epirus but still I couldn’t believe my eyes when I woke up to this scene in Metsovo mountain village. Snow covered mountains, old stone houses, narrow streets didn’t exactly fit the picture that most of the people, including me, have about Greece. Beautiful!

Metsovo kylä Kreikka

The Greeks drink coffee at noon, after work, in the evening and of course, in the weekends. You find cafes everywhere, even in the small mountain villages. I myself did the same, of course. Sitting in cafes and watching the locals is one of my favorite things to do when I travel. I enjoyed the sun shine and sipped my frappe which appears to be one of the most popular drinks even in Pindus mountains!

Frappe Greece

 

Metsovo Epirus

We experienced heavy snowfall already in our first morning.

Metsovo Epirus

My colleague Minna from Finland.

Metsovo Greece

Metsovo KreikkaFellow journalists from Finland and Dimitra from Athens had their share of this joy.

Katogi wineyard Metsovo Epirus

Katogi winery has its vineyards high up in 950-1050 meters which makes the vineyards one of the highest in Europe. We met this funny gardener Panagiotis whose hard work with grapes will begin in March.

Katogi winery Rpirus Greece

Katogi-Averoff winetasting

From the vineyards we continues where else than wine tasting! Eva from Katogi,  winery introduced us the wines and explained us the qualities into detail with her sommelier education.

I have to admit that I was surprised. I hadn’t thought of Greece as a real wine producer country and I found wines that fit exactly my taste. Katogi Traminer was my favorite out of the white wines and from the reds I surprisingly liked especially the mixture of ¬†Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Agiorgitiko.

Katogi red wine

Katogi-Averoff winery Metsovo Greece

Inspired by the lightning of the winery, I found my artistic self taking pictures of the wine bottles ūüôā

Katogi-Averoff viinitila Epirus Krekka

Katogi winery site.

We stayed a couple of nights in Katogi-Averoff winery hotel. A beautiful and romantic small hotel with good food and wine cellars. You can take a tour or order a wine tasting also without accommodation.

Metsovo  info on the Greek tourism office site.

Postcards from Berlin

Der Grosse Stern
The Siegessäule monument for Prussia’s victory in the German-Danish war in 1864. And the Tiergarten park next to it.

Sausage and beer
My first lunch in town. Sausage and beer, nat√ľrlich!

holocaust memorial monument
The memorial site to the victims of the holocaust right next to the Brandenburg gate.

Berlin towers

luna park berlin
I got a hint about this deserted old Luna Park in the eastern part of town. Unfortunately the place has recently been fenced against exploring curious mice like me, yet the big park around is worth a visit.

_MG_9906
Detail of the giant memorial monument for the 5000 Red Army soldiers who fell during the conquest of Berlin in World War II. This massive and finely built monument has a clear and straight forward message that can not be misunderstood.

berlin streets
Spring in Berlin.

vietnamese food berlin
Our great guide Tomer introduced us to his favorite Vietnamese restaurant Monsieur Vuong. Excellent!

berlin rikscha

We walked about 60 km in our 4 day visit to this big city. At one point we decided that our feet deserve this Rikscha treat.

branderburg gate by night 2

branderburg gate berlinBrandenburg gate

cafe Chagal
Café Restaurant Chagall. East Berlin as it was and is. I liked it.

checkpoint charlie 2

checkpoint charlie

Check point Charlie.

flea market berlin
The great flea market in Mauerpark