Category Archives: Travel

So it is Christmas…

The world is full of wonderful places to explore but it feels just so good to be at home now and just to relax with family and friends.

We wish you all Merry Christmas, Happy Chanuka or a peaceful holiday time! Thank you for following our blog! I am deeply grateful for all the adventures this year has brought. The journey continues…


Christmas atmosphere in Hakaniemi market hall! 9 tips for Christmas shopping

Hakaniemi market hall has stood in its place over 100 years and will go through a thorough renovation in the recent years but you can still feel the original atmosphere when shopping and sipping a coffee in its cafe.


I can’t imagine myself leaving home without a bracelet in my hand so these beautiful metal-cork bracelets caught my eyes in the 2nd floor Artbycork. Works for both women and men!



The hand bag model here is the shop keeper Lina Galrito-Leinoen. Raised in Portugal, the audiovisual artist by profession, Lina Galrito-Leinonen moved to Finland 11 years ago and has thought always out of the box. In addition to importing and designing cork wall tapestry, design objects, bags and jewellery, she has now broken into fashion field. Stay tuned to know what exactly.

Everything started just out of co-incidence. Lina had moved to Finland and was astonished when people asked her about the material of her hand bag.

“It was cork, naturally!  But in Finland no one knew cork!”

In Portugal cork is a widely used material and Lina thought to herself that why not bringing to Finland something that didn’t exist here yet.  It worked – the Finns were curious to adopt the new material and now Lina is planning to open a shop in Helsinki city center.




In the second floor there is a familiar brand but in a bit different surrounding. Lovely!


The red Kumiseva fabric, designed by the Japanese designer Katsuji Wakisaka in 1971 for Marimekko, is a permanent favorite among both Finns and tourists and it fits the season well.


These cards made by wordburning pen are designed by Ritva Myllymäki who makes them on a unique material: curly birch. You can order a card with your own rhyme or text and she will be happy to fulfill your wishes.

Ritva has a small workshop attached to her shop so you can peep inside and see her working. This smiling lady won’t be too busy for a chat.  She says she still loves her job after having her shop for 14 years and when a new idea comes, she can’t wait until going home in order to start working .

Nowadays she has a huge variety of products in addition to the holiday and birthday cards but the idea in all her handicrafts is the woodburned text and wood as material.


Downstairs you will find the traditional small shops offering the best and the freshest quality. I couldn’t resist the gravlax and smoked salmon at the fish delicacy shop Marja Nätti.  


Uzi gets his fish from the Argentinian Teresa at Patagonico.


It’s not easy to pass by Maustekeidas! With this variety of antipasto, nuts, spices and halva, it is easy to get confused but the lovely Maroccoan shopkeeper Najib Houda will help you out. This time it was garlic marinated olives and herb spiced feta cheese together will “snow almonds” that got into my shopping basket.


Parhiala, founded in 1914 is the place to get your coffee and tea. With their own roastery, it is guaranteed that your coffee will be fresh and the variety of different kinds of teas is awesome. An awesome Christmas present would be Kusmi or Løv teas that are not so commonly found in Finland. I treated myself with Løv licorice flavored Earl Gray . The tin box is so beautiful that I would like to get a row of them. Indira Wrede will help to choose.


If you need a break, sit down for a cup of ginger bread coffee at the second floor Hallikahvila. The atmospheric cafe has served the market hall customers over 35 years already.


And if you feel hungry, Soppakeittiö is the perfect winter lunch place with its huge, hot soups. In addition to Hakaniemen market hall, you can get your share of their wonderful soup bowl also at the two other market halls in Helsinki: Hietalahden Kauppahalli and Vanha Kauppahalli.

I chose the vegan beetroot-cabbage soup. It cost 9,50 e including home made bread and herbal oil.


Naomi Kuwajinu from Osaka was on a quick stop over in Helsinki on her way to London. She was happy to find a Marimekko shop and a store selling old ceramics – she told that she loves Arabia, the famous Finnish brand.

So soon it is Christmas! Wishing you all a beautiful holiday time!

Amedeo Modigliani in Ateneum

The retrospective exhibition of Amedeo Modigliani is in the art museum of Ateneum, Helsinki this winter, 28.10.2016 – 5.2.2017.A must for all art lovers. The museum also has much more to offer, such as Kaarina Kaikkonen`s installation at the Ateneum Art Museum courtyard 5.2.2016 – 11.12.2016 !And the new display of the museum’s collection of Finnish classics is truly impressive.Go go go.

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Active family holiday in Eilat

November is not the greatest month to be in Finland. So Eilat seemed like a welcome change and a perfect place for a family holiday. About 30°C temperature and 10-15 apertures more light (in photography terminology) makes a big difference.
Eilat is known as the destination for beach-life lovers and divers, but my latest working trips showed me how much more the city and the surrounding region can offer to the visitor. So I thought that it could suit us all, as our group consisted of twelve people – ages 1-60…
Direct winter flights from Helsinki to Eilat take less than 5 hours and are very affordable!Eilat The underwater observatory marine park in Eilat is a great place for kids and adults alike. You get an idea how it looks down there under the waves, even if you never put a diving mask on your face. The underwater wonderland with all its creatures and corals will mesmerize you.
A 20€ ticket will give you access to all parts of the observatory, including the multi media cinema.
It is located a few kilometers south to the city and you can easily reach it by taxi from the northern beach hotel area for about 10€.Family trip to Eilat Israel Family trip to Eilat IsraelA jeep safari is a fantastic experience for all who can stand some dust, bumps and at times some scary hill slopes. The truth is, that some of the asphalt roads in the mountains are very beautiful too in terms of the landscapes they cross, yet I think that with a jeep you can get into the guts of it all.
Prices 160-180€/4 hours per jeep.
Family trip to Eilat IsraelFamily trip to Eilat Israel Family trip to Eilat IsraelThe “Red Canyon” is an easy and beautiful trek that suits families. Our youngest hikers were ages 8, 5 and 2.5 and they enjoyed the place as if they were in an amusement park. The easy path takes 1.5-2 hours to walk. Early afternoon is preferable time for this family outdoor activity. Drinking water, hats and maybe some energy snacks are recommended.
You should follow the coloured signs back to the starting point or you will find yourself on a much longer trek. This time of the year it gets dark already at five o’clock in the afternoon, and you wouldn’t like to wander in the desert after sunset.
Family trip to Eilat Israel The restaurants around the hotel areas are mainly Mediterranean and Asian style. I especially like the “Fish Market” for their atmosphere and fresh fish. (10-15 min. drive by taxi south of the city center) The Giraffe Restaurant on the beach promenade was great too. You will find it when you walk east along the northern shore boulevard. Barbeach on the southern beach, near the diving and surfing center.
Eilat Typical Israeli breakfast served in Barbeach.Eilat Local drinks. Goldstar beer and Limonana, a sweetened refreshment made with fresh lemon and sweet mint crushed with ice.
Family trip to Eilat IsraelEilat Bird-Watching Park is located just north to the hotel area. About 40 min walk or a short taxi drive. The place is open 24/7 and free. Yet it is strongly recommended to take a guide so you get a better idea what the place is about, how they operate and some facts about bird migration habits. Finns are known for their sympathy for these little creatures and annually many birdwatchers come to participate voluntarily in the park’s activities.
EilatHai Bar wildlife reserve is located near Kibbutz Yotvata about 35 km north of Eilat. Some of the animals that once roamed free in this region can be seen there. It is like a mini safari and sure worth a visit once you are in Eilat.
EilatThe “Top 94” action park in Eilat offers many activities. The carting part is managed by Timo Hirvi, originally from Finland
EilatWatching the sea and the surfers from the many beach restaurants and bars is a nice “after action” time. The water pipe is optional…

EilatAnd if you are absolutely in need for some off road bicycling, you will find many marked trails around the city.
Family trip to Eilat Israel2 weeks before our arrival Eilat was flooded. The whole annual amount of rain, just over 30mm, fell in 3 hours.Family trip to Eilat Israel Family trip to Eilat Israel Family trip to Eilat Israel There is no holiday for me without some off road moments.
Mount Shlomo is located just west to the city. You will see the sunset just behind it every evening. The trek to the summit and down takes about 4 hours and is not too hard. Yet, if you have the fear of heights you might find it challenging at places.
A taxi will take you from the hotel area to the starting point at Har Yehoram on road 12 for about 13€. First follow the Black/White marks and just before the summit the Blue/White marks.
The way down (tread carefully, it is very steep) will take you to the finishing point at Shlomo valley on road 12. There you can call a taxi to take you back to the hotel.
You can also do this trek starting and finishing in the same place (road 12 and Shlomo valley crossing) see the map below. But this way you will climb the whole way and will miss the most beautiful views that you could see when starting from Har Yehoram.
Remember: Hats, long sleeve shirts, sun protection, good hiking boots and a lot of water! Gloves protect hands from the rough stones and walking sticks can help your balance.
Family trip to Eilat Israel Family trip to Eilat Israel Family trip to Eilat Israel har-shlomo-trek Family trip to Eilat IsraelMy good old Keens have seen a lot of off road terrain.

Hurtigruten – the world’s most beautiful sea voyage

I spent recently a long weekend – in Norway! And Oslo wasn’t the destination but Hurtigruten which is said to be the world’s most beautiful sea voyage.


Our journey began in Tromsø which itself would have been worth exploring in depth but unfortunately we had only one afternoon in this Northern city. We had lunch at the local Scandic hotel (excellent food and special thanks for the wonderful dessert buffet where I completely forgot my sugerfree diet and had to taste all the wonderful chocolate and marzipan cakes and the hand made pralines as well and you can guess the results… ).


On our city tour we visited the famous landmark of the city: the Ice Cathedral built in 1965 which window mosaic is very impressive.


In the evening it was our turn to check in MS Kong Harald which had departed days before from Bergen. I got good travel company from my colleague and friend Henriikka Fingerborg who also runs a lifestyle blog.


I guess you don’t need words to describe this. The sunset seen from the deck somewhere near Lyngen.


The food was very_good! This is my first course, cod fish with lingonberry mousse. Even the buffet was excellent. Fresh fish and other local products were brought into the ship from villages nearby while anchoring. There was homemade buckthorn berry jam and soft porridge, wonderful full grain crisp bread from a local bakery and cheese from local dairies.


Do you recognize the symbol on the flag? It is the Norwegian Post Office. Hurtigruten, the fast route in Norwegian, was originally a means of transportation. Still one can get on the boat in a harbor and out in the next one. There are also commuters on the boat. You can also visit Hurtigruten when you spot one in a harbor where it makes a long stop. In some places the ships serve also as lunch restaurants as it can be the only restaurant of the village.

Most of the people cruise for 5-6 days but some come stay on board the whole voyage from Bergen to Kirknäs, near the Russian border. It means sailing 12 consecutive days!


The absolute highlight of our trip waited for us at the harbor of Honningsvåg, on Magerøya island. There we jumped on a bus that took us to Europe’s Nothernmost tip.


Campers in some of the most exotic corners of Europe.


We were extremely lucky with weather: three days of sun! It is common to have such a heavy fog in North Cape that you can hardly spot your own nose. Often even in good weather too the view point at a hight of 300 meters might be covered by a cloud but it can disappear in seconds. Then you get awesome views on the Arctic Ocean.


This was a nostalgic trip. I visited this place for the first time year 1998, that time by car and I continued to Lofooten islands that time.


I met this cute Sami man Nils. The beautiful Gaba is 4 years old.


If there is something I have learned to appreciate in my job, it is a professional guide. The South African born Clinton Smith was just like that. He moved to Norway five years ago but he spoke already a fluent Norwegian. He had been a safari guide for all his life and took care that we didn’t only listen but also absorbed the stuff he taught us. It was funny that a South African origin man told us about the Sami customs and how the raindeers are transferred to the island.

By the way, did you know how you recognize a married Sami man? From the ribbon on the right side of his hat. And a single? From a left side ribbon naturally.

We also learned that you never ask a Sami the number of his raindeers. That would equal to asking the balance of a bank account.


It was wonderful to return from a windy trip to a cup of hot chocolate and juicy apple pie.

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King crab is the boat specialty. This creature was held by the boat chef Roy Kristensen. He has been working on the boat already for 34 years but he says that he doesn’t get fed of the scenery and for reason.

He recommended us to taste another specialty, the torsk ice cream, cod ice cream (!) but I felt a bit sea sick and had to leave it to the next time.

dsc03196 Finnkirkan is said to be the most impressing rock formation in Norway.

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Ellinor and Ailu Ultsi from Kjollefjord village told us about the Sami culture and offered us angelica tea. We got to try their resin cream which healing qualities are well known.

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Small, sympathetic harbors. Here we are in Mehamn.


Hurtigruten Winter expedition Foto Ørjan Bertelsen
Photo: Hurtigruten/ Ørjan Bertelsen

I said before that the highlight of our trip was the visit to the North Cape but I have to admit that there was something equally impressive!

It is possible to order a Northern lights alarm to one’s cabin. I kept my outfit next to my bed and when I hear on the loundspeaker “Ladies and gentlemen, beautiful Northern lights are now visible on the left side of the boat” I rushed out of my bed, dressed up in 30 seconds and ran to the deck.

There equipped with my feather coat, a thick woolen hat and scarf and gloves I spent two unforgettable nights watching the sky. I sat on a deck chair also after the crowds went back to sleep and admired the incredible night show the nature provides some lucky ones.

The excursion to  Hurtigruten was organized by Airtouch in co-operation with  SAS.

Little pieces of Åland

This summer our traditional ”Getting lost in Finland” road trip took us to the beautiful archipelago of Åland. It is a bit of an oddity, an autonomy between Finland and Sweden. It is a Finnish territory although swedish is the official language. Luckily visitors get along just fine in English as well.
Last time we visited these islands was 33 years ago! So it was about time to explore this place again.



As the ferry from Turku to Mariehamn leaves early in the morning, we decided to spend the evening before in Turku and save a morning rush.
That was a smart move! Just another wednesday evening and so much going on. Within a few hundred meters along the Aura river bank there was a gathering of hundreds of motorbikers, an impromptu dance floor in the middle of the street with live music, mainly Tango that so many Finns love and practice, a very good rock band on board an old merchant ship and even live jazz music in a bar.

An old cruiser Bore is nowadays serving as Hotel Borea. So we got into the marine atmosphere right on our first night.





Amalia guest house in Lemland is a cosy place to stay. It has a small lemonade factory in the yard. Amalia Lemonades can be found all over Åland in cafes, restaurants and supermarkets. Rebecka Sjölund works in the Factory shop in the summer.


St. Andrew’s church in Lumparland. First built in 1540, but the present building is from 1728.


The local beer brand, stallhagen beer, is sold and served all over the islands. We just had to pay a visit to the brewery and found out that the beer was indeed very good.




The idyllic old boat houses in Käringsund, Eckerö we remembered from our previous visit. But the hunting and fishing museum close to the Eckerö guest harbor is relatively new. It gives the visitor a good idea of the often very tough conditions in which the island people made their living in the old days. The building itself has been designed in a most considerate way to suit the landscape.


Christiansund guest house

Friday evening in Eckerö. We could not find any open shops around. Driving back and forth in the country roads looking for something to eat we finally found a Thai take away restaurant. Their fresh made Spring rolls were huge and very tasty.

The gigantic fortress of Bomarsund was built by the Russians in 1832. The battle with the British-French navy was short and destructive and very little of this huge construction is left to see now. Yet a new trek of about 4 km is taking the visitor around, and useful information boards complete what the eyes cannot see.

Everywhere you go you will see the old wooden wind mills.


We paid respect to the famous writer Anni Blomqvist. Her archipelago stories and her own tragic life has left a mark on so many people in Scandinavia.

bomans guesthouse
Mari Kokko-Tidenberg and Arto Tidenberg live in Helsinki, but every summer they run the charming Bomans guest house in Vårdö. We ended up staying two days in their friendly care. The place can host up to 70 people and besides breakfast they also serve dinners.
It is quite unusual for Finns to own property in Åland, so we were curious to know how Mari and Arto ended up in there. Mari told us that in 1984 her mother Sirkka-Liisa came to work in the Kastelholm castle, which back then served as a prison. She then met and married Magnus Boman and they lived together in his family’s dairy farm. In 2000 the farm was transformed into a guest house. When Sirkka-Liisa passed away in 2014 Mari got to be the co-owner of the place, taking care of the business with Magnus, who still lives permanently on the farm year around. Mari, however, after tourist season returns to her profession, working as a doctor in Helsinki.


Short fishing trip with Magnus Boman was an extra treat to our stay in Bomans guest house.

5 whitefish and 1 perch.


Road trip means hours of sitting in a car. It is a welcome idea to take a few hours hike in the nature. One beautiful trek you find in Getabergen in the northern part of the main island. It offers great views and impressive rock formations. In there I spotted one of the rare orchids growing in Åland, the Orchis militaris.

When it comes to coffee breaks, we always look for an interesting, rather off the main road places. Marskogens Lamm is a lamb farm. In their café they sell not only good coffee and the traditional pancake but also many other local delicacies like cheese and their own lamb meat products. Friendly Ann Sunberg serves home made buns and pastries and I just loved her table decorations with the wild flowers.

I just had to stop and take this funny picture.

Åland’s photography museum in Pålsböle is sure worth a visit. Olle Strömberg has collected thousands of cameras and other items that cover more or less the entire history of the technology of photography. Olle, originally from Sweden, fell in love with a local beauty in Åland. He moved to the islands and did a 40 year photographic career working as a commercial photographer and cooperated with almost all local museums as well. Now retired, he runs this amazing museum and its charming coffee shop with his wife.


Simskäla is the very northern part of the island of Vårdö. Seals were once hunted for food. Nowadays some fishermen hunt them to avoid destruction of their nets.

Kurt Eriksson was a seaman and globetrotter who traveled the world for many years. He had the will and skills of learning many languages of the places he visited.
Now retired, he is running his wood workshop and a summer café, Anna’s Shop, in his home village Grundsunda in Vårdö. He welcomes and entertains his visitors with endless stories in 6 different languages. And of course the very famous Åland pancake.

Åland’s pancake.

Pies and stuff. A new cafe in Helsinki!

We found this lovely recently opened cafe located in Vuorikatu, just in the center of Helsinki, where Ekaterina and Enar bake already from 5 am in order to serve fresh pies since they open their door in the morning.


What is a good cafe made of? Good coffee and fresh, home made pastries?

I am happy to see that there is real coffee culture in Finland and not only sipping coffee at home like in the old days but nice cafes popping up. But sadly most of them are chains that serve the same, industrial cakes and pastries everywhere. Great that there are still places going against this trend even if it is not the most money-wise thing.


Enar has worked in several restaurant kitchens but now he wanted to open a place of his own. A lunch plate with a piece of a home made pie, hummus, Turkish yoghurt and salad will cost 9.30 e and fill any stomach (or if not, you can take the second option of two pieces of pie by adding a couple of euros)


Feta-spinach omelette and the rest of the pies cost 3,90 e, latte 3,60 e.






This Russian born couple wanted to bring something from their own food culture and serve a variety of pies with different fillings.  Lovely! I tasted the potato pie that Enar recommended and found it to be filling and tasty. Well, this won’t be my last visit here.

Good luck for the new entrepreneurs! I wish there were more places like this.

Citypie ,Vuorikatu 6, open Mon-Fri 8-19, Sat 10-16

Citypie in Facebook

Turku – the summer city: 5 tips for river bank (and some a bit further)

Turku seems to be my destiny. Not a bad one though. And it seems that there is a huge, growing interest in this ultimative summer destination as my Turku restaurant post last summer was the most popular ever. There were thousands of readers already in the first days!

Like last year, I was teaching  Hebrew this summer in Turku Summer University.  

I spent all together 14 days out of a month long period in Turku and as my lessons were in the evening, I had plenty of time to wonder around, see and taste things in the daytime. There is always something new to discover and some of those will be brought to you this time by mobile pictures.

Tips along the river bank

When the Turku people talk about “the other side of the river” it can be a bit confusing. The “right side” is the side where the dome church, Turun Tuomiokirkko, is located. My friends visiting Turku simply loved the river bank when we spent long, warm evenings sitting in the cafes, bars and river boars. So just a two hour journey from Helsinki takes you on a small trip abroad 🙂

My 7 year old daughter came to Turku and after she got out of the bus and we were walking along the river bank, she asked me: “Mom, what language do they speak here?” And then I explain her that it is Finnish…
Turku jokivarsi

  1. Sitting, sipping and eating! 

When this sculpture designed by Russian Andrei Kovaltshuk “The meeting in Turku 1812” arrived to its locations year 2012, it wasn’t received in open arms by all Turku residents. I, however, find that the sculpture of Alexander I of Russia and the crown prince Karl Johan fits very well this landscape.

Next to these gentlemen is one of the best places to sip your coffee: Cafe Art where they bake their own cakes and pullas. There is always a queue but it is worth waiting so take your time! The coffee is good and the cakes taste like heaven.

At the cafe I met this handsome guy, Korean origin Juri. He had been living in Finland for two years but was going to return to his homeland soon.

Another place to taste is  Tiirikkala. I got a gift voucher from my students to this lovely cafe-restaurant and ate there this wonderful cheese salad.

Tiirikkala Turku Aura-joki salaatti

I found an another lovely spot at Pub Niska which pizzas are hard to beat.
Jokilaivat Aura-joki Turku jokivarsi InstagramCapture_08ced1ee-0a62-4115-8ba0-190c4da48668 (1)

2. Ride a bike!

Bike is the best transportation in Turku. Everybody cycles here – it feels almost like Amsterdam and you will find bicycle lanes cycle routes everywhere, also in the center area.

3. Sleep by the river

I spent most of the nights at Radisson Blu Marina Palace from where I got this wonderful “granny bike”. It took me just in minutes from the hotel to the university. The hotel itself also earns a recommendation. I got a room with a river view and the breakfast was one of the best hotel breakfasts I’ve ever eaten in Finland. I started my day with a morning shot made with buckthorn berries and you can squeeze your own orange juice with a big press.
Forum Marinum Turku Aura-joki jokivars 4. Suomen Joutsen and Forum Marinum 

I and my little visitor walked along the river bank down until the maritime center Forum Marinum and the famos sailing boat Suomen Joutsen (the Swan of Finland) built in 1902. The little visitor, however, found the huge daisy much more fascinating. 🙂

Forum Marinum Turku Aura-joki jokivarsi

There are small ships to play with….
Turku jokivarsi Aura-joki 5. Jogging, walking… 

Walking the river banks is an enjoyable activity itself. If you are into history and culture, continue 5 minutes walk from Forum Marinum and you will reach the Turku castle.

For jogging take the opposite direction to Halistenkoski, a rapid and a dam. My longest trip outside the city center was to  Vanhalinna, located in Lieto. You will get stunning views from the hill top and you will be standing on a piece of history at the same time. There were findings

J, joka on yksi maamme tärkeimpiä muinaismuistokohteita. Liedon puolella sijaitsevassa Vanhalinnassa on tehty löydöksiä pronssi- ja rautakaudelta saakka.Lisää infoa retkeilymaastoista Turun lähettyvillä löytyy Aurajoki.netin esitteestä. Vanhalinna Turku Lieto Vanhalinnan maisemia – ei uskoisi, että melkein kaupungissa ollaan! Polkupyörällä tuli huristeltua sitten muuallakin. Keskustasta kivenheiton päässä oleva Portsa eli Port Arthurin kaupunginosa on kiva pikku tutustumisretki vanhoine puutaloineen ja ihastuttavine sisäpihoineen. InstagramCapture_2c707339-9423-4e5c-b99f-eaee5468c93aIf you want to head a bit further, Ruissalo is the destination! I was invited to a press trip organized by Visit Turku and we spent a beautiful and sunny afternoon by the sea making smoked salmon and ‘robber’s roat’, a roast cooked in an earth oven with Ruissalo Spa chef Sami Kiviranta. I guess this pictures tells everything – you can’t go wrong with this set!


Ruissalo Spa loimulohi rosvopaisti nokipannukahvit Ruissalo

Voisilmäpulla Honkapirtti Ruissalo TurkuThese huge homemade pulla at Ruissalo Honkapirtti are big enough to be shared.


On se Turku vaan mahtava paikka. Tuntemattomat juttelevat toisilleen Tintån terassilla (yksi lempipaikoistani – jokivarressa sekin). Usein kaupungilla törmäsin johonkin tuttuun – kollegaani tai entiseen oppilaaseeni. On tainnut tulla pyörittyä Turussa jo tovi 🙂 Mutta ei tarina tähän pääty. Lokakuun lopussa jatkan taas opetusta Turussa. Ja sitä ennen kerron  vielä Food Walkista, kiva ohjelmanumero kesäretkelle Turkuun. Pikku ballerina

My little guest watching the cars at Hotel Seurahuone.
Matkalaukku North Face TrolleyBye bye Turku! My loyal travel companion by North Face trolley (no hidden sponsorship here but I am happy to advertise it because it is difficult to find a better one!) traveled back and forth with me. I never drove to Turku by car as the cheapest tickets by Onnibus cost me only 5 euros and also train tickets sold by VR can be found starting from 10 euros including a seat in a work cabin which I always took an advantage of if one was available).

Hienoja hetkiä Israelin reissulla

M25 Meat Market restaurante
M25 Meat Market restaurant

Yli kahden vuoden tauon jälkeen palasin Israeliin ja voi että se tuntui hienolta! Reissaan työni vuoksi jatkuvasti, enkä ole oikein edes ehtinyt kaivata maata. Mutta kun ensimmäisenä iltana (tai oikeastaan yön tunteina) taksi kiipesi ylös Jerusalemiin ja ajoi Daavidin harpusta inspiraation saaneen The Cords Bridge-sillan ali, tuntui se juhlavalta. Paluu entiseen kotikaupunkiini!

Tämäkin matka oli pääosin työmatka, mutta tein varaslähdön ja lensin Israeliin pitkäksi viikonlopuksi ennen työrupeamaa. Viikonlopuksi oli lähdössä myös ystäväni Virpi, joka täytti juuri 40v. Ainoa vain, että Virpi itse ei tiennyt asiasta. Sain sumplittua asiat Virpin äidin, miehen ja ystävän kanssa niin, että lastenhoito ja muu järjestyisi. Varoitin ketään hiiskumasta asiasta ja yllätys onnistuikin. Kerroin Virpille vasta tuntia ennen lähtöä kentälle, että nyt on aika pakata ja kun hyppäsimme autoon, paljastin loppusuunnitelman.

Virpi in Tel Aviv

Virpi oli käynyt joka vuosi luonani asuessani Israelissa vuodesta 1994 lähtien ja nyt tapasimme yhteisiä tuttuja, herkuttelimme ja kiersimme niin uusia kuin vanhoja paikkoja – yli 10 vuoden tauon jälkeen!

M25 Meat Market restaurante
M25 Meat Market restaurant

Tälläisia makupaloja löysimme ja Uzi kuvasi.

Tel Avivissa törmäsimme Carmel-marketin kupeessa olevaan, uuteen M25-liharavintolaan, jossa on pihan perällä oma savustamo. Ravintola syntyi pienestä lihatiskistä ja nyt paikassa on kiva puutarha ja sisäpaikkkoja. Ravintola on saanut Tel Avivin parhaan indie-ravintolan palkinnon. Tosin kasvissyöjän kannattanee valita toinen paikka. Paitsi jos on niin suklaan perään, kuin minä…. paikassa oli nimittäin taivaallista suklaamoussea.


Levinsky-torilla pääsimme tällaisen ihanan vespan kyytiin. Ja hörpimme kahvia Susita-kahvilasta, jossa voi istua vanhan Susitan lavalla. Susitaa valmistettiin  Israelissa 50-80-luvuilla, eikä se koskaan ollut kovassa huudossa ainakaan laadun suhteen. Mutta nostalgiaa sillä on!

Oppaana Tel Avivissa meillä oli loistava paljasjalkainen tel avivivilainen (tuliko yksi tavu liikaa 🙂 )Karl Walter, joka hämmästytti tiedoillaan… ja päivällistarinoilla, jotka olivat kuin stand up-illan ohjelma. Nauroimme vedet silmissä!

Yam boutique hotel in Tel Aviv.
Yam boutique hotel in Tel Aviv.

Asuimme tässä hiljattain avatussa pienessä ja kotoisassa putiikkihotellissa, jonka nimi on Yam – meri. Huoneessa oli ping pong-mailat (israelilainen versio rantatenniksestä) ja rantapallo osana sisustusta, mutta ihan oikeaa käyttöä varten. Ja respasta saa rantakassin, jossa on kylmää vettä ja tuoreita hedelmiä sekä rantapyyhe. Hienoa tässä hotellissa oli lisäksi Happy Hour klo 17-19 välillä, jolloin hotelli tarjoaa ilmaisen pienen buffeen, johon kuuluu juomia, keittoa, voileipiä ja muuta pientä naposteltavaa. Todella asiakaslähtöistä palvelua! Sen lisäksi, että respan työntekijät muistivat nimeni ja kysyivät kuulumisia sekä toivottivat mukavaa päivää!

Peer boutique hotel. Owner Yael Tishler.

Carmel-torin vierestä löysimme hauskan Peer-putiikkihotellin ja päätimme pujahtaa sisään ja pääsimmekin mielenkiintoiselle tutkimusmatkalle: hotellin jokainen huone oli kuin mummolasta konsanaan. Kuvassa Yael Tishler, joka ystävällisesti esitteli meille hotelliaan.

Karl Walter guide Israel Tel Aviv



yahaloma ba'namal. Chef Yahaloma. Tel Aviv port new restaurant

Edellisellä Tel Avivin vierailullamme löysimme ihastuttavan Yahaloma’s bistron, joka tuolloin sijaitsi Levinsky Marketilla. Paikka oli muutaman pöydän pikkuriikkinen ravintola, mutta tarjosi suussasulavaa ruokaa. Keittiössä hääräsi Tel Avivin radiossa työskennyt ja uraputken jättänyt Yahaloma, joka yhdisteli sukunsa reseptejä eri Välimeren maista. Ruoissa maistui niin Kreikka, Libya kuin Egyptikin. Nyt Yahaloma on muuttanut Tel Avivin satamaan ja avannut siellä reilu kuukausi sitten yhdessä kahden muun osakkaan kanssa Yahaloma ba’Namal, Yahaloma satamassa-ravintolan. Taso oli ennallaan, paikka oli kasvanut, hinnat hieman nousseet, mutta loistava meininki jatkuu.  Kuvassa Yahaloman versio moussakasta. Suosittelen!

Yahaloman uusi ravintola sijaitsee Tel Avivin satama-alueen farmers’ marketilla, joka on jo sinänsä nähtävyys. Sieltä saa myös ehkä maailman parhaat, Lehamim-leipomon manteli-croisantit, joissa on marsipaania niillä päällä, kuin sisälläkin. Onneksi meillä kotona ei ole tuollaisia herkkuja, muuten saattaisi croissant toisensa perään tulla ostettua kahvileiväksi ja lopputulos olisi katastrofi – ja iänikuinen laihdutuskuuri.  New Yorkiin on muuten jo avattu Lehamim-leipomo, vink vink rapakon takana kävijöille. Siellä se kantaa nimeä Breads bakery. 

Tel Aviv Port


Boutique haNaknik Levinsky market Tel Aviv
Makkaranystävän unelma: Levinsky marketin makkarakauppias, Amir Kuti ( “Boutique Ha’naknik”) myy taatusti laatumakkaroita.

Tikva market Tel Aviv

Ha’tikva-tori sijaitsee maahanmuuttajien asuttamassa Ha’tikva-kaupunginosassa. Täällä näkee kaikkia kansallisuuksia venäläisistä etiopialaisiin ja voi maistella todella hyvää kubbea, hummusta, sabichia ja muita etnisiä herkkuja, eikä mikään kurita kukkaroa. Saimme oppaaksemme Karlin lisäksi ystäväni Tehilan Jerusalemista, joka tiesi kuppiloiden tarinat.

Abraham Hostel Tel Aviv youth hostel Israel

Vierailimme kansallisen puhelinyhtiön entiseen rakennukseen remontoidussa Abraham Hostellissa Tel Avivissa juuri ennen sen avaamista. Jättimäisen hostellin alakerrassa on suuri tila, johon juuri parhaillaan maalattiin isoja seinämaalauksia. Siellä aiotaan pitää konsertteja ja tapahtumia. Varmasti kaupungin coolein paikka yöpyä, eikä hinnallakaan pilattu. Paikassa on dormitory-huoneiden lisäksi kahden ja useamman hengen huoneita sekä jopa huoneistoja.

Viiden kaveruksen hostelli on jo porukan kolmas. Olin heidän ensimmäisessä hostellissaan Fauzi Azarissa Nasaretissa kun lähdin vaeltamaan muutama vuosi sitten Jesus Trailin Nasaretista Genessaret-järvelle ja hostelli jäi positiivisesti mieleeni, varsinkin aamiaisen baklavat 🙂

Hostellivierailulla Tel Avivissa minulle selvisi myös, että tuo vaelluspolku on yhden hostellikimpan jäsenen, Maoz Inonin tekemä polku! Siinä on aktiivinen mies.


Jael Ancker Appelsiineja ja hunajaa Tel Aviv

Suomalainen Jael Ancker pitää Appelsiineja ja hunajaa-nimistä ruokablogia, jota olen seurannut jo vuosikausia. Vihdoin tapasimme Jaelin kanssa ihan livenä, kun haastattelimme ja kuvasimme hänet Matkaopas-lehden juttuun. Oli mukava yllätys, kun Jaelilla oli vapaa päivä ja hän jäi loppupäiväksi kiertelemään kanssamme.
Michal Negrin jewellery Bat Yam factory shop and gallery

Michal Negrin on israelilainen korusuunnittelija, jonka romanttisilla ja kitcheillä, mutta taidokkailla koruilla on vankka asiakaskuntansa ympäri maailmaa. Pääsimme tutustumaan korutehtaaseen Bat Yamissa, jossa kaikki tehdään käsin. Koruilla on ikuinen takuu, joten laatukin on sen mukainen. Saimme kuvaan gallerian myyjättäret sekä Michal Negrinin tyttären (keskellä). Vaikka kuvaus oli ihan spontaani, naiset pukeutuivat, valitsivat sopivat korut ja poseerasivat aivan kuin ammattimallit. Minäkään en tehtaanmyymälästä pystynyt ihan tyhjin käsin lähtemään…  Tehdasvierailu pitää sopia etukäteen ja kierros kestää 1,5 tuntia. Galleria-myymälään saa piipahtaa milloin vain.

Tässä pieni video Michal Negrinin korujen valmistuksesta: miten korut suunnitellaan ja minkälainen on lopputulos.


Design Museum Holon Jaime Hayon
Design Museum Holon eli Holonin Design-museo oli positiivinen yllätys. Tämä oli ensi kertani museossa. Esillä oli parhaillaan espanjalaisen suunnittelija Jaime Hayonin näyttely, jonka jättimäiset keraamiset shakkinappulat olivat näyttelyn kohokohta. Kannattaa tehdä pikku piipahdus Tel Avivin ulkopuolelle Holonin kaupunkiin!

Yad Hashmona

Jos et ole käynyt Israelin matkallasi vielä Yad Hashmonassa, korjaa asia seuraavalla visiitillä! Yad Hashmona on suomalaisten perustama kibbutsin tapainen kylä ja paikka näyttääkin pieneltä palalta Suomea hirsitaloinen. Ainoastaan ympäristöä katsellessa huomaa ettei ihan kotimaassa olla: vuoret ympäröivät paikkaa ja maisemat ovat uskomattoman kauniit.

Yad Hashmona perustettiin 80-luvun alussa niiden kahdeksan juutalaisen muistolle, jotka lähetettiin Suomesta Saksaan toisen maailmansodan aikana. Tämä porukka, yhtä lukuunottamatta, menehtyi Auschwitzissa. Joukko kristittyjä suomalaisia halusi ikuistaa näiden juutalaisten surullisen kohtalon ja nimi Yad Hashmona tarkoittaakin “kahdeksan muistolle”.

Yad Hashmonassa voi yöpyä, käydä kävelyllä Biblical Gardenissa ja lempparini: perjantai-brunssilla. Brunssipöytä notkuu herkkuja, joten tänne kannattaa varautua tulemaan tyhjällä mahalla. Keittiöväki puristaa tuoremehun tuoreista appelsiineistä, omeletti valmistuu pyynnön mukaan ja kun vielä santsaa lautasen pienten juustoloiden juustoja, salaatteja, piiraita ja kakkuja sekä valitsee pöydän sään salliessa ulkoa, ei brunssi tästä parane. Varaa paikka etukäteen, sillä brunssi on todella suosittu ja paikat varataan aina täyteen!

Eilat jeep tour

Lopuksi jatkoimme Eilatiin, jossa saimme yhtenä päivänä oppaaksemme legendaarisen Alfonso Nusbaumerin, joka on muun muassa löytänyt egyptiläiset seinäkirjoitukset Timnasta.


Kamelisafarilla Eilatissa.


Yotvata-kibbutsin viereisessä Hai Bar-villieläinpuistossa näimme näitä kauniita Arabian antilooppeja (Arabian oryx), joista yksi tosin oli niin äkäinen emo, että piti painaa nopeasti kaasua ja ajaa karkuun. Emme huomanneet, että sillä oli poikanen ja olimme liian lähellä.



Viimeisenä uskollinen kuvaajamme, joka sopisi myös vietnamilaisille riisipelloille 🙂

Varda’s chicken meatballs

My dear friend Varda is known for her hospitality and great cooking. Whenever I visit her I find myself enjoying a great meal. This time she came up with absolutely delicious chicken meatballs. Many of you have probably eaten chicken meatballs before, yet the recipe Varda came up with is something else. I tried it at home, of course, and it really worked. Simple and super tasty. Enjoy! varda kukkola hicken meatballs ingredienceschicken-meatballs-by-uzi

Varda’s chicken meatballs


  • Meatballs:
  • 400gr minced chicken meat
  • 1 egg
  • ½ dl bread crumbs
  • parsley
  • 1 onion
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Sauce:
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 red hot chili peppers
  • 1 tin of crushed tomatoes (500gr)
  • 1 tin of chickpeas
  • generous splash of oil
  • 2 teaspoons of red sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons of turmeric
  • black pepper
  • salt
  • 1 table spoon sugar


  1. Start with the meatballs.
Chop the onion and parsley.
  2. Mix all the ingredients well.
  3. Make meatballs the size of ping pong balls.
  4. Fry on a pan just until the meatballs get golden color (Do not overcook, for they will go on cooking in the sauce.)
  5. Leave the meatballs aside and prepare the sauce:
  6. Chop the onion and garlic and fry in oil.
  7. Chop and add the chili.
  8. Add the crushed tomatoes.
  9. Add sweet paprika, turmeric and black pepper.
  10. Balance the final taste with salt and sugar.
  11. Let simmer slowly for 20 min.
  12. Add the chickpeas and the meat balls to the sauce and cook slowly for another 20 min.
  13. Serve with rice.
chicken meatballs a la varda