Finland, Lifestyle, Travelling

Summer vacation in Oulu

cof

August is a perfect time to escape Spain. Days are unbearable at times, very hot and humid, so we decided it was the perfect time to go to Finland!

I hadn’t spent time in Finland during summer in a long time and I can tell that I really missed it. Finland is at its best during summertime and the beauty of the nature is astonishing. The air is fresh and in August you don’t have too many mosquitoes so you can spend a lot of time outside. We were lucky with the weather and we were able to do many things in the nature and bike around my hometown Oulu.

We had a very relaxing holiday, we were mainly sleeping, cycling and of course eating. I wanted to show my boyfriend the best spots in Oulu but also I wanted to spend time with my family as much as I could because we don’t see each other too often. I highly recommend you to travel to Oulu if you enjoy nature and you like to explore places by bike, it’s a very relaxed city. Oulu is wonderful to cycle around: there’s no place you can’t go by bike and if you can’t you don’t need to go there, there’s probably nothing.

I hadn’t even realised how well structured Oulu is until my boyfriend mentioned it. The city center is very compact and it’s easy to walk through. All the shops are nicely located and and whatever you try to look for, you can find it easily. It was really funny to explore Oulu with a person who comes from a city with 20 million people, Oulu is fairly small in comparison, it only has 200 000 inhabitants. He definitely had a different perspective towards things. Also introducing your hometown to someone is a great experience because you see your city from a different perspective. I highly recommend you to introduce your city to someone! πŸ˜€

During the summertime you can see that Oulu is much more alive than during winter. What my boyfriend noticed was that sometimes it feels like you are in a ghost town because there are not that many people outside. That was funny because during winter the experience is even more hardcore: there really is no one outside when it’s dark and cold. For the first visit I recommend summertime unless you are a person that enjoys cold and dark weather and likes to be alone. πŸ˜€

I Β put together a list with a few “must do” things in Oulu, so here we go!

  1. Ride a bicycle, definitely the best way to explore the city and its surroundings. Just by cycling close to “Oulujoki” river you’ll have the best view.

Processed with VSCO with c6 preset

Processed with VSCO with c8 preset

Processed with VSCO with c8 preset

It’s a floating sauna + waffle bar that you can rent. I wouldn’t mind chilling there with my friends enjoying cold drinks and jumping into the river after sauna!

Processed with VSCO with c7 preset

2. Visit the “Ainolan puisto” park in the city center.

It’s just wonderful, I have nothing to add.

Processed with VSCO with c9 preset

Processed with VSCO with c3 preset

When I was little I used to jump on these rocks and of course I had always wet feet after that.

Processed with VSCO with c3 preset

3. Visit the “Nallikarin majakka” lighthouse and the “Nallikari” seashore.

The beach is very beautiful and if you go there in the evening you can see a beautiful sunset! There is also a restaurant and a big spa (not in the lighthouse but close to it).

Processed with VSCO with c2 preset

Processed with VSCO with c8 preset

4. Enjoy nature and roast sausages (the best ones are called “Kabanossi”) over a fire. We went to this place called “Koiteli” which is about 45 min away from Oulu. But there are a lot of places closer to Oulu too. Don’t forget to buy this mustard called “Turun sinappi” which is the best mustard ever made.

Processed with VSCO with c7 preset

Processed with VSCO with c7 preset

Processed with VSCO with c9 preset

5. Head over to “Snooker Time” bar.

Alcohol is very expensive in Finland so in Snooker Time you can get some cheap beer. 0,5 liters is 5 euros, wich is very cheap if you compare to other bars. I remember one time paying 10 euros for a beer in Helsinki city center! Also the toilets are entertaining in Snooker Time because you can find some nice “toilet art” there (love letters and cursing words + many other things, some of them are actually funny). The bar is in two floors and downstairs you can also play pool. Sorry, I forgot to take pictures. πŸ˜€

Address: Asemakatu 28, 90100 Oulu

6. Eat a tasty burger at Kauppuri 5 burgerbar.

I really love this comfy place and their burgers, the kitchen closes at 2:00 AM but I recommend going during daytime because the quality of the burgers is better, in my opinion. πŸ˜€ My favourite one is the goat cheese burger. Also the fries and the different flavoured mayos are very good.

Processed with VSCO with c2 preset

Processed with VSCO with c2 preset

Address: Kauppurienkatu 5, 90100 Oulu

7. Take a picture with “Toripoliisi” the Market police.

When you go to the city center you can meet there a chubby police officer who takes care of the citizens. He is a very chill guy, when I was younger I saw some young people standing on top of him and drinking and he didn’t mind but then the real police came… So, don’t go too wild with the pictures!

Processed with VSCO with c8 preset

Thats it!

So now you have something to do every day at least for a week if you one day you end up in Oulu. There are a lot of other things to do and explore but those were just my favourite ones. I’m not a holiday expert but I’ve experienced some and I can tell that the best way to keep your holiday nice and relaxed is to only have one activity per day. If you try to do too many things you’ll miss the nice relaxed feeling that Oulu has to offer. People from Oulu are known as laid back nice people that speak a funny Finnish dialect.

So, go to Oulu, it’s a very nice place!

– Eeva –

 

 

 

Standard
Badalona, Barcelona, Montgat, Thoughts, Travelling

MONTGAT – and some thoughts about travelling

cof

During our Easter holiday we decided to go on a little trip to Montgat.Β Montgat is a little town about 16km away from Barcelona. The road there is simple: you just have to follow the coastline. Barcelona is a great city for bikers and they are building new bike lines all the time. The weather in Barcelona is sunny most of the year so it’s optimal for biking. If you ever travel to Barcelona I recommend you to explore it by bike.

sdr

I’ve lived in Barcelona now for almost two years and I’m a bit ashamed that I don’t know much about towns that are close to Barcelona. My resolution for the year 2018 was that I have to explore Barcelona’s outskirts more. There are so many places to see and little villages to visit. For a long time I’d been so focused on travelling far that I’d forgotten to focus on my surroundings. When I lived in Finland I was always planning the next trip and constantly dreaming about new places to go. I was waiting for the next holiday to be able to travel and go somewhere else. Moving to Barcelona changed my travelling habits and for the first time I realised that I didn’t even want to go anywhere.

sdr

It’s important to love the city you live in. Previously I thought that it was normal to have this feeling where you constantly wanted to be somewhere else. I’m not saying that I don’t want to travel anymore because that’s a lie but let’s say I’m a lot more relaxed about it. That has a lot to do with the fact that I love the city I live in now, it’s very relieving to realise that you don’t need to escape anymore. πŸ˜€ This time instead of planning the next trip we packed our backpacks went biking..

cof

.. and it really did work out!

cof

I enjoyed our day trip so much. The weather was beautiful and the hill we stopped at was totally worth visiting. The road to Montgat was very nice and interesting because you see the modern side of Barcelona and also go trough the beautiful boulevard in Badalona. I had this feeling like I was far away from Barcelona and even though you might love the place you are in, it’s normal to want to disconnect for a moment. In the evening I was happy to bike back home without passing any airport security checks or sweating in a metro.

cof

Boulevard in Badalona

cof

So whenever you feel like you want to be somewhere else or your next holiday feels like a distant dream, do a day trip. Pack some food and go somewhere near where you still haven’t been. After that if you still feel like you need to leave, maybe you can think about buying plane tickets, but at least give it a try. πŸ˜€

cof

I would definitely bike to Montgat again and I’m sure at least we will sit in the boulevard in Badalona. The reason why I even wanted to go there was that I’d heard that there were a lot of cats everywhere but this time we didn’t see any! I have to say that I was looking forward to seeing the cats but even without cats the day trip was successful. πŸ˜€

– Eeva –

 

 

Standard
Travelling

ANDORRA

cof

Me and my friends rented a car and drove to Andorra after Christmas. We spent four days and three nights there. Andorra is a beautiful country located between Spain and France, it is the sixth-smallest nation in Europe and has about 78 000 inhabitants.

The drive from Barcelona to Andorra la Vella, the capital of Andorra, takes about 3 hours depending on the traffic. On our way there I thought that the traffic was bad since we had to queue for 45 minutes before crossing the border. However, on our way back to Barcelona I found out we hadn’t actually queued for that long, the poor people who were trying to get into Andorra to celebrate their New Year were experiencing a much longer waiting time than we did. The line was huge and barely moved forward! I highly recommend you to download as much music as you can if you are travelling by car during the holidays. Being stuck in traffic is not that bad if you are listening to a new album or updated playlist.

I also recommend not to drink too much water on the way because of certain situations you might face as a woman. I definitely didn’t have fun at some point due to the amount of water I had consumed…

sdr

City Center of Andorra la Vella.

cof

This is how Andorra la Vella welcomed us. The day was cloudy and during the evening it started snowing. I was excited because that just meant fresh snow for the mountains. We dropped our luggage in our Airbnb and went out for dinner. After eating we had to do some last minute outerwear shopping since a few people in our group were not ready to face the snow at all. Then we decided just to relax and get a good night’s rest so that we would be ready to hit the slopes the next day.

I was surprised by how cheap Andorra is, we shopped at this supermarket called Andorra 2000, where you can get everything from clothes to food to cosmetics to hard liquor for a really low price.

cof

The next day we drove to Grandvalira which is the most popular ski resort and the largest one in the Pyrenees, the weather was cloudy and I was hoping to see a little bit of sun but this time the weather wasn’t really on our side. Apparently Andorra is a really sunny place but during our visit the weather was cloudy, snowy and sometimes rainy. I will definitely have to go back to see the sunny slopes too.

When it comes to skiing and snowboarding, prices are average. A day ticket for one person costs around 49 euros in Grandvalira. The nice surprise was that renting equipment wasn’t that expensive. We rented two helmets, one pair of skis (with sticks included), one pair of skiing boots, one pair of snowboarding boots and a snowboard all together for 36 euros for the day. I think that’s a decent price for two people.

cof

cof

sdr

cof

At around 5 PM the weather got really bad but luckily Grandvalira closes at that exact time so we were able to take advantage of our full day ticket. If you want to avoid traffic I recommend to leave the mountains just before closing time so that you don’t have to queue for a really long time. It took us an hour and a half to get back to the centre of Andorra la Vella since we left more than an hour after the slopes were closed. Also if you are renting a car make sure that you have snow chains for your tires and know how to put them on because it’s a long and boring process (at least for first timers).

cof

Escaping the weather…

cof

sdr

I hadn’t been snowboarding in a long time and being the whole day outside made me fall asleep on our way back to the centre. I have to say that in the end the traffic didn’t bother me that much but I can’t say the same for our driver. πŸ˜€

In the evening we went to eat in a restaurant called Pinosa. I will write about that beautiful restaurant later on because it deserves its own post.

cof

cof

On the third day our friend Fernando invited us to relax in this amazing spa called Caldea. As I had mentioned before I hadn’t been snowboarding in a long time and I was definitely feeling it in my legs so going to the spa was the perfect activity to rest our bodies. I have to say that I’m not that much of a spa person but this one was really impressive. As you can see from the picture below the spa building is massive.

sdr

My favorite feature at Caldea was the outside pool. It gave me such a surreal feeling because you can see the mountains and feel the cold air while you are relaxing in nice, warm water. I had to pinch myself to get back to reality because I couldn’t believe what I was feeling. There were also various hot rooms, saunas and cold pools to dip in. As a Finn I’m always missing the cold water and sauna combination so I was extremely happy to experience that again. Although I have to say that the sauna there wasn’t hot enough compared to the ones in Finland. πŸ˜€

Caldea was definitely a great experience and worth visiting. After melting in the spa for a while, we went for a walk in the city centre and spent the day just wandering around and eating frankfurts.

cof

sdr

cof

cof

You shouldn’t touch it but…

cof

Andorra la Vella’s main shopping street.

Finally it was time to go home. It would have been nice to spend more time there but I know we’ll be back soon since we live so close and our good friend Roger is from there. On our way back we stopped in a small city called La Seu d’Urgell. It is a cute city with funny trees! It’s also the place where the “prince of Andorra” lives. He is an old man who has the power to give advice to the Prime Minister of Andorra. There is also a cathedral that is a unique example of Romanesque art in Catalonia. That church has been there since 1110.

We went to see the cathedral, walked a bit and then continued our way back home.

dav

La Seu d’Urgell Cathedral

cof

cof

The city hall of La Seu d’Urgell.

cof

The Mexicans hanging around…

cof

sdr

cof

I was travelling with Mexican friends only, so after La Seu d’Urgell they wanted to stop at a place called Berga. As it turns out, that word means something totally different and inappropriate back in Mexico. So for them it was a lot of fun to visit such a place… πŸ˜€

I’m happy to say that I really enjoyed the whole trip back and forth, Andorra is a great place to visit if you love nature, sports and outdoor activities. The Pyrenees are a beautiful mountain range and I had a lot of fun snowboarding and exploring these slopes.

– Β Eeva –

 

 

 

 

Standard