Finland, Lifestyle, Travelling

Summer vacation in Oulu

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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! 馃榾

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. 馃榾

I 聽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.

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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!

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

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

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

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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).

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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.

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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. 馃榾

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. 馃榾 My favourite one is the goat cheese burger. Also the fries and the different flavoured mayos are very good.

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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!

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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 –

 

 

 

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Barcelona, Food, Restaurant

CASA L脫PEZ

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If you are travelling to Barcelona or you live in Barcelona and you haven’t visited Casa L贸pez, you have to go there as soon as you can. I have to thank our friend Roger again for showing us this wonderful restaurant. Casa L贸pez is a perfect name for this place, since the interior reminds me of someone’s house. After discovering this place, we have been there many times and it has always been great! I’ve always wanted to find our own “go to”- bar and we finally have it!

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As you can see above, they have several different “Tapas” on the menu. Prices are decent and well, the quality is great! They also have sandwiches but we still haven’t tried them. One day we will!

If you like cheese I recommend you to try this “Tabla Queso Curado”. That cheese has a lot of flavor without being too strong and the size of the plate is proper. It’s a perfect starter and I recommend you to try it with “Tapa de Fuet”. “Fuet” is a Catalan sausage and this particular one in Casa L贸pez is just perfect! It is cut into nice, thin slices which won’t stay long on the plate as soon as everyone has a taste of it.

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We also ordered “Tortilla de Patata” which is a Spanish omelette. I would say that the best ones I have tried so far have been in Casa L贸pez and in Pinosa. The problem with “Tortilla de patata” is usually that it’s overcooked and dry. This one is nicely cooked, soft and tasty. My favorite dish in Casa L贸pez is “Chocos”. They are basically small calamari and they are super delicious! Usually when we have tried calamari they haven’t had that much flavor BUT these are definitely the exception, they’re the best ones I have tried so far. They have a lot of flavor, they are not oily and they are perfectly fried.

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Above you can see classic “Croquetas de Jamon Iberico” and a big “Bomba de carne”. Bomba is a fried ball of potato and meat with sauce on top. In Finland we have this dish called “lihaperunasoselaatikko” and I would say that this is only a fatter and tastier version of that. So far this has been the best “bomba” I have tried in Barcelona.

The potatoes above are the “all-i-oli” version, they are really good but in my opinion the spicy “Patatas Bravas” are a bit better. If you like garlic, I recommend you to try the ones above. I like both sauces a lot and my inner potatolover approves the flavor of the potatoes. They are soft and nicely roasted! We also tried the meatballs which are really juicy and tender, they are cooked in a tomato sauce with peas and mushrooms which is perfect for dipping some bread into! The combination is wonderful and it’s hard to tell which exact flavor makes them so tasty.

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We finished everything!!

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Digestivos, amazing as always! This one is Orujo de Hierbas.

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As you can see I’m the biggest fan of Casa L贸pez and the only thing left to say is: “just go there!”. The only “bad” thing is that it’s usually full and maybe you have to wait for a table a bit, but I think that is always the case what comes to good restaurants. I’d recommend to arrive at around 7 pm in order to not spend time waiting for a table, they also open during midday but I’ve only been there for dinner so I’m not sure about the situation at that time.

Another great thing is that it’s located in Gracia and that is my favorite area in Barcelona. I can’t wait for Spring to come and have a cold drink under the sun at Placa del Sol (a nearby square) after eating in Casa L贸pez. 馃榾

Casa L贸pez

Carrer del Topazi 11,

08012,

Barcelona

– Eeva –

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Food, Restaurant

PINOSA

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Pinosa is an amazing restaurant. Our friend Roger is from Andorra and he told us that they have the best tapas in the city and we had to try them. I have to say that after eating there I can totally agree with him and I’m forever thankful that he showed us this beautiful place. If you ever travel to Andorra, I highly recommend you to eat there!

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When we arrived to the restaurant I didn’t know what to expect. Pinosa is a restaurant that is cozy, warm and has few tables. The atmosphere is relaxed, similar to someone’s living room. Roger had reserved a table in advance and I recommend you to do that if you come with a big group of people. We got a nice round table which made the dinner comfortable and enjoyable.

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The bread you see above is the classic “Pa amb tom脿quet”, which is considered Catalan cuisine’s most recognisable dish. Just thinking about that bread makes me so hungry! I know bread itself can sometimes be a bit boring and it’s usually there as an extra but this bread is a completely different experience. This “pan con tomate” was the best I have ever tried. I didn’t know that bread with tomato, salt and olive oil could taste so good.

We got some Iberic ham and cheese with the bread and the combination was wonderful. The ham was nicely cut and it just melted in your mouth. The cheese was super tasty and worked perfectly together with the bread. I was surprised about the size of the cheese plate. Usually when you order cheese you get few thin slices and it’s super expensive. That cheese plate was nothing like a regular cheese plate from your typical tapas place.

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The owner of the restaurant recommended this “Marques de Ter谩n” wine. I’m not a wine expert but the wines from Rioja have usually been good and this particular red wine was very good. I wish I could tell you more about its flavors but I’ll leave it to the experts. As a reference, we drank the whole bottle. 馃槈

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Since Andorra is not located near the ocean, it’s not a place you would expect to eat good seafood. However, this Galician style octopus (pulpo a la Gallega) was surprisingly good. I would definitely eat it again. It was perfectly cooked.

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Ricardo and Fernando (the Mexicans) enjoying tapas.

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Can we talk a little bit about that “tortilla de patata”? I completed el Camino de Santiago in October 2016, it involved waking up at six in the morning, walking around 20 km per day and eating one small “tortilla de patata” almost every afternoon. “Tortilla de patata” is a Spanish potato omelette which is probably the most common dish served in Spain. It seems like it’s easy to cook since it’s basically just eggs and potatoes but it’s not. During the month I was walking to Santiago I tried several omelettes but this one was in a whole new level. It was nicely cooked and full of flavor.聽The “Croquetas” were also very good. They weren’t oily at all and a joy to chew on.

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By the end of the night we ordered a “digestivo” and we got this bottle of Orujo. It is commonly believed that a shot of this liquor will help you digest the insane amount of food you’ve just eaten. I don’t know if it helped me that much because I couldn’t walk normally after that dinner, I could hardly breathe, but in a good way. 馃榾

Overall, all I want to say is that if you ever visit Andorra, go to Pinosa. In the end we each paid around 24 euros with two (or maybe three) drinks included. Taking into account the amount of food and the quality, I believe the price was completely fair. Service was good and since the restaurant is not that big the atmosphere was fun and intimate.

Restaurant La Pinosa

11 C Carrer de La Unio,

Andorra la Vella AD500,

Andorra

– Eeva –

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