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We traveled for the traditional “spring break” to Tallinn and focused our whole weekend to food, like every-single-time. I and my sister have a weird (and an awesome) habit of planning all our travels around food – or special beer bars… Cheers Dublin!
As we were traveling with a group of 10 people, all reservations need to be done way ahead. What did we have on the menu?
The all-time favorite of everyone who goes to Tallinn. We reserved a table way ahead and arrived at the restaurant and had our own space upstairs which just made the whole experience even better. The safest plan for Rataskaevu, in general, is to make a reservation… Even if traveling with two! Loved the food and the service again. 10/10. Three-course menu, drinks, sparkling wine and coffee (with tip) was about 45€ p.p.
We got to the legendary pancake house accidentally after drinking the morning coffee in front of our Booking.com apartment Ratakaesvu 2. Regardless of the shady door and almost invisible sign, the place was completely packed and more people were just flowing in. Since we had booked a beer tour to Pohjola Tap room already, we had to skip the pancake breakfast and come back for pre-course before the evening’s dinner.
Luckily, we got back around “pre-dinner” time and tasted about 6 different flavors. Sweet and savory. Our pack was happy, everyone found their favorite and pancakes were definitely not ruined by the price.
5-5,50€ per pancake – drinks 2,5-5€. Must visit destination! I bet this was somewhat close to a local place and no, you won’t have waitresses wearing medieval costumes.
Breakfast/lunch was planned to Peetri 5, where Põhjala Brewery – Tap Room opened a month ago. We participated on an English beer tour at 13.00 that cost us 10€ and included the history, tour at the brewery and some samples. The “Tap Room” has two floors, one for the brewery and the tours and one for an open restaurant. In the restaurant, tasting 5(?) beers was about 8€ so if you are not interested in the tour, I still recommend to taste something more than your favorite lager 😉 The unique story of Põhjala charmed us all, but the killer was the beers – and the food in the restaurant. Low prices, delicious “beer snacks” and plenty of options… Our group tasted sandwiches, mac ‘n’ cheese, fries, onion rings. This is a must place next time as well! The dishes we ordered were from 3-8€.
We had breakfast at the Pohjola Tap Room, pre-dinner at this pancake house… And yet, we all were excited to try out One Sixty restaurant. Two of our group’s youngest members actually asked if they could stay at the house and not eat anymore, but after looking at the menu, everyone was ready to go. The main courses (in the pictures) were hard to finish and people were looking places to lay down…
However, when someone heard that they have the best cheesecake and pistachio ice cream in the world, everyone got back to the table and ate like we didn’t eat anything the whole day. So, the food is great and prices are very affordable – and even if it is a meat smokery, everyone and also all vegetarians should stop by just to have the freaking delicious cheesecake served with homemade pistachio ice cream. The main course, side dish, a few beers and dessert, 18€ p.p. CAN YOU IMAGINE?!
Spoiler: After the dinner, my dear sister asked if she could move in – that’s how good it is. Haha.
Portugal. It’s a mythical place. People are friendly, everyone talks, the green and rich landscape with the decaying houses create a romantic relaxed milieu, music on every corner… And you are on the edge of Europe. For all of you who enjoy endless sandy beaches, warm welcoming culture, music (also rock music), fine seafood and excellent meat dishes – you might need to visit Portugal more than once. Obviously, Portugal is also known as a surf paradise and that’s indeed what it is. One thing though, water in July was freeeezing cold.
We spent two weeks in Portugal last July. Our group of 11 decided to combine both culture and beach – therefore, we had two Airbnbs, one in A dos Cunhados at Lisbon area and one in Portimao, Algarve. Two weeks was just enough time to get a grasp of Portugal and the Portuguese people, and for that reason, all of us are planning on going back soon.
Our travel journey, budget and practical tips
A small surfers paradise. The whole landscape was dominated by surfers vans, surf shops and surfboards.
Sights: Cabo Carvoeira Lighthouse, Fortalexa de Peniche
Tip: If you decide to walk down from Sintra back to the town (recommended), at the end of the route you can find this adorable small tapas place Tascantiga
Tips: Visit Boca do Inferno, eat at Cafe Galeria House of Wonders ,that serves vegetarian lunch, freshly made juices, smoothies and delicious desserts.
Pastel de nata, street market, music everywhere, colourfull tiles, buzzing nightlife, charming cafés and restaurants…
Tips: Breakfast sandwiches, eggs, muffins or just a cup of proper coffee at Tease
Visit Praia De Galapinhos
Gran via Tapas Bar
Tips: Kayak tour by awesome Algarve Freedom Kayaks – Delicious food and very fine selection of regional wines at Lusana Restaurante – Fish, locals and great service in O Velho Novo, Ferragudo – Best staff and tapas at Tapa Latina
Another surfers paradise..
Praia do Tonel
Praia de Benagil
Flights: Amsterdam – Lisbon; July, high season: TAP Portugal 250€
Stay: Airbnb Lisbon Area – 231€ p.p. / a week & Algarve area – 209€ p.p. / a week
Food and eating out: Eating out was cheaper than in the Netherlands of Finland. From the supermarkets, Lidl was the most budget-friendly choice and all Lidls we visited were very well equipped and had a large assortment. The restaurants averaged from 6-12€ per main dish and tapas was 2-5€ per dish.
For all activities, including restaurants, cafes etc. we spent around 800-1000€ p.p. / 2 weeks.
Rental car from Drive on Holidays
We booked through rentalcars.com to ensure that we can have a full insurance and will not be scammed at the desk. If you take a full insurance through rentalcars.com, it means that in case something happens, it will be handled through the website instead of the actual rent company. We had 0€ own risk and we were covered fully, this added the daily price by 10-15 euros but was totally worth it.
- Our amazing Airbnb hosts in A dos Cunhados
- Fish at the Lisbon Area, meat in Algarve: We noticed in the car that the landscape started to change when approaching Algarve, and surprisingly, the number of cows raised a lot. The first local told us, that the Algarve area is famous for its meat, whereas, in the Lisbon area, fish is the thing…
Oh Croatia! I In the middle of the dark period in Finland – I could not wish anything else than spending my days looking for the best beach, trying new restaurants, driving with jet skis, cruising at mountains, enjoying great people and their endless hospitality!
All together we traveled
Dubrovnik – Hvar – Split – Skradin & National Park – Zagreb – Ljubljana
Booked accommodation all with booking.com
Villa Astra – Dubrovnik, Croatia ***
Camping Vira – Hvar Island, Croatia **
Country House Peace – Drinovci, Croatia ***
(30km from Skradin & entrance of Krka National Park)
Apartment Mickey Mouse & Mini Room – Zagreb, Croatia ***
Where we ate
This amazing seafood restaurant: Gverovic Orsan – The restaurant is located on the sea, so the view is ensured. The food is good, Croatian cuisine and delicious black risotto, fresh ingredients and lovely service. Very average price within Dubrovnik – €€-€€€
Hvar and Split restaurants I cannot remember!
Asian food, good price/quality ratio, and big portions. Nice variety of choices and very fast service
Cheap burger bar that had somewhat unique burgers and french fries (cheddar explosion!!) portions were good and service very fast!
What we did
Dubrovnik: Rented a boat – Private island hopping incl. Lunch and drinks – approx. 400€ for 11 ppl – An amazing day well spent with good friends and swimming, sightseeing and eating some seafood
Hvar: Scooter rent for 24 hrs – (250 kn) the easiest way to get around the island with two people and no hassle with car rentals – We literally scootered around the whole island and saw some cute small cities.
Zagreb: Beer tasting (35 kn) – Quite some bars offer a beer tasting but the one we were at, was at the “bar street” and probably one of the biggest one with huuuge sings of their locally brewed beer
Fleet car rental – Unless you have 1200€ on your bank account or credit card use some other company! Lucky enough they did not come up with random stories as we returned the cars
Kupari – Graveyard of all inclusive
Skradin National park
- Croatians are friendly, easy going and rather direct; “harsh approach in English”: Their motto is no problem!
- Dubrovnik and Hvar were the most expensive place for us. Maybe it is due to the location or something, never really got someone to explain that.
Long time no see!
Since there haven’t been any trips that I could share tips, I decided to tackle on something about the Netherlands. (Again….)
After moving to The Netherlands 1,5years ago, I haven’t suffered from many cultural shocks and getting used to things has been quite smooth… Till one day when I realised that NO, it cannot be correct. The questions invaded my head: Is it everywhere like this? What did they think? WHY? Everyone really has dishwashers?
I started to research the topic more and soon realised that this country indeed is filled taps that are too short, small or placed very poorly.
Ladies and gentlemen: Do lots of people recognise this or admits that also their home country tends to have taps like this?
I have questions to you people, who decided for the taps of The Hague:
- How are you supposed to wash your hands under this if you are any older than 10 years old?
- How do you avoid the water going everywhere else except to your hands?
- If you decide to install this to the kitchen, have you ever washed any wok pans under this tap?
Last time when I claimed that Santa Claus comes from Finland, the ‘real one’ replied to me from Alaska. I am looking for similar impact with this post and hopefully, there is one professional who could explain/argument enough to make this right.
Some suggestions for the future:
When I heard that our next destination would be Poland, I had no idea what to expect. We arrived on Wednesday to Modlin Airport (40km from the centre of Warsaw), where we took a bus to Modlin train station and then a train to Warsaw Central. First two days we spent discovering Warsaw and on Friday we headed to Kraków for the weekend.
On our flight to Warsaw from Eindhoven (NL), we watched the movie “Schindler’s List”. For all who haven’t seen it yet, quickly go to watch it!!
What did I personally spend? And then us, a couple?
Travels in total (flights, train, bus)
20€ / 40€ roundtrip Eindhoven – Warsaw (RyanAir)
60€ / 120€ public transport in Poland
Sleeping for five nights
80,5€ / 161€ Warsaw 2 nights 69€ + Krakow 2 nights 66€ + Warsaw 1 night 26€
64,60€ / 129,15€ 3x Lunch & 5x dinner
Besides flights, we used public transport to travel Warsaw – Kraków
: 1 hr Modlin Airport to Warsaw (train + bus) approx. 9€ (38zl) [x2 in total 18€]
: 2.5 hrs from Warsaw to Kraków in Premium Intercity 35€ (150zl) [x2 in total 70€]
: 3.5 hrs from Kraków to Warsaw in normal Intercity 15€ (66zl) [x2 in total 30€]
: Single ticket for public transport approx. 90 cent (4zl) [x2 in total 1,8€]
We stayed with
Warsaw, Old Town Kanonia Hostel & Apartments
+ Location, in Old Town, middle of everything. Easy to reach from Central station of Warsaw by public transport.
+ Pleasant and friendly staff, lots of information and tips available
+ Clean, nice common spaces
– Rather loud, you could hear other people through the walls
Kraków, Welcome In Kraków Staszica
+ Location, 10 minutes walk from Kraków Old Town
+ Very nice apartment, clean and very cute decoration
+ The owners were extremely friendly and we even got some arrival chocolate
– The bed was actually a couch bed not real bed, but that was already informed in booking.com
Warsaw, Dream Loft Central
+ Friendly staff, though, the key was to be picked up from another location
+ Location was good, close to the station but only a short walk to the centre
– The building itself was a bit hidden and it reminded us from of some hounted buildings
Review: Food 8, atmosphere 9, price 7 out of 10
2 x Singha beers – 4€ (2€ or 9zl per beer)
2 x Spicy tomato soup – 2€ (1€ or 5zl per soup)
2 x Dumplings filled with duck, shrimps, salmon & pumpkin – 9€ (4,5€ or 20zl per person)
3 x Sauces – 1€ (30 cent or 1.5zl per sauce)
Review: Food 9, atmosphere 6, price 9 out of 10
Potato cakes with spicy goulash for starter 6€ (26zl)
Pork ribs 9,7€ (42zl)
Beef and rye flour dumplings 8,3€ (36zl)
Drinks 5,55€ (24zl)
Total: 29,5€ (128zl)
Review: Food 7, atmosphere 6, price 5 out of 10
Review: Taste 8, price 6, the concept 8 out of 10
Dinner for two
1 x 3 Cheese pizza with spinach 5€ (22zl)
1 x Pesto risotto with shrimps 5€ (21,50zl)
2 x Beers 18zl 4€ (18zl)
1 x Cappuccino 2€ (9zl)
Total: 16€ (70,5zl)
Review: Food 7, atmosphere 9, price 8 out of 10
Alchemia (Jewish quarters)
Lunch for two
1 x Hummus share-board 5,5€ (24,5zl)
2 x Pad Thai 7,4€ (or 3,7€, 16zl per person)
Local “John Lemon” lemonade 1,4€ (6zl)
Mango shake 1,4€ (6zl)
Total: 15,7€ (7,85€ per person)
Review: Food 8, atmosphere 4, price 7 out of 10
Vegan dinner for two
2 x Burgers – 6€ (3€ or 12.5zl per burger)
Smoothie – 2,7€ (12zl)
Ginger beer (non-alcoholic) – 2,5€ (11zl)
Total: 11.10€ (48zl) / 5.5€ per person
Review: Food 7, atmosphere 6, price 9 out of 10
At Pijalnia, all the drinks were 1€/4zl and snacks 2€/8zl. This gets a high recommendation for those who want to meet people during their trip! You will probably also see a few eating Tatar with a raw egg during the night when the hunger surprises. They also have a looong list for shots! (The shots are rather mild so you kind of have to taste something)
For my dear Finnish readers, the best picks of Polish language:
And one recommendation from supermarkets to you dear all…
– Halva bars, caramel candy and the chocolates in a bag that you can pick yourself from a big variety!
For past three months my head has been in this travel guide that I have been working on for Hotelschool The Hague where I work as an intern at the moment.
Just on time, before the holidays. It is finally done! Now everyone, please celebrate this with me and spend well the next 5 minutes by reading it from cover to cover.
Joulukuu. The Finnish word for December! Literally translated it would be “Christmas month”. Latest on December (usually in September) the windows, front yards and bushes start glittering of Christmas decoration lights. I do think (not everyone of course) that the majority of the Finns enjoy the Christmas time.
I hope everyone has an actual advent / Christmas / December calendar, with chocolate or anything else. From 1 till 24 December, I will write a series of posts related to Christmas to get everyone to the ultimate mood!
The mood-booster for 1 & 2 December – My Christmas month
I will tell how Christmas usually goes for me. Earlier I wrote about Santa Claus… And even got a respond from the official Santa Claus from Alaska (read here: Sinterklaas and Joulupukki (a.k.a Santa Claus) ). To respect both (the one living in Alaska and the one we have living at the North Pole) – I leave it here.
The wait till the Christmas Eve usually goes pretty much the same,
Delicious Christmas treats
Sometimes lucky enough, real Northern joys
The famous sister and some lake skating…
And when the big day arrives, after days of sweating and arguing with family members due to the preparations and how everyone is stressed, busy and tired…
24 December starts by Morning Sauna. Followed by rice porridge, topped with cinnamon and one almond hidden in it – The lucky one who gets the almond from the porridge, get extra luck and success for the coming year. (It can also mean getting married for singles, boy child for one who doesn’t have kids, a must to give a speech right now or a chance to make a secret wish)
As soon as these are done, is time to put on the Christmas outfit and as soon as everyone is at the door screaming – My lovely sister usually yells all of us back to watch the 12 O’clock “Christmas Peace Declaration”.The declaration is given in Turku (The ex-capital city of Finland). The declaration is read from a vintage paper roll and the first declaration took place already in 1320. In the beginning, it was read only in Swedish but the turn was around 1710 to Finnish and since then it has been read in both official languages (Swedish/Finnish). The speech is in total only a few minutes and after that the national anthem is played. All in one the declaration takes less than 10, but yearly, over thousands of people are present in Turku to hear it.
Usually, around this time the family heads to the graveyard to remember those who already left, or sometimes if the visit has been the day before, our family is allowed to take a small break. The ‘official’ programme of Christmas starts after all of this. The most important, visiting the family and relatives means also food and having lunch/dinner very slowly going through the whole year and all the exciting events. If you get through this without less than 10 arguments, the Christmas Eve in considered successful!
-> Rest of the evening is the most fun, unwrapping the gift and eating! Playing board games, listening to music, real family time. On 24 December, there is some kind of magic in the air. Especially if it is white snow or even snowing!
Finnish Christmas by Buzzfeed:
Every time I get mad of not understanding what is happening around me, or someone makes a remark of the effort they are putting to speak English to me… I think of the same question: Why I find it annoying to speak about language matters?
I have put an effort on learning Dutch. I studied half a year in school and took private lessons, however, since I haven’t been learning for a while, my progress has been slower recently. My level in Dutch is high enough that I can’t fully block what is happening around me, but low enough to not to have courage to speak it too much.
No blame for the Dutch, they have treated me well by speaking English all the time and the times they forgot, it doesn’t really matter. I guess in my home country, it is harder to get people to speak English anyway. Many countries still struggle with shyness of speaking other language, or the lack of learning other languages…
Should I speak English to be polite or Dutch for you to learn? Should she say to me if she wants me to speak English? Should I ask everyone in this table to speak English because she is here? Will I ever be fluent enough that they don’t switch to English? Will they ever know how this feels? Does it stay like that or do I feel 100% like home once?
Annoying to speak about language matters?
First of all. It is annoying because
- I still have not figured out, should they speak Dutch for me to learn or English to be polite
- It makes me miss my language and how free I feel while speaking it
- My English / Finnish vocabulary is not comparable
Besides these, it took a year to figure, but because
Other people have the power to decide for you whether you want to listen, comment, answer or pay attention… How many times have you heard, or said yourself? “We spoke in English, because it was boring and nothing important to you”... See, there it is. A decision you made, or they made, for them or for you.
Just to clarify, I’m not complaining. More like thinking.
We arrived to Budapest Airport with not much knowledge of Hungary nor Budapest. Four days later we are in love with the city and I personally wouldn’t mind moving there.
Let’s go through how our Budapest trip was.
We flew with Transavia for 54 EUR per person / roundtrip
We stayed with
Friends Hostel & Apartments Budapest
Two people, friday to monday 93 EUR (about 23 EUR / a night)
+ Helpful and very friendly stuff
+ Private apartment, excellent location. On the other side of the road of the Terror House
+ Right next to the Street Cakes where to get traditional the “Chimney cake”, but filled either with ice cream, whipped cream or chocolate sauce or all of those, topped with Kitkat, bounty or whatever is on the counter. Definetely worth of a visit! Two friendly girls running the shop
We ate at
First night, hungry and amused by the city, first restaurant where we saw Duck on the menu – that was it. A busy restaurant, good food and nice Hungarian wines. Chili sweet potato fries and blue cheese mayo for starter, and duck potato bed for the main. 3.5/5
Everywhere you travel – remember to taste a burger in a local restaurant. Since I can’t get enough of blue cheese burgers, I tried Zing’s blue cheese burger. The best burger place is still in Prague and Zing will get 3/5.
Sao Food & Bar
We found our way to this restaurant by accident, but as the dishes came, both of us were surprised and overjoyed. Best Asian restaurant so far! 5/5
Budapest Market Hall
The Lángos at the market is a bit more expensive than in other shops, but to get the full market hall experience, we had to taste it! All in one, the whole market hall is great. 4/5
Sunday in Budapest did not close only most of the shops, but some of the restaurants as well. First we tried Ramenka, and then Sao – both closed. Padthai wokbar was the first wok place to come across so that was it then! At padthai wokbar you could create your own wok, choosing from many options! Wok was fresh, spicy and budget friendly, and the quality surprised us both!
Breakfast at Hummusbar. A humus pita with veggies and an egg. Different, delicious and friendly staff. 4/5
The most famous ice cream shop of Budapest – As an ice cream lover, I was amazed that with such a “small effort” you can do something so pretty and capturing. I have a ice cream cone tattooed on to my leg, but when I saw the masterpieces of Gelarto Rosa, I thought of taking another one. 5/5
We had drinks and fun at
We visited these touristic attractions (and much more…)
We used this much
The trip (traveling & hostel) = 54 + 46.5 = 100.5 EUR
Dinner for two = 20-25 EUR including 10% tip
Drinks for two (one round) = 5 EUR
Next time we want to do this
- This time we missed the famous baths, so for the next trip baths will be number one
- “Ramenka” – a ramen restaurant needs a try! Now when I think of the trip, I know we saw so much but there is still so much more. More restaurants to try, districts to discover, castles to visit, explore the nature, go on the Sziget Festival….
- Cash is always good to have – In some of the restaurants you can only pay by cash, and most of the bars accepts only cash
- Most of the shops are closed on Sundays or have reduced opening hours. Besides the shops, your favourite restaurant might be closed then as well. (That happened to us) Check the opening hours in advance!
- Don’t forget to tip