• BLOG
  • Nightless Night Luxury in Rovaniemi

    Tiina Kivelä Hyvä retki

    A strong warm wind messing up my hair. The bright sun which makes all the blonde hair and blue eyes around me shine like the finest of silk and the most exotic of jewels. Street covered with umbrellas and people of all ages dancing salsa on a roof terrace. The bars serving their own signature Negronis.

    Where am I?

    Late last night, sitting in a new restaurant in Rovaniemi, in the Arctic Circle, far up north, I couldn’t help thinking that although small, the scenes of the evening could have happened in any modern city in the world. Or well, in the hipster quarters. We could have been in Stockholm, Copenhagen, Bilbao, even Zürich. At least until the night came and the sun didn’t show any signs of going down. The signature of Lapland.

     I landed here on Wednesday and so far it’s been a perfect summer getaway, despite few confusions. I’ve gotten into sauna – taking care of my wellness – and running in the trails of Ounasvaara. And I’ve had a lovely adult evening, first having drinks at the roof terrace Mökki, of Hostel Café Koti (which is definitely not the kind of hostel you’re used to) and continuing the evening to the recently opened Roka Wine & Kitchen, the second establishment of the par behind another Rovaniemi favorite of mine, Roka Street Bistro.

    While Mökki is the best terrace in town, with dance lessons, palju and sauna option (though just today a rival will be opened by the guys behind Café Bar 21 and Yuca, other favourites of mine) Roka Wine & Kitchen made the best first impression I’ve ever had with a restaurant/wine bar. Excellent wine selection and service (don’t ask for wine list, ask for staff which acts as the walking and talking winelist), stylish decoration (check especially the tableware and the counter covered with white tiles) and simple yet delicious menu, comprised mostly of local ingredients.

    These made a perfect day already, but for my two week’s Lapland trip I have also on my list the gelateria of Cafe Bar 21 – the closest establishment of which I have very conveniently close my northern home – an activity day at Kesärafla, pizza’s at Pure Pizza, drinks and maybe a breakfast in Arctic Light Hotel, the current exhibitions at Korundi, and a trip or two further up north, to the national parks and my family.

    I’ve pinned all my Rovaniemi tips in the map, link to which below the pics, and will be updating all my Lapland tips during these weeks, so stay tuned for more Lapland adventures and tips, which I hope will be helpful if and when you will pay for this awesome place and the midnight sun (fyi, this year the nightless nights season in Rovaniemi is from June 6th to July 7th) a visit some day.

    Until that, adventure, eat and drink well.

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä Hyvä retki

     

    Tiina Kivelä Hyvä retki

    Tiina Kivelä


    Where: Rovaniemi, guide

    Roka Kitchen & Winebar Koskikatu 8

    Mökki, Valtakatu 21

  • BLOG
  • When Tiina Goes Hel(sinki)

    Tiina Kivelä

    I spent last weekend in Helsinki, meeting friends, tasting wine and browsing books. It was very snowy the first day – of course I bring snow with me – then it was very rainy – perfect reason to spent day in hotel bed – and all in all, it was an ok weekend. Helsinki isn’t my favorite city, quite the opposite, but it works well enough for short visits like this.  And why wouldn’t it, for that price…

    And an ok trip can give a lot too. Here’s my takeout from the weekend, in random order. Contains  references to wine, coffee, cheese, literature, personal history and struggles, and athleisure. Like any good trip.

    Helsinki Lessons

    • It could be Girl of the North Country – but I’m not changing the title right away.
    • New Zealand makes excellent sparkling, champagne method – until now I’ve been mostly Marlborough pinot noir & sauvignon blanc kinda girl, but now I have bubbly for the holiday season too – by Lindauer.
    • I remember drinking Spy Valley Riesling somewhere in good company and I’m pretty sure it had something to do with Stockholm and one American… It was good then and it was good this weekend too.
    • The best strangers remember your jewelry, even if and when they don’t sparkle like diamonds – greetings to the Vinum guys, for remembering and for the excellent wine and service.
    • There is a difference between 4 CHF Swiss pinot noir, 20€ Californian pinot noir and 50€ Californian pinot noir. I really wish I could afford the last more often. And accompany it with a road trip and surfing in California. Lucienne, you took my heart.
    • Swiss gruyere is still the best cheese ever – and Italian truffle pasta is an excellent invention as well.
    • Vegan cook books and self help for women are so trendy, when it comes to literature – while I stick to Tove Jansson – she  was an awesome writer, artist and I can easily resonate with her thoughts and writings, especially when it comes to traveling and human nature (and I like the fact that she’s illustrated a version of Hobbit, which has literary references to my Swiss home region too
    • Helsinki weather sucks. Therefore, you should go really north or stay south. Leave Slush for people trying hard to be cool (while they could come North and see how authentic cool looks like) or enjoy the sun for me too.
    • I should use hotel gyms more often. I don’t really like going to a gym, but I don’t travel enough to get bored in hotel gyms. And if and when the Helsinki weather, gym is better than run.
    • Deat Poet is an excellent drink (and suits literary theme of early winter / holiday season) but so is El Matador as well – both from Chapter.
    • Understanding which ticket to buy to Helsinki City Centre from Helsinki Airport is impossible. Though, with more time and energy, it could be made as an extreme sport. How to not get lost or not get fined for traveling in Finland.
    • If you have the time and energy, go and get your coffee in Helsinki Airport from Johan & Nyström, even if it’s far from your gate – it will be as expensive as coffee generally is in Helsinki Airport (it’s HEL for a reason, it seems – though a very beautiful hell), but it’s definitely worth the money and effort, compared to others in there –  and it also gives you a nice opportunity and reason, if you even need one, for a  little workout between flights – but watch out for the crowds and toilet lines, which makes being on time and surviving the journey without a bruise kind of an a challenge.

    In other words, Helsinki is not a leisure destination. It’s an extreme resort. Cheer’s for that.

    I’m now back to North, where it’s snow and around -15°C . That calls for Nordic skiing and sauna after work. Writing and pics will follow. And like always something is already in here and here. For more Helsinki and Lapland tips, you may also check #tiinagoeshel and for lapland #tiinagoeslapland.

    Keep yourself warm and enjoy Halloween safely!

     

    Tiina Kivelä

     

  • BLOG
  • Exploring Ticino – Monte San Giorgio

    Tiina Kivelä

    Ticino’s the sunny side of Switzerland, they said. And after last Sunday I can pass the message on, with empirical proof. Past year, many people and magazine pages have advised, especially during the rainy months of Bernese Oberland, to visit Italy or at least Ticino, as it’s said to be almost always sunny in there. It tempted me, but since it hasn’t rained so much (or even better; it’s been snowing) and there’s been enough of exploring at home in the Jungfrau Region, it took me a while to get myself further. But last Sunday, on my birthday, when it was pouring rain in Interlaken,  as it regularly does during these months, which further on didn’t allow any nice hiking or biking or climbing or skiing at home, my road trip wishes were answered. And so I got a ride and the crew to Ticino, with the mission of hiking to the top of Monte San Giorgio and eating some pizza in Italy.

    Ticino’s only three hours away from Interlaken, so it’s almost perfect for a day trip and just perfect for a weekend getaway (next time hotel and biking too, please). Not to mention that it’s just an hour drive away from Milan if you’re interested in flying nearby. But luckily we didn’t need to fly this time; all we did was took the car and drove away. After the Gotthard tunnel (of course I had google how the story of the fire goes in that loooong tunnel – btw when did they start offering 4G in road tunnels?!) the rain stopped and the sky turned cloudy but dry. Moreover, the roadside signs turned to Italian; it was like going abroad, even though we weren’t even officially on the Italian side yet.

    Tiina Kivelä

     Finally in Ticino, after the drive and 10min hunt for the parking spot, we hit the trail through this forest towards our destination, the top of Monte San Giorgio (which holds an UNESCO status, btw), in where the greatest birthday surprise was waiting for me: it was sunny, and the views were just breathtaking. The “Sunday walk” kind of hike didn’t really do the job, but the snow-topped Swiss alps in the north, Italy in the south, the lakes, and the green hills of Ticino took my breath away, big time. And when the day ended just a short drive further to the Italian side, with pizza and wine, panna cotta and espresso, I hugged my crew and said that this was definitely one of the best, if not even the best, birthday I’ve ever had. My favourite people, food, drinks and mountains. La grande bellezza. Only thing missing was the sea and gelato, but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time when I get the crew to Finale Ligure or Ascona, for even more Italian outdoors fun. Or I might just return to Ticino with more time and my bike, as it was already more than fine in here.



    Pizza: La Ghironda, Viggiù