• 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.



    FI: Voihan Pyhä Yrjö (San Giorgio), mikä paikka.  Tämä Ticino siis, jonne suuntasimme sunnuntaina juhlistamaan syntymäpäivääni. Interlaken tervehti kyseisenä aamuna sateella, kuten tähän aikaan täällä asiaan kuuluu, ja ainoa kuivalta vaikuttanut kolkka oli säätiedotuksen mukaan  Luganon seutu. Syntymäpäivän, ja huonon kotiseudun sään (ei kiipeilyä, ei pyöräilyä, ei vaellusta tai hiihtoa) varjolla sain siis helposti hankittua matkaan autokyydin ja mukavan seuran, sekä idean valloitettavasta huipusta. Ja niin suuntasimme aamulla auton keulan kohti Ticinoa, läpi Gotthardin (surullisen)kuuluisan tunnelin ja sumuisten maisemien.

    Vielä Meridessä autolle parkkipaikan löydettyämme ja kohti Monte San Giorgion huippua suuntaavalle polulle astuttuamme taivasta peitti ohut pilviverho, joka ei kuitenkaan haitannut nauttimasta kävelystä läpi vihreän metsän ja ohi viiniköynnösten, heinäsirkkojen sirityksen säestyksellä. Lopulta UNESCO -stauksestakin nauttivan vuoren huipulle päästyämme sain vieläpä ihan parhaan syntymäpäiväyllätyksen taivaan auettua ja aurinkon lämmitäessä lepohetkeen asettuvia matkalaisia. Pakko kai nyt on uskoa kaikkia niitä vakuutuksia, että Ticinossa paistaa aina.

    Leppoisan sunnuntaikävelyn jälkeen nälkäisinä ja janoisina päätimme vielä ajaa muutaman ylimääräisen kilometrin Italian puolelle, jossa muutaman neuvonpidon (kiitos italainen seuralainen tulkkauksesta) jälkeen löysimme tiemme erinomaisen antipastin, pizzan, viinin, panna cottan ja espressokupillisten äärelle. Siinä kohtaa myönnän hyvin epäsuomalaiseen tapaan halanneeni seuralaisiani tiukasti, ja todenneeni kyseessä olleen yksi parhaista, ellei paras syntymäpäivä.

    Ticino on Interlakenista vain kolmen tunnin ajomatkan päässä (ja Milanosta vain vajaan tunnin) ja vaikka se näin soveltuukin hyvin päiväretkeilyyn, voisin suositella  sitä jopa vielä enemmän yhden tai kahden yön reissua alueelle. Itse ajattelin seuravalla kerralla varata mukaan myös pyörä, ja aikaa uimiseen ja gelatolle.


    Pizza: La Ghironda, Viggiù

  • BLOG
  • THIS WAS MILAN SEPTEMBER 2016

    Tiina Kivelä

    EN: My decision to visit Milan few weeks back came last minute, so I didn’t really plan or decide what to do before I was there. But what a good last minute decision it was to go there for a few nights, just in the dawn of Milan Fashion Week 2016. I got some great tips from a girl from Milan (soon to be my colleague) and want to share them with you too (see after pictures). Unfortunately this time I didn’t have the time to try all of the tips I was given, but I’m sure I’ll visit the city many times from now on. That lovely it was, and not the “too busy and too expensive” place, as many of my other acquaintances warned me. Brussels trained me well I guess…

    And if you have visited Milan or other cool places in Northern Italy, free to share your tips in the comments and ask further questions about mine. I’m happy to answer and also hear what to not miss around here, as Italian weekend getaways are so easy to do from Switzerland. But coming back to Milan, I’d especially like to hear your best hotel tips for Milan. This time the accommodation was my weakest link, so next time I really want to try something better. So if you have any good design / boutique hotel tips from there, they are more than welcome.

     

     

    Breakfast
    Lunch

    Afternoon & Apero & Evenings:

     Shopping

    *Edit. As some of you may have noticed, I’ve started to experiment with Instagram stories. While I like to keep my Snapchat at least semi-private (public stories, but only accepting friends I already know in real life, that is) I’m now trying to use Instagram stories to show more of my daily life, less filtered & curated than my basic Instagram feed. Feel free to follow and comment, as there will be more of my travel & daily routines there. 


    FI

    Pari viikkoa sitten vietin ensimmäistä lomaviikkoani yli vuoteen ja loman kunniaksi otin n. kolmen tunnin EC -junan Interlakenista Milanoon. Päätös matkasta syntyi viime hetkillä, joten en oikeastaan suunnitellut mitään muuta kuin nauttia hetken muotiviikkoon valmistautuvasta kaupungista ja sen kahvista, ruoasta ja muodista. Olen onnekseni ehtinyt viimeisen kuukauden aikana kuitenkin tutustua ystävälliseen milanolaiseen, tulevaan kollegaani, jolta sainkin rutkasti vinkkejä kaupunkiin. Tällä kertaa en ehtinyt kokea niistä kuin muutaman, mutta koska jokainen oli todella hyvä kokemus, aion ehdottomasti palata kaupunkiin paremmalla ajalla kokemaan myös muut kaupungin ihmeet.

    Tässä alla myös teille muille jakoon ensimmäiset testatut vihjeeni, millä pitäisi onnistua viettämään ainakin yksi, ellei kaksi, erinomaista päivää Milanossa. Gelatokioskeja tai espressobaareja en sattuneista syistä kirjaa tähän erikseen. Niitä kun löytyy lähes joka kulmalta, ja ainakaan itse en onnistunut vielä törmäämään yhteenkään huonoon kahvikupposeen* tai gelatoannokseen. Lisävinkkejä saa myös kysymällä, maililla tai kommenteissa. Ja mikäli olet jo käynyt Milanossa ja erityisesti mikäli olet onnistunut löytämään kaupungista erinomaisen hotellin, jaathan vinkkisi kommenteissa kiitos. Majoitus oli tällä matkallani heikoin lenkki, ja seuraavalla kerralla haluaisin yöpyä jossakin mukavassa ja tyylikkäässä hotellissa.

    MILANO

    Aamu

    Päivä

    Ilta

    Ostokset


    *Pieni opas italialaiseen kahvilakulttuuriin: maksa kahvi kassalle, pidä kuitti ja esitä se tiskillä. Nauti seisten ja vaihda kenties muutama sana kanssakahvittelijoiden tai henkilökunnan kanssa. Äläkä suostu maksanaan espresso kupista euroa enempää. 

    **Nykyisin matkojani voi seurata mukavasti Instagram Stories’n avulla. Siinä missä pidän edelleen Snapchattini semi-yksityisenä, eli hyväksymällä kavereiksi vain ystäviä, voi Instagramin kautta nyt seurata hieman “arkisempaa” tarinaa päivistäni.