• Roadtrip to Italy: Cinque Terre

    Tiina Kivelä

    One of the best things about living in Switzerland is how close everything is. The other towns, valleys, mountains, glaciers, countries and cultures, like Italy. And in our series of Instagram-friendly trips mixing adventure and chill I’m now going to introduce you to Cinque Terre. It wasn’t the lightest trip, combined with another one, with many hours in cars and trains, topped with Italian food… But oh boy, it was worth the effort. In all, I was travelling for a week in the beginning of June; first on a real road trip to Italy, after which back to Switzerland to catch a flight to Andalusia, Spain. And let’s start with the Italian story, and the others will follow sooner or later.

    For the trip, friends (including the best trip organiser ever, thanks again M) had booked an Airbnb in a surprisingly nice little Ligurian town called Sarzana. And there we spent few days and nights, mostly on the roof terrace with good friends, ex-colleagues, ex-lovers and new lovers. Yes, with these people it’s kind of complicated, but that’s what makes it fun really. When travelling, better not to take oneself, nor others, too seriously. On a second thought, better not to take oneself too seriously ever. I’m afraid I’ve done that too much myself, and it would be a time to loosen up. Not to care that much about everything… But well, that’s another story. Let’s again get back to the Italian one.

    First day night we arrived after midnight to this sleepy town, a bit surprised for the road and tunnel charges on the way (and noting how one day we have to come back and stop on the way in Arosa Valley for biking). The next day, we started with real Italian breakfast (espresso! cappuccino!) before taking a bus and train to the first village of our Cinque Terre tour, Monterosso, from where we continued after a chill beach day to Vernazza by local boat shuttle. And since we are adventurers, not tourists, we had to rent kayaks for an hour before sunset and drink our aperó’s from plastic cups. And yes, there was pizza and seafood included in that day too. It was Italy and the sea, after all.

    The next and for me also the final Italian day, we drove to Portovenere (or Porto Venere – still not sure how it really goes) and tried to rent a boat to go further to the sea. But as the weather in the sea wasn’t permitting, a friend dug out his inflatable rubber boat and after late lunch, and gelatos, we paddled over from Portovenere to the nearby island. I think it’s called Palmaria but again not 100% sure. Nevertheless, there’s a national park and fewer tourists than on the mainland. In a matter of fact, it might so that the whole Cinque Terre is national park (hands up for nature and outdoor recreation!). It was a fun, a bit crazy trip and like always the island seemed to be something I want to go back to, hiking and finding a bit quieter beach for skinny-dipping, maybe…

    And yes, of course, there was a nice Italian sunset by the sea. And more pizza, wine and frutti di mare. And a bit of Lord Byron too (google Portovenere and Lord Byron to find out more) before,  at 5 am the next morning, heading back to Switzerland through Parma, Milan, catching a beautiful view to Lake Como too, to catch a flight to Andalusia. But that’s another story for another occasion. This was Italy in June 2017.

    Good night now.

    Tiina Kivelä

    There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
    There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
    There is society, where none intrudes,
    By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
    I love not man the less, but Nature more

    ― George Gordon Byron


    Tiina Kivelä

    Oh Scandinavia, Finland and Musling;

    when do you learn to serve some bread with your moules (mussels) ?

    It’s a pity you serve great moules (mussels) in great broths, but haven’t thought how nice it would be

    to dip the bread in the broth when all the moules are gone.

    You can leave the frits to Belgium, but bread… Always serve bread. Please.

    Moules: MuslingLinnésgade 14, 1361 København K

    Bread: nowhere to be seen

  • BLOG

    Tiina Kivelä

    The Notes from Copenhagen serial continues with bed & breakfast tips in the city. Where did we sleep, and where did we breakfast during the 5 days and 4 nights in Copenhagen this Easter. And coffee, of course.

    First of all, we had booked a hotel room with breakfast, so most of the days it was hotel breakfast calling. Nevertheless, there was a morning, the first one, when we landed Kastrup already before 9am* in a need for late breakfast and good coffee. So after bringing our bags to the hotel we were graving for food and coffee, and as the lucky girls as we are, we accidentally found the place to enjoy breakfast / brunch in Copenhagen.

    Copenhagen by Tiina Kivelä


    Since we had this accommodation deal – breakfast included, there was only this one morning when we enjoyed a breakfast “at town”, as the saying goes. And accidentally, to our fortune, we pumped into (now seemingly) the most coveted places in Copenhagen, The Union Kitchen. I had already seen the coffee cups on Instagram, but it was just a coincidence that the first place we pumped into, hungry and just a stone’s throw from our hotel and lovely Nyhavn, was this one. Googling it now and walking past it many times during the days we spend in cph, it’s become clear we were very, very lucky to get seats without reservation (though from the counter, but still). Seemingly popular place, and after tasting their breakfast and brunch, coffee and other drinks, I can’t blame people for gathering there like ants. So good it was, the whole experience from food and drinks to service and decor. ****

    The Union Kitchen, 21 Store Strandstrade, Kbh K, 1255. Copenhagen, Denmark


    For couple of reasons me and my travel companions are quite loyal Scandic customers. Or should I say, friends. And so it was that for the same couple + few extra reasons we spend the Easter in Scandic too; more precisely Scandic Front. Not extra fancy, but good enough.  And when it comes to the most important part, the breakfast, it had probably the best coffee I’ve ever had at hotel breakfast (served from Stelton; thumbs up!), excellent crispy bacon, good bread, cheese and fruits made it almost perfect. But only almost, because I did miss fish, which they, to my surprise (it’s by the sea, come on!) didn’t serve.

    The room was spacious enough for three women, it had good views (as a person who’s been stuck at inland for too long it’s always amazing to have the sea view), and when the construction projects nearby; the Inderhavnsbroen and Kvæsthusprojektet  will be ready, the hotel location will be one of the best ones in town. Therefore, I expect rate upgrades to come. This time I didn’t have time to try the gym or sauna (all the walking, cycling, dancing and morning “yoga” worked almost as well) but if I ever get back I’ll try those too. Especially during the winter months the sauna would be extra nice.

    Copenhagen by Tiina Kivelä

    Scandic Front, 21 Skt. Annæ Plads, 1250 Copenhagen, Denmark


    When I was living in Copenhagen back in 2011, I rarely visited this part of the city. I mostly passed it, cruising past Kongens Nytorv to Christianshavn, and other way round. But now, seen the newly opened places and development projects going on, I notice how much more these hoods attract me now. I’m definitely going back, both to the streets and cafés. And the Little Mermaid, of course.

    *Kastrup’s my favorite airport in Scandinavia, with smooth connections to city and vice versa, excellent food, shopping and lounges.

    **No, I have no idea why I have too pairs of knife and fork. Though I like to eat double the amount normal people do, especially on hotel breakfast.