“Travel to not find yourself but to remember who you’ve been all along.”

After Satu’s exchange semester in Barcelona and naturally wifey’s visit to her new home, followed by our study trip to ESADE business school couple months ago, it is safe to say that we left a part of our hearts to this city. So this is where we wanted to go once our semester in Helsinki was over for a total mind emptying of the work of past months. Terhi spontaneously joined us which completed our crew. 😉 Every now and then I realised myself thinking that though I spend my time with these girls back home too, being on vacation and in a inspiring environment definitely brought fresh vibes, not saying that we’d usually be boring of course ;). We are now, not just a bunch but more like a thousand jokes and memories richer. Which we need next year while being apart for long times again!

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Travel & Cake ❤

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Gelato picking in El Born, next to the beautiful (Satu’s future wedding) church

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Brunch Elecktronik – best day party on Summer Sundays

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Bar hopping in El Born

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Surf House – beach vibes with tasty and healthy menu

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Barcelona really is the perfect city for vacation. Our formula was simple: tapas in our favourites and new discoveries, with wine of course, laying hours on a most zen rooftop overlooking the roofs of the city, absorbing each sun ray and enjoying moments of just being, some partying, discovering the perfect gelato, wondering endlessly in El Born. I’d say that there’s something in the Barcelona air that makes you feel spontaneous, free and worry less. The feeling of not having a constant to-do list running in your head felt luxurious and is something I will aim every now and then. You need occasional mind emptying to make room for fresh ideas, absorbing what you’ve learned lately, and visualising more clearly what you want to keep in your life and what goals to set for the future.

Our favourites in nutshell:

La Pepita for dinner

Travel & Cake for brunch

Disset Graus for dinner

El Born for exploring any time of the day

Milk for brunch

Surf House for lunch by the beach

Brunch Elecktronik for day partying on Summer Sundays

Also, be sure to discover a rooftop where to escape the city buzz for a zen moment over the Barcelona roofs. Our’s we’ll aim to keep as a hidden pearl. 😉

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Here’s another city for me that feels like home. You miss it while you’re away, but then again appreciate so much every time you have a chance to go. Until next time Barcelona, and thank you girls for a one-of-a-kind holiday 😉 ❤

Where Picasso used to paint

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Three visits it took for me to fall for this city. Previous trips had not left any special attachment in me and did not really get why so many claimed that “Barcelona is the best city in Europe”. Third visit did the trick; suddenly, it was worth all the appraisal.

Each city feels cozier when experienced like a local. Assi and I visited Satu, who was finalising her exchange semester. She lived in the most beautiful, lively and atmospheric area, El Gotic. Even Picasso himself got his inspiration to his most famous piece of art on Satu’s home street. 😉

Tapas and wine – oh so good. Vibes – great. My company – BEST. ❤

I <3 London

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My personal London tips:

1. Borough Market

London’s oldest market is a paradise for a culinarist. They have the freshest cheese, meat, fruits & veggies, olive oil, juices, ice cream, granola, almost anything you can possibly ask for. After having a veggie burger, we picked couple cakes from what felt like an endless selection, and ended up having lemon cheesecake and carrot cake and enjoyed them by the river. Arguably London’s best coffee is sold there too and I can agree the Monmouth long black was delicious indeed.

2. Notting Hill

Portobello Road and the little side alleys make a perfect place to get lost on a Saturday (or any other day). The scale of colours in the buildings make me inconceivably happy and wish that I could live in one myself. I also did one of my best bargains ever from a little leather shop PappuDoc on Portobello. I bought a case for my laptop, something I had been hunting already for years, and this was a perfect piece.

Anne took me to her favourite comfort food restaurant, Liza’s. To be honest, I was not too excited about having Swedish food as I was travelling to Stockholm the next day, but I understood the hype on my first bite. If I lived in London, I would make my way to Liza’s for the meatballs every week as well, so good were they.

3. Flower Market

I was not surprised when Anne told me that she likes to walk every Sunday here to pick up fresh flowers for the upcoming week. Fresh flowers and coffee on a Sunday morning, what else could you ask for?

4. Camden Market

It’s no secret that I love food markets and Camden Market was no exception. We grabbed lunch here and enjoyed it by the canal, a perfect ending to our little hike to Primrose Hill.

5. Afternoon Tea

This is a must do while in London. We went to The Cadogan. The prestige location in the heart of Knightsbridge and with its atmosphere of stepping centuries back in time and receiving treatment like we were royals was an experience itself. The tea and sweet & savoury bites were a cherry on top of the experience.

6. Angel & Le Merqury restaurant

The lovely area made me feel most cozy, filled with life and boutique shops, cafés and pubs. We went to my girls’ favourite restaurant Le Merqury and I can see why; the food was super delicious and very affordable and the atmosphere very romantic & cozy.

London calling

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Best scones ever with jam and cream at afternoon tea at The Cadogan

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Exploring the streets of hipsterish Shoreditch

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Picking dessert at Borough market

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…And another one in Dark Sugars chocolate shop on Brick Lane

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Monmouth coffee rumoured to be the best in London

London is the only place besides NYC so far that I have immediately felt like home. Likewise with New York, I never fancied too much of visiting London, that was, until I traveled there. 3-day weekend trip with mom turned out to be way too short time to discover it nearly enough. I immediately fell in love with the energetic vibes of the different areas, vividness and history you can sense all over. I love to stay longer periods in cities like these that I feel connected to such deeply, to experience behind the touristy stuff.
I was so happy to reunite with this city and stay at my Londoners Henni’s and Anne’s place. They also pulled me an very unexpected yet happy surprise. Besides seeing these dear friends, also Amanda from Scotland had decided to fly over. London has been everything I remembered and more. This is my iPhone picture diary so far.

 

Bali culinary paradise

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Balinese coffee and fresh mango served my by hostel keeper…

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Sari Organik. MUST try when in Ubud.

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Clear Cafe. Delicious healthy dishes and beverages and impressive yet cozy interior.

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Fueling up in between working, authentic Balinese food

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Breakfast at Jiwa Damai

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The most delicious and FRESH salads ever, Alchemy.

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Sari Organik, again

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Snacking at Juice Ja Cafe.

IMG_7367Another fresh salad with local ingredients. LOVE tempeh. This was our Christmas Eve dinner 😉

Having eaten campus food for couple months now, I appreciate even more the fresh and local food I got to eat in Bali. Here at HKUST, I get the feeling of being alive and living good life by learning a lot at my classes and by getting to be surrounded by such international and interesting people every day, but the food indeed is not stimulating in any means.

Also, the weather we are getting now is making me grateful that I got to experience Hong Kong at its best, at fall time. Most days are grey and sometimes the visibility is no more than 20 meters because of the fog. No need to say how humid it is. Today we’ve had a thunderstorm all day and right now no one can even think about stepping their foot outside. The strength of the storm is something we never experience in Europe.

Therefore, I’m channeling my energy to studying and relaxing;). And a little party never killed nobody… In our case this means celebrating The American 21st birthday of my Californian friend in Macau aka Las Vegas of Asia next weekend 😉 Can’t wait to experience this big celebration for the first time!

 

Photo diary of last days in the Philippines

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Final iPhone photos of the last days of my trip. We took the local transportation from El Nido to Port Barton (a van from World War II), a ride that I will never forget, the driver speeding up on what you could barely call roads, every now and then giving way to goats and buffalos.  Driving to chocolate hills, which felt like stepping into a level of a childhood computer game. Driving then all the way to Anda, through tens of Filipino villages and getting a good sense of the local life. Our simple room with an ancient, not working TV.  Lazy days spent at NutsHuts, the absolute highlight of days spent in Bohol. Kayaking to a huge waterfall and a natural spring.  Our lovely hut, which was a perfect contrast to my next and final destination, flying back home to Hong Kong. Though Bohol did not get a permanent place in my heart, it is safe to say it was one of the richest experiences of my life in terms of witnessing local life, an experience that I would not give away.

 

El Nido picture diary

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My iPhone picture diary of the five days spent in the best place ever, El Nido. A heaven, where we found proper coffee after too long break, dined above the waves on a terrace at Atmosphere, stayed in the coolest hostel Le Banane, and spent a day diving into caves and hopping on deserted islands. Discovered a new fruit, cherimoya, which became our favorite. Every now and then Patti Smith’s biography took me for a while to New York… We felt like being so far yet at the same time had a familiar feeling – at some twisted way El Nido reminded us of a bit of Europe, a bit of Hamptons, but with just right amount of sense of a local Filipino town.