February 20, 2014

Streat Helsinki - promoting street food

Helsinki is proudly building the best street food initiative in the world. Streat Helsinki showcases a one-of-a-kind street food conference, a street food festival spicing up the Nordic capital, as well as a world class street food party.

Streat Helsinki will be taking its first steps during 21–22 March 2014 as a set of three events. The TALKS conference is held as a part of the Gastro Helsinki fair, while EATS and PARTIES take over the flourishing cultural districts and street food hubs of the Tori Quarters and the Abattoir.

- We are bringing the top players of the street food scene to Helsinki, and we want to offer everyone the opportunity to get acquainted with the possibilities of street kitchens. While doing so, we also want to push cities into making good decisions regarding the development of street food, says Ville Relander, project manager of Helsinki's Food Culture Strategy.

- I recommend Streat Helsinki to food professionals, amateurs and foodies alike, as well as anyone interested in urban development, trends, start ups, and service design. In fact, anyone who enjoys life! This is an event that gives energy, Relander continues.

Photos: Streat Helsinki, Maija Astikainen

February 19, 2014

May we introduce: our new Facebook page!

We are excited to announce that we have launched a new Facebook page Hostelling International Finland. To visit our new official Facebook page go to www.facebook.com/hifinland.

We will use our Facebook page to keep you updated on latest hostel news, developments, and ways you can get involved.

Stay tuned!

February 11, 2014

Archipelago, and Pori here we go!

Cycling Suomi (part 3) 20 augustus 2013




Archipelago trail was all and more than we expected. We cycled over 70 k this day. In The begin of the trip we got lost (as usual). It seems hard for us to find our way out of the City. The map of the archipelago trail was sometimes not detailed enough to find the exact road to take, which was really frustrating. Not knowing where we were on the map made me feel nervous. The first hours on the bike, Marcia her knee didn't feel comfortable. Luckily the many cute wooden houses made us smile.
I saw a death bird ( a small Hawk I think) and I had to stop, how intreging to see such an animal from this close.

We met 3 other cyclist when getting the ferry to Nagu. One of them was very social and talkative. The other two were more reserved and didn't seem to feel comfortable in talking English.
We were asked to join them in wild camping, but it didn't feel right. We went our own way, following the signs '
Gamle gård' ( Old Garden) en found our place to stay. Our first night in the tent!

It was unbelievable beuatifull there. We enjoyed the sunset, the wild berries. The tiredness was like a warm blanket.
In the morning when we left, the dew made all the spidernets visible. Little hangmocks were covering the plants aside the road.

The thing we love about Finland, is that it has a lot of fruit tree's and wild berries.
In the netherlands this is rather unusual to pick apples from the trees beside the public roads. So everytime we took some of the fruit, we felt a bit like thiefs. "Can we really just pick them?' 'Are you sure?'

Taking the ferries and being surrounded by this much water and nature, was very nice and calming. We pointed at almost every wooden house and shouted  'Look how cute!' I was wondering how it would be to live here in the summer. And in the winter?
I had to laugh about the compulsive mirror check of Marcia.  

As I told you in my last blog, Marcia was destined to take a swim.
At one point we had to wait for the ferry to arrive and Marcia did what she was longing to do for  long time, getting in the water. Due to peer pressure, I felt that I had to go for a swim too. The water was cold, but very nice.  As we only knew how cold it would be on the ferry!

I saw my first snake and was a bit shocked because I was not aware of the fact that there were snakes living in Finland. I knew about bears, wolves and foxes, but not snakes.
  There are several Ferries on the way, which travel in a schedule. The fun thing was, that at every waiting point, we met the same people, who were travelling by car. Arriving at the third waiting point, the other travellers, amazed by our speed, received us with applause and cheers.  That felt really good.

Filled with positive energy we cycled a 90 kilometres in total that day. The last 10 were really tough, but that took us to a wonderful camping spot near the water and we were able to see our first sunset near the water.

Marcia and I developed the habit to sing with my ukulele everyday before we go to a cycling tour.  The sunset made me grab my ukulele to sing the song to end the wonderful day.

Ever since we are cycling we are having strange dinners. Buying the most nutritious foods, making unusual combination. But more tasty than any other food we had before. Or were we that hungry that anything tasted wonderful?
This  evening we had Pickled beetroot, cucumber, corn, milk crème something with a strange glue/sperm like substance and smoked trout. Sounds delicious, doesn't it?
We took hot showers and dozed off very quick.

Ridiculously early ( 7 in the morning) we had breakfast on top of the rocks. Our body was still a bit sleeping, but the view was worth it. Around 9.30 we were on the bike again. Hoping to get to Rauma today.
Marcia was in a very bad mood. Her knee was annoyingly painful. I tried to help her with carrying most of the heavy stuff on my bike and advising her to cycle in the lightest gear when going uphill.
Despite the struggle we tried to enjoy the nature around us.  All colours seem more intense in Finland and all houses had vegetable gardens which made me jealous.

I noticed old guys emptying their outside mailboxes, three in a row! How funny.
Halfway the route, a guy in a green shirt on a mountain bike past us. 'Hej that's not fair' Marcia shouted to the guy. He looked over his shoulder, laughing.
I really hate to be past by other cyclist, and couldn't resist. "I will get him' I ensured Marcia as I started racing the guy.
Half way he let me pass 'now it is your turn to be in the front'. I raced as a madman with my heavy bike (30 kilo's at least) uphill. Sweating, sore Muscles, red burning head, but I continued cycling. On the top I reduced my speed to wait for Marcia and have contact with my racing partner. He was a little bit shy when I thanked him for racing with me.

In a small town Kukalo, we did our 70 kilometres dance on the bike, chilled in a apple garden in the sun, we had a short nap and I had the urge to stand on my head.



 Lost in centre ( of course). Marcia was impatient and grumpy in the last search for the sleeping place while I get all excited in trying to find the right way. A good combination so far.

We found a camping spot near the water again and again we cooked with a wonderful view.  It didn't bother that there were more city noises than on previous camping, because we were  surrounded by some cute wooden houses with smoke from the chimney (maybe sauna?) water and trees.

And I did something what will make Marcia smile when only saying the words 'Ditch bitch'. 
( I know that she is smiling while reading this).  Probably you had to be there to find is as funny as we do, but I will tell you anyway. I drove in a ditch today. That itself was not that funny, I was quit shocked when it happened. But the way Marcia perceived it made it funny.
Marcia stopped her bike for a moment to put on her sunglasses to prevent the flies from flying in her eyes. I continued cycling, only a bit slower. The last thing Marcia saw of me before putting on the glasses, was  a cycling Loes on a straight road. When she looked again, I was gone! Where could I have gone? she wondered. Then she saw me crawling out of the ditch and thought at first that I was there to make a picture or something, only after that thought she understood what happened.

We carried out the heavy bike together, luckily nothing was damaged. After that we had to laugh and will laugh whenever hearing/reading the words Ditch Bitch.

Thursday 22 August.

We took a restday and we cycling with unpacked bikes to the old part of Rauma. Felt strange, cycling with these light bikes. Marcia bought a brace for her knee, since the pain was getting really annoying.
The old centre of Rauma is filled with wooden houses in all kind of colours. It reminds me of my holidays in Norway. Nostalgia.
We had coffee in a café  with a bear theme, which we found a really suitable to our Karhu theme.
It was a lovely sunny day.

The next morning we packed for our trip to Pori. The squirrels gave away a big show in the top of the trees. We sang our song again, filled with energy we started a trip, not knowing that we would feel completely the opposite in the end of the day.

The last 10 kilometres to Pori were a disaster, or maybe ' challenging ' if you want me to give it a more positive sound.
Marcia was really not able to cycle anymore without enormous pain. A torture tour. Therefore I pushed her the last 5 kilometres up the hills, to arrive at a small town to take the bus to Pori. We had to wait for 15 minutes, but we got good service. The driver helped us with putting the bikes underneath the bus. With mixed feelings we looked at the landscape s. How nice to see the landscape change without having to do anything.  But it confronted us also with the fact that we had to redefine our plans. We Cycled 600 kilometres of the total 1500 we had planned. Sad and proud.

Marcia was very sad, due to her failing knee, she would have loved to cycle more. The addiction to cycling was already born before starting this cycling trip and hopefully not stop after this. But it was a done deal for now.

We felt down and confused when we arrived at  Hi River Hostel. And that was the best place to be. They made it feel like a home. The staff and the other travellers were all very nice.
 We met nice people and set down at the kitchen table together, having good coffee with a good talk. 


We found out that the name  River hostel really suited the place. Not only because it is located next to the river but also because of all of the mirrors in the hostel itself! Marcia could replace her cycling addiction for her mirror addiction; taking a quick look or a dance move.
The room was very cute , the shower was nice and hot and the breakfast wonderful, with nice background music.

Never slept that deep, how nice to have a bed again! The next day we had a quest. Searching for a hospital. We learned a couple new  funny finnish words, got good and bad news. Bad news as that any cycling would be unwise, the good news was, that it was suppose to be something temperarely. 

Happy about this we walked back to the hostel, enjoying the city Pori and discussing our plans.
It did cost me a of effort lot to change my plan. Initially I was to cycle the last bit from Oulu to Tampere by myself. I was really curious how I would be doing this. But all signs told us that we had to take the train to Tampere  together. Goodbye Pori, Hello Tampere!