Tag Archives: photography

Summertime Nature Photography

Here are some photos I took when out on a summer walk in a nearby forest with a friend of mine. I love that in Finland nature is all around you; there’s no need to go far to look for it.

nature walk

summer nature

 

Istanbul on a Budget Part 1

Recently I visited Istanbul and I wanted to share some pictures from the trip. This was a long time coming – I took my sweet time sorting out the holiday photos! Later on I’ll also share posts about our even more recent Barcelona trip.

I’m a huge fan of budget traveling – as a student I can’t afford to use huge sums for travel so I’m very careful while picking my fights, destinations, and accommodation. Originally we were supposed to go to Prague but three days there would’ve cost us as much as five days in Istanbul. So we chose Istanbul. It had been on our minds a little bit before: I had been there several years ago and absolutely loved it and the boyfriend seemed to like the idea too.

We got a cheap room from Hotel Evsen, which had a lovely staff and was located only 500 m from all the major tourist attractions in an area called Sultanahmet. So it was the perfect location for us (saved a lot of money too because we never had to take any transportation – we just walked everywhere). The weather was a nice +23 C which was not too hot for walking around town but not so cold that you’d need more than a tank top. The atmosphere is so lovely in Istanbul and my favorite times were after the sun had gone down and they lit up all the sights and restaurants with gorgeous lights.

Istanbul-1

General Tips You Should Know about Istanbul

When you order food in a restaurant, it’s quite typical that you will have to order sides with it if you want french fries, salad, etc. When you order a portion of fish, you’ll only get the fish (not as filling as one would hope).

If you plan on visiting any mosques, you can save time by already wearing something to cover your shoulders, head (for women), and legs. A scarf is handy because you can wrap it on your head and shoulders and then you don’t have to put on a temporary scarf that they hand out at the visitors queue (ones that are reused by all tourists).

Remember sun screen! Just because it’s not too hot (thanks to river Bosphorus which brings in the cooling wind), the sun is still bright! Take care of your skin at all times.

Be careful with your belongings: in a busy city like Istanbul it’s common to have pickpockets. So don’t carry all your money, for example, with you. And keep your valuables in the hotel safe. Also, there are lots of taxi scams in Istanbul so make sure that you know the route (so the driver doesn’t take a longer route in order to get more money), make sure the meter is on, and pay attention to the change you get.

Istanbul-2

Things to Do in Istanbul

A lot of places give you free apple tea (make sure to have some, it’s my favorite tea in the world!) and baklava (pictured above) after your meal – take your time enjoying it. There’s nothing better than a relaxing moment with good food in a city like Istanbul. I’d recommend a cruise on the Bosphorus (don’t take any of the cruises offered by a travel agency or some such because they take double the money – just go to the harbor and buy a ticket with the locals to a cheaper ferry), a visit to Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace and the Blue Mosque. Be sure to also check out the Grand Bazar and the Egyptian Bazar (also known  as the Spice Market) where you can haggle a great bargain!

 

Stay tuned for the part two of our Istanbul trip later this week!

Easter Dinner Pictures

On Friday we had a lovely Easter dinner at the boyfriend’s mom’s house. They had gone all out and made lamb with rice salad and pancakes for dessert. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten better than during that dinner!

easter dinner 1

We needed, obviously, a little break between the courses so we had a bit of coffee and chatted while waiting for dessert. It was a really nice, relaxing way to spend the day since I’ve just recovered from two weeks of flu and now I’ve just been trying to catch up with my exam reading.

easter dinner 2

I hope you all had a lovely Easter as well!

London: Long Weekend Vacation

I was lucky enough to get a trip to London just a little while ago when my mom wanted to celebrate her birthday there. It was my third time there and I still love the city as much as ever!

london 1

We had already seen most of the traditional sights so we decided to have a pretty chill vacation. We did, however, visit the Westminster Abbey for the first time so that we got to see the inside of the church. Tip: you can go for an evening service, which lasts for an hour, and you won’t have to pay the admittance fee (which I feel is quite pricey).

We went to Bella Italia for my mom’s birthday dinner and we had the chicken stew, which was absolutely delicious! I can’t even express how good that meal was!

london 2

We also just walked around a lot – mainly around Oxford Street where our hotel was and along the river Thames. The weather was extremely sunny and mild so it was nice just to walk around and check out sights like the London Eye and Big Ben.

westminster london 3

British Museum was a must-see on our list: I had been there before but you could spend a week in the museum and there would still be more to see. Tip: GO THERE – IT’S FREE! Enough said.

One of the splurges we made was the visit to Kensington Palace, which is right now having a fashion exhibition, which personally I found the most fascinating. The outfits were breathtaking.

kensington london 4

We also checked out The Who Shop (a Doctor Who store and museum) as well as the Harry Potter shop at Kings Cross, but I’ll tell you more about those in my London haul post :)

Making a Home: The Little Things I love

There are so many little things I love about my apartment. Now that me and Ari have gotten to decorate the place together it has those little touches that make it feel very personal and cozy. Previously, when I lived with my roommate in the same place, it was nice but it didn’t have that special something that make a place truly feel like home. Maybe it was the fact that most of the furniture was leftover from my mom, maybe it was the lack of personal items like paintings, or perhaps it was just that with the student budget (that I’m still on), we just couldn’t afford to make a huge effort with the place.

Now it’s different when I’m living with my boyfriend and we have consciously tried to buy pieces of furniture and other items that would reflect us as individuals as well as a couple. We compromise with some stuff but mostly we have quite similar tastes. The apartment looks younger and more energetic. No more hand-me-downs! (Well, we still have lots of old stuff but it’s balanced with the new.)

MY HOME

Books and magazines are definitely something we have plenty lying around. I couldn’t live without my books. I also tend to have a selection of my most used jewelry, perfumes and nail polishes on display for easy access.

PASTAPASTA

Merlin is always napping somewhere, he’s such a sleepyhead.
We also have bunch of items from abroad, from different trips around Europe (and some items from Indonesia). We love to travel and it’s always nice to have something to come home with. These pieces remind us of the great memories.
We also have several paintings, most of which we chose together at one point or another. It’s nice to cover those big, empty white walls with beautiful art that will inspire you for years to come.

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I absolutely adore the apartment we have right now but most likely we will have to move after a few years (prices are always going up and it is only a rental that is student budget friendly). But for now, we have really made it a home!

Ireland pt 3: Dublin

During my last day in Ireland I went to Dublin (since my flight left from there) and walked around the city for hours.

In Dublin, Ireland

There would’ve been so much to see but, unfortunately, I didn’t have a lot of time. The city is so full of gorgeous architecture and so much history but I had to pick carefully. I did want to see Dublin Castle though, so that’s where I headed first. The castle was magnificent and I was really appreciative of their cheap student tickets! The castle has a lot of information on the history of Ireland and Dublin, which I at least was very fascinated by :)

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I also wanted to see the Christ Church Cathedral, which was absolutely stunning. Very reminiscent of Hogwarts… I definitely recommend visiting it if you go to Dublin Castle, since the two are only about 5 minute walk apart from each other.

dublin ireland

The rest of my time I mostly walked around, trying to soak in all that there was to see. It was pouring rain but I didn’t mind much. It was great too see something outside of Galway and next time I’ll definitely make sure I’ll have more time to explore other cities as well.

Here ends my tour of Ireland – hope you checked out also parts 1 and 2.

Ireland pt 2: Galway and Connemara

Today you get the part two of my travels to Ireland. I had so much fun in Galway: I tried Guinness for the first time (so Irish, I know), went to the city museum to actually learn about the town I was staying in, and saw so many amazing landscapes!

galway

During my third day in Galway I decided to take a tour to Connemara: an Irish speaking area in the West of Ireland with landscape straight out of Lord of the Rings. The main attraction of the tour was the Kylemore Abbey, which is situated next to a beautiful lake. The abbey was gorgeous and the misty weather made the area seem very serene and peaceful.

kylemoreabbeylake

The abbey has a cathedral almost next to it, which was situated also along the little path that went along the lake. I walked that area for an hour and didn’t get tired of the scenery one bit. It was like a vacation for the mind.

connemara

I also included here a picture of Cupán Tae, which I talked about in the previous post as well, because it was such a lovely place and where I actually chose to have my last lunch on my last day in Galway. Next there’s the half a day in Dublin! I’ll try and post it soon :)

Ireland pt 1: Galway and Cliffs of Moher

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In Galway

I took advantage of my reading week from the university and went to Galway, Ireland. I’ve always wanted to visit Ireland and since the lovely Ingrid from Smilingrid is doing an exchange there, I thought I’d pay her a visit and see Galway. I was in a dire need of a vacation and this was the perfect cure! Galway was such a picturesque town with the absolute friendliest people I have ever met! I stayed right in the center of town in Kinlay Hostel, which was perfect for my needs (cheap, good location and free wifi).

galway

During my first day there, Ingrid showed me around town (the little shops and pubs were so adorable!) – including the university, a ride around in a sight-seeing bus (disguised as a mini train), and much more. We also went to the local market, where we had delicious crepes and doughnuts. I, of course, ended up buying an eternity knot necklace made of cherry wood as well as a Claddagh ring.

At the Cliffs of Moher

We had already agreed beforehand that we’d spend the second day taking a tour to the Cliffs of Moher, a stunning sight on any day! Before that we had to get breakfast at a proper tea room though: Cupán Tae near the Spanish Arch. Best tea, sandwiches and scones I’ve ever had.

ireland galway

The Cliffs were absolutely stunning! I can’t even describe how beautiful it was there. The wind was gushing and at one point it even rained but that didn’t matter, because it was simply too amazing. We were just really happy to be there. There’s nothing better for stressed out mind than standing on the edge of a cliff with a several hundred meter drop to the ocean. We even saw a double rainbow. Magic.

cliffs of moher

The rest of my trip is divided into two more posts. I went to Connemara, which I’ll tell you about in the next post and my last day in Ireland was spent in Dublin, which I saved for the last post. Hope you guys will like them!

Traveling to Tallinn: Food, Sights, Zoo

Recently I went on (yet another) cruise to Tallinn. It was a bit of a miracle, because we had the perfect summer weather there even though autumn had already arrived. It was so unbelievable warm that we were walking around in T-shirts. I went with m boyfriend and a big bunch of our friends. The start for the trip was a bit grueling since we had gone to sleep around 2 am (some of us even later) and we had to vacate the cabin at 6:45 am. Scary.
The beginning of the day flew by while we walked around the gorgeous Old Town and visited a few churches there. We also rested our feet at a lovely little cafe.

tallinn with boys

In the Old Town, there are two lookout points that give you a wonderful view of Tallinn. We walked to both of them before heading to the Tallinn Zoo.

Beauty in the Old Town

Tallinn Old Town view

tallinn Old-Town

old town in tallinn

The zoo was great, especially because the weather was so wonderful for walking around. The animals were adorable as well – although we were disappointed at not seeing elephants there.
None of us really did much shopping (apparently guys don’t go there to shop – shocker!) but we did have a great day just seeing everything Tallinn has to offer. Most of us had been there several times before so we didn’t feel the need to rush around and try to see everything. We took our time and just enjoyed the time we had. Also, I love traveling but if I have a schedule with every minute allotted, I don’t enjoy it as much. As the last pit stop, I guided the guys to the Medieval restaurant in the town square (in Old Town), which I had been to during my previous trip. Everyone loved the pastries and the elk soup there. All in all, the whole trip was a huge success.

gamespeopleplay tallinn

Nature Photography at Suomenlinna

So, a while back me and my boyfriend and a couple of my friends went to a student event at one of the islands on the coast of Helsinki: Suomenlinna. It’s such a lovely place to spend a day and we knew autumn weathers would really come down hard soon enough, so we took advantage and tagged along with a bunch of other students. I was more focus on photography instead of partying but the others didn’t seem to mind :P

student-event-photography

suomenlinna island

suomenlinna photography

doughnut and smoothie

With some good picnic lunches and a healthy dose of energy we had a wonderful afternoon/evening at the island. It was drizzling a bit but that didn’t matter. I was busy snapping shots with my camera and before we knew it, the sun was coming down. This was one of those perfect days: good food, good friends, some nature photography and no class. More of those, please!