It’s fabulous living in the beautiful trendy city of Berlin!
Last week, I told you all about the fact that I had a production meeting with the rbb TV station. The rbb TV station is a big deal around here as not only is it a Berlin station, but it’s a regional one cutting across Berlin AND Brandenburg too! I was pretty cool about the invitation but all my friends were pretty excited.
And let me tell you, German production companies act pretty fast. I mean, the whole thing only started three (3) weeks ago.
Three (3) weeks ago!
I even had to turn an interview down as it was a live recording reporting The Queen coming into Berlin but it would have been in the morning, and it clashed with my teaching appointments! Yes, I know, but I’ve got to keep a clear head as teaching is my bread and butter LOL!
Anyway, I’m everyone’s darling at the moment and being asked to do loads of stuff at the moment, so I’m taking it all in my stride and trying to stay calm and collected.
I completed the second day of shooting and this time around we went to the only Scottish pub in Berlin. It’s called Das Gift and one of the owners – Rachel is really lovely. We were filmed eating Scottish stuff such as haggis and black pudding, and generally chatting away. This time, I wasn’t as nervous as I was in the first filming and in fact, they started shooting as soon as they saw me walking round the corner! That put me in a bit of a fluster but perhaps they liked my stuff as I’ve also been invited to take part in the evening show. It’s called the rbb #Abendschau and it’s Live with a real well-known German moderator and everything! I’m going to be on a panel of British experts. OMG!
There’s a week of programmes about The Queen in Berlin. The programmes that I’m going to be on are:
- Die Reportage über die British Berliners: Sendung Briten in Berlin – is a radio interview on Inforadio about three (3) different types of British people living in the city, of which I am one and also, the only woman! It will go out on 23.06.15 at 09:45.
I’m extremely excited to see where the next level will be.
For now though, let’s go back to Helsinki. In Finland.
Last week, I gave you some tips as to how to navigate the city as a smart guide to Helsinki. Let’s now focus on the art design concept and the food.
I have to tell you that as far as art goes, Helsinki is pretty fancy, pretty trendy, pretty hipster, pretty artsy, pretty contemporary, and pretty dynamic. All in one go! In that wise, part of getting a feel of the city would also lie on where we wanted to stay.
I like to stay where all the action is, so we decided to stay at a hotel right slap and bang in the centre of Helsinki.
In the stylish Design District.
We wanted to be in an area full of design and antique shops, coupled with museums and galleries.
The Design District in Helsinki offers an ideal place to get to know Finnish design and to buy top-class Finnish design products in an area full of design and antique shops, fashion stores, museums, art galleries, restaurants, showrooms, design agencies, interesting names, classic items, and trendsetters.
To get a good feel of this we decided to stay for two (2) nights at the very artistically designed GLO Hotel Art.
Whenever we go on a family holiday, I like to mix things up a little in order to experience a wide variety of accommodation possibilities, to meet the locals, and to stretch our budget in a more comfortable way.
In that wise, I decided to make a booking at the exclusive, charming lifestyle GLO Hotel Art built around a century-old Art Nouveau castle.
Our art design hotel was a unique lifestyle hotel located in the heart of the Helsinki Design District and had 171 rooms. When we arrived, they very nicely allowed us to check-in early.
Our room was a smart, sleek GLO Comfort Twin room but after the warmth and soft luxury furnishings of Hotel St. Petersbourg in Estonia, “The Tall Young Gentleman” was slightly disappointed by the minimalist chic.
Have I created a pre-teenaged monster or a boy who just knows what he likes?
As I’ve said many times before, as far as I’m concerned, the most important point for me when travelling is that location and attractiveness is key to a wonderful experience. Our comfort room had a large flat-screen TV, a reclining sofa with a side-top and a pouffe, as well as a desk and chair. There was also tea and coffee supplies, a kettle, free WiFi, a full buffet breakfast, and more fluffy slippers!
The bathroom had dark glass walls and doors with a rainforest shower in the bathroom which was pretty neat! But again, “The Tall Young Gentleman” was upset because the bathroom door wouldn’t shut properly. The hotel was great and offered to change the room, but we were already settled in and just wanted to relax at the time. We were offered a complimentary drink on the house and I also mentioned that a fluffy Lynx had been left on the bed for Premium customers and could they take it away, as the retail price was €24 and my son was becoming extremely attached to it. They said he could keep it.
The hotel was extremely large but very quiet. We met quite a lot of British and American couples and groups of Spanish teenaged school groups. It’s also very safe and secure as in order to get into the residential part of the property, you have to use an electronic card to open the doors throughout. It also had an Art Nouveau atmosphere as all over the hotel, you could see art decorations everywhere and snug red sofas!
All this for €123.00 per night in the Comfort Twin Room which for two (2) people would be €61.50 each and let me tell you, Helsinki isn’t your cheap destination. Hostels were sporting €100 per night for a double room.
I don’t think so daaaarling!
So make sure you take your time and look around. I find that in steep price destinations, it pays to add up all the benefits such as breakfast, WiFi, transport, safety and location, and if it all fits together then just go for it and don’t worry too much about the initial cost LOL!
And now onto a topic close to my brilliant heart. I give you:
Helsinki’s food culture is one of the most interesting in the Nordic countries, thanks to its unique location between East and West. It’s fun, innovative, easy-going, social, seasonal, fresh, local, natural, traditional yet modern, it’s exciting and continuously evolving.
Finnish food culture is also a unique and vibrant experience that reflects Finnish nature, society, history, identity and culture based on the use of its ingredient source from the land and the sea.
FINLAND FUN FACTS!
Did you know that:
- The first beers ever were introduced in Finland. In 1000BC!
- 12 kg of coffee per year is consumed making Finland the number one (1) country for coffee consumption in the world!
- Salmiakki – the salty liquorice – was first introduced in 1938 and became a popular sensation. I thought that I hadn’t had it before but actually I have. In Germany! It’s sour and explodes in your mouth. If you can stand it LOL!
- The best way to discover local food culture and a traditional way of shopping and eating, is through the local market halls and street food.
- Helsinki has a Restaurant Day where anyone in Helsinki can open a restaurant for a day. At home. At work. In the street. In the garden, courtyard, park or beach. Anywhere at all! It’s held four (4) times a year, every three (3) months. What a great idea. Shepherd’s pie anyone?!
A BREAKFAST FIT FOR A NORDIC KING!
Finnish people are hearty eaters and that was reflected in the very generous buffet breakfast that we had at the GLO Hotel Art, which consisted of a combination of both Scandinavian and international delights.
Above, you can see a plate of freshly sliced salmon, a grillimakkara or sausage, slices of ham, tomatoes, cucumbers, pickled onions, lettuce, slices of baguette and a pat of butter.
We had the Näkkileipä above – a cracker version of rye bread and Finnish Crisp Crackers for breakfast. My half-Finnish-half-German girlfriend was pretty impressed, and delighted that we were served the real stuff!
It was dry and reminded me of my childhood LOL, but I liked it!
OMG! I have to tell you my most favourite breakfast dish in Finland was this deep-dish bowl of mouth-watering freshly made porridge. I couldn’t believe that I would find such a tasty item, so I overwhelmed it with brown sugar and fresh milk!
And I even had two helpings!
MAIN MEALS IN FINLAND
Typical Finnish food is such fare as:
- Crayfish or “kraftskiva” otherwise known as fresh water lobster seen above!
- Karjalanpiirakka or Karelian pies made with rye flour and filled with potatoes, rice or carrots.
- Kalakukko – a type of Finnish pie filled with muikku, a small herring-like fish.
- Korvapuusti or cinnamon buns.
- Meatballs with reindeer meat.
- “Töölööläinen” or veal toast with truffle potatoes.
- Roasted fried cheese.
- New potatoes with herring, fresh lake fish or fish roe and a sprinkling of dill.
- Salmon soup with rye bread.
- Toast Skagen also known as a shrimp sandwich.
- Salmon with smoked eel and asparagus salad.
- Finnish meatballs with cream sauce and mashed potatoes.
- Finnish cheese with cranberry jam and home-made crisp bread.
- Reikäleipa or “bread with a hole.”
- Lingonberry or a Finnish tart berry used for jams and juices.
- Cloudberry – an exquisite sharp tarty flavour and used for jams, juices, fruit pies and liqueurs.
Sadly, we could only afford a variety of titbits at the food market this time around, and sushi!
Why sushi you might ask?
Well, because I love fish and it was the cheapest option.
Remember how I told you that we found a Japanese restaurant not far from where we were staying called Sushi-Ravintola Yamato. The evening buffet was just €13.70 each including non-alcoholic drinks and rather bizarrely, the cheapest way to nosh!
Salivate on this!
Just look at this delicious mould of rice and seaweed accompanied by a lettuce and prawn and cocktail sauce.
Yum! Yum! Yum! Prawns, egg and seaweed. Nosh! Nosh!
My goodness! If sushi isn’t a dish of delicious goodness, I don’t know what is! I’m licking my fingers as we speak!
You all know what I think about soup. This one was pretty spicy but did the job!
This isn’t sushi but a slice of the yummy swiss roll that I had, filled with raspberry and vanilla swirls!
Yes, the prices can be ridiculously high but the museums are all reasonably priced or free of charge. You’ll need to do some research so as to get value for your money, but it’s not too difficult.
Finland is an extremely modern country and is unique in its nature, water, traditions, the amount of light change, and its weather and temperature. As far as the language goes, citizens from every Nordic country pretty much speak extremely good English, Swedish, Russian and being European, other languages too!
I found Helsinki to be windy, modern, friendly, expensive, slighty quirky and clean!
WOULD I COME AGAIN?
Absolutely! And with more people LOL!
For more information about a charming lifestyle hotel, please contact: GLO Hotel Art.
For more information about Finland’s capital city, please contact Visit Helsinki.
This article isn’t sponsored and even though I got a little discount on the hotel, all opinions and the scrummy sushi that I quaffed, are my very own!
I have so much to share with you.
Next week, I’ll be writing about Britain and being The British Berliner. Oh marvellous!
The Queen will be visiting Berlin from 23.06.15 – 26.06.15 and I will be doing a documentary, a radio interview and also as an expert panel of Brits, on a Live TV show!
The 23rd Lesbian and Gay City Festival is taking place between 20.06.15 – 21.06.15.
Fête de la Musique an open-air street music performance day, will take place all around Berlin, on 21.06.14.
Berlin’s Mardi Gras (the 36th) – CSD – Christopher Street Day Gay Pride festivity, will be on 27.06.15.
Strictly Stand Up English Comedy Night will be taking place at the Quatsch Comedy Club on 01.07.15.
I’ll be there. Will you?
If you’re not in Berlin, you’re missing the fun.
June is amazing & The Queen’s coming!
Watch this space!
Have you ever been to Helskini? What do you think of Art Design? Sushi or Reindeer Meatballs?
See you in Berlin.
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