Best of Eastern Europe. And that’s official!

Romania – A blend of European history, with distinct reminders of a socialist past!

So apparently, you really didn’t like my previous post.

On Romania.

I won’t apologise for it!

When coming to The British Berliner, you expect a clear description of the places that I travel to, and my thoughts.

And that is exactly what I gave you!

I thought I made it crystal clear that my post, wasn’t about the Romanian people, who were perfectly alright. Nice and friendly.

It was about Romania – the country.

I said it didn’t tickle my fancy!

I stated that I simply wasn’t overwhelmed.

Or fascinated.

And sad to say.

I wasn’t even impressed.

I’m yet to find when it ever became a crime to like everywhere.

You just can’t!

And I’m a weird one ‘cos I didn’t like the following countries either:

Slovakia.

Singapore.

South Africa.

And.

The Dominican Republic.

I’m weird. I don’t like tropical beaches!

I don’t even like tropical beach destinations!

It just really isn’t my thing!

I know!

Me in the Philippines, but could this be a James Bond moment! ©Scott Herder – BoboandChiChi.com

Although I’ve had my share of the habitual sun-kissed photograph

I’m a happy to spend a day or two.

But certainly, not more!

I love mountains!

Mountains and valleys are more my thing you see…

Myself with ski leaders in Rokytnice nad Jizerou – Czech Republic

Hence the skiing!

But I wouldn’t say No to a water destination!
I’m not really a beach person as I prefer mountains and rivers or beach destinations that have more than the sea to recommend them! Me at the Grotto in the Algarve!

But I wouldn’t say No to the water.

But only the water mind.

Without the beach thingy.

Because, I really don’t like hot-weather beaches!

Should I be British or European? Can’t I be both!

I’m a great supporter for Europe, and even more so for Eastern Europe. I mean, you only have to scroll through this link to experience my love for the continent.

I will write about the rest of my trip to Romania.

Very soon!

If you’re here for the first time, join in the fun.

I know I will!

However, before we start, you might notice a tiny change on the blog. If you’re a new reader, you’ll see a Mail Chimp subscription pop-up, a cookie pop-up and updated information about the EU Privacy Policy or the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Eek!

There’s nothing to fear. As always, you’ll never receive any spam or weird emails from me, and you can unsubscribe without fear or favour absolutely any time you want to.

Phew!

So just so that we’re all perfectly clear, here’s the best of Eastern Europe!

TRAVEL THROUGH EUROPE!

Having a hotdog and beer, on a rainy day in Vienna, is more exciting than you think!

I live in Berlin.

In Germany.

And I travel a lot.

I do so because most of Europe is pretty much just around the corner, and because I can.

In fact, last year, I went to:

I was having a fine time flying all over Europe, thank you very much!
  • Holland
  • The Czech Republic
  • Austria
  • Croatia
  • Slovenia
  • Sweden
  • England – twice!
  • Germany

This year, I started a new job so travel has been a little erratic and this blog has been a mess, ‘cos I’ve been living in hotels for the past 6 weeks, and the wi-fi has been absolutely horrendous.

Horrendous!!!

And coupled with early morning commuting at 03.15 in the morning in some places, let’s just say that Uber has been a godsend!

However, things have settled down, and I’m now on track.

Traditional Bergische waffles or Belgian waffles! 9 traditional things to eat & drink in Belgium. With mussels!

I’ve already been to

  • Belgium
  • Romania
  • Germany

And in the summer, I’ll be travelling to:

I love seafood and Sweden has a lot of it!
  • Sweden
  • Estonia
  • Latvia

And at the end of the year, I’ll be travelling to:

India
  • The Czech Republic
  • India!

Yay!

I very much enjoy travelling to Eastern Europe!

I’ve been going to the region for more than twenty (20) years, but judging by some of the comments that I get, some people think that I spent just 24 hours, and that I’ve only just passed through!

Some readers think I haven’t the slightest clue.

And some readers even think that like Queen Elizabeth I, I might actually be male!

So in no particular order, but just to whet your appetite, here’s where I consider, the best of Eastern Europe!

BEST OF EASTERN EUROPE. AND THAT’S OFFICIAL!

Croatian beer & Croatian coffee – Croatia – a basic guide to food!

Some people are confused as to what constitutes Eastern Europe, and I regularly get comments from the people who live there and complain that they don’t actually live in Eastern Europe, but Eastern – Central Europe, Central Europe, South-East Europe, and even as so far as to desribe themselves as Northern Europe, and the like!

But for simplicity’s sake, and because I have a BSc. (Hons.) Political Science, and two Master Degrees, I do actually know what I’m talking about so…

Eastern Europe is the Eastern part of the European continent!

Experts say that Eastern Europe is the region that historically has Greek, Byzantine, Eastern Orthodox, Russian, and Ottoman cultural influences.

Others say that Eastern Europe is the region that was created during the Cold War, are the former communist European states outside the Soviet Union, and are (including East Germany, and East Berlin, where I live) otherwise known as the Eastern Bloc!

POLAND:

Jesus in Warsaw.

THE CZECH REPUBLIC:

Myself as lovely as Prague!

SLOVENIA:

At Ljubljana Castle – A 5 minute introduction to Slovenia!

CROATIA:

Croatian food is most delicious!

LATVIA:

The most popular international post so far was….Latvia!

HUNGARY:

My Hungarian goulash soup. Absolutely free of charge!

ESTONIA:

Tallinn Medieval Days. Kristina Õllek @Tallinn City Tourist Office & Convention Bureau

LITHUANIA:

Lithuanian soup.

SLOVAKIA:

BEST OF EASTERN EUROPE. AND THAT’S OFFICIAL!

Best of Eastern Europe. And that’s official!

This article is not sponsored, and all opinions are really, my very own!

Next week, the Romanian places that I did like!

And in a few weeks, I’ll be revealing my next summer trip!

Stay tuned.

Yay!

That’s it for now.

See you next week!

The symbol of the former Communist European states outside the Soviet Union – The Eastern Bloc!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links, I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

Best of Eastern Europe. And that’s official!

Have you ever been to Eastern Europe? Let me know in your comments below!

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

If you like this post, please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

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A 5 minute guide to German food. On the Baltic Sea beach!

A 5 minute guide to German food. On the Baltic Sea beach!
A 5 minute guide to German food. On the Baltic Sea beach!

Hey everyone!

It’s Autumn.

It’s October.

And it’s starting to rain but no matter! I’m going to tell you how Summery it was on the Baltic Sea beach.

51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!

It was gorgeous!

The sun was shining, the locals were smiling, and we were living it up in a five-star hotel in Usedom!

Usedom!

I bet you can’t say that really fast!

At the promenade in Zinnowitz, Usedom. ©Usedom Tourismus GmbH
At the promenade in Zinnowitz, Usedom.
©Usedom Tourismus GmbH

I’ve already spoken about Usedom and going to the seaside. I wrote 51 reasons why you should go to the seaside in Germany last week, and quite frankly, if you’re not convinced by that, then I really can’t help you!

There’s loads of things going on in October so I’ll tell you all about it. Next week!

But for now, let’s focus on food.

An organic burger and a beer at Bread & Butter. Berlin Fashion Week
An organic burger and a beer at Bread & Butter.
Berlin Fashion Week

Not just any old food you  understand, but German food.

Eeek!

I hear you say. Isn’t German food really gritty and full of stodge?

It can be.

Christmas food in Germany comprising of home-made potato dumplings, red cabbage, succulent roast goose, and gravy made from goose dripping!
Christmas food in Germany comprising of home-made potato dumplings, red cabbage, succulent roast goose, and gravy made from goose dripping!

But it can also be quite the thing. Especially at Xmas where the alcohol was so strong that I literally fell to the floor!

At a German Christmas Market.

Yum!

So would the beach be somewhat similar to seaside food in Poland, or would we get scammed, as we did in Bratislava?!

Let’s find out!

A 5 MINUTE GUIDE TO GERMAN FOOD. ON THE BALTIC SEA BEACH!

Look! It's my feet! A 5 minute guide to German food. On the Baltic Sea beach!
Look! It’s my feet!
A 5 minute guide to German food. On the Baltic Sea beach!

So let’s start with the basics.

ICE-CREAM:

You've not tasted ice-cream, until you've had it at the seaside! 51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
You’ve not tasted ice-cream, until you’ve had it at the seaside!
51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!

You really can’t go the seaside if you don’t have any ice-cream!

I mean.

Come on!

The seaside without ice-cream?

And it had better be an Italian gelato, ‘cos what else?

Vanilla ice-cream scoops, wafer sticks, clotted cream and a silver jug of strawberry sauce!
Vanilla ice-cream scoops, wafer sticks, clotted cream and a silver jug of strawberry sauce!

You can even go one better and have an ice-cream sundae of sorts.

I had a huge one on our self-made cycling walking tour in Usedom with vanilla scoops, wafer sticks, clotted cream and a silver jug of strawberry sauce!

Now I don’t like chocolate.

Yuck!

Chocolate ice-cream and clotted cream chocolate chip sundae!
Chocolate ice-cream and clotted cream chocolate chip sundae!

But The Tall Young Gentleman availed himself of the very best near the Zinnowitz pier, so here’s his chocolate ice-cream and clotted-cream-chocolate-chip-sundae!

Our ice-cold Warsteiner premium German beer!
Our ice-cold Warsteiner premium German beer!

The Music Producer didn’t have any ice-cream this time and was very happy with his ice-cold Warsteiner premium German beer!

SEAFOOD:

A plate of sardines can be quite delicious!
A plate of sardines can be quite delicious!

There were lots and lots of possibilities to eat some sort of seafood. In fact, all sorts of seafood. I mean, OMG!

Here are some pictures.

Sadly, I’ve forgotten the prices, but these seafood items were between €2.00 – €4.00 a piece!

Slices of mackeral at the Usedom Palace Hotel breakfast table!
Slices of mackerel at the Usedom Palace Hotel breakfast table!

Here are slices of smoked mackerel with berries and lettuce garnish, at the Usedom Palace Hotel breakfast table!

The soused herring, otherwise known as matjes in German, coverd with lettuce and onion slices!
The soused herring, otherwise known as matjes in German, covered with lettuce and onion slices!

The soused herring above otherwise known as matjes in German or rollmops in English, can be found all over the Baltic Sea coast and is a herring soaked in a mild preserving liquid. It can be raw herring in a mild vinegar pickle or might contain cider, wine or tea, sugar, herbs (usually bay leaf), spices (usually mace), and chopped onion.

It is generally served cold either with a bread bun (brötchen) / bread roll or mixed in sour cream with apple chunks, and onions, or mixed in a beetroot chunk brine, and served with boiled or baked potatoes!

The Music Producer isn’t a fan of raw herrings so the Tall Young Gentleman and I merrily did all the stuffing down ourselves!

My fish bun (Fischbrötchen) made with pickled or Bismarck herring served on kitchen foil in a bread bun (brötchen) with pickles, lettuce and huge slices of fresh raw onions!
My fish bun (Fischbrötchen) made with pickled or Bismarck herring served on kitchen foil in a bread bun (brötchen) with pickles, lettuce and huge slices of fresh raw onions!

Here’s another photograph of my fish bun, otherwise known as Fischbrötchen, made with a pickled or Bismarck herring!

A Bismarck herring  is a delicacy in Europe, and has become a part of Baltic, Nordic, Slavic, and Jewish cuisine! It’s herring cured with salt with similarly added vinegar, peppercorn, bay leaves, raw onions, sherry, mustard and dill.

Our herring was served on kitchen foil in a bread bun (brötchen) with pickles, lettuce and huge slices of fresh raw onions. You can ask for different sauces such as remoulade, creamy horseradish sauce, ketchup, or cocktail sauce too, but we went to an extremely local food hut and we weren’t sure what most of the things were.  There were eels and varieties of fish that I couldn’t identify in German…!

What are they? ©Usedom Tourismus GmbH
What are they?
©Usedom Tourismus GmbH

Gulp!

THE USEDOM PALACE HOTEL

The Usedom Palace Hotel ©The Music Producer - Frank Böster
The Usedom Palace Hotel
©The Music Producer – Frank Böster

We were guests of Usedom Tourismus GmbH and the Usedom Palace Hotel, but we paid for all our meals and transport ourselves.

The Usedom Palace Hotel is a small 40-room traditional style 5-star seaside hotel about five (5) minutes from the sea itself, and a 15 to 20 minute walk to the local train station!

The hotel although modern-ish from the inside, has the look of an antiquated classical German castle, complete with steeple top roof, huge windows, and a white sandstone finish!

We were put in a Gold / Silver Category sea view room.

Our Gold/Silver Category double sea-view bed at the Usedom Palace Hotel!
Our Gold/Silver Category double sea-view bed at the Usedom Palace Hotel!

Our room was huge with a European-style double bed for us, and a single bed for The Tall Young Gentleman with enough space in the room for him to feel that he wasn’t near us!

Our room also had two armchairs, a small glass table, a standing lamp in the corner, and two bedside tables with two more bedside lamps.

The window was huge and you could actually (safely) sit on the window sill and take in the view of the sea, which was clearly in front of us. You can never be entirely sure when hotels describe the view as “sea,” but in this case, it was!

Air-conditioning - Just say No!
Air-conditioning – Just say No!

I don’t like air-conditioning in bedrooms.

In fact, I don’t like air-conditioning at all, so it was quite nice to be able to sleep with the windows wide open, and the curtains billowing in the wind!

There was also a huge wardrobe that had fluffy dressing gowns and fluffy slippers for us each, a safe, a mini-bar, a flat-screen TV, a writing desk, plenty of plug holes, and free WiFi!

The bathroom was very nice and had underfloor heating and loads of fluffy towels, a bath, a shower, and hair and body wash items and body lotions.

The bathroom was quite nice, but be careful with the shower!
The bathroom was quite nice, but be careful with the shower!

Be careful with the shower though because the glass covering wasn’t really long or wide enough to prevent water from splashing everywhere, and as The Tall Young Gentleman is indeed quite tall, we soon found ourselves with a bit of a puddle!

The hotel also included a nice swimming pool.

A very nice swimming pool, and a hot tub and sauna free of charge, which I completely forgot about, until a few hours before we had to leave…! And a paid-for spa and massage unit.

I certaintly won't be going to the sauna European style. Don't forget, I'm British!
I certainly won’t be going to the sauna European style. Don’t forget, I’m British!

I really regret not trying out the spa as it really looked nice.

But then again. Maybe not, as this was FKK – Free Body Culture – Nudist territory!

No!

Pleeeeeeeease!

A generous breakfast buffet of both Baltic and Nordic origin, at the Usedom Palace Hotel.
A generous breakfast buffet of both Baltic and Nordic origin, at the Usedom Palace Hotel.

Our hotel stay included a generous buffet breakfast of both Baltic and Nordic origin.

A generous breakfast buffet of both Baltic and Nordic origin, at the Usedom Palace Hotel.
A generous breakfast buffet of both Baltic and Nordic origin, at the Usedom Palace Hotel.

You could sit either indoor or outdoor. For dinner we ate outdoor, but for breakfast, we ate indoors.

A generous breakfast buffet of both Baltic and Nordic origin, at the Usedom Palace Hotel.
A generous breakfast buffet of both Baltic and Nordic origin, at the Usedom Palace Hotel.

For breakfast, we had delicious cold cuts, a variety of seafood, vegetables, sauces, caviar, pickles and cream, scrambled eggs on order, sausages and bacon.

A generous breakfast buffet of both Baltic and Nordic origin, at the Usedom Palace Hotel.
A generous breakfast buffet of both Baltic and Nordic origin, at the Usedom Palace Hotel.

As well as a wide variety of cereal, fruit, bread, cake, pastries, tea, coffee, juices, and help-yourself glasses of champagne!

All this from €225.00 per night in the Gold/Silver Category room (high season) and €145.00 (low season) which for three (3) people wouldn’t be too bad at all!

The thing that really stood out for me was the evening restaurant service. They were quick, full of smiles, and impeccable.

The food was good too!

FANCIER SEASIDE FOOD:

Apart from all the rustic local food that we had above, we also had fancier food which we either had at our hotel, or at a nice restaurant nearby.

Take a look:

Grilled salmon served on a bed of lettuce, cocktail tomotoes, avacado, and a dribble of balsamic vinegar!
Grilled salmon served on a bed of lettuce, cocktail tomatoes, avocado, and a dribble of balsamic vinegar!

Grilled salmon with avocado. Interesting!

A traditional fresh fish lunch at the famous Fisch Domke restaurant in Ahlbeck! 51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
A traditional fresh fish lunch at the famous Fisch Domke restaurant in Ahlbeck!
51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!

A traditional fish lunch.

A plate of pasta and shrimps at the famous Fisch Domke restaurant in Ahlbeck!
A plate of pasta and shrimps at the famous Fisch Domke restaurant in Ahlbeck!

A delicious plate of pasta and shrimps!

Cream of tomato soup with mozarella, and basil ©The Music Producer - Frank Böster
Cream of tomato soup with mozzarella, and basil
©The Music Producer – Frank Böster

A well-known summer starter of tomato soup.

Honey-melon with Parma ham, rucolla lettuce, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar - ©The Music Producer - Frank Böster
Honey-melon with Parma ham, rucola lettuce, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar –
©The Music Producer – Frank Böster

A healthy fruity starter of melon and ham.

Magnificent grilled fish over saute vegetables, covered in tomato and a cheese sauce, sprinkled with edible flowers! ©The Music Producer - Frank Böster
Magnificent grilled fish over saute vegetables, covered in tomato and a cheese sauce, sprinkled with edible flowers!
©The Music Producer – Frank Böster

Freshly-caught fish, grilled to perfection.

Breaded fish over marinated beetroot chunks in a sauce, served with roast potatoes sprinkled with edible flowers. ©The Music Producer - Frank Böster
Breaded fish over marinated beetroot chunks in a sauce, served with roast potatoes sprinkled with edible flowers.
©The Music Producer – Frank Böster

More fish and with one of my favourite vegetables – beetroot!

Grilled steak with roast pototaoes, a cucumber covered with lemony creamy butter, served with herby sour cream! ©The Music Producer - Frank Böster
Grilled steak with roast potatoes, a cucumber covered with lemony creamy butter, served with herby sour cream!
©The Music Producer – Frank Böster

A rather too well-done steak, but The Tall Young Gentleman wasn’t complaining lol!

Crème brûlée or burnt rich custard, served with sour red berries! ©The Music Producer - Frank Böster
Crème brûlée or burnt rich custard, served with sour red berries!
©The Music Producer – Frank Böster

Look at that temptingly delicious crème brûlée. That’s all I’m saying…!

Panna cotta dribbled with raspberry sauce and black and white peppercorns! ©The Music Producer - Frank Böster
Panna cotta dribbled with raspberry sauce and black and white peppercorns!
©The Music Producer – Frank Böster

A most enticing Panna cotta.

All washed down with a chilled glass of white wine!
All washed down with a chilled glass of white wine!

All washed down with a chilled glasses glass of white wine!

Enough said!

The Music Producer and "The Tall Young Gentleman" about to cycle off in Usedom, Germany.
The Music Producer and “The Tall Young Gentleman” about to cycle off in Usedom, Germany.

As you can see, most of the fancier food items were taken by my husband – aka – The Music Producer – as my camera decided at that moment to run out of battery!

Thankfully, my husband stepped in and took the photographs himself!

Wow! I couldn’t have asked for better, so now you have it, no need to thank me.

You’re welcome!

A 5 MINUTE GUIDE TO GERMAN FOOD. ON THE BALTIC SEA BEACH!

A 5 minute guide to German food. On the Baltic Sea beach!
A 5 minute guide to German food. On the Baltic Sea beach!

Even though I was invited on this trip as a guest of Usedom Tourismus GmbH,  all opinions and the delightful time that we had devouring seaside nosh in Usedom, are my very own!

In the coming weeks, I’ll be writing about travels to Bremen, art and films in Berlin,  as well as a comprehensive post on how to use the train in Europe!

In a few weeks, I’ll be travelling to the TBEX ASIA travel conference in the Philippines, and revealing the extra Chinese-speaking country. It’s a new one!

In November, I’ll be travelling to Austria and starting a new job!

Save the Date!

October is going to be astonishing!

I’ll be there. Will you?

As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & Facebook!

If you’re not in Berlin in October, you’re lost!

Watch this space!

A 5 minute guide to German food. On the Baltic Sea beach!
A 5 minute guide to German food. On the Baltic Sea beach!

Have you ever eaten German food? Have you ever been to the Baltic Sea? Have your say!

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

Helsinki is the capital of Art Design so how was it that I went to Finland, and ended up with sushi!

A house in Helsinki, Finland. Not in Berlin!
A house in Helsinki, Finland.
Not in Berlin!

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'm a very happy British lifestyle, expat, travel blogger. Right here in the beautiful city of Berlin - © Pascale Scerbo Sarro
I’m a very happy British lifestyle, expat, travel blogger. Right here in the beautiful city of Berlin –
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

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:

Filming at the Scottish pub - Das Gift - © Pascale Scerbo Sarro
Filming at the Scottish pub – Das Gift – © Pascale Scerbo Sarro
  • Die rbb Reporter: Berlin – very british – The documentary is going to be about “established” Brits in Berlin and the part about me will be as a British expat blogger about town. It will come out on 23.06.15 from 20:15 – 20:45 and on 24.06.15 from 15:30 – 16:00.
  • Die Queen in Berlin – This special broadcast will go out as the evening show of The Queen’s visit. I will be on the panel of British experts at the English Tea Garden (Tiergarten) on 24.06.15 from 20:15 – 21:00 and it will be LIVE. Gulp!
  • 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.
Wonderful British cheese, Scottish oatcake & English cider © Pascale Scerbo Sarro
Wonderful British cheese, Scottish oatcake & English cider
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

The fantastic photos above are by Pascale Scerbo Sarro and you can also find him on his website. Thanks so much Pascale!

I’m extremely excited to see where the next level will be.

For now though, let’s go back to Helsinki. In Finland.

Helsinki Monument, Finland. @VisitFinland
Helsinki Monument, Finland.
@VisitFinland

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.

Design District Helsinki, Finland.
Design District Helsinki, Finland.

Yeah baby!

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.

The GLO Hotel Art Library.
The GLO Hotel Art Library.

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.

The Art Glo 100 year old castle Hotel!
The Art Glo 100 year old castle Hotel!

So cool!

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 Glo Comfort Twin Room in Helsinki, Finland.
Our Glo Comfort Twin Room in Helsinki, Finland.

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!

Hurrah!

The fluffly Lynx - please take me home!
The fluffly Lynx – please take me home!

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.

Phew!

At the Old Market Hall or Vanha Kauppahalli in Helsinki, Finland.
At the Old Market Hall or Vanha Kauppahalli in Helsinki, Finland.

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!

Pretty neat!

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.

Hostels!

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!

Helsinki river view. Finland.
Helsinki river view.
Finland.

And now onto a topic close to my brilliant heart. I give you:

FINNISH FOOD

Helsinki Hakaniemi Market @Elina Sirparanta @VisitFinland
Helsinki Hakaniemi Market
@Elina Sirparanta
@VisitFinland

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!

Isn't this monster full of fun?!
Isn’t this monster full of fun?!

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!

Wild, fresh strawberries fit for a Nordic king!
Wild, fresh strawberries 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.

Näkkileipä - a cracker version of rye bread and Finnish Crisp Crackers.
Näkkileipä – a cracker version of rye bread and Finnish Crisp Crackers.

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!

Ruisleipä – rye bread – made from sour dough in Helsinki, Finland.
Ruisleipä – rye bread – made from sour dough in Helsinki, Finland.
 We really had the opportunity to experience and taste a wide variety of Finnish bread such as Ruisleipä  which is a rye bread made from sour dough, and is very much a staple of a Finnish diet. I’m not a fan of very dark “rough” bread but taken in small doses, and smothered with melting butter and cheese or topped with a variety of sea-food, makes it quite palatable!
A bowl of mouthwatering porridge in Helsinki, Finland.
A bowl of mouthwatering porridge in Helsinki, Finland.

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

Delicious seafood & lobster!
Delicious seafood & lobster!

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.
Toast Skagen also known as a shrimp sandwich!
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.
Sushi in Helsinki was all we could afford!
Sushi in Helsinki was all we could afford!

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.

I know.

Right!

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!

Sushi in helsinki, Finland.
Sushi in helsinki, Finland.

Just look at this delicious mould of rice and seaweed accompanied by a lettuce and prawn and cocktail sauce.

Hang onto your seat! There's more sushi!
Hang onto your seat. There’s more sushi!

Yum! Yum! Yum! Prawns, egg and seaweed. Nosh! Nosh!

Sushi in Helsinki, Finland.
Sushi in Helsinki, Finland.

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!

Japanese soup in Helsinki, Finland.
Japanese soup in Helsinki, Finland.

You all know what I think about soup. This one was pretty spicy but did the job!

A slice of swiss roll in Helsinki, Finland.
A slice of swiss roll in Helsinki, Finland.

This isn’t sushi but a slice of the yummy swiss roll that I had, filled with raspberry and vanilla swirls!

ANYTHING ELSE?

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.

MY VERDICT:

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!

Hel Yeah!

Iso-Syöte_hytter - @VisitFinland
Iso-Syöte_hytter –
@VisitFinland

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.

Stay tuned!

Next week, I’ll be writing about Britain and being The British Berliner. Oh marvellous!

The Northern Lights - @Miikka Niemi Flatlight Films
The Northern Lights –
@Miikka Niemi Flatlight Films

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?

As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & FB!

If you’re not in Berlin, you’re missing the fun.

June is amazing & The Queen’s coming!

Watch this space!

The back of me - © Pascale Scerbo Sarro
The back of me –
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

Have you ever been to Helskini? What do you think of Art Design? Sushi or Reindeer Meatballs?

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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