When in Sweden, you’ve got to try Swedish food. Hand me my meatballs!

A Swedish hotdog in Stockholm – Sweden!

And so it’s here!

The last post that I’ll be writing about Sweden.

But what a most important post!

It goes without saying that we had a most delightful time in Stockholm, and it was truly awesome.

It was my first time to go to Sweden, but it certainly, won’t be the last. If you’re just tuning in, here’s what you missed:

Have you ever been to Sweden? Hej!
©Henrik Trygg

I’m a bit of a freak as I tend to go to places that are either in the middle of nowhere like Latvia & Lithuania, or places where you need a second mortgage such as Switzerland and Finland.

And in going to Sweden, we were well aware that we would have to tighten our budget, make the local supermarket our friend, and not go on a spending spree of gastronomic delight, as we did in Croatia!

Having said that though, I’m a strong believer that when you go to another country, you ought to try as much as possible to eat the food of the land.

Sweden was no exception.

Travelling with FlixBus to Sweden

And so my task was to visit Stockholm. Sleep in Stockholm. Eat in Stockholm. And survive the horrendous prices.

With young boy tween in tow.

Gulp!

Book your hotel here! 

When in Sweden, forget about your budget, otherwise, you won’t be able to eat a single thing!

In order to have a great time experiencing all that Sweden has to offer, you’ve got to forget about your budget, otherwise, you won’t be able to eat a single thing!

Sweden is terribly expensive and sadly, there’s no getting around it! Prepare yourself for high prices, and either suck it up, or go elsewhere!

Everybody always wonders how visitors do it, so I’m going to tell you how!

WHEN IN SWEDEN, YOU’VE GOT TO TRY SWEDISH FOOD. HAND ME MY MEATBALLS!

When in Sweden, you’ve got to try Swedish food. Hand me my meatballs!

When writing about food, it’s best to let the pictures do the talking but of course, if you have further insight, let me know in the comment section below!

WHAT IS SWEDISH FOOD?

Swedish mushrooms in the wild can be poisonous, and should only be picked by Nordic food experts!

Swedish food can be described as cultured dairy products, crisp bread, berries, stone fruits, beef, chicken, lamb, pork, and seafood.

Due to Sweden’s large North–South land space, there are regional differences between the food of North and South Sweden.

In Northern Sweden, fare such as reindeer, and game – derived from the Sami nomadic culture – are eaten. In Southern Sweden, fresh vegetables play a larger role.

Internationally, the most famous Swedish culinary tradition is the smörgåsbord, otherwise known as a help-yourself buffet, the julbord, otherwise known as a Christmas spread, and traditional Swedish dishes such as gravlax and meatballs!

Yum!

BREAKFAST:

Breakfast in Sweden!

Sweden has a unique breakfast culture whose roots are firmly grounded in peasant traditions. We were lucky to experience just how a Swedish breakfast should be, as we were staying at the Hobo award-winning design hotel!

And OMG!

The breakfast there was greeeeeeeeat!

Breakfast at the Hobo Hotel in Stockholm-Sweden, was great!
Breakfast at the Hobo Hotel in Stockholm-Sweden, was great!

There was a variety of fresh-home-made organic Nordic food, rye sandwiches with caviar (yummy!) a variety of chia seeds, nuts, coconut milk, yoghurt, fruit, juices, and smoothies.

Of course, I couldn’t actually eat most of the items on offer ‘cos of my nut allergy, but the staff were able to make me some nut-free yoghurt!

Swedish hearty rye bread with eggs & caviar!. Oh my!

In Swedish traditional homes, breakfast consists of:

  • sandwiches on hearty bread with cheese
  • bread topped with ham
  • bread and eggs
  • bread with ham or skinka
  • bread with caviar. Oh my!
  • bread with a sweet spread made from butter and whey (ala Little Miss Muffet) or messmör
A lovely bowl of porridge, milk & honey. And if you’re so inclined, a dash of whisky too!
  • porridge with milk and jam or cinnamon and sugar
  • bread with caviar, and Swedish liver pâte!
  • open sandwiches or smörgåsen
  • Swedish crisp bread or knäckebröd
  • yogurt
  • fermented milk or filmjölk
Breakfast at the Hobo Hotel in Stockholm-Sweden, was great!

Our hotel breakfast was included with our room, but if you wanted to book it separately then you could! Cost: 120 SEK or €12.30 per person.

Book Hobo here or here!

TAKE A FIKA! 

Taking a fika or a coffee break, is considered a way of life in Sweden!

Meals are expensive in Sweden, so we opted for taking a fika or a coffee break, even though I don’t drink coffee. Ho! Ho!

However, drinking coffee and eating sweet baked goods or fikabröd is a social institution in Sweden, and just like the tea break in Britain, is a traditional way of socializing, and taken quite seriously.

You haven’t lived, if you’re never tried a Swedish cinnamon bun!

Many traditional kinds of Swedish sweet baked goods are:

  • sirapslimpa  – a wholemeal loaf sweetened and glazed with syrup, treacle, aniseed, fennel, and tangy orange zest
  • yeast buns
  • cookies
  • biscuits
  • cake
  • And you really can’t mention Swedish food without talking about cinnamon buns!

In fact, most offices, schedule official time for fika!

Swedish food has a huge variety of breads of different shapes and sizes, such as this crisp bread!

In addition to sweet goods, Swedish food also consists of a huge variety of bread that comes in different shapes and sizes such as:

  • rye bread
  • wheat bread
  • oat bread
  • white bread
  • dark bread
  • sourdough bread or surdeg
  • whole grain bread
  • fine grain bread
  • flatbread
  • barkis or bergis – a sort of Jewish ceremonial bread
  • and of course, crisp bread!

Book your hotel here! 

You can also have other snacks such as:

Ärtsoppa – Swedish yellow pea soup with pancakes!
©dogstcomics.wordpress.com

Soup!

In Sweden, Thursday is traditionally known as soup day!

  • One of the most traditional Swedish soups you could have, is ärtsoppa. Ärtsoppa is a yellow pea soup served with pancakes as dessert, and has been on the Swedish menu, as far back as the Middle Ages!

Ärtsoppa is a peasant meal of thick soup made from boiled yellow peas, onions, and small pieces of pork, often served with mustard and followed by a dessert of thin pancakes or pannkakor!

Wow!

Västeras Swedish cucumber soup . Er. Yum?!
  • Västeras cucumber soup
  • rose hip soup
  • blueberry soup
  • pumpkin seeds
  • panini sandwiches
  • And hot dogs!
A Swedish hotdog in Stockholm – Sweden!

We got the hotdogs on the pier not far from the Vasa Museum and the Göna Lund. I can’t remember how much they were exactly, but they were somewhere in the vein of about €5.00 – €6.00 per sausage!

You could have a variety of sausages, spices and toppings, and The Tall Young Gentleman declared them to be quite acceptable!

Book your hotel here! 

DINNER:

This reindeer might be cute, but in Sweden, they eat ’em!
  • new potatoes served with pickled herring, chives and sour cream
  • raw food salads
  • cabbage or sauerkraut
  • mushroom delicacies or chanterelle. The chanterelle is usually served as a side dish with steak, or fried with onions and sauce served on bread
  • porcini mushroom or karljohansvamp
  • dumplings with blueberries or blåbärspalt
We had quite a nice dinner at Hearts – an American diner in Stockholm – Sweden!
  • burgers

I’m not really a fan of burgers as I have a thing about eating beef in restaurants…

I don’t like ’em!

Anyhoo. Since we were having cocktails at the ICEBAR by Ice Hotel, we decided to have dinner there too!

The Icebar is attached to the Hotel C Stockholm, and since the manager had kindly given us a 10% discount card for a meal, we happily used it!

We had quite a nice dinner at Hearts – a blend between an American diner and an Italian family restaurant. We had the Hearts Burger. Cost: SEK 175 or €18.00  per person.

Book Hotel C Stockholm here or here!

Pig on a spit.
Don’t look if you’re squeamish!
  • pig’s trotters served with beetroot or grisfötter
  • lingonberry jam – a traditional way to add freshness to stodgy food such as steaks and stews
  • turnips or kålrot, otherwise known as swede. Yuck!
  • cabbage rolls or kåldolma
  • tartar
  • reindeer
When in Sweden, you’ve got to try Swedish food. Hand me my meatballs!
  • And of course, meatballs!

Meatballs are a traditional Swedish dish, and one that that many people would recognise.

In fact, in order to get our Swedish fix, we often go to the Ikea Food Hall in Berlin, just to get a taste of Swedish meatballs.

Ohmigosh!

Of course, once we were in Stockholm, we just knew that we were going to get ourselves a good healthy portion of meatballs, with mashed potatoes, brown creamy sauce, with tangy pungent lingonberry berries, and a leafy salad.

And we did!

We went to a lovely Swedish restaurant whose staff were mostly Italian! The restaurant was slap bang in the middle of the Old Town or  Gamla Stan and our Swedish meatballs were fantastic! It was called Jerntorgiths Café. Cost: SEK 139 or €14.50 per person.

Book your hotel here! 

SEAFOOD:

I love seafood and Sweden has a lot of it!

I love seafood and Sweden has a lot of it!

As far back as 1000 AD, Sweden has been trading and preserving seafood which is salted and cured. If in Sweden make some time to try items such as:

  • crayfish or kräftskiva, which is usually boiled and then marinated in a broth with salt, sugar, and a large amount of dill weed!
  • pickled sweetened herring or inlagd sill
  • shrimp
  • lobster
  • baltic herring or surströmming
Gravlax – raw salmon cured in salt, sugar & dill, served with dill and mustard sauce. Delish!
  • gravlax – a Nordic dish consisting of raw salmon, cured in salt, sugar, and dill, usually served as an appetizer, sliced thinly and accompanied by a dill and mustard sauce or hovmästarsås, and served with bread or boiled potatoes.

Delish!

I love seafood and Sweden has a lot of it!

In order to fill the appetite of my growing sprog, I decided to go to an Asian restaurant for dinner which would kill four birds with one stone! Thus, we would be able to satisfy our craving for Asian food, seafood, the belly of a teenage boy, and without heaving to sell my soul!

  • The restaurant was in the centre of the city. It’s called Restaurang Tang. You also get free jugs of water with no hassle at all! Cost: SEK 179 or €18.50 per person.

Book your hotel here! 

DESSERT:

Swedish ice-cream!
  • Chocolate. Ughh!
  • Frozen sorrel
  • Meadowsweet  or mead wort ice-cream
  • Truffles
  • Applewood ice-cream!

I’ve got nothing left to say!

DRINKS & REFRESHMENTS:

Here’s a really good example of Swedish beer!
©Christian Lindgren

Alcohol is awfully expensive in Sweden so I only had a drink on my first night, and on our last afternoon!

  • As you  know, we spent a rather pleasant evening at the ICEBAR by Ice Hotel in Stockholm  – the world’s first permanent ice bar – sipping on cocktails and non-alcoholic champagne, in a glass made entirely of ice!
We were served cocktails and non-alcoholic champagne, presented in a glass made entirely of ice, at the ICEBAR by ICEHOTEL in Stockholm – Sweden!

That was quite delightful!

Cost: It’s cheaper to pre-book or if you’re a hotel guest. Adults 199 SEK or €20.50. Non-alcoholic drinks – 170 SEK or €17.50. Children between 3-17 years – 99 SEK or €10.00.

On the afternoon, we were leaving Stockholm, we decided to visit the rooftop bar next door!

Tak Rooftop Bar in Stockholm
©TAK /Wingårdhs

The rooftop bar next to our Hobo hotel, was called TAK!

TAK is a Nordic-Japanese restaurant, and raw / rooftop bar that literally had hundreds of people queuing to get into it, so if you’re going out of an evening, I strongly recommend making a reservation!

We opted for a little after lunch-time, and had the place almost to ourselves.

Our non-alcoholic cocktail at the TAK rooftop bar in Stockholm – Sweden!
My small Swedish beer at the TAK rooftop bar in Stockholm – Sweden!
  • We had a non-alcoholic cocktail and a small Swedish beer that was still quite reasonably priced. Cost for the cocktail (non-alcoholic): SEK 65.00 or €7.00. For the small beer: SEK 72.00 or €7.40.

Phew!

I could go on and on, but I ought to leave something for you to discover, don’t you think?

That’s it for now.

See you next week!

Book your hotel or hostel here!

WHEN IN SWEDEN, YOU’VE GOT TO TRY SWEDISH FOOD. HAND ME MY MEATBALLS!

When in Sweden, you’ve got to try Swedish food. Hand me my meatballs!

This article is not sponsored and all opinions and the delicious Swedish and Nordic food that we tasted, are my very own!

I’ve got a surprise for you. I’m going to London!

To find out why, make sure you follow me on Twitter and Facebook!

In July, I’ll be writing about the awesome time I had in Slovenia, and spending the summer in France and Germany!

On 24.06.17, I’ll be on a five (5) member academic discussion panel on Brexit, at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin!

It’s part of the Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften, or the Long Night of Sciences at the Centre for British Studies. My discussion panel will be at 20:00 and the topic will be Brits in Berlin after Brexit, so if you’re in Berlin at this time, come and watch me, and hear me speak!

From July 4th – July 7th, I’ll be at Berlin Fashion Week.

I’ll be there. Will you?

If you’re not in Berlin right now, you’re mad!

Save the Date!

June & July are going to be amazing!

When in Sweden, you’ve got to try Swedish food. Hand me my meatballs!

Watch this space!

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!

When in Sweden, you’ve got to try Swedish food. Hand me my meatballs!

Have you got the balls to try Swedish food? Let me know in the 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

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Taiwan: Food to eat and a place to lay your head: A first-time experience – Part II

Taiwan: Food to eat and a place to lay your head: A first-time experience - Part II
Taiwan: Food to eat and a place to lay your head: A first-time experience – Part II

So last week, I introduced you to a little bit of why I went to visit Taiwan.

And this is why I did so:

Taiwan is all in the news at the moment, so visit sooner rather than later, before it gets all complicated! 

ANY IDEAS OF WHAT I SHOULD DO WHEN I GET TO TAIWAN?

Being in Taiwan was a slow cultural solo trip!
Being in Taiwan was a slow cultural solo trip!

I only went for five (5) days and based myself in Taipei, so this was a sloooooow cultural solo trip.

Taipei is home to various world-famous architectural or cultural landmarks which include:

Taipei 101 Observatory - The world's tallest building in 2004!
Taipei 101 Observatory – The world’s tallest building in 2004!
The 228 Peace Memorial Park ©Ryan G
The 228 Peace Memorial Park ©Ryan G
Making new friends under the glowing lanterns of the Mengjia Longshan Temple, in Taipei!
Making new friends under the glowing lanterns of the Mengjia Longshan Temple, in Taipei!
Tea culture in Taiwan!
Tea culture in Taiwan!
Yangmingshan National Park ©taiwan.net.tw
Yangmingshan National Park ©taiwan.net.tw
Paintbrushes, stencils, and ink, ready for the Pingxi Sky Lantern experience, in Taiwan!
Paintbrushes, stencils, and ink, ready for the Pingxi Sky Lantern experience, in Taiwan!
  • Pingxi

There really is plenty to do, and I wrote 16 brilliant reasons all about it! 

Schoolgirls in Taiwan for the Pingxi Sky Lantern experience!
Schoolgirls in Taiwan for the Pingxi Sky Lantern experience!

WHAT ABOUT TRANSPORT POSSIBILITIES?

Taipei is easy to navigate using public transport.
Taipei is easy to navigate using public transport.

Taipei is easy to navigate.

Taxis are cheap and so is public transport.

The trains were easy to navigate and use, and were cheap, costing just NT$20 (Taiwanese dollars) or €0.60 cents per short hop journey!

Single journeys in Taipei cost just NT$20 (Taiwanese dollars) or €0.60 cents per short hop journey. Plenty of room to take your cello with you!
Single journeys in Taipei cost just NT$20 (Taiwanese dollars) or €0.60 cents per short hop journey. Plenty of room to take your cello with you!

The trains weren’t crammed or packed, and the floors were clean. I used my finger, and checked lol! There were plants and mobile-phone chargers everywhere, and even boxes for you to take a free umbrella!

If that isn’t service, I really don’t know what is!

There are underground trains, mainline trains, high-speed rail, and bus lines connect Taipei with other parts of the Taiwanese island!

ANYTHING ELSE?

Taiwan’s famous xiao chi (small bites)!
Taiwan’s famous xiao chi (small bites)!

One of the biggest pulls to Taiwan is the food that you can find there at Taiwan’s famous xiao chi (small bites), at the many department stores, kerbside restaurants, hawker carts, bubble tea stalls, and the famous daytime and night markets, so here we go.

Enjoy!

THE TAIPEI HUAXI STREET NIGHT MARKET

The Taipei Huaxi Street Night Market in Taipei.
The Taipei Huaxi Street Night Market in Taipei.

Located near the Longshan Temple, the Huaxi Street Night Market is the most well-known international tourist night markets in Taipei, and has been in business for more than 60 years! Traders sell Chinese herbal food, crafts, commodities, gourmet snacks, Chinese herbal cuisine cooked with snake and other exotic meat, foot massage shops, spas, and seafood!

Fish head soup!
Fish head soup!
Squid on a stick!
Squid on a stick!
Deep-fried squid!
Deep-fried squid!

Specialities include such delights as fish head soup, and deep-fried squid, with a variety of sauces such as spicy pepper and mind-blowing wasabi!

  • Cost of fried squid: NT$10 or €0.30!
Me drinking bubble tea in Taiwan!
Me drinking bubble tea in Taiwan!

And now for something completely different…chewy balls of tapioca bubble tea at the street market. A boon for me as bubble tea is actually banned in Germany!

  • Cost: NT$10 or €0.30!

Nearest station: Longshan Temple

Opening Times : 16:00-24:00

RAOHE STREET NIGHT MARKET

Roast pig! ©House of Hao's
Roast pig! ©House of Hao’s

The Raohe Street Night Market is one of the oldest night markets in Taipei, and just across the street from my amba Taipei Songshan hotel! It’s also quite traditional, packed with snacks, quaint shops and stalls, and carnival games with prizes, and is considered to be the largest garment wholesale market place in Taiwan!

Getting lost in the Wufenpu Fashion Area of Taipei!
Getting lost in the Wufenpu Fashion Area of Taipei!

In order to get there, I found myself getting lost among the maze and alleys full of racks of clothing, and discounted fashion shops at the Wufenpu Fashion Area!

Book your hotel here!

Snails in sauce!
Snails in sauce!
Noodle soup. I did have dumplings too, but I have no idea where I put them!
Noodle soup. I did have dumplings too, but I have no idea where I put them!
  • Cost of noodles: NT$8 or €0.25 per piece
  • Cost of soup: NT$15 or €0.45 per bowl

Nearest station: Songshan

Opening Times : 17:00-24:00

SHILIN NIGHT MARKET

A local tradesman at the Shilin Night Market, in Taipei!
A local tradesman at the Shilin Night Market, in Taipei!

The Shilin Night Market is one of the largest and most popular night markets in Taiwan! It was built in 1899 and is famous for great food!

Taiwanese students and young people, outside the Cicheng Temple, having a good time!
Taiwanese students and young people, outside the Cicheng Temple, having a good time!
Fishing for live shrimps at the night market, in Taiwan!
Fishing for live shrimps at the night market, in Taiwan!
Having a meal at a kerbside restaurants, with mates in Taiwan!
Having a meal at a kerbside restaurants, with mates in Taiwan!
The Shilin Night Market is popular with Taiwanese students because of it's cheap, attractive prices!
The Shilin Night Market is popular with Taiwanese students because of it’s cheap, attractive prices!

The Shilin Night Market is famous for local Taiwanese cuisine, and spills out into several bustling streets with more than 500 stores and vendors! The night market is divided into two parts. One part is in the Shilin Market building with a food court on the underground floor. The second part centers on the Yangming Cinema and the Cicheng Temple, and consists of a cluster of shops and stores popular with Taiwanese students and young people.

Exotic vegetables for the hotpot inTaiwan!
Exotic vegetables for the hotpot inTaiwan!
Exotic Taiwanese meatballs at the night market in Taipei!
Exotic Taiwanese meatballs at the night market in Taipei!
A hotpot for me, and a hotpot for you, at the Shillin Night Market in Taiwan!
A hotpot for me, and a hotpot for you, at the Shillin Night Market in Taiwan!
Shanghai Buns at the Shilin Night Market in Taipei!
Shanghai Buns at the Shilin Night Market in Taipei!

Not to be outdone – Taiwanese Afters and desserts!

Some sort of shaved ice!
Some sort of shaved ice!
I've no idea what it is exactly, but it looked pretty! Any ideas? Aha! I've been told that the string of red balls are 糖葫蘆 or sugar gourd strawberries or tomatoes, covered with sugar!
I’ve no idea what it is exactly, but it looked pretty! Any ideas? Aha! I’ve been told that the string of red balls are 糖葫蘆 or sugar gourd strawberries or tomatoes, covered with sugar!
I had this really nice fresh cherry drink, but due to brain freeze, I had to throw it away!
I had this really nice fresh cherry drink, but due to brain freeze, I had to throw it away!

Ha! Ha! Stinky tofu!!

Ha! Ha! Stinky tofu in Taiwan!!
Ha! Ha! Stinky tofu in Taiwan!!

No thanks!

Nearest station: Shilin, but get out at Jiantan train station instead!

Opening Times : 17:00-24:00

LOCAL FOOD AT TAIWANESE RESTAURANTS

Vegetables and mountains of tofu in Taiwan!
Vegetables and mountains of tofu in Taiwan
A selection of sauces, condiments, and spices. In Taiwan!
A selection of sauces, condiments, and spices. In Taiwan!
Rice and noodles with the steaming hot pot in the background!
Rice and noodles with the steaming hot pot in the background!

I went to a local restaurant late one night and had a hotpot of noodles, beef, and tofu. I went with two Americans and we didn’t really know what to do with all the stuff, so I asked two visitors from Malaysia!

You put all the stuff in the steaming hotpot, and eat with rice, noodles, or both!
You put all the stuff in the steaming hotpot, and eat with rice, noodles, or both!

You put all the stuff in the steaming hotpot, and eat with rice, noodles, or both!

Wash it all down with cider or beer!
Wash it all down with cider or beer!
Ice cold German imported beer!
Ice cold German imported beer!

German imported Blue Girl beer!

‘Nuff said!

ORGANIC TAIWANESE FOOD & DRINK

Enhanced fresh juice
Enhanced fresh juice
Sweet potato fries with spicy chipotle mayo dipping
Sweet potato fries with spicy chipotle mayo dipping
House caesar salad
House caesar salad

I wasn’t feeling at all well when I arrived in Taiwan, so I started my day at the amba Taipei Ximending with fresh organic food, a salad, and some chips, to make me feel at home! All the nore to get that boutique feeling which you can do, if you book your hotel here!

  • Cost of fruit juice: NT$170 or €5.70!
  • Cost of potato fries: NT$160 or €4.80!
  • Cost of salad: NT$220 or €6.50!

MY VERDICT:

Taiwan: Food to eat and a place to lay your head: A first-time experience - Part II
Taiwan: Food to eat and a place to lay your head: A first-time experience – Part II

I really liked Taipei.

It’s lovely. It’s old. It’s got history, art and culture, and looks really modern. It’s not as cheap as South East Asian (SEA) countries, but is certainly reasonably priced.

If you’re looking for the next best East Asian city that’s safe, quiet, and away from the tourist throngs, you’ve found it.

WOULD I COME AGAIN?

Utterly!

Because Taiwan has the feel of being Chinese, but itsn’t!

Let’s do it!

Me being a tourist in trendy Ximending 16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!
Me being a tourist in trendy Ximending
16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!

This article is not sponsored and all opinions and the steaming hotpots that I plunged into, are my very own!

Next week I’ll be writing about Christmas, and then returning to the Philippines later!

I’ll be joining the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, to celebrate Christmas on December 12th! I know! I’ve totally made it!!

In January, I’ll be going to Holland.

The British Shorts Film Festival will take place from 12th – 18th January, 2017

Berlin Fashion Week will take place from 17th –  20th January, 2017.

At the end of January, I’ll be skiing in the Czech Republic.

Save the Date!

December is going to be sharp!

Watch this space!

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!

Taiwan: Food to eat and a place to lay your head: A first-time experience - Part II
Taiwan: Food to eat and a place to lay your head: A first-time experience – Part II

Have you ever been to a night market? What do you think of bubble tea? Let me know!

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!

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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