New York Gems: Chelsea Market

One thing I am always trying to do when I am traveling is to visit the local market.

Even if they are flooded with tourists, nothing shows you local life better than these markets. Oh, the crispiest of the breads at the market near St. Placid metro station in Paris! Oh, the juiciest of the shrimps and octopuses at San Miguel Market in Madrid! Oh, the delicious pasta at San Lorenzo Market in Florence! I could go on and on…

Not only food, of course. All kinds of arts and crafts, local clothes and fake Louis Vuitton purses,  old ladies buying milk and cheese and bargaining with the sellers, all the tourist buzz – there is just something to the markets that gives you a real taste of the city.

Before I first came to New York, I’ve never even thought that there might a market there – for me New York was a city of skyscrapers and market just didn’t fit into the picture. But now Chelsea Market is one of my favorite places to visit whenever I am in Manhattan. It’s definitely more touristic than a farmers’ market somewhere in the Southern France, but it is definitely a place to not be missed when you are in Big Apple.chelsea market Continue reading

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West End Girls, East End Boys

If only I could spend as many days in London as I have pictures in my phone after the trip…:)

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It was my third time in London. The previous two happened over 6 years ago, when I was living in a small (relatively small) Finnish town – before I ever visited Paris or New York or San Francisco or Honolulu  – so you can imagine how much I had my mind blown after seeing what London had to offer.  I’m even embarrassed now to remember how excited I was to see  Victoria’s Secret shops or how I was making my friend who I was visiting go to every single Starbucks we saw or how confused I was in the tube looking for the correct line.

Weather was  great. London rain is overrated, if you ask me. We were there for  5 days in November and didn’t see a drop of it. However, I completely forgot what it felt to be outside for longer than 15 minutes when the temperatures are in the high 40’s/8-9 C. You need layers and layers of clothes. You also need a big scarf, a hat and gloves. Unless you are local. In this case you can go just wearing ballerinas, ripped jeans and short leather jacket. At least, this is what the majority of the women I saw looked like. I was freezing just looking at them and wrapped in the scarf tighter.

Food is good in England.  Don’t argue with me on that one, I am a foodie and I am peculiar when it comes to that part of the deal.  The only place where I didn’t like the food was the place I used to love during my previous visits. Yes, Patisserie Valerie, I am looking at you. Those Eggs Benedict were a disgrace. Warm apple tart was ok though. The rest of the food experience was very good. Duck Shepard’s Pie and steak tartare at Balthazar. Coffee and pastries at Arro Coffee. Steaks and grilled porcini mushrooms at Zelman Meats. Fish and chips – yes, fish and chips – at some no name place on our way to the tube. Continue reading

What To Do In Hawaii

I have never had ambitions to become a travel blogger. First and foremost, I am too lazy for that. Second, there is already so much information on pretty much every place on Earth out there, that I almost see no point in increasing the redundancy. But I decided to put this post together mainly for my own memories – and if anyone takes anything useful from it, I will be happy and a bit flattered.

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For many years I was that type of traveler who would spend all the time on the beach during the beach vacation. I did not care much for sightseeing and all those guided tours were nothing but a distraction for me from the main thing – beach. However as I’m becoming older, expanding my horizons, my attitude has changed quite much and now I cannot imagine wasting 7-10 days just hanging by the water with a drink and a book. Oh maybe it’s the lack of concentration and the need for changing the scenery every so often. Who knows.

Another thing is that it took me some time to find a balance between the spontaneous vacation and the one planned to a last minute. I’ve come back  from vacations disappointed that I didn’t see much and I’ve come back exhausted from non-stop marathon between the museums and palaces with a short stop on a market square.

Our Hawaiian vacation was perfect due to many reasons, one of them being us having found the perfect equilibrium between planning and spontaneity. We decided on few things we definitely wanted to do/see and the rest we took as it came. Below is the list of our activities –  our own must-see-must-do list for Hawaii. You are welcome.:)

North Shore and town of Haleiwa. Just about an hour drive from Waikiki beach there is a wonderful small town Haleiwa, which is known for the world class surfing conditions. The town is small and cosy and a bit unkept, but it’s the beauty of it. The landscapes are gorgeous too. We stopped at several beaches to take pictures and to look at courageous and fearless surfers. Right by Haleiwa there is a Dole pineapple plantation with pineapple maze – by the way, pineapples in Hawaii are to die for. Continue reading