travelling without moving

“if i were to visit you later this year, would that be okay?” asked a friend of mine, V, some time early this year. mind you, we live half a world apart and hadn’t seen each other since 2010. and even then we only met for like 10 minutes. before i moved to Finland, we used to meet everyday, or at the very least every weekend because i was in a long distance relationship with you-know-who and she was single at that time. we accompanied each other in our singledoms. 😀

1a

long time no see!

so of course you can guess how i answered her question. everything was just a crazy idea at that time, but after months of plannings and messages back & forth, it finally came: the moment she was finally here in Finland to visit me!

it was a short visit among the rest of her Europe trip, but we had lots of fun! it’s not everyday (not even every month, or year!) that somebody from Indonesia comes to visit me, and then i get to show her/him around. for me to talk freely in Indonesian and see the city like a tourist felt like travelling without moving… because i didn’t actually go anywhere, just experienced the same city/things in different ways, in ways a tourist would.

Marimekon tehtaanmyymälä (Marimekko’s Factory Outlet)

would you believe it if i tell you that all these years i’ve lived here, i had never once gone there? well, i made it my personal goal that we went there right away on the 1st day, because i knew she would just love it. and she did. i think she died a little there from seeing all the lovely things, LOL.

Kiasma Contemporary Art Museum

one of my all time fave museums/galleries. currently they show Choi Jeong Hwa’s Happy Together collection, which i really love, along with Ernesto Neto’s and Jani Ruscica’s collection. (there are other artworks by other artists as well, but the main/solo ones are what i previously wrote.)

we had a great time here, touching things, smelling things (yep, there’s an installation for your sense of smell!), and just being wowed by the fun artworks.

Ateneum Art Museum

we came here on the very last day of her visit and barely made it before the museum closed. they currently showcase Alice Neel’s artworks which are just fantastic! there are also Finnish artists’ artworks in Stories of Finnish Art and Italian print artworks in the Great Rider collection.

we met up with my other friend, E. it was kind of surreal for me to actually witness my 2 friends from different parts of the world & different times of my life meeting each other!

Other Places & Foods

at first i had planned to introduce Finnish foods to my friend, but i guess that’s too idealistic… because to be honest, the best place to find Finnish foods is from people’s homes! meaning: i would have to cook them myself. and i was too lazy for that, LOL! so i scrapped that idea and just followed my tummy when it was time for us to eat.

i really enjoyed playing tourist as i get to do things i don’t normally do. and having someone you know getting excited over something you’ve been taking for granted allows you to see it differently, and gets you excited as well.

thank you for coming, V! hope to see you again real soon! 🙂

PS. most of the pics here were taken by V and used by permission.

Finnish Lappish food

a little while ago, my husband & i celebrated our 8th anniversary. by ‘celebrate’, i meant we ate out (of course). this time our place of choice was a restaurant in Helsinki which specializes in Finnish Lappish food, Saaga restaurant.

neither of us had been here before, but we once tried another restaurant from the same group which also serves Finnish delicacies. based on that nice experience, we decided to try this one as well.

when we arrived, the restaurant was just opened for the night, so it was still quiet. it was as if the whole restaurant was opened for us! 😀 we went to the balcony, and after ordering our food we took a look around.

the interior was made to look like someone’s wooden cabin in Lapland: thingamabobs made of wild animal bones, decorations made of animal skins, fishing equipments, pictures of the snowy Lapland. i don’t really like real animal fur myself, but as a decoration in this restaurant i think they serve the right mood. we felt like walking into someone’s home, who hunts wild animals to eat them & make use of them, just like people used to do in the old days. if you imagine what Santa Claus’ house would look like, it would probably look like this. 😀

so… what exactly is Finnish Lappish food? well, it’s actually kind of exotic, even to my Finnish husband. and since we don’t eat this kind of food everyday, we chose to try the most exotic ones we could find. namely bear and reindeer meat (with all sorts of berries).

after ordering, the waitress quickly served us a small first bite as a complimentary. then, the real appetizer came. it was an assorted mix of Lappish specialties.

that appetizer alone was worth the trip to this restaurant! i personally had never eaten any of those before, except for the fresh salad and mushroom salad. and i mean, every single thing was soooo good, you will want to lick the wooden plate clean.

next, the main course. we chose 2 different main courses, so that we could share them.

we could barely finish the main course, since they were so fulfilling! but they were so yummy so we ate as much as we could… and still moved on to the dessert afterwards. 😀

the cranberries were sour like crazy! 😀 it was painful to eat because of the sourness, yet so good that we couldn’t help taking more and more.

it was a really nice experience, starting from the atmosphere, to the friendly waitresses & waiters, and of course the delicious food. quite an unforgettable night for us both.

some people (mostly locals) might think the interior is cheesy, but we actually like it. the way the food were served was not as fancy as at some other overpriced restaurants, in fact it was rather modest. but that is just what Finnish people are like, modest and humble.

some would probably also think that there’s nothing special about Finnish food. well, i am a living proof that that is completely wrong! if you ever visit Helsinki, if you only have a short time but want to get to know traditional Finnish Lappish food that are actually good, then i highly recommend this place. you won’t regret it!

more info on Saaga restaurant here.

PS. sorry for the bad quality pics… it was dark and i only had my mobile phone camera, of course.

PPS. again, i am in no way paid by anyone to advertise this restaurant. this review comes from the heart. 🙂