Uncategorized, Lightroom

Finally got Lightroom downloaded to my laptop - after trying three weeks! I have no idea what was the problem - or yes I know it was about parent and child folders etc but it still did not work after doing everything and nothing with my skills until magical yesterday night! You can not guess how happy I was, and still am!

So here are bunch of Lightroom playarounds of some photos taken in Spain where I got to be few days during the last week. And this is only the start woopwoop!

--Karoliina-

Move your blog to Nouw - now you can import your old blog - click here!

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Food, Travel, Travel: what to see

Back in June, I had a three day's visit in Budapest for the first time ever. Before the trip, I had heard from various sources how nice and beautiful city Budapest is but still it surprised me totally how great it really was!

While taking the cab from the airport to the city center, I noticed how clean and in a good conditions all roads and streets were. And the best of all, the architecture of the city was just a-m-a-z-i-n-g!

During the cab ride you were also able to see so beautiful buildings as getting closer to the city center. This was also a good way to see some parts of the city were you might no end up as easily if your days are in short.

I got to spend three full days in the city and it was quite good enough time to see the city (if you are willing to spend your time around the city from morning to late afternoon or evening). Our days consisted of these...::

Fisherman's Bashion

Jewish Quarter

House of Parliament

Shoes on the Danube Bank

Opera House

Margaret Island

St. Stephens Basilica

Budavari Palace

Tonava ride

The most beautiful McDonald's of Europe (extremely important one ;))

+The tickets for boat riding needs to be bought in advance so it is good to look around for moving tourist kiosks which can be found next to bigger attractions. Top of these I recommend to try out local goulish soup and Kürtoskalács (a bun-like pastry with optional toppings - I had one with hazelnut!).

--Karoliina--

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Food, Travel, Destination: Croatia

Long time no see! The truth is that I have not even done any trip over a half a year until last week's mini vacay in Split.

In fact this was my second time in the popular Game of Thrones-city. The first time was back in 2015 when I was living in Germany for my exchange year. As it was back then and now, this trip was also length of few days and surprisingly it is enough to experience the city. Of course there is also more to see, do and explore but if you have the capability to narrow your plans to reasonable ones, you can greatly manage to see all during e.g. a long weekend trip.

My friend and I arrived to the airport in the early morning where from we took the airport suffle bus. The bus cost 30 punas (local currency - 25 punas is approximately 2,5 euros) and on the way back from the city to the airport the price was 33 punas (do not ask why there is the price difference hah). The optional way to travel to center is to take a taxi.

We spent the days next to the sea, walked around the city during the evenings and sat down for dinner and drinks during night time. Days went fast but four days took long in the city itself and that is why I recommend to visit some island near-by, do island hopping or take a boat ride. These activities are well adverted in the center area. I also recommend to see Marjan Park area which has small beaches and you can also go there for a run or a walk.

I do not have any other specific recommendations to share expect this pizzeria place called Pizzeria Portas which you have to try out! The price range is not huge and the pizzas are the best!

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Travel, Travel: what to see, Destination: Estonia

I have been longing to visit Tallinn so long and now during last summer I took it as real business to get there. Of course, things are just not so easy so the weekend trip got postponed to Fall!

I did not get taken so much pictures nor got to enjoy fully the tourist walking because the wind was horrible, literally. I had also a bad flu going on for few days which gave me also 39 degrees fever during the night on the cruise. 

Also, I though to be smart when choosing to wear a hat to keep me warm while walking in the windy weather but I forgot the fact that a little bit too big hat and the hard wind are not best combination...That's why pictures were really difficult to take when other hand was all the time holding the hat on my head (see also the two pictures were I am appearing...surprise surprise - holding the hat).

I do not have so much to say what to do and what to see in Tallinn because my exploring was kind of non-motivated thanks to the circumstances. I still want to list below my favourite places of visitation but I also highly recommend to check in TripAdvisor to see more possible activities and places to visit!

Even though I spent the whole day (booked a weekend vacation of one night on the cruise and the second night in a hotel in Tallinn) in Tallinn, I think these places can be also easily squeezed to see during 5 hours visitation which is also one alternative while planning a trip to Tallinn from Finland (Helsinki) with a cruise. 

Attractions free of charge

Old Town of Tallinn

Town Hall Square 

Maiden's Tower

Observation spot "Patkuli"

The City Wall

Toompea Hill

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

Kiek in de Kök

Oleviste Church

Observation spot "Kohtuotsa"

Paksu Margareta

The gates to Old Town

Also, if you want to do some shopping I recommend to visit Viru-mall and next to it has been expanded another mall with H&M etc. In Viru-mall is also a museum of KGB but somehow I totally forgot till late night. Also if you really like to expierence more down to earth local shopping you should visit Merekeskus and Sadamarket which are near by the port.

++ If I could choose, I think the most ideal visitation time for Tallinn would be Summer time because Old Town has so beautiful and colorful buildings with several nice local cafeterias and restaurants with a terrace or patio. I can ensure that idyllic and romantic vibe of the area is as its best during the hot and sunny days. Or at least I think I would get most out of the visitation during this seasonal time! 

If there is missing some good attraction spot so name it!

AND if you know some good locations, attractions or activities which are possible only during some specific time of the year in Tallinn, share it with others so we can all be again bit smarter during the next vacation :)!


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Destination: Japan, Food

I want to share few restaurant places and areas to visit when you might get hungry in Osaka/Kyoto! I do not fancy myself so much Japanese food and that is why we did not eat so much in any fancy restaurants/cafeterias but here is now few places I remember.

St-Marc Cafe Choco Cro in Osaka - great place to rest your feet while exploring the city or to start day with nice cup of coffee and croissant - or like I did with deeelicious pancakes!

Pablo in Osaka: Great cheese cake to taste! You can go eat in the restaurant or to have a take out - we enjoyed the cheese cake in Minoo park with the view of the beautiful waterfall! The price rate is bit over normal but you can order a small piece of cake or share a dish with a friends.

Yoshinoya in Kyoto - Great spot for fast lunch but still more local than McDonalds right ;)? We had a lunch at this Japanese fast food chain and if you do not need gourmet food, this is the place! Also the price for dishes was like 400-600 yen! And their green tea which came with the food, delicious!

Yodobashi in Osaka or Kyoto - This is super huge (something like 8-10 floors) mall which is great experience to walk through itself. In the one of the upper floors is totally for restaurants and this is a great place to go if you still do not know what you would like to eat and would like to compare different menus under the same roof. Price rate for dishes depends totally on the restaurants but I would say that cheapest dish is for 700 yen and most expensive...well I did not look for those back then haha.

Shinsekai in Osaka - The place full of restaurants! Only negative factor is that every restaurant has exactly same menu and when I am not huge fan of Japanese food so it was bit difficult for me to find place where to eat! The menu consists mostly of fried meat & vegetables and price range is not high!

The good thing in Japan is that they tend to have these visual menus in the window's of the restaurants with identical plastic copies of the dishes. This enables you to get a better picture what are restaurants serving and what are you ordering. Many of the restaurants had also images of the meals in the paper menu when entering in.

Plus! You can even find the stores which makes these plastic dishes in Osaka and buy a magnet or key chain of some food as a souvenirl

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Destination: Japan, Travel

Almost in the heart of Osaka city you can find this incredible beautiful white castle with small details of golden statues and figures. The story of this building has started in 1583 and since that time it has seen a lot by surviving only the main tower of the castle and surrounding city. You can also enter with a fee inside the castle but it is totally renovated with modern style so if you seek more history I believe you will not find it from there - only the great view of Osaka!

The castle area is surrounded by huge stone walls, gates, turrets and moats and huge garden of cherry trees. In July, sadly the cherry flowers are not blossoming but the garden was still beautiful, especially if you realized to find the corner areas and not just walk by the main path.

The only problem for me during this day was (like most of the days in Japan) the heat! While visiting Osaka Castle there is not much shadows to hide to and that is why it is important to have umbrella, hat or cap and water bottle(s) while visiting the place with clear blue sky and shiny day! At least I had water but long pants and black clothes were not the best option for that day and place...I suffered a lot.

Sayonara, Karoliina

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Travel, Destination: Japan

Back to few, and really really delayed, posts of Japan again! I have noticed it is more and more difficult to edit the pictures and create the text what longer the time has passed from the trip itself.

One of the you have to see -places while visiting Kyoto is Arashiyama Bamboo Forest and Monkey Park!

Arashiyama area is incredible beautiful while arriving there. No specific reasons to point out but the feeling and balance of the place was something ... beautiful if you can say so? The area is divided in two by a wide river where flows boats (you can attend to those rides!) and the mountain is hiding under bright green trees giving the impression of a high green wall which reaches the sky.

We did not eat in the area but did try the famous and aesthetically beautiful caféteria called Arabica (%) (caféteria can also be find in Kyoto). The ice latte was great add to gain energy and ease the feeling of high temperature.

In the Internet, it is highly recommended to visit the bamboo forest during super early hours to avoid the crowds but I can ensure that it is as amazing to walk through with other tourists - for sure it is less magical and more difficult to take breathtaking and fairytale-liked pictures but in my opinion you can still enjoy it fully if you wake up at 10 am and not 5 am. The walk through the bamboo groves does not take so long time and that's why we walked the route back and forth and then continued to Monkey Park.

The monkey park is located in the top of the mountain in Arashiyama, in the other side of the river than bamboo forest. To get to the park you have to do a sweaty hike (well at least it was it for me with +35 degrees). The walk up there took something like 30 minutes with stops. The entry fee was 550 yen which was paid before hiking up. You also got a voucher which told how to act among monkeys and a handhold paper fan which was in high use for me while hiking (and sweating) top of the mountain.

The experience in the monkey park itself was nice; you can walk among them (but be aware all the time - they are still wild animals!) and go inside a small house where from you can buy fruit snacks to feed them through the barriers. Up from the mountain is also beautiful view of the city.

With over a hundred wild monkeys running wild free among yourself, it is a cool experience in my opinion but of course it is totally up to yourself is it worth of 550 yen. But, if you are visiting Arashiyama during summer months, you can be as lucky as us in July and witness also two dozens baby monkeys!

A good reminder to behave well among the monkeys is the situation which I saw aside while our visit: one younger girl (for sure also more children) was kind of too positively aggressive and close for one monkey and for revenge it peed on her from the tree...exactly. Good to end the selling speech of Arashiyama here, haha!

I have to also recommend that if you want to send some unique and beautiful postcards from Japan, buy those from the older local man who is selling his own painted pictures as postcards in the path of the bamboo forest. A postcard costs only 100 yen and by that you will also support a small entrepreneur and artist who is the sweetest ever! He had also a world map where he marked where from his customers are coming from - so cute!

IMPORTANT TIP: If it is sunny and hot day without any clouds in the sky so take an umbrella or hat/cap with you, Arashiyama is really open place despite of all the trees and the heat feels really strong (expect in the shadows of bamboo groves). And, waterbottles!

Check the website called Inside Kyoto to see how to get easily to Arashiyama (we used the 30 min bus ride and it was handy and easy) and what other places you can visit in Arashiyama area because there is also several temples, bike-renting et cetera!

Sayonara, Karoliina

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Destination: Japan, Travel: what to see

This days main attractions were Golden Temple (Kinkankuji) and Ryoanji Temple which are both world famous attractions. For the Golden Temple you needed to pay 500 yen entry price (if I remember correctly) and the area inside had a very specific one-optional route pass the temple and through the garden area which kind of made the experience bit less magical while being so tourist oriented attraction. The most time taking with the visitation is the photo taking -spot which is right in the beginning of the route. Rest of walking takes maybe max 15-20 minutes if you do not make many huge stops in the garden.

Ryoanji Temple (fee was also 500 yen) was one of my other ultimate favorites in Kyoto with Ryozen Kannon. When you first time hear that it is a rock garden you might end up thinking something as why would I want to see that but I recommend that you will ditch that thought and go to explore the place because it will surprise you most likely - like it did to me. Maybe my experience got also more unforgettable because of heavy rain (not many people maybe say this so much hah). But for real -while sitting down towards to the rock garden, only thing which was breaking the silence was  the rain drops coming down to the small stones in the sides of the garden area (see the left corner in the second last photo). It is sad how I can not describe it so much because it was all about the experience but I believe that you believe it was beautiful and speechless moment. That is why you should maybe visit this place during a rainy day. Plus you can also walk inside of the temple and around it without rain bothering you. Only minus is that the area has a beautiful garden as well and there is no protection from rain but the route was easy and did not even get muddy during the rain so if you are not made from the sugar, I believe you will survive!

This garden is surrounding a lake which is known as home for some rear goose species, which we got to see as well! Sadly I just did not get any good picture of those because they were just too far and too white for my camera hah! There is also a small cute island in the middle of lake which has a small shrine and two small toriis!

I also think the small things makes the most; like in several other temples, you needed to take your shoes off also in Ryoanji Temple. It feels so nice to walk with bare foot on the old wooden floor - makes the experience more special and magical and peaceful! The same habit was also in Higashi Hongan-ji Temple and Nishi Hongan-ji Temple in Kyoto by creating same kind of feeling!

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Destination: Japan, Travel: what to see

This day included a lot walking (19 kilometers) and several beautiful attractions; Ryozen Kannon, Chion-in Temple and Heian Shrine. We also walked to Ginkankuji Temple (Silver temple).

Chion-in Temple was sadly totally under construction so there was nothing else to see expect this huge, literally the biggest gate I have ever seen which can be seen in the third picture (wooden one) and the big stairs which were exhausting to walk up in the heat of over 30+ degrees. 

Heian Shrine was beautiful experience as well. Before arriving to the shrine there was also the biggest torii I have ever seen.

My personal favourite was for sure Ryozen Kannon which is 80 feet high buddha monument as a tribute to 48 000 unknown soldiers who fought in Japanese territory during the second world war.

Ginkankuji Temple cost 500 yen inside while Ryozen Kannon was modest 300. While entering to the Ryozen Kannon, visitors get an incense to put in front of the statue. It is also good to know that you can concretely enter inside to the statue where is located every horoscopes (years) own god for whom you can make a pray to. 

Ryozen Kannon is incrible place to visit and it is good to knowledge its existence because you might not stumble on it easily; despite the statue is huge it is quite well hidden. A lot of information in the area is only in Japanese so if you are really interested in for knowing what all the memorial place includes, I would recommend to stay forehand what all you can find, for example from TripAdvisor.

The second picture is showing "The Golden Ball" (unfortunately do not remember the real name) which you are supposed to go around three times with your right hand to get your own wish come true. You can find this ball on the left side of the statue. 

I truly, fully recommend to visit all these places but especially Ryozen Kannon because it is probably less known but still has the strongest atmosphere around; peace, harmony and tranquil are many of other feelings you can sense! Plus, it is so beautiful!

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Destination: Japan, Travel: what to see

The third day of our stay in Kyoto we went to see the famous Fushimi Inari Shrine. This shrine is one of the most famous attractions in whole Japan because of its thousands of toriis (gates) all the way up to Mountain Inari. These toriis are also called as Senbon Torii which means thousand gates.

According to the story, Fushimi Inari Shrine was founded when the god Inari was enshrined on the mountain in the year of 711. Every shrine tend also to have own spiritwhich for Fushimi Inari Shrine are "Kitsune" - foxes. These foxes are seen as messengers of gods which is also seen how the foxes are presented in the statues in the area of this shrine.

The experience of spending the day by walking through the thousands toriis to the top of the mountain with its 233 meters high was unbelievable amazing. Though the weather for the day was extremely heavy (especially for Finnish the subtropical weather is not common with sweaty and moisture air at the same time). This forced me to have several small pauses while walking up. Also, the height and depth of the stairs was bit more than natural step is so it was more physical than usually. This is way I truly recommend to have comfortable clothes and shoes on! Also having a bottle of water is a wise choice!

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