About my holiday in Lapland & life

I like to write about my real life here every once in a while, even though those are not the most popular posts. I contemplated on this text quite a bit though, because the honest answer to “how are you” is not instagrammable or funny. (Or maybe with my twisted humor it is.)

I was planning on writing about my holiday, but I couldn’t write about it without first telling you how it is. How much I needed a break. How much I needed to get away –  even for just a while – and be in Lapland and stare at the most beautiful starry sky I’ve ever seen.

It feels as though this year has been just cancer, heartbreak, serious sicknesses and bad luck. I feel like for a few times already I’ve said aloud something like “if x happens, I don’t know how I’ll manage, I can’t take it”.  And then it happens and I manage. Somehow.

When the latest bad news hit me, I almost started laughing. It’s like, okay 2020, bring it on.

A little holiday in Lapland

Every time I visit Lapland, I fall a bit more in love with it. I feel a bit more rested now and I’m really thankful for the new experiences. And just the fact that we could go, even with the corona.

And when it comes to that – we had less human contacts there than we have here in Helsinki. Obviously we were at our own cottage very social distanced and the hotels we stayed at were basically empty. And the restaurants we ate at (just 2 restaurant, otherwise we had take away or cooked) were also being careful so we were not close to people at any time.

The anxiety of all the bad news didn’t fully disappear while I was eating a three course meal in the restaurant of the year, or looking outside our beautiful hotel suite. But I still enjoyed those moments. I’m still at awe when I think about the menu in Aanaar and for example the mushroom ice cream I had. I tasted things I’ve never tasted before and saw scenery I’ve never seen before.

By the way – did you know that one of the ways to handle anxiety is to eat something and really focus on how it tastes?

Food at Aanaar was delicious.

Northern Lapland is a totally different world to where I live. I felt so small climbing to a fjeld and looking at the endless trees and forested hills. I also felt out of breath, exhausted and freezing. When I was at the top, breathing heavy and being so so tired, I felt as though the whole year was weighing on my shoulders, not just my back pack. But once we got in the car, I felt like a winner, just a bit.

A true before & after. Before hiking and at the (almost) top. If you look at the second photo and behind me, you can kinda imagine how beautiful the view was.

Coming home I toyed with the idea of moving to Northern Lapland one day, to be one with nature. But I guess that’s more about escaping the every day life a bit. Being in a different place, seeing new things, to not think about the reality as much. Realistically I don’t see myself leaving Helsinki.

What else?

–  I experienced the sleepless night of travelling in a night train in the smallest cabin ever (Helsinki – Rovaniemi). I can’t recommend it. Next time we’ll just drive and take a break in a hotel.

– I woke up in a dark and cozy cottage to a warm coffee and delicious breakfast. Risto’s mom even baked me my own oatmeal bread! I watched 3 Christmas movies at the cottage and had two naps. Those are important on a holiday.

– I got to sleep in the aurora suite in Novaskyland hotel. I’ve always dreamt of staying in one of those aurora iglus, but Risto didn’t love the idea. This was almost the same, as the windows were huge and we had a clear view to the sky. The suite was beautiful and everything was nice and clean.

– I saw polar bears! And beautiful owls. We visited Ranua Zoo and because there was basically no one there, we got to walk through the place safely and in peace. Fun fact: we were the only guests at the holiday cottage village there. The cottage was nice. Actually, pretty much all the hotels we stayed at were either empty or just had a few guests.

– Had a lovely city visit to Jyväskylä. We stayed at the Sokos Hotel Paviljonki and also had dinner at their restaurant, Trattoria Aukio. Food was great and the customer service impeccable.

– Got back home and had a small Halloween party for four. My last minute look was Harley Quinn. Next year I want to do it again properly. I feel like I missed a lot of makeup fun this year, because I’ve been so tired. Next year I really want to do more looks.

My merino wool outfit from Icebreaker.

Life is also about finding happiness in the smallest of places

All in all I had a lovely holiday and life is not totally bad. This year has also been about comforting hugs, big laughs with friends, some good news, lots of movies, growth and finding happiness in the smallest of places. I even started going to therapy again and I want to count that as a good thing. This year, more than ever, I have really had to focus to find the positives. But there are always positives – you just gotta look for them.

I have already put up the Christmas decorations and I love walking past them when fetching water and coffee from the kitchen. I find solace in them. I find solace in my routines.

The planet keeps on moving no matter what. I do too. Last year around this time I told myself: you’ll get through anything. Today it feels true. Who knows what the future holds? There must be good things too. And that’s the positive attitude I’m feeling today.


So that’s what’s up.

How are you?


A quiet getaway an hour from Milan: Tortona, Italy

Italy travel Tortona

Just a while back I was running the beautiful fields of Tortona, looking at all of the picturesque buildings and thinking to myself: how can everything look so beautiful?

I expected beautiful, but I still fell in love with this tiny city and its ease. I prefer smaller cities. It’s so relaxing to walk the streets without a bunch of tourists around and without all the plastic souvenir shops. Sure, language barrier can be a problem then and for example finding restaurants, but I think it’s worth a little trouble.

Though to be fair, we didn’t have much trouble. My sister has been living in Italy, in Tortona, for a year and she now speaks Italian and did all the talking for us. But the one time my Italian speaking sister wasn’t with us when we ordered coffee – well, I enjoyed the smallest cup of coffee I have ever seen. It was cute, now that I’m thinking of it. But definitely not what I ordered.

Tortona is beautiful and quiet. But there are still things you can see and do, cute little cafès and shops. But bear in mind: there are no tourists. Therefore there are not that many that speak or even understand English. So any knowledge in Italian will come in handy.

And you will get some stares. Being the only tourist in the city speaking a foreign language. But people were friendly and I loved my visit.

Jogging Tortona Park Italy

What to do and see in Tortona, Italy

My favorite thing to do in a new city is to just walk around and not really have a whole lot of particular things to see or do. As I mentioned, I love spending my time exploring the city and its little shops and cafes. That I do recommend doing in Tortona!

This place was also excellent for running or walking, which was nice, because that’s not always the case when travelling. For example in Rhodes we went for a run and it was very inconvenient.

L’oro Gioielleria

I want to give a little shoutout to a small jewellery store called L’oro. We bought these beautiful bracelets from there and the owner was so warm and kind, even though the store was a bit busy at the time. Now every time I wear my bracelet I remember that little store and our trip and I can’t help but smile.

Golden Madonna
This I checked out actually while running. It’s a beautiful – well – golden Madonna. But it is pretty.

Duomo di Tortona
I’m not huge on churches, but somehow I end up checking them out anyway when travelling. Especially when I travel with my sister, who’s a priest. Duomo was beautiful and way bigger than I anticipated. Also, going in to a church from a busy (well, “busy”) street, it’s nice to go into a space that is totally quiet and calm. Duomo was free, at least we didn’t have to pay.

Parco de Castello 

(Castello di Tortona) A nice park that is on a hill. You get a nice workout just walking up! The park also had some old ruins which are always cool to look at. Also a good place to jog or work out.

Molino Alpha Tortona Pizza

Molino Alpha Restaurant

There are restaurants in Tortona, but unfortunately we only got to visit two of them as we mainly just cooked at my sister’s place. One nice place I have to recommend though and that is Molino Alpha (pizzeria restaurant). Unfortunately there wasn’t gluten-free pizza. I don’t have coeliac’s disease, but I don’t really tolerate gluten well. Gluten-free food was hard to find altogether. At another pizza place I asked for gluten-free pizza and the waiter told me that “the dough has very little gluten, because the pizza is thin”. Impeccable logic, really. If only my stomach agreed.

Outfit details: Similar jacket here, bag here, Rayban sunglasses here (adlinks)


Would I visit Tortona again?

Yes! I would love to run in the fields again and have gelato in one of the cute cafes. I think you can make a nice day trip there from Milan, or stay for a few nights.


Do you prefer big cities or do you like smaller ones?



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