It’s more fun in the Philippines?

We recently came back from a one month vacation in the Philippines. My plan was to update the blog while there, but we had much more limited access to the Internet than I thought we would, as well as a quite full-packed time-schedule.

This was my second time in the country, and I just got more aware of the contrasts that exist there. There’s two very different sides of the Philippines, and I have had the privileged to see both of them to some extent.

On one hand we have the Philippines that tourists see; paradise. The parts with all the resorts, white beaches, waterfalls and so on, everything beautiful that the country has to offer. On the other hand we have the lives of the many people living in poverty; in homes that would barely be called homes here in Finland – or even without a home at all – with storms and floods as a part of life, without enough money to feed the family.

The reality of a country with so much natural resources and so much talent saddens me. With a government full of corruption the people who call Philippines their home struggle to stay above the surface, and it breaks my heart. Seeing kids walking around hungry in the street without shoes or proper clothes, hearing how badly workers are treated and how little rights they have, how expensive it is to get your children proper education, and how huge the gap between the rich and the poor is… the list goes on an on.

I love the Philippines. I have family there now, I have friends there, I have friends who have families there, I have people I care about in this country on the other side of the world. The more I love, the more I care, and the more the situation breaks my heart. The people of the Philippines are strong, they always work hard, and they always have a smile on their face even though how bad their circumstances get. They deserve so much better.


Finding vegan food when traveling: HappyCow

When we are traveling to different places I usually like to look up the available vegan and vegetarian restaurants before we go. If I can eat in a vegetarian environment, why wouldn’t I? Plus I like to try out different kind of vegan foods in different places.

happycow logo

To find the restaurants I usually use the site, where you easily can search for vegan, vegetarian and vegetarian friendly restaurants, as well as stores, in a city or area that you are interested in, pretty much anywhere in the world. You just type in the city you are looking for in the “search”-field and click the search button. The different alternatives will show up on a list as well as on a map, distinguishing between the different types of places (vegan, vegetarian etc.). You can also filter the results according to the type of restaurant, price class and distance.

When you click on the restaurant’s name it will show you a short description of the place, its address and opening hours and its price class. It will also show you where it is located on a map. Most places also have reviews and pictures from people who have been there, which can be really helpful in choosing if you want to visit the place or not.

I suggest you try it out for your next trip, or even for finding new places in your own city! I have found a lot of places here in Helsinki through HappyCow, that I wouldn’t have found otherwise.

A visit to Copenhagen: Sights and happenings

We had time to see and do quite a lot during our five-day stay in and around Copenhagen. Here comes a (not so) short summary:


The first evening we were invited by one of the staff-members of the hostel to a midsummer-celebration, and decided to go. There was music, drinks, a lot of people and later on in the evening a bonfire. Following a Spanish tradition we wrote down bad things that had happened during the year that we didn’t want to happen again, and threw the papers in the fire. It’s supposed to “cleanse” you of these bad things. Maybe it worked, maybe it didn’t, but interesting anyway.

We were lucky to have great people staying in the hostel at the same time as us, so we had a really good time this first evening, and also several other evenings when staying up together with them in the hostel.

Nyhavn, Copenhagen Danish royal palace, Copenhagen

Another day we took a free 3-hour walking tour (New Europe) around Copenhagen. It took us to many of the historical spots in the city, including for example the city hall, Nyhavn, the royal palace and the statue of Bishop Absalon (the founder of Copenhagen) all while our great guide Gillian was telling about the history of Copenhagen.

The Little Mermaid, Copenhagen

After the tour we for some reason decided we hadn’t been walking enough (?), so we walked a little further to see the Little Mermaid, created based on the fairy-tale by Hans Christian Andersen.

Tivoli, Copenhagen

One evening we also visited Tivoli, the world’s second oldest amusement park (the oldest one is also in Denmark, a little outside of Copenhagen). It was a positive surprise, I didn’t expect it to be so beautiful since the amusement parks we have here in Finland are just centered around the rides, not so much the landscaping. We stayed until closing, so we also got to see how spectacular the park looked in darkness with all lights lit up.

Kronborg castle, Elsinore

One day we decided to take the train out of Copenhagen, so we headed north, going to Elsinore (Helsingør). There we visited Kronborg castle, or Hamlet’s castle as it is also called, since it inspired Shakespeare in writing “Hamlet”. It was a beautiful castle with an interesting history, I do recommend going here if you’re interested in old castles and history.

Apart from these things we also did a lot more; we visited Christiania (Copenhagen’s free-town) and the modern arts museum Louisiana, met friends who live in Copenhagen and just generally walked around in the city. To summarize everything: great trip, great people, great sights, even mostly great weather!

A visit to Copenhagen: Food

Something that we always do when we travel is to check out the vegan (and sometimes vegetarian) restaurants or cafes in the city or town where we go. Copenhagen has quite a lot of vegetarian places, and we did not visit all of them, but we did visit all the vegan ones (that I knew about), so here’s a post about vegan restaurants in Copenhagen. Enjoy.

Simple Raw Simple Raw

Simple Raw, Oehlenschlaegersgade 12
The place is quite small and truly simple looking. They serve raw food, juices and smoothies. Their menus were very inviting with nice pictures of the food, but text only in Danish (the guy working there – who turned out to also be the owner – was happy to translate for us, though). R had a plate of zucchini pasta, I had a tapas plate with different salads, hummus, crackers and some patties. We also had a smoothie each. The food was good, I do really like raw food and since I don’t have much experience of preparing it myself it’s nice to eat it in restaurants. The place was also calm and relaxing, not many guests at the time when we were there. The price was in the upper end, we ended up paying around 50 € for the food that we had.

 42 Degrees Raw 42 Degrees Raw

42 Degrees Raw

42 Degrees Raw, Pilestaede 32
Another raw place, located in the city center. We went there around lunch time and it was very busy, full of people and quite noisy. We waited in line for quite some time before we could order, and after that it still took quite long before our food arrived. R had a raw lasagna, I had pizza with a salad. For dessert we shared a chocolate cake. All together it cost around 26 €. The food was alright, it didn’t look that presentable but it tasted fine. Nothing special though. Eating in the restaurant was not that pleasant because of the amount of people and the noise from blenders and other equipment, but they also offer take-out, which I would recommend if you are planning to eat their food during rush hour.

Astrid och Aporna

Astrid och Aporna, Jaegersborggade 39
This is a small vegan fast-food place with a few options of mainly burgers and hot-dogs. We had a burger each and paid around 13 €. I liked the burger, the amount of times I have had a burger that I didn’t make myself since I became a vegetarian ten years ago can be counted on one hand, so it was nice. The place has both indoors and outdoors seating, we tried sitting indoors at first because all the places outside were taken, but it was just too uncomfortable, so as soon some quests left we transferred outdoors.

Woodah Café, Abel Cathrines Gade 1-3
Our hostel, Woodah, also has a cafe, like I mentioned in the earlier post. They serve breakfast, which is the same as the one for the hostel guests. When we were there it consisted of home-made bread with hummus, jam, butter or cheese, home-made muesli (with yoghurt if you wanted), fresh fruit and coffee or tea. Apart from breakfast they also serve snacks and a warm meal, as well as different kind of drinks.

Botaniq, Frederiksborggade 26
I had read good things about this place before we went to Copenhagen, so I really wanted to eat here. Unfortunately they were closed for renovation and don’t open again before in August. Thought I would mention the place here anyway, in case someone will visit Copenhagen in the future and would like to go there. If you do, please tell me about it!

A visit to Copenhagen: Woodah Hostel

We recently came back from a five-day trip to Copenhagen, Denmark. It was one of our best trips so far, we had time to see a lot of things, we met great people and we were (mostly) lucky with the weather. There’s a lot to say about the trip, so I will divide it into a few separate posts.

We stayed in Woodah Hostel, a small hostel with two dorm rooms and one double room, as well as a vegetarian café. It’s located at Abel Cathrinesgade 1-3 (Vesterbro), a few blocks away from the Copenhagen central station. We stayed in the 8 bed dorm which cost 33 € per bed, per night. The price includes bed linens, a locker with padlock and a vegetarian breakfast. They also have a donation based yoga class most mornings, if enough people have signed up the night before.

woodah hostel

We simply loved the place. Even though it is located in Copenhagen’s red light district, we never felt unsafe there. It’s simple and cozy and the atmosphere is great. The staff is very nice and easy to talk to, the breakfast is mostly vegan and we met some great people there. It was not hard to feel at home. Since you sleep in a dorm room and people come and go at different hours, the sleep will of course not be great if you are a light sleeper like me, but the bunk beds were built in a way that you could have privacy while sleeping (see picture below). If I would mention something negative about the hostel it would be the fact that it doesn’t have a kitchen for the guests, so you can’t save money during a longer stay by cooking your own food, but for us this was not really a problem.

woodah hostel

I definitely recommend this place if you are going to Copenhagen!