St. Petersburg Russia


The last time we were in Russia was during one of the most difficult periods in its post-Revolution history—a time when the country was in its deepest economic recession since the Great Depression and, as if this weren’t enough, at the exact same time when Mikhail Gorbachev had been kidnapped in an attempted coup. Although [Read more …]

Home Land Security: Art at the Presidio


San Francisco’s Presidio was built and had a long life as a fortress and army base that was intended to protect the region from attacks. Now, as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, it houses a number of trails, museums and historic sites. These sites include Fort Winfield Scott, which once housed the [Read more …]

Porvoo Finland

cathedral 01

We took another day trip from Helsinki to Porvoo Finland. Initially settled in the 13th century, Porvoo rapidly developed as a port and was designated a city in 1380, the second settlement (after Turku) to be granted this status. By the 16th century, it was drawing the wrong type of attention, being sacked and burned [Read more …]

Exploring Turku Finland

Rettig Palace

From Helsinki, we did a day trip to explore Turku Finland–the oldest city in Finland. It can trace its roots of the Medieval section—and the original sections of the cathedral and castle—back to 1300. But, as happens in primarily wood-based cities, Turku has had several fires. The latest, in 1827, destroyed most of the earlier [Read more …]

Helsinki Restaurants and Hotel


Helsinki Restaurants As always, we made it our mission to find the best of Helsinki restaurants. And we found some good ones! Juuri This contemporary modern tapas restaurant offered a wide selection of small plates and three mains. The meal began with an amuse bouche of arctic char terrine with tapioca pearls and citrus cream. [Read more …]

Helsinki: City of Design


Helsinki, which is known for cutting-edge, world-class design, was the proud winner of the 2012, bi-annual World Design Capital award that is based on excellence in architecture, fashion, graphic arts, fine arts, industrial design and city planning. This was atop its 2000 honor of being named the Euro Capital of Culture. Given this, we came [Read more …]

Helsinki’s Architectural Heritage Neighborhoods


Helsinki went through a tremendous spurt of growth and prosperity from the late 19th through the early 20th century. While Helsinki’s architecture of many of the major older buildings were of neo-Classical or neo-Renaissance styles, the rapid growth coincided with Finland’s cultural opening to Western Europe and an artistic and architectural revolution that sought to [Read more …]

Exploring Helsinki Finland

market square 04

Helsinki Finland This cosmopolitan city has grown from small fishing village to one of the most eclectic and modern of 21st-century cities. Independent only since 1917, it has emerged from more than 600 years of foreign domination (Sweden and Russia) to forge its own very unique identity. While it is amazing that a country that [Read more …]

Exploring Helsingor and Humlebaek Denmark: Of Coast Daytrip: Art, History and Palace Intrigue


Although we spent most of our time on this Denmark trip in Copenhagen, we did take one daytrip up along the coast to the northern tip of Zealand, the country’s largest island. And the wonderful rail system makes this trip a piece of cake. Our easy six-hour trip took in two pretty and historic Northshore [Read more …]

The Copenhagen Vibe—The Hygge Way

bikes commutimg on street

Hygge? We kept hearing people refer to life in Copenhagen as Hygge. The word, pronounced as “hue-gah” is one of those words that can’t be directly translated into English, or pretty much any other language (although some other Scandinavian countries have words that are somewhat similar. Generally translated as “cozy” or “comfortable”, it [Read more …]