What to do in one day in Helsinki, Finland

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On a cold, blustery October day, we decided to jump a ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki where we would have seven hours to explore the capital of Finland.

It was an absolute bargain of £12 each way per person which was incredible when you think how much you can pay for a seat on a flight and how little legroom you get for it. (I say that as someone who is 5ft3″ tall, I can’t imagine how it is for tall people..)

The biggest luxury about taking the gigantic ferry over to Helsinki was the impossibility of becoming bored. There were bars, cafes and restaurants and the ability to walk around freely was a novelty.

Pulling into Helsinki, the first thing I noticed was how the terrain looked totally different. The fir trees on a little island before the mainland looked jagged and shrouded in mist.

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Tales from Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn is the capital city of Estonia, one of the three Baltic states. It was under Soviet rule from the 1940s until 1991, something which is evident in the architecture and style all around. Following adventures this year in Bordeaux and Porto, my cousin Luke and I decided to go for somewhere a little bit different.

Just a couple of hours away from Finland by ferry, Tallinn’s vibe is a fusion of Baltic, Soviet, Scandinavian and Medieval influences. Together, it creates a fairytale feeling and for this reason alone, I had to go and visit.

Two days is enough to explore this petite city but it’s a good idea to plan in advance what you want to see and do to avoid wandering around having to seek things out. Tallinn can hide some of its best secrets so here are some of the ones we saw for you to know about beforehand.

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Guide to the Patios Festival of Córdoba

Los Patios de Córdoba

(Every May)

Forming a main part of the famous mayo cordobés, the patios festival is one of the top two tourist pulls to this city along with the Mezquita.

In fact, hotels and Air B&Bs book up for the whole week, months in advance so you have to get in there and book quickly! Prices skyrocket too. A good way of seeing the patios festival without being stung on extortionate accommodation prices would be to stay somewhere else such as Seville or Málaga (both only an hour and a half drive away) and travel to Córdoba for the day to see the patios.

Los Patios de Córdoba is a UNESCO Intangible World Heritage festival and is emblematic of this floral city. One thing I associate with Córdoba immediately whenever I think of it is flowers and plants, from the wild jasmine that crawls the street walls, to orange trees that line the roadsides, to the blue plant pots stuck mounted on walls all around, usually illed with geraniums. There is even an alley called La Calleja de las Flores which is lined with said blue plant pots, leading to a view of the Mezquita.

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The Mezquita of Córdoba

“The Mezquita epitomises this influence in the city, serving as a constant palpable reminder of its days as a mega powerful Caliphate when Córdoba was known in Arabic as Qurtuba, in the region of al-Andalus.”

There are plenty of articles and blog posts on the internet about the Mezquita already.

I can’t provide new information on it as such as it has all been said before, however I am hoping to tell you here just why it is so amazing and unique and the effect it has with every visit or just simply passing by it.

No trip to Córdoba would be complete without a trip to the Mezquita!

There is no way I can write a blog on Andalucía, being a former resident of Córdoba, and not write about this monumental, awe-inspiring site…

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Living La Dolce Vita in Lake Como, Italy

Ten years ago, I booked flights to Milan but they were later cancelled by the airline however I never forgot about my wish to visit Lake Como. When my friend Lawrence suggested that we finally go, I didn’t have to think twice.

I’d seen plenty of photographs of Lake Como but let me tell you this: it is even more stunning when you see its vast, shimmering blue expanse before the surrounding mountains in reality.

I wasn’t disappointed when I finally made it there after all these years and I can definitely see a return trip there in the near future.

So, I’ll talk you through our two gorgeous days in Lake Como, what to see there, what to do and of course, being Italy, what to eat and drink. Oh yeah- one word you will hear a lot while in Italy is prego; it means ‘you’re welcome’ but they seem to use it for ‘thank you’ too. Handy to know.

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