Cypriot food

In Cyprus I made a few notions about food and as I was scrolling through the pics from the summer I found inspiration to write this post. So let's talk about food!

As Cyprus is a small island in the middle of Mediterranean you could think they eat a lot of fish and so. But that's not the case. They eat a lot of meat. And lots of carbohydrates - potatoes, pastas and rice. And by lot I really mean it. 
I do not usually include that much of carbohydrates in my diet. I do eat potato, pasta and rice sometimes, but if I cook for myself I just have veggies with some protein (fish/egg/soya/beans...). I've never been such a huge fun of those three. But in Cyprus I did eat a lot of them. Every meal contained at least one of those, but sometimes my vegetarian version was just some sort of pasta next to some sort of rice. Or rice with potatoes. Or potatoes with pasta. Or all those three together... So you can imagine how I felt in the end of the week - puffy and five kilos heavier. 
But don't get me wrong. The food was absolutely delicious! So different than Finnish food, spices and way of cooking ans everything. But I wouldn't normally have a pita bread filled with halloumi cheese for a dinner - and just that, without veggies or anything else. Just the bread and cheese. It was nice, but yeah... Anyway I ate the coleslaw from the others as they didn't like it and everyone was happy!
And the portion size. During the week I wasn't able to finish even one meal. The portions were huge, you totally got enough food! 

How about the thing that I loved the most? Fruits. Fresh fruits. Picked from the backyard just a moment before. And berries. It's a heaven for someone who likes fruits. I don't usually like watermelon that much, but in Cyprus it was just so lovely. And you can imagine how nice it is to see grapes growing everywhere just waiting someone to pick them. For the Cypriots it's just a everyday thing, but for me it was something unusual, something so awesome.
So to summarize. Cypriot food is delicious, even though it's almost too filling. And I'd advise you to try the traditional sweets. They're different, but I liked them a lot as well!

Oh-so-ordinary-days are here

As it's been a while since I last time posted something about my everyday-life I decided to do it now. School started last week and I already have a hell load of stuff to do. The last IB-year has totally started now and I can feel it. So much homework, so many deadlines for different essays and other papers and ah - don't even get me started. And besides that all I still try to hang on my social life and get some sleep. It's gonna be one of a year! But don't get me wrong. I still do like my school, I still do enjoy IB and it's been the best choice I could have made two and half years ago.
But yeah. Last days I've been studying and a bit sick. I've had some kind of flue for two, three weeks now. Today I was staying home, as tomorrow it's time for a bootcamp! We're welcoming the newcomers of IB, it's gonna be fun!
Besides school stuff, I've seen my friends and relatives. The last couple of weeks of summer holidays I was more social than ever. I visited two of my aunties, as I was away for the whole summer and the other one of them left to England for a month. I spent time with my friends - with the group I visited Cyprus with, we had kind of a party of two days. Singing, dancing, talking, eating, drinking and well yeah, some sleep as well. That usual stuff, but oh boy it was fun! I got so many great people in my life because of that exchange, couldn't be happier.
I also spent  a weekend with two of my classmates and one of our "used-to-be-an-IB-student"-friends. It was time well spent as well! Last Friday me and Kira went to get her new bunny home. His/her name is Vodka, and I'm kind of a godmother for him! (And we still are not sure which sex s/he is... Anyhow we speak about Vodka as he.) The cutest little thing ever!
Long story short. I think that pretty much sums up the latest happenings. As said, today I spent home. It's so warm and sunny at the moment, I couldn't resist going reading outside for a while. Now I'm going to start studying again. A few months left and I'll be done with IB!

Aaaand one more thing. As it's officially autumn now because of school, here's a summary of my summer copied from my facebook:
See you soon!

Nicosia - the divided capital

Nicosia is the capital and seat of government of the Republic of Cyprus, and as such is the farthest southeast of all EU member states' capitals. It has been continuously inhabited for over 4,500 years and has been the capital of Cyprus since the 10th century. Nicosia was divided into the southern Greek Cypriot and the northern Turkish Cypriot parts in 1963, following the intercommunal violence that broke out in the city. Today, the northern part of the city is the capital of Northern Cyprus, a de facto state that is considered to be occupied Cypriot territory by the international community.

From my point of view - Nicosia is okay. It was interesting, but it wasn't the city for me. Tourism has a really strong hold there and it has its pros and cons. In the other hand, people do speak English, it's easy to move around and there's quite a few things to do. But then again, it's not something that I enjoy too much. I prefer getting to know the culture of the place, not what it has to offer for the tourists. 
As a divided capital, Nicosia has two different sides separated by a "fence" (that might be only sand sacks or so + a few a bit more official looking border crossings). And you can see the difference between Turkish and free Cypriot sides - the street view is different. And in this post I am talking about the EU-side, Republic of Cyprus. 
We spent one day in Nicosia, ate there, visited European Union House, one museum and one art gallery called Leventis Gallery. The Cyprus Museum, which is an archaeological museum, was nice even though we had too short time there (one of the cons of travelling in a group). However, I recommend you to take a look at the museums of Nicosia - the history of Cyprus is somewhat similar to Greek one and for example the archaeological side of it is really fascinating.  
After the visits and the lunch we had a few hours to spend however we wanted. I wasn't so keen on shopping, so we ended up wandering around with a few other people. The atmosphere in Nicosia is quite nice and the streets excluding a few main shopping streets are pretty tourist free. And still it didn't feel like we were in wrong place. Ice cream was delicious and if nothing else the weather was hot. And by hot I really mean it. Nicosia is in the middle of the island and not in the mountains. So the air is not moving and the sun is shining all the time - you will really need liters of water, sun screen, sunglasses and suitable clothing; covering enough without being too heavy. 
And I have to mention again how friendly people in Cyprus are, it's awesome how polite and kind the service you get is. I ended up buying some post cards, as well as a magnet as souvenir. And I had two nice conversations and got one of my postcards for free. And to be honest, people were the best thing in Nicosia. The city was okay, but it's not the most beautiful or fascinating or interesting place I've been. There certainly is things to see, but it's not a best place for a longer visit on its own. But for a one-day-trip it was a good destination! 

Blogging from A to Z: V is for vegetarianism

Written 4.6.2015
I don't know how many of you know that I'm a vegetarian. It's a thing that I mention sometimes, at least if it's needed and I'm okay with explaining the reasoning behind my choices. But it's not something that I'm actively telling to everyone. But this time I'm going to talk a bit about it.
So I've been some kind of vegetarian since the end of 2010 I guess. I was around thirteen when I decided that I won't eat meat anymore. And that's because it didn't really taste good anymore and I felt it was disgusting. So I left other meat than fish and poultry. And I was really strict with how my foods can be cooked and so on - I didn't want the meat to touch anything that I'm going to eat.

Then after a year, somewhere in 2011 I decided to stop eating poultry, even though chicken has always been one of my favourite foods. Then a few years passed by and here I still am. Nowadays I'm not too strict, I'm okay if my foods are cooked next to something that I don't eat. And I've tasted some special things that I know I most probably would love if I only was eating meat. So basically I could say that I eat meat once or twice a year - and the amount is less than one forkful. So yeah, I've been a vegetarian for a while.
But why? First I was disgusted  by meat. Then it pretty quickly changed so that I don't want to eat meat just because I'm against mass production of it. I don't think that any creature deserves to live in poor conditions without possibility to act as it naturally would. I don't want to support that kind of actions, I don't think it's right to breed animals just for food. Then in the other hand I don't see anything wrong in hunting or fishing or so. That's the way nature is working and it's okay. If I would start eating meat again I wouldn't see any problem in it if I ate e.g. moose that has been shot from the forest and I can assume that it has lived the way it should. 
And do I really think that I can make a difference? That's the thing that I hear a lot, "it doesn't matter what you're doing because you're only an individual". I know, if I'm the only one it doesn't really matter. But I bet there's lot more people than just me and the changes start from small. I don't say that everyone should stop eating meat, no. But I recommend everyone to think what kind of meat you want to eat and how often. Do I really have to get that animal into my plate everyday, or would it be okay to eat just veggies once a week? And do you want to buy the cheapest option, because it's quite often the worst option - less money you pay, less money is used to pay for the workers and less money is used to guarantee the wellbeing of the animals.
So here you go, a few of my thoughts related to the topic. These pics are just some random shots I took some time ago for the new banner - not really related to the topic but hopefully you can handle it... :D

Is any of you vegetarian, or vegan? Or have you considered becoming one?

The actual budget of summer 2015

In the end of April I wrote a post about my budget. I was planning to spend maximum of 400 euros in England and in Germany - I didn't even take the Cyprus trip in consideration at that point. After that I changed my budget a bit and found out that I'll be able to spend maximum of about 500€. But once I actually calculated the total expenses I had used 300,49€.
In England I spent 93,17€, in Germany 192,82€ and in Riga 8,2€. Plus 6,3€ for the bus in Helsinki. In England the biggest investments were shoes (14,99£/21,09€) and return tickets to London (14,6£/24,25€). Then there's some small to eat, but most of the money went for shopping. We didn't really buy anything to eat or so, as we stayed so short time and my cousin was more than willing to pay our living for those four days. Of course we brought some things from Finland for them, but I haven't taken those in consideration in my budget. 

In Germany I spend around 70 euros in cosmetics and so. Sounds like a lot of money, but as the general prices are a lot cheaper there than in Finland I got a lot of stuff with my money. And I don't have to buy pretty much anything in here for a long long time! Then about 30 euros for the things I bought for my family. 35€ or so for food. The rest of the money I used to buy some clothes and stuff like that. Not bad at all. In Riga I bought just bus tickets and some chocolate. 
In case of mine we stayed all the time with relatives. So there was no need for paying of place to stay or for food. If that wasn't the case I wouldn't have been able to travel for such a long time. 

And if talking about the flights still a bit. Below you can see the prices of the flights. 
Total of 267€ doesn't sound bad at all. So all in all, my trip of four weeks including five countries (you'll here more about that later on!) cost 570€. 

And then the trip to Cyprus. I will be posting more about it later on as well, but if keeping it short it was all about a youth exchanged organized by our youth house with funding from EU. So all that was left for me to pay was 100€. In Cyprus I used a bit under 60€ - money went for some food once back in Finland, drinks, one dress, an adapter and very tourist things in the beach. 160€ in total. 
So to conclude, I've used 730€ during the summer. It's a lot of money, but once I start thinking about how much I've seen and how much I've got, it's not bad at all. Traveling is what I want to do and I'm ready to give up other things to get going again and again. I'm not rich, but I'm still making my dreams come true and I think it's possible for anyone - traveling doesn't have to be too expensive thing to do. It's all about saving and putting certain things before others. Do I really want to buy this shirt, or save those 15 euros for something else? Quite often I choose the second option. And this is the result, one of the best summers in my life!

I personally enjoy reading how much money people are actually spending abroad. But are you interested in to read posts related to money later on as well? At this point I can already say for sure that I'm gonna spend my New Year in Stockholm - do you want me to keep you on track about the monetary things with that trip as well? 

Ps. Photos are from our cottage from summer 2012. One place that I really miss as I haven't been travelling in Finland pretty much at all lately!