Arcticterntalk.org

The blog of a travelling psychiatrist and football lover. Who happens to be a halfway decent photographer. Takes a cynical view of the world

Archive for the tag “holiday”

Helsinki Cafes Are Full Of Surprises. Good Ones . Cafe Strindberg


Arriving in Helsinki you often could be forgiven for thinking the whole world has turned grey. Grey streets accompanied by grey sky and cold looking people . But you are wrong . Walking down any of the streets you eventually reach either the harbour or the centre area with the train station. Helsinki geography is easy.

The first surprise is that there are dozens of nice and slightly old fashioned coffee shops . Sitting outside is pleasant though in autumn a decent coat is needed. Some of them make you feel like you have stepped back in time.

My favourite has always been Cafe Strindberg. The coffee is nice although Nordic prices mean you pay 4.5€ for a cup of coffee. The atmosphere is slightly old worlde. The waitresses are mostly stern looking women but efficient and pleasant at the same time. They look the part wearing long white aprons. The coffee is good . If you are brave you can sit outside. The Croque Monsieur will set you back 12.50€ but is great.

There is a kind of healthiness here that is good . Water comes automatically with coffee. As it should . Coffee is a powerful diuretic . As an accompaniment to the sandwich you can choose grilled vegetables or crisps or salad. The grilled vegetables tasted superb mostly aubergine. The other nice thing is that they do not speak necessarily English. Why should they . This is Finland. The clientele are mixed. Some older couples looking guilty sipping their wine with lunch. Not speaking much . Just comfortable in their own presence. No one waits to be seated. One just walks in and sits wherever followed by the stern waitress with menu in hand . Young men under 20 years sit with their coffee and talk animatedly. Someone eating on their own like myself is comfortable.

In short this a lovely place to drink coffee and eat lunch . No pressure to eat quickly . If you are in Helsinki just try this place .

Salted Caramel Profiteroles


There are various kinds of Salted Caramel Profiteroles. A quick google search will tell you that many of the major supermarkets sell them. Mostly they are small and essentially typical profiteroles but with salted caramel added. And surprisingly cheap . At the end of the post you can see some examples.

Staying at The Curtain Hotel in Shoreditch in the buffet lunch was a rather different version. The outside is crusted and a little crunchy with the base being typical choux pastry . They tasted delicious and for the bakers out there maybe worth making . Size wise they were like small doughnut size and one was plenty! Cannot be certain but suspect they are homemade .

Supermarket Version

What Is This Starter? Can Anyone Guess?


This was a starter on a menu in Glasgow Marriott. An unusual option. I chose it and ate it. Delicious . But can anyone work out what it is?

Seemingly meaningless Graffiti. Any ideas what it means?


Whilst traveling one comes across a lot of graffiti. Some of it great, some pure art, some vandalism and some of it simply strange.

I have no idea what these sets of graffiti mean. One was painted on a park bench and the other on a metal container .

The Cost Of Airport Food Is Outrageous . 20£ For A Burger at Arlanda Stockholm Airport


Travellers have little choice often to eat in airports. Having to arrive hours before a flight, airlines rarely serving free food and a mandatory queue at passport control afterwards. So it might be reasonable to expect two things. A choice of food options that are not dominated by Gordon Ramsay, Sushi and Caviar bars. As one gets in Terminal Five. Trying to buy a humble cup of tea or coffee can be impossible . A second expectation is that prices are equitable. Things are now getting out of hand and travellers have every right to protest.

At Arlanda airport last night a sports bar , O’Learys, nothing special if I am honest was wanting over 20£ for a burger . Ribs would set you back 27£ and a steak would cost you not much under 40£.

How can these prices for food that looked inferior to Burger King be fair? Put it another way. Family of three. A burger meal and drinks would be costing around £75. If the children asked for chicken strips that too is around 25£. Vending machines would then sell you chocolate bars such as Twix for £2.

Other airports are no better. London City Airport charges extortionate amounts for average food.

The regulators need to look into this. Just as service stations charge 20p per litre more airports should be prevented from operating this unpleasant pricing cartel .

Very Interesting Room Service at Radisson Blu Belfast


While travelling one sees curious things, people and foods. To find this version of room service this morning is up there with the most curious.

My guess is a kind friend left breakfast for someone. Or is it the cheapest breakfast ?

Fall Out Boy At O2. Beyond Brilliant


It’s more difficult than one can imagine to entertain 17,000 folks with the right mix of songs.

Even when these folks are avid fans. Fall Out Boy contrived to do this brilliantly . A few reasons why

  1. Only one excellent quality support band . Against the Current. No need for multiple poor bands to fill time, these guys played maybe 35 minutes and were great
  2. The stage set was unique in that the background to the band was an ever changing colourful visual .
  3. The band played 2 songs effectively on a raised stage in the middle of the auditorium. Meaning that even those souls in the Sky got some close ups . A walkway also allowed the band to dance through the crowd in a kind of sensible non contact crowd surfing.
  4. The set list was a mixture of old and new with even the odd almost acoustic number
  5. They sounded great. Vocals were superb and the sound very complete.
  6. They played 90 minutes so not overdoing their welcome including an excellent encore.

All in all a great evening in what is now London’s best large music venue

A Restaurant Called Alice. Alice Ristorante Milan. Simply Beyond Brilliant


I am as far from being a restaurant critic as it is possible to be. Having been summoned to a Milan restaurant as part of a group of people one has little idea of what the food will be like and often the style of the food.

Alice Ristorante is situated in a complex with the cute sounding Eataly Milano Smeraldo name. Arriving at the door it seems one has arrived at the Milan equivalent of Waitrose. A large food store selling on three levels various Italian foods. Tucked away on the top floor was Alice Ristorante. A medium size restaurant overlooking the main street where the only obvious landmark was the taxi rank.

The food and the service was beyond brilliant. The group had been pre ordered a menu with accompanying wines.

Depending upon how one counts courses we seemed to have seven. Some of the dishes are best described by looking at the menu here. The only obvious dishes were the excellent sea bass and the risotto.

I cannot recall a better meal. The service was attentive without being overpowering. The white wines were perfectly chilled. The food looked and tasted superb. Cost? I have no idea.

Early morning drinking at airports and the waste of alcohol


Airport lounges are never dull places. In general if you seek rudeness you can expect to find it. Folks pushing in to grab the food and generally taking up seven chairs. Some of the fashion sense is also dubious . Anything free is pounced upon in a hawk like manner.

If you have followed my blog you will recall articles on early morning drinking at Scottish airports. So I will not repeat my thoughts here. Today however a totally new rant. Waste. Anyone travelling to USA will be highly familiar with the waste of food there purely by being served gigantic portions. What is less common is waste of alcohol, after all it is relatively expensive there . Today however it is the waste of alcohol here in Uk. Terminal 5 lounge where for fortunate passengers food and alcohol is free. I had no intention of writing a blog at 9 am but was struck by two men essentially having poured and wasted numerous drinks. Five to seven glasses at various times. At a guess mostly different types of champagnes. Why? Society is not in a good place if this is a behaviour that is common. End of rant . Except to comment on the lady next to me who either has an unfortunate ring tone on her phone announcing texts or emails, the sound of a steam train[ I think] or alternatively an unpleasant gastric situation . Needless to say the ring tone is set to extra loud. Good morning

Vienna is a Black and White place. The power of BW photography


Sometimes black and white photography conveys far more a meaningful resemblance of a city than colour. Sometimes not.

In winter Vienna is cold and often a wet place. A few photographs that attempt to convey what Vienna in November is.

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