Lunch at Kauppatori, Helsinki

It’s our first day of holiday and the sun is shining, it’s the perfect day for a visit to Suomenlinna, the little island in front of Helsinki and a UNESCO world heritage site. We leave the hotel headed to the harbour to take the boat that will bring us there in about 20 minutes, I was feeling very excited about the idea of spending an whole day out, walking and cycling in the nature, but as soon as we approached the harbour my attention was totally caught by something completely different: the Kauppatori (which is the Finnish for the Market Square). I was still determined to visit Suomenlinna first though, so I had to wait a few hours to go and explore the market properly (but I promise that the temptation to stop just there and dive into the food was really huge!).

What is nice about this market is that you can actually stop there and have some warm delicious food! It’s (obviously) mainly fish, so if you are not a fish lover you might not understand all my enthusiasm and might not enjoy the experience fully. On the other hand, if you do love fish, then you’d better go there soon!

I tried an amazing salmon and dill soup, then (more) salmon cooked with cream and potatoes, then some mixed fried fish/calamari/prawn…mmmh mouthwatering! All of this sitting in front of the sea and ended with some fresh cherries also from the market.

The day went on and we had a lovely walk in the city (so extremely tidy and clean), but this is a food blog, so I should stop here and leave you with a few pictures! 🙂

Salmon and veg

Salmon and veg

Fish, veg and dill soup!

Fish, veg and dill soup!

Olympic Torch relay and some other interesting facts

Two of the London 2012 Torch Bearers

Two of the London 2012 Torch Bearers

The flame is a symbol of the Olympic Games, whose origins lie in ancient Greece, where a fire was kept burning throughout the celebration of the ancient Olympics.

The flame was reintroduced in the modern Olympics during the 1928 edition held in Amsterdam, and became part of the Olympic traditional symbol ever since. The torch relay was instead introduced in 1936, during the Berlin edition.

According to the tradition, the Torch is ignited several months before the start of the Games in Olympia, the hometown of the ancient Olympics, with a very precise ritual. It is then handled to the hosting city during a ceremony at the Panathinaiko Stadium and then transferred to the hosting country after a short relay in Greece. Once it arrives in the hosting country, it starts the relay which ends the day of the opening ceremony, when it is used to flame the Cauldron. For more information regarding the 2012 route, click here.

The design of the torch changes for each Games (my bad, I have only realized this when the torch bearer walked in front of me and I saw the London 2012 logo!) .

London 2012 Olympic Torch

London 2012 Torch was designed by Edward Barber and Jay Osgery, who won the competition organised by the London 2012 Organising Committee and the Design Council.

The triangular shape was inspired by a series of ‘threes’ that are found in the history of the Olympic Games:

  • The three Olympic values of respect, excellence and friendship;
  • The three words that make the Olympic motto – faster, higher, stronger;
  • The fact that the UK has hosted the Olympic Games in 1908, 1948 and will host them for the third time in 2012; and
  • The vision for the London 2012 Olympic Games to combine three bodies of work – sport, education and culture.

The torch is then extinguished on the final day of the Games, at the end of the closing ceremony.

Torch Bearer: I was very surprised to learn that in English is called with such an “easy” (and logical, how often happens with English words!) name. In Italian we like to show off and use “difficult” words, so we call it “tedoforo”  taken directly from the Latin/Greek words teda=torch and phero/fero=to carry. T-e-d-o-f-o-r-o: I honestly really like the sound of this word though!

This year I had the chance to assist to the Torch relay and I must admit that was one of the most touching moments ever. It was a strange feeling to finally being able to see with my own eyes something that for all my life I had only seen on TV.
It was just a perfect timing, I came out of the tube and saw the torch bearer holding his torch, and I have immediately realized that he was actually waiting for the other bearer to light the torch and leave for the next part of the relay route.

This is a short video I managed to record with my phone…unfortunately the quality is not the best and it is a bit shaky! It was very hard to record a video among all those people and most of all, standing on my tip toes! I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did!


Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland

The Olympics are without any doubt the hot topic of these days…but did you know that there is an Olympic Museum in Lausanne? I personally didn’t until I moved to Switzerland.

If you happen to be around, I strongly suggest you to visit the museum, it is really worth it. Even better if you go there on a Sunday morning as you will also be able to enjoy a tasty brunch in the museum’s restaurant.

The location is really nice and you will fall in love with the great view over the lake and the surrounding mountains.

The museum was founded in 1993 and was an immediate success. Only two years later was in fact named the “European Museum of the Year”. Its success kept growing in the years and still today is one of the main attractions in Lausanne.

It is also extremely important because it is actually the place where the Olympic flame stays alight between editions of the Olympic Games.

The visit will be a beautiful journey in the history of the Olympic Games and you will learn a lot about the most famous athletes and many other secrets about this famous event.

I found it really interesting visiting the exhibition of all the previous Olympic torches (and thinking that the torch I have seen this year during the torch relay is going to be added to that collection is really cool!), but also seeing all those pieces of equipments belonged to former golden medal athletes made me really emotional.

The museum is also surrounded by a beautiful park decorated with lot of sculptures, representing athletes and the different sports.

Ah, the museum is currently being renovated and it will be closed till the end of 2013…bear in mind this date to avoid disappointments!

The Olympic flame

The Olympic flame

One of the sculptures in the garden

One of the sculptures in the garden