Līgatne Nature Trails

Hey guys, long time no see! But I'm really glad to be back and if some of you still happen to wonder what I've been up to since my last post then for example from October 10 till 16 we enjoyed a small break from work. During our week off we crossed 3.5 km Lake Saare study trail (link) twice: for starters us two and then already with Elvis. We also spent some wonderful time at Toila Spa Hotel (link) and fell in love with their exclusive sauna complex for adults only. And then we took a road trip to Latvia where we spent several active hours discovering Līgatne Nature Trails, the main topic of today's comeback post. So let's get down to business!

2 photos above and the last photo of this post were taken with Samsung Galaxy J5.
Līgatne Nature Trails were established in 1975 and are located in Gauja National Park, on the wild and absolutely picturesque banks of the Gauja River. There are more than 5 km of trails where you can observe wild animals and birds native to Latvia. While discovering the trails visitors have a chance to meet ural owl, eagle owl, tawny owl, pine marten, long-eared owl, brown bear, wild boar, elk, red fox, raccoon dog and more. Animals and birds are brought here from different places in Latvia because they were wounded or domesticated and couldn't survive without human care. Browse more information about Līgatne Nature Trails through Visit Līgatne page here or Latvia Travel page here.

4 photos above were taken by E with his Canon EOS 500D. Everything else below was taken with my Olympus E-520.
You can clearly guess who my biggest favourites were when you have a look at today's photos. First of all their wonderful sociable elks easily won my heart and secondly I was downright enchanted when I met their majestic owls. Those hours we spent walking and photographing and wondering were still too short and I know for sure I want to go back to Līgatne Nature Trails and I also want to discover other sights in Līgatne, for example fascinating Vienkoči park (link). And the husband is eager to visit Baltic Bonsai Park (link) in Inčukalns so at least one road trip to Latvia is in store for us in spring 2017!

Depo home improvement center (link) in Valmiera on October 14.
Anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed this animal and bird centered post because I loved creating it. Life lately has also included insane times at work, taking another off-hour job for the upcoming months and a thorny path towards a new veranda and a new wardrobe. First the veranda will be completed and then my dream wardrobe will hopefully follow. I hope in December I can at least show you our finished veranda! But for the time being I have hundreds of photos from our older road trips and also everyday snapshots taken with my phone. Let me know if you guys have any special wishes or ideas when it comes to new posts. And see you in the next post of course!


Helsinki photo diary

Wow, entirely two months have flown by like rockets since our July 27 day trip to Helsinki! It was a gorgeously sunny Wednesday, just perfect for a nice trip on foot. But first we had to travel by water of course and then, two and a half hours later we were in Helsinki, firmly moving towards Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden.

We used our Viking Club cards for discount so one ticket for an adult cost 7€ instead of the usual 9 but for further information about entrance fees, opening hours, how to get there and more visit their home page here. I also recommend reading this very well written introduction if you're interested in visiting Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden.

Anyway, my biggest favourites were those beautiful white evergreen glasshouses. They have African Violet Room, Rainforest Room, Palm House, Savanna Room, Dry Forest Room, Desert Room, South African Room, Island Room, Waterlily Room and Mediterranean Room and I think it's the perfect system.

What completely wowed me was the Waterlily Room with astonishing Santa Cruz water lilies and beautifully blossoming "Red Flare" water lilies. The leaves of Santa Cruz water lilies can reach almost two whopping meters in diameter and seeing it with my own eyes totally blew my mind! I know for sure we have to go back one day because this time the outdoor garden was very much under repairs/being renewed and looking at the photos below also makes me miss their Waterlily Room.

After visiting the botanic garden we walked to Kamppi Shopping Center (link) and had lunch at a café called Picnic (link). Their fresh and flavourful salads are delicious by the way. Mine with feta cheese, blueberries, strawberries, beans, watermelon, crispbread, raspberry sauce and lettuce was definitely one of the best salads I've ever had! But later on we had dinner at Kotipizza (link) where I chose classic Tropicana and the husband picked Burgerpizza which tasted exactly like Big Mac if you ask me. Both pizzas were really yummy and to this day we sometimes nostalgically dream about them...

Anyway, since I already brought up Kamppi I should conjointly say my shopping was really minimal and necessary. I bought cute underwear (19.95 9.95€ + 7.95 3.95€) from Kamppi's Cubus, a beautiful wallet (59 29.50€) from Laura Ashley store and my favourite Calvin Klein undies (34€) from our ship's shopping world. I was also digging around for a cosy cardigan but unfortunately couldn't find the right one with buttons. Have to keep looking for it! 

Now, besides visiting the botanical garden, slight shopping and delicious meals our day in Helsinki obviously contained plenty of walking. We crossed almost 27 km, wasted a little more than 2000 calories while walking and took around 36 000 steps! And my last bunch of photos derives from Katajanokka district where we intentionally circled before catching our ship because I love directionless discovering!

lefties dress & cardigan (& sandals) | Ray-Ban sunglasses | Cropp Accessories necklace | Guess handbag.
So I hope you guys enjoyed this whopping photo diary and my observations from the trip. Luckily our next (and unfortunately the last of 2016) vacation is not so far anymore and for example we're going to visit a spa that is completely new to us. I already feel like I seriously need it! Anyway, see you guys in the next post! How does an autumnal haul/garden post sound to you by the way?


Laitse Castle and Pakri Lighthouse

Well hello there, guys! Long time, no see so I'm going to cut to the chase like lightning and tell you about a nice little road trip we took on August 5 - two days before our summer vacation was officially over. Our main destination was Laitse Castle which we had randomly discovered only a week ago while driving back home from the husband's grandparents' place and using the shortest route option of my new car's navigation system. Which is always a great adventure! Anyway, after a scrumptious lunch at the castle's beautiful restaurant we drove to Pakri Peninsula and visited Pakri Lighthouse. But more about everything comes below!

So, today's Laitse Castle is a Neo-Gothic manor house built around 1890 by Woldemar von Uexküll but as a matter of fact Laitse manor began life as a separate estate already in 1642. You can read more about it from their home page here. But the reason why we went back in the first place was their restaurant. My chicken and vegetable salad, the husband's roasted pork fillet with baked potato, red onion and carrot strips and our dessert - chocolate lava cake with orange sorbet were all absolutely wonderful. It was definitely one of the best meals we've had in Estonia. The flavours, visual appearance, atmosphere and service - we truly loved the whole experience!

Now, after this nice sunny meal we drove to cloudy Pakri Peninsula, briefly walked on scary, unstable cliffs and then climbed to the top of the 52-metre high (or 73-metre high from the sea level) Pakri Lighthouse, built in 1889 (see the ticket info here). After such meal it wasn't an easy climb but we both made it to the top and could discover the fascinating lantern room and narrow balcony around the lighthouse. I have to confess for a moment it was quite scary to be up there but I'm super happy I did it! How do you guys feel about high places like that?

I would also like to share a few superficial words about my outfit and hair. My dress is actually a tunic and it was bought from a supermarket for only 7€. The brand is called ada gatti and their web page here contains plenty of really awesome pieces. My necklace and sandals are both thrifted and didn't cost a thing for me. Well and the day before our road trip I used Irresistible Me's professional hair straightener (⇦click to see the original product) for my last post's review and as you can see the result really was long-lasting.

 Ray-Ban sunglasses | thrifted necklace | ada gatti tunic/dress | thrifted Ten Points sandals.

So I hope you guys enjoyed today's photo-heavy road trip story and I'm always looking forward to your thoughts and opinions. Right now I have almost no idea how my next post should appear to your eyes but I'm thinking about sharing our boat trip to Helsinki since their Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden is really worth showing to you. So I'll see you in the next post!