Retrome is exactly what its name promises: it is retro by its decor, urban by location and a retreat by atmosphere.
As I descend from the medieval village of Begur towards Costa Brava seashore, I get a feeling that I am going to arrive somewhere special. And then, few curves and spectacular views later, I see it; a sign announcing of my destination. This is Hotel Aigua Blava: a Mediterranean oasis, holding its fort luxuriously against the ruggedness of the seacliffs.
Ireland is often described as an island of storytellers; its boggy marshlands, steep sea cliffs, vibrant villages and hours passing by holding a pint offer and endless source for anyone for a lookout for a story. Apart from the inspiring landscape, Dublin is named as a City of Literature by UNESCO and, quite fittingly, one of Dublin’s most visited tourist attractions is a library and an ancient book – that is, The Long Room and The Book of Kells.
Like sirens, Turku archipelago ring road lures regular wanderers and habitual hedonists alike. So, without more ado, let us begin!
“Go to Annecy; there you will find a good and charitable lady…” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Confessions
A light summer rain rattles against Hotel Pariisin Ville’s wine bar’s marquee. Some soft tunes of jazz mingle with the hollowness of Porvoo Cathedral’s bells from few blocks away: Morning is turning into noon, and the boutiques nearby have opened for business. Just another ordinary Thursday in Porvoo.
But I am keeping the everyday aspects of life at bay, enjoying the bourgeously hedonistic atmosphere in Hotel Pariisin Ville.
Bobo, bohemian bourgeois, throws you right in the middle of all-the-things-Riviera: Sophisticated elegance, self-conscious confidence with a hint of bling-bling luxury. Then, throw a pinch of bohemian into the mix, and you have got a perfect Cannes restaurant: Bobo Bistro.
On a rainy Tuesday night, a peculiar atmosphere lingers in Helsinki: taxi drivers drowse in their cars in front of the Central Railway Station, guards keep a keen eye on the loitering youth and, leaning against the wind, a few lonely city dwellers hurry towards home. A gust of rain splashes against the asphalt occasionally.
I disturb a taxi driver’s nap with a slight tap on the window, jump into his car, and start whizzing towards Hotel Katajanokka.
When I drive along the Promenade des Anglaises, a Nice coastline boulevard where already the Victorians used to stroll, and past Nice’s old town and a small harbour area towards the next cove, it feels like all the colours of Côte d’Azur from refine yellow to refreshing blue whizz past the corners of my eye in one, continuous flux.
Then I take a turn away from the coastline, a few twists to a steep decline towards the sea again, and I have arrived in a paradise inside a paradise; this is Villefranche-sur-Mer.
Finland has 187 888 lakes and almost as many islands, but I am here for one of its oldest valleys, Naantali, where I am going to hibernate this winter. Nowadays, Naantali is known for its connection with the Moomin Valley, but of old, the connection with valley was somewhat more graceful: here, in the Valley of Grace, the Brigittine Order was established in the late Middle Ages, and the story of Naantali began.