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A Bangkok hidden gem: Batcat Museum & Toys

Bangkok has a huge offer to discover for visitors of all tastes: amazing rooftops, wild dive bars, beautiful parks, cosy cafes, some of the most amazing temples in the world and interesting museums.

But it is true that like any other city in the world, once you live here for some years, even when there is almost always a new place to discover, you start to struggle with new locations that can put a “Waw” in your mouth.

Last Saturday I was doing a quick search online to find some hidden gems in the Thai capital that I would have not visited yet, and the Batcat Museum & Toys caught my eye.

Let’s be honest, if you are a person who enjoys taking a million selfies in the terrace of a cafe and have 0 interest in cinema, figures or Japanese manga, probably this place would not be for you. However, as my case it is really the opposite and I love retro video games, Japanese toys and figures, fantasy cinema, manga etc, I thought that I would give this place a shot, as I was a bit surprised that in more than 2 years living in Bangkok I had never heard of it.

The museum is not far from the central Sukhumvit area, but it is not in a main street, but in some alley street in Bang Kapi area, so I recommend as the easiest way just to go by taxi/Grab there, which should not cost you more than 150 bath approx. if you are in Asoke area or its surroundings.

Once I arrived, surprises already start to pop in front of your eyes. Graffitis with manga characters, a Batman car model casually parked in the building garage.. this is promising!

I entered the museum, which pretty much is a kind of 3 store residential building converted into museum, and I get greeted by the owner himself, wearing a cool Batman t-shirt, and his little daughter, wearing a twin Batman t-shirt :) Sweet!

The entrance to the museum costs 200b, and in full honesty, first I thought it was a bit overpriced. My expectation was that I would see the exhibition in just 10/15 minutes. How mistaken I was!

After paying the ticket, the owner led me to the upper floor of the museum and just explained me that I was free to roam around all the floors. I arrived at around 16:00 and the place closes at 17:00, so I went right at it. Funnily and a bit sadly, I was the only visitor at that time there. In that sense it gave me the privilege to chat a bit more here and there with the owner, who kindly explained me that he had dedicated 20 years of his life to gather that collection and that the Batman area was his favorite and most pampered, and the one he had put more effort into! He also kindly showed me some vintage figures of Batman when I asked him what were his favorite items, telling that they could cost around 2 million baht (more than 50 thousand euro).

So… what is there to see in the 3 stores of the museum, you might still be wondering… Well, pretty much fucking everything!!! The collection, comprising more than 60.000 pieces, is just breathtaking. I just hope that the photos that I add to the article make some kind of justice to the place, cause wherever you would look at, something amazing was displayed in front of your eyes: figures from Knights of the Zodiac, Star Wars, Kamen Rider, Marvel, Captain Tsubasa, Lego… the list goes on and on. Big and small, in all kind of shapes and colors, and everything displayed with taste, so even with the huge amount of items there, you could feel like it was easy to walk around every floor.

The Batman last floor, as the owner and director of the museum explained, was already a delight by itself. For a fan of retro-video games as myself, I casually spotted some jewels like the Batman Sunsoft for Megadrive or the Batman 2 for Famicom, among the other hundreds of incredible items.

I am a person who has traveled a bit and has had my share of displays of figures, toys and nerdie stuff. I have been in Japan, I have roamed the Mega Mall in Bangkok Chinatown… but still, this was like a dream I did not want to wake up from. Like getting a free VIP personal pass to Willy Wonka’s factory with all you can eat chocolate. I really could not refrained myself from exclaiming aloud in excitement and disbelief to the amazing stuff displayed there.

So… if you have some minimal interest in vintage toys, Japanese culture and manga, cinema… or if you have kids and they do like any of those things, just visit there! You will not regret my advice. I cannot believe that this place is not more popular and nobody talks about it in Bangkok social media groups. I was surprised, I was shocked and I was delighted that in some random Soi in Bangkok could be gathered such an incredible amount of gems. I have no idea how the owner was able to buy all that collection, which must cost a fortune all together, but I feel proud to have been able to experience a little fairytale during the hours I was roaming the place there, and surely I will bring friends there again.

As a final note, apart from the amazing display in the museum, at the end of the tour the building also has a small shop close to the cafe, where you can buy from a small but cosy selection of well priced figures and toys. I got myself a beautiful Batman Hot Wheels model as a small memorabilia token.

Batcat Museum & Toys FB Page:

Batcat Museum & Toys location:

Antonio's blog Blogs Outside Finland Travel

10 Great tips for a date in Bangkok

Bangkok, the vibrant and lively capital of Thailand, and probably one of the most touristic destinations in the world.

A paradise megacity of millions of inhabitants that get added to its population many more millions of tourists that pass through its 2 international airports every year. A city that offers entertainment and destinations for people with all kinds of tastes and motivations: from the never-ending party scene to beautiful parks, amazing temples, cozy cafes, and incredible shopping malls.

A city like Bangkok is of course buzzing also with single people wanting to mingle that meet in the streets or with the usual famous dating apps. Once you have established first contact and it is time for the real deal to meet face to face, the question arises: where to go?

Do not worry potential lovebirds, after more than 2 years living in Bangkok, I am here to make your life easier and give you a wide array of choices for a memorable first date that can be considered a success, and that does not necessarily break your wallet too much.

This list is my personal list, and it does not mean that there are hundreds of other great destinations for a memorable first date in Bangkok. But I have personally experienced every single one of the tips in the article, and I hope that can serve somebody as inspiration, not just for a date, but as well for just discovering new places.

  1. Barracuda rooftop Bar

Bangkok is full of amazing rooftop bars, big and small. Some of the most famous ones can be considered some of the most expensive bar destinations you can go in Bangkok, with cocktail prices that had nothing to be ashamed of when comparing to cool European or American bars. Those famous ones tend to be packed and can be quite difficult to find a table or a free reservation in advance. Therefore, I propose you Barracuda rooftop Bar, still with a good location in the center of the city, it is not so popular among visitors. It might not have the most stunning views and the most luxurious decoration, but the building entrance is classy, it tends not to be crowded, it has a nice small swimming pool to chill if you want to bring your swimsuit or bikinis, the prices are not inflated and it gives a charming private vibe to go for a date where you can chat relaxed, get to know, have intimacy all surrounded by a beautiful environment

Link here:

  • Chatuchak Weekend Market

A destination very popular not just for a date in Bangkok but for any visitor stepping into the Thai capital.

If you are a person who likes discovering places more than a night party animal, this destination can make a wonderful first date. As the biggest street market in Bangkok, the offer of things in display is unbelievable, both in the market itself and in the surrounding malls. It makes a perfect destination for a weekend day where to observe what is offered in terms of handicraft, souvenirs, clothes, exotic animals, furniture…. Surely you will not run out of topics to talk about and get to know better the tastes of your companion when you are exposed to thousands of exotic animals or all kind of vintage and new items. Around the market there are also some small cozy cafes and bars where you can stop to have a bite or a cold drink

Link here:

  • Cabbages & Condoms Restaurant

A unique restaurant where the main decoration theme all around is… condoms! This sets up the vibe for a first date, right? 

The place is totally worthy to see, and the decoration turns to be charming and beautiful in some of the restaurant areas. For sure it will provoke some giggles with your date when you explore around and then you can just enjoy some good food and drinks. Beware that prices are not so cheap compared to other restaurants in the center of Bangkok, as it has become known as a cult place to visit. But well, it is quite unique and certainly an original idea for a first date. Besides, when you end up having dinner, you can take for free some condoms offered in the desks there… so it might be a signal that things are proceeding well in the date and magic is not far from happening…

Link here:

  • Vivi the Coffee Place

Bangkok is full of cozy and beautiful cafes with a great selection of beverages for all tastes, but not many offer such a romantic location as Vivi the Coffee Place. With a small patio with a fountain where you can even see turtles swimming and a balcony with a direct frontal view to Wat Arun temple, this place offers a fantastic opportunity to enjoy a romantic sunset in good company. Besides, it is not on walking distant from other famous sightseeing locations like the Royal Palace Complex or the Flowers Market.

Beware that sometimes can be quite crowded, especially the best balcony seats in front of the river/temple, as it is a very hot “instagramable” spots for the young generations that enjoy taking 1 million selfies in 1 hour

Link here:

  • King Rama IX Park

Although visitors tend to comment more about the noisy traffic and selection of bars and massage parlous that the Thai capital offers, Bangkok has a fantastic selection of green areas where you can go for long walks, relax, and observe amazing flora and fauna. Out of the most famous centrally located ones like Lumphini Park or Benjakitti Park, one of my favorite ones that I consider a bit of a hidden gem is King Rama IX Park.

Its location is a bit far from the center, but nothing that cannot be sorted out with a Grab Taxi for less than 300 baht from central Sukhumvit. Also, at the entrance you will have to pay a small 10-baht fee to access the park, but it is totally worthy, believe me.

You will encounter a magnificent green scenery inside, with a lot of interesting areas to explore inside the park: thematic small gardens like Japanese garden or English style garden, a huge lake in the center of the park, monitor lizards and turtles roaming around its channels, a lot of birds, a couple of huge green houses that host an amazing array of plants…  The park is huge, so be ready to spend a few hours marveling around.

A great destination to get to know a first date in a more relaxed environment, prepare a picnic on the grass or just walk for hours holding hands.

  • “Find The Locker Room” cocktail bar.

Bangkok is also not short of amazing cocktail bars, some of them will make you feel like you are in New York trying to discover some of their famous “hidden bars”.

In this category of (not so) hidden bar, it is worthy a visit to “Find the Locker Room” in Thonglor. Behind a door that resembles a locker from a gym, you will have 2 floors with tasty decoration and amazing selection of cocktails that will turn your night date into a fun shared adventure, both for the experience to find the place and then to taste the amazing cocktails they prepare.

The service when I have been there is very kind and attentive, but beware that is not a cheap price for Bangkok average pricing, so have your wallet ready.

As an extra tip, not far from there on the other side of Thonglor main street, you can continue the night in another of my favorite cocktail bars in the city: “The Rabbit Hole”.  Another one with great selection of cocktails and intimate environment to create some special bonding with your date.

Link here:

  • The marble temple: Wat Benchamabophit

Bangkok has hundreds of temples so it would be impossible to recommend just one to visit. But if you are looking for one that is beautiful, not so massified by hordes of visitors and has beautiful romantic gardens around to go for a stroll, I would undoubtedly point for a visit to The Marble Temple.

The temple itself is not very big once you enter, but one of the most beautiful ones you can see in Bangkok. If I remember correctly foreigners must pay a small fee entrance, but that might depend on the mood of the staff/security people around. After you have visited the main patio of the temple and marveled with its architecture and the statues around, it is time to have some well-deserved ice coffee and go for a stroll in the well-maintained garden around, with a picturesque channel crossing them.

A charming destination where you do not need to spend many hours, but that surely will delight you and your date before continuing the day in some other location.

Link here:

  • Tuba bar

Another interesting bar between Thonglor and Ekkamai area. Tuba bar has a very special “kitsch” decoration all over the walls and on the tables, a great selection of local Thai craft beers and an adjacent weed dispensary for those who want to stimulate their brains with the “good green stuff” (remember that cannabis sales are legal in Thailand right now).

A great place to bring a date for first time, for sure not a boring environment!

Link here:

  • Night train market Srinagarindra

Another “semi-hidden gem” of Bangkok is this amazing night market. You can see some foreigners roaming around, but the crowd is mostly composed of local Thai people. A huge area where you can find cozy bars with live music, shops, handicrafts, seafood restaurants and a lot of vintages and secondhand clothing.

I have purchased there in the last years amazing music vinyl, old Super Famicom cartridges and awesome t-shirts and manga figures for an excellent price. But also, beware that shops tend to change and close quickly in Thailand, so sometimes can happen that the place where you buy something a few months before is never to be found again a few months later.

The atmosphere is very chilled, some areas have a hippie vibe, and some areas have some rock music blasting from small speakers, but in general is a great location to explore, where you can see from amazing vintage American cars to cool motorbikes to souvenirs to be purchased for dirt cheap prices. And when you feel tired, the offer to chill with some good drinks/food is amazing. Totally recommended place to have a great first date experience in Bangkok!

  1. Iron balls cocktail bar

One last tip if you want to go to enjoy a fancy drink at night in Bangkok. Iron Balls cocktail bar offers a fantastic “steam punk” asthetics decoration and delicious cocktails where you can start or end the night. As many of the cool fancy cocktail bars around Asoke, Phrong Phong, Thonglor and Ekkamai areas, its prices are not cheap, but it sets you on a great fantastic vibe for the rest of the night to be a huge success. Visit it if you have the chance!

Besides, the name of the place is an open invitation for naughty jokes, right? 

Link here:

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My 20 favorite movie scenes

Oh cinema! The art that has given us so many hours of entertainment, the pleasure to feel emotions through the screen and cry, laugh and empathize with the characters!
These are my personal 20 favorite and most memorable movie scenes, in no particular ranking order, that are kept in my mind as unforgettable ones. Share in comments which ones are yours! Do you share any of these ones or what others are your personal favorite ones?

20. Final shooting in “Road to Perdition”

Tom Hank‘s performance, the amazing picture of the scene under the rain, Paul Newman’s final words… I get goosebumps every time I see this one:

19. Jesus can roll in “The Big Lebowski”

The man, the legend, the… Jesus! What a scene in slow motion from one of the most iconic John Turturro‘s character!

18. The chicken scene in “Schindlers List”

So many memorable scenes in this movie that is difficult to choose just one, but my pick will go to this one, where the brutality of war, the irony and the intelligence to survive are masterfully combined:

17. Something forgotten it is in your beer, in “Memento”

What a fabulous script and what a direction by Christopher Nolan, and what great performances by Guy Pierce and Carrie Ann-Moss! But be careful what you drink, buddy!

16. Omaha beach scene in “Saving Private Ryan”

Probably the most realistic, shocking and brutal war scene ever filmed in cinema history by the genius Spielberg:

15. Tears in the rain – “Blade Runner”

Ruger Hauer delivering one of the most iconic monologues in the history of cinema to Harrison Ford, you cannot ask much more than this…

14. The gang is united till the end in “Toy Story 3

There is no way I can see this scene without some tear escaping my eyes. A gang of animated toys showed us what unconditional friendship is about:

13. What a loving relationship is about in “Up”

We are not done with animation movies that shred a tear. This next one could go as the best ever scene made in any animation movie in history. What a mix of beautiness and sadness the masterminds of Pixar delivered at the start of “Up” movie:

12. The grief of Don Corleone in “The Godfather”

Marlon Brando‘s interpretation of Vito Corleone will go down the cinema history. Here you can see why, in this amazing scene of his grief from a lost killed son:

11. Pen scene in “Casino”

How can you be the smallest and at the same time the scariest guy in a room? Well, ask Danny DeVito about it and he will kindly explain it to you writing it carefully with a pen on you skin…

10. Shootout in “Miller’s Crossing”

We started our list with Tom Hank‘s handling the machine gun like a ghost of death, but has the song of death from a Thompson ever been displayed more beautifully as in this historical scene?

9. Bank robbery shootout in “Heat”

And if we have to remember another memorable scene of shootouts, here is this one from Heat, probably no shootout scene in cinema history has ever had the most realistic, defying and shocking sound as this one:

8. Laser sable fight in “The Phantom Menace”

As a die hard Star Wars fan, I could have completed the list with iconic moments from the saga, but here is my favorite one, something we had never seen before, 2 Jedi masters versus a Sith holding 2 sable swords… the choreography, the music, the epic of the encounter…

7. A final surprise in “Usual Suspects”

This one could very well be considered the most epic twist in the history of recent cinema. What a cherry on top of the cream for such an epic movie and such an epic cast!

6. Nobody puts Baby in the Corner in “Dirty Dancing”

Summer is gone, love seems lost… until Patrick Swayze enters the room and delivers one last epic dance. Brings you back to those times that were the times of your life…

5. The real William Munny shows up in “Unforgiven”

What a powerful performance by Clint Eastwood here. When the old killing machine wakes up on revenge of his old friend, they get to know whom they are messing around:

4. To read about life is not the same as living life in “Good Will Hunting”

I recently spent 10 days at hospital while my Dad was slowly abandoning this world, so it is difficult for me not to cry with this masterful speech by Robin Williams “…because the doctors could see in your eyes that the terms “visiting hours” don’t apply to you…” What a scene!

3. Balrog vs Gandalf in “Lord of the Rings”

Because we all need a friend like Gandalf when the most terrifying creature in Middle Earth decides to wipe us on a bridge. A scene that captures the essence of the book masterfully!

2. Opera to give hope in “Shawshank Redemption”

Shawshank Redemption is my favorite movie ever. A Masterpiece from start to finish. Here is my favorite scene from the movie, a little jewel full of defiance, beauty and hope:

1.Final Scene in “The last of the Mohicans”

This scene compresses to me what cinema is about. Impossible not to be touched by the display of emotions here: the tremendous and powerful music, the sacrifice, the fight, the love… These are minutes of pure CINEMA.

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Glasgow Elite Men Road Cycling World Championship 2023 – The best classic of the year?

2023 is a year that has given again outstanding performances in this “golden” age that we are lucky to experience nowadays: The victories of Van der Poel in Milan-San Remo or Paris Roubaix, Evenepoel‘s exhibitions in Liege-Bastogne-Liege or San Sebastian Classic, Pogacar epic win in Tour de Flandes and his epic battles with Vingegaard in Tour de France, Roglic winning in the last time trial the Giro de Italia against the combative old lion Geraint Thomas… and on and on.

But oh, what we were able to see in Glasgow a few days ago was, maybe, the best classic one single race of the year 2023 and one that will be in the memory of cycling fans for years to come (I only remember enjoying a World Championship so much many years ago, the WC in Colombia, with Olano, Indurain and Pantani in the podium after a grueling and super exciting mountain course).

We leave you here the video if you want to watch again this historical event, and we give you some of the analysis of the race:

  1. The course
    It was criticized by many fans and riders alike, but in the end you have to give to the organization that the course track was perfect for entertaining. With no long climbing, but with explosive obstacles disseminated in a very technical circuit with a lot of turns left and right, this race looked almost like a cyclocross race on asphalt. Positioning was the key if riders wanted to have a chance to win in the end, cause recovering positions was really really complicated.
  2. The riders’ attitude
    It is an old saying in professional cycling that the hard a day race is depends more on the riders than on the course itself. Here in Glasgow we saw fireworks from the favorites from… 150 kms to the finish line! Alaphilippe attacking, strong teams like Denmark or Italy trying to break hostilities from the first laps in the circuit, attacks from big names like Van der Poel, Evenepoel, Pogacar, Pedersen with 100 kilometers to go… it was a marvellous madness of a race in an age where so many times spectator has to wait to the last kilometers to see some action happening.
  3. Italy is always there
    They might not have always the strongest riders, although Trentin (sadly out cause of a crash) or Bettiol were serious contenders, but you cannot deny their compromise and their attitude as a team. They attacked when needed to attack, they worked great as a formation and Bettiol’s sneaky attack was just one lap away from giving him the victory.
    The same cannot be said of other teams like Spain, pretty much disappeared without options most of the race, or even the great favourites, Belgium itself, where the team seemed fractured most of the race between defending the interests of Wout van Aert and Evenepoel trying to win his second WC in a row.

    4. The big names do not disappoint

    Van der Poel: He has shown in 2023 that he is probably the strongers classic races rider in the world nowadays. He has learnt how not to waste too much energy through the race and improved tactically to the point that the spots where he launches the final attacks are perfect. And of course, all that backed up with the incredible explosive power that his legs are able to carry. He was the strongest rider of the day, and not even a crash in the final kilometers could deprive him of a well deserved victory

    Pogacar: If you like professional cycling, you have to like Tadej Pogacar. A man not afraid to compete and give everything both in 3 weeks races or in the most demanding classics of the year. To his disadvantage, he had to spend too much energy reacting to attacks way too far from the finish line, and in the last 2 laps he recognized that he was already suffering. But in any case, it is always a big show to see him race and attack. He does not leave anything left in his tank, and the bronze medal is a more than fair reward to his attitude and talent.

    Wout van Aert: Again another silver medal for his collection. And again the feeling for many fans that, even when Van Aert is one of the biggest cycling talents arousing in the last years, he is wasting too many good chances to achieve more remarkable victories year after year. In Paris Roubais was an unfortunate puncture at the end of the last pave section. Today he just lacked the legs to follow Van der Poel in his decisive attack. For many other riders, a silver would be a fantastic result, but for Van Aert, the bittersweet feeling of another great chance missed is there. We hope that some day we can see him wearing the rainbow jersey. His talent deserves it.

    Evenepoel: it is true that with such a technical track, Evenepoel did not have it easy to repeat victory in Glasgow. But from the favorites, his performance was certainly the most surprising. He got himself cut several times from the lead bunch due to bad positioning, then when it seemed like he did not have the legs, he performed a couple of strong attacks, and then again he got cut and gave up on pursuing… For much that he is one of the most talented riders out there, explosive, maybe the best time-trial specialist in the world, and a pleasure to see him attacking faraway, he should improve still a lot on his mental focus if he wants to be a consistent winners against the strongest opponents out there.
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Full conference programme for the upcoming Tallinn Music Week revealed

Tallinn Music Week reveals the full programme and the final set of speakers for the music industry conference, taking place in Nordic Hotel Forum next week from 12th to 13th May. The programme focuses on three main thematic tracks: Co-creation, Connected World and Sustainable Future, addressing human and AI relations, new glocal identities, digital literacy, the future of radio, music education trends, and DIY live touring.

TMW 2023 will host the kick-off of the European Commission’s Music Moves Europe Dialogue Sessions for the next four years.
The music industry programme at the conference is developed in collaboration with Music Estonia.

The conference in Nordic Hotel Forum will start on Friday, 12th May at 10 am with the opening addresses by the Minister of Culture for Estonia Heidy Purga and Director of TMW Helen Sildna. The video address will be given by Director for Culture, Creativity and Sport in the European Commission Georg Häusler.

The opening panel will discuss how the music sector looks from the policymakers’ point of view and the various ways music ecosystem actors organise their representation and seek to influence policy. Panellists include Deputy Head of the Cultural Policy Unit at the European Commission Susanne Hollmann, Deputy State Secretary of the Ministry of Culture of Latvia Uldis Zariņš, Ministerial Advisor at the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland Kimmo Aulake, Director of Music Estonia Ave Sophia Tölpt, General Manager of Music Innovation Hub and Linecheck Dino Lupelli and the research coordinator for EMEE – European Music Exporters Exchange Virgo Sillamaa.

TMW is honoured to host the kick-off session of a 10-part dialogue series under the Music Moves Europe (MME) initiative, steered by the European Commission. The first MME dialogue will look into new conceptual ideas for the European Music Ecosystem, as developed and introduced by the research team, led by Professor Dr Carsten Winter from Hannover University of Music, Drama and Media in collaboration with Frank Kimenai from Erasmus University Rotterdam. The dialogue is carried out by the representatives of Eurosonic Noorderslag, East European Music Conference, Linecheck, MaMA, Reeperbahn Festival and TMW – the festivals and conferences that are also the founders of the new Federation of Music Conferences (FoMC) that will serve as a promotional platform for these dialogues.

The highlight keynote ‘Digital Innovation and A.I. – how will future shape the music industry?’ will be given by Linnar Viik, an Estonian information technology scientist, IT visionary and the founder of soon-to-be-opened AI-powered pop art museum Agnes Chung, Senior Director AI & Search at musicube by Songtradr will deliver a speech about how to revolutionise music discovery. How can old-school star presenters future-proof themselves against the emergence of GPT hosts will be discussed between the European broadcasters and community radio makers at the panel ‘Future Radio, getting smarter every day’.

In an era of global AI, our new ‘glocal’ identities are also in transition that will be analysed by the panel of festival heads, curators and conceptualists from India to Estonia and from the US to Czech. The story of climate change, told through science and indigenous inuit artists, using music as the mechanism to reach people’s hearts and minds, will be presented by ArcticSonic.

Session on the festivals’ sustainability strategies will highlight that Tallinn holds the European Green City of Europe title in 2023. How to better include a war-torn Ukraine into European collaboration and how we all can collectively support its culture and music sector will be discussed, among others, by Co-founder and Head of Music Export Ukraine Alona Dmuskhovska. How to make a change, utilising one’s expertise and organisation will be discussed further on the panel ‘Music as a tool for positive social change’ presented by In Place of War. Diversity, equity and inclusion in music are represented at the conference by Keychange’s innovators and special Creative Labs programme.

Practical industry-focused topics range from DIY booking, navigating unfavourable contracts; getting to know the Baltic indie labels and ​​the Central and Eastern European markets to the present and the future of music and arts education and new export development approaches within niche genres. There will be a special listening session that provides an opportunity to discover the artists performing at this year’s TMW. The programme also includes more targeted, workshop-style sessions and speed meetings, networking and receptions.

The impressive line-up of the TMW 2023 conference includes Radiohead’s guitarist Ed O’Brien, Grammy-winning producer and arranger Jason Miles, CEO of Wisseloord Studios Malik Berrabah, CEO of In Place of War Ruth Daniel, Director of the Swedish Center for Digital Innovation Johan Magnusson, Executive Director at Folk Alliance International Neeta Ragoowansi, Director of Jodhpur RIFF Divya Bhatia, Deputy Director for FIP/Radio France Hervé Riesen, Head of Sales and Marketing at Flow Festival Vilja Grotenfelt, CEO of Estonian fair trade streaming platform Fairmus Reigo Ahven, and many others.

Antonio's blog Blogs Outside Finland Travel

Ho Chi Minh – Travel tips and hidden gems of Saigon

Sadly, during the last 3 years living in Singapore and Bangkok, I could not fulfill the dream of most expats in South East Asia: to travel around the region. Luckily, now that restrictions have eased up and traveling has reignited (although flight prices are in general more outrageously higher than what they used to be in the pre Covid era), it was time for my first visit to Vietnam. Destination: Ho Chi Minh, a pearl to discover the essence of Saigon.

It is advisable that depending on your nationality, you check if there is the need to apply for a visa before your flight. Vietnam allows visa free entry to some nationalities and some others not. In my particular case, being Spaniard, we are allowed a stay of no longer than 15 days for tourism with no need of applying and paying for any special visa.

Preparations for the trip

For flights, I tend to use Skycanner search engine and for hotels, Hotels in Saigon go in a wide array of price ranges, but you can get a nice one with a good location relatively cheap if you pay attention. I always like reading the reviews of previous users, especially filtering by the recent ones, to have a clear idea of the place I am getting into.

My choice of stay was Singita Saigon Boutique Hotel, located in district 1. Nothing luxurious but clean and tidy, with friendly hotel staff and in a very easy location that allowed me to go walking to many of the sightseeing main spots quite easily. Besides, on my last day, as my flight back to Bangkok was late in the evening, paying a small extra fee, they allowed me to stay until the evening in the hotel room. Even if you do not want to do that, they still offer the chance to take a shower when you want to refresh before going to the airport, so extra kudos for the kindness to them!

Arriving in the city

The international airport of Tan Son Nhat is not far from the city center. Expect some traffic, but in any case, if your place of stay is located in any of the central districts, you should arrive at your destination in 30 minutes or less.

I pre booked a taxi so they would pick me up more comfortably as my arrival time was a bit late in the evening, but if you are tight on budget, you can also order a Grab Taxi from the airport and it will be a cheaper option. In general, I advise you to install Grab app. as you can easily use it in many cities in South East Asia (although it is true that in Bangkok the prices have been raising in the last year). Still, in Ho Chi Minh, most of my rides, when a destination was far away to walk to, were costing 5 euro or less. Quite a bargain, especially if you share the cost with travel partners.

I also recommend doing a bit of investigation when you arrive in the new city and have some spots listed that you want to visit during the next few days. I stayed a total of 4 days in Ho Chi Min, and had more than enough time to see the main highlighted spots that I wanted to see.

Things to see:

  • Cafes

If you are a coffee lover, you are really gonna love Saigon. There are so many cafes and restaurants around, and the Vietnamese there really seem to love the coffee culture, always accompanied by delicious cakes and snacks. When I arrive in a new city, I love walking around and then resting and having a good coffee when I feel a bit tired after a long stroll. The city center is perfect for this. Some nice places I visited during my stay that I recommend:

La Viet Coffee Saigon

Charming cafe with free wifi and nice sandwiches. I visited there on my way to Xa Loi Temple and enjoyed sitting on its terrace. Nice variety of cold and hot coffees, and you could see a big crowd of IT nomads around there.

Paris Baguette

Big cafe with a nice cozy terrace on the upper floor. Big selection of bakery to enjoy while having your caffeine dose.

  • Churches

Cha Tam Church

Beautiful yellow church. When I visited it was very quiet so pretty much entering inside, I had all the church for myself. Worthy to see

Tao Dinh Church

Absolutely beautiful pink colored church. The bad side is that it was closed when I tried to visit, so my only chance was to snap a few pictures from outside.

Notre-Dame de Saigon Cathedral

Nice to walk around, but currently it was undergoing renovations so it did not look so spectacular from outside. In any case, nice to visit as then you can also see nearby the bookshops street and the old Post Office

  • Temples

Ten thousand Buddha Pagoda

One of the hidden gems in the city and I absolutely loved visiting it here. When you face the building, it looks almost like a normal housing building, but when you enter, the more you climb the stairs, the nicer the temple looks, with a gorgeous last floor that could serve as a background for a videogame scene. Do not miss this one!

Giac Lam Buddhist temple

Apart from the beautiful main pagoda, the complex allows you to visit different temples with a lot of charm and nice statues. Another must see if you visit Saigon!

  • Museums

War Remnants Museum

It displays outside its main building a nice collection of war machines from the Vietnam War era: planes, tanks, motorboats. Inside the exhibitions are really interesting, but beware that they are not for sensitive stomachs, many of the photos displaying death, torture and the cruelty of the war can cause a deep impression in your mind. And obviously, the whole tone of the museum is clearly very Anti American. Very interesting to see, but think if you are ready mentally for the content displayed inside, cause it can sour your day.

Ho Chih Minh City Museum

Very interesting displays about the city history inside, and you also have a small collection of war machines in the gardens outside. It seems to be a favorite place for the young local ladies to snap millions of photos and selfies of themselves, which can be slightly annoying when you want to see the exhibitions in peace, but still recommended and easy to access in the city center.

Reunification Palace

I put this one in the Museum category as it is pretty much the function that remains nowadays of the old Government Palace. Very picturesque garden outside, with some old war tanks displayed in the gardens, and interesting halls inside.

Shopping souvenirs

You can buy a lot of small souvenirs around for a decent price, bargaining a bit is recommended as they will try to give you the tourist price. I especially liked buying some presents at the Saigon Kitch shop. It had many interesting items mixing the Vietnamese flavor with Western popular culture characters.

Nightlife and Dating

I really did not go out so much during the night, as my goal was more to visit the city during the daytime. However I discovered a very cool cocktail bar with a very friendly waiter and delicious cocktails that I consider another hidden gem in the city:

Nightcap Saigon – Cocktail Bar

If you are a single male looking for some dating and female company, be aware of your surroundings. Many girls look gorgeous, but a big majority will be freelancers trying to get your money. The same applies if you use dating apps like Tinder, a lot of freelancers or girls who have some “professional” intentions like serving you as tourist guide. So pay attention and filter very well before meeting anybody.

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Kasinot ilman rekisteröitymistä tarjoavat nopeat kotiutukset

Nettipelaajien keskuudessa hurjaan suosioon nousseet nettikasinot ilman rekisteröitymistä ovat tulleet pysyäkseen. Lyhkäisyydessään tällaisilla casinoilla pelaat ikäänkuin ilman tiliä, sillä erillistä rekisteröintiä et näille pelisivustoille tarvitse. Tässä käymme läpi miten nämä sivustot toimivat ja kerromme miten tunnistat parhaat.

Mikä on nettikasino ilman rekisteröitymistä?

Netissä toimivat kasinot ovat melkein jokaiselle meille jossain muodossa tuttuja. Suomessa valtion peliyhtiöllä on tunnetusti monopoli-asema pelitoiminnan harjoittamisessa. Tämän takia ulkomaalaiset pelisivustot, jotka palvelevat myös suomalaisia pelaajia ovat usein ylittäneet uutiskynnyksen. Ulkomailla toimivat casinot ovat kuitenkin täysin laillisia jos he toimivat jossain toisessa EU maassa. He eivät vaan saa markkinoida itseään Suomen rajojen sisäpuolella. Tästä syystä muun muassa monelta suomalaisjulkkikselta ja somevaikuttajalta on pyydetty selvitystä heidän some-mainostuksestaan.

Aikasemmin sinun oli aina pakko luoda itsellesi pelitili ennen kuin pystyit tallettamaan rahaa ja aloittaa pelaaminen. Vaikka nykyään et vieläkään pelaa ilman tiliä, voit aloittaa pelaamisen ilman rekisteröitymistä. Tänäpäivänä monet suomalaisille suunnatut uhkapelisivustot toimivat pelkillä verkkopankkitunnuksillasi. Voit siis suoraan tallettaa rahaa tilisiirtona ja sen jälkeen kaikki muu hoituu automaattisesti.

Parhaat nettikasinot ilman rekisteröitymistä ovat turvallisia

Suurin osa netissä olevista kasinoista toimivat Maltalta käsin. Tämä johtuu siitä että Maltalla on oma peliviranomainen joka myöntää lisenssejä pelisivustoille ja ne myös samalla valvovat niiden toimintaa. Tämän EU valtion myöntämä pelilisenssi on peliyhtiöiden ja pelaajien keskuudessa erittäin arvostettu. MGAn lisenssi on näin ollen ikään kuin laatumerkintä siitä että kyseessä on luotettava uhkapelisivusto. Suurin osa rekisteröitymisvapaista kasinoista toimivat Maltan peliviranomaisten valvonnan alla.

Se mikä tekee näistä pikakasinoista vielä turvallisempia on se että rahasi ovat pankkitunnuksien takana. Eli kukaan muu ei pääse käsiksi voittoihisi. Sinun täytyy aina käyttää henkilökohtaisia pankkitunnuksia kirjautuaksesi pelitilillesi. Jos haluat pelata turvallisesti, katso parhaat kasinot ilman rekisteröitymistä täältä.

Nopeat voittojen kotiutukset suoraan pankkitilillesi muutamassa minuutissa

Kaikki mitä tarvitset aloittaaksesi pelaamisen on jonkun suomalaisen pankin myöntämät verkkopankkitunnukset. Hoidat kaikki raha-asiat pankkitilisi kautta. Lisäät siis varoja pelitilillesi suoraan pankistasi. Rahat ja kaikki muut tiedot välittyvät salatusti pankistasi nettikasinolle.

Verottomat voittosi nostat niin ikään suoraan pankkitilillesi. Mitä parasta, rahat ovat tililläsi vain minuuteissa. Parhaassa tapauksessa vain viidessä minuutissa. Eli enää sinun ei tarvitse odottaa monta päivää ennen kuin voit nauttia voitoistasi. Nopeat kotiutukset ovat yksi syy siihen minkä takia nämä kasinot ovat niin suosittuja Suomessa.

Vanhanaikaisilla casinoilla sinun täytyy yleensä varmentaa pelitilisi ennen kuin voit kotiuttaa varsinkin suurempia voittoja. Tällainen toimintatapa on poistunut kokonaan pikakasinoilta. Pankkisi varmentaa kaikki tietosi jo ensimmäisen talletuksen yhteydessä, joten sinun ei itse tarvitse lähettää mitään asiakirjoja verifiointia varten.

Kasino ilman tiliä hieman harhaanjohtava termi

Niin kuin suomalainen sanonta kuuluu; rakkaalla lapsella on monta nimeä. Kasinot ilman tiliä ovat yksi pikakasinoiden monesta synonyymistä. Tämä on kuitenkin erittäin harhaanjohtava termi. Niin kuin tuossa jo aikaisemmin mainitsimme, et missään vaiheessa pelaa ilman tiliä. Anonyymisti pelaaminen ei onnistu millään suomalaisella nettikasinolla. Se olisi lainvastaista ja antaisi liian hienot puitteet rikollisille pestä rahaa.

Tuo termi kuitenkin kertoo paljon näiden pelisivustojen helppoudesta. Kaikki hoituu nopeasti ja automatisoidusti. Asiakkaana sinun ei enää tarvitse saada harmaita hiuksia kaiken maailman henkilökohtaisten tietojen täyttämisestä. Palvelu on niin ensiluokkaista että kaikki hoidetaan sinun puolestasi.

Pelivalikoima pysyy samana

Tässä vaiheessa monet varmasti miettivät että jotain miinuksia tällaisilla nopeilla kasinoilla täytyy olla. Voiko esimerkiksi pelivalikoima olla huonompi? Vastaus tuohon kysymykseen on ei. Pelitarjonta on sama. Eli voit pelata kaikkia suosikki-pelejäsi myös rekisteröitymisvapailla casinoilla.

Joidenkin mielestä maksuvaihtoehtojen niukkuus voi kuitenkin olla huono asia. Voit siis pelkästään käyttää pankkitiliäsi rahojen siirtoon. Luottokortit ja muut maksutavat eivät ole mahdollisia.

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Kulttuuri, kuntoilu ja viihde tasapainoon

Töitä, vapaa-aikaa ja unta. Näiden kolmen ero on selvä, mutta yllättäen vaikein niistä hallita on se, jonka pitäisi rentouttaa meitä. Jos vapaa-ajan jättää vapaaksi, iskee usein tylsistyminen, turhautuminen ja ahdistus. On vaikea olla tekemättä mitään, jos ei ole jo aiemmin tehnyt mitään. 

Vapaa-ajan mielekkään tekemisen tarkoitus on pitää keho ja mieli kiireisinä mielenkiintoisen tekemisen parissa. Levon ja tekemisen tasapaino on tärkeä oman hyvinvoinnin kannalta. Uni taas palauttaa kehon ja mielen voimavarat, jolloin on helpompi myös nauttia työstä.

Haasta aivosi keskittymällä kulttuuriin ja peleihin

Aivojumppaan löytyy monia eri keinoja. Taide ja kulttuuri saavat aivot varmasti aktiivisiksi, oli kyse sitten musiikista, historiasta, maalauksista tai muista taidenäyttelyistä. Eri näkökohtien tuumaileminen erilaisten teosten avulla on omiansa rasittamaan niitä osia aivoista, jotka eivät välttämättä päivittäisessä kanssakäymisessä ole kovalla koetuksella.

Aivot pääsevät rauhassa keskittymään myös kirjallisuuden parissa. Oli kyseessä sitten mukaansatempaava tarina, tietokirjallisuus tai runous ja muu proosa, vaatii tekstin syvällinen ymmärtäminen aina työtä aivoilta. Ja tämä työ kantaa hedelmää. Ja jos valitsemasi kirjallisuus on parasta laatua, tapahtuu siihen uppoutuminen kuin itsestään.

Palapelit ovat oiva älyllinen haaste. Älyä tarvitaan myös yllä mainituissa kirjallisuudessa ja kulttuurissa, vaikka niistä voi nauttia toki muiden aspektien kautta. Älypelejä löytyy muitakin, perinteisestä Rubikin kuutiosta shakkiin sekä joukkoon muita lautapelejä. 

Pistä keho koville hyötyliikunnan avulla

Kun mieli on kesytetty ja liiat ajattelut ajateltu, on oikea aika pistää vartalo koville. Tähän ei oikeastaan ole muuta keinoa kuin kuntoilu, oli se sitten missä muodossa tahansa. Suomessa urheileminen ja muu reippailu onneksi onnistuu verrattain helposti.

Ensimmäisen askeleen voit ottaa missä tahansa, sillä pieni kävelylenkki on yllättävän virkistävää ja kehoa rasittavaa toimintaa. Luonnon parissa puuhastelu onnistuu lähes kaikkialla, paitsi aivan suurimpien kaupunkien sydämessä. Kaupungeista löytyy kuitenkin paljon muuta tekemistä. Tärkeintä on löytää itseä kiinnostava laji, jonka parissa jaksat kuluttaa aikaa. Samalla voit laajentaa sosiaalisia piirejäsi tutustumalla muihin samasta tekemisestä kiinnostuneisiin.

Virkistä kehoa ja mieltä viihteen avulla

Kun mieltä ja kehoa on jumpattu, on aika astua viihteen pariin. Tässä voi myös helposti sekoittaa yllä mainittuja keinoja musiikin kuuntelusta älypelien pariin. Pelkkä lepääminen ei ole ainoa keino virkistää ja palauttaa kehoa ja mieltä. Myös jännittävää ja hyvinkin mukaansatempaavaa viihdettä voi käyttää rentoutumiseen. Esimerkiksi suomikasino tarjoaa jännittäviä hetkiä viihteellisten pelien parissa. 

Kotisohvalla tai sängyssä rentoutuminen onnistuu helposti älylaitteiden kanssa. Viihteen perimmäinen tarkoitus on antaa tilaa mielelle ja keholle rauhoittua. Televisio-ohjelmat, jotka nykyisin ovat siirtyneet netin kautta striimatuiksi ohjelmiksi, on yksi suosituimmista tavoista nauttia viihteestä. Suomalaiset sekä ulkomaiset viihdeohjelmat, dokumentit, elokuvat ja sarjat ovat saatavilla moninaisista eri palveluista.

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Those cute animals symbols in the central streets of Helsinki

You might have just arrived to Helsinki or you might have lived here for many years and never realized about the animals that populate some of the main streets of the city. Next time you go for a stroll near Stockmann, for example along the famous shopping street Aleksanterinkatu, pay attention to the building walls and will not be difficult to discover some blue symbols on the corners of the streets representing animals, including mythological ones such as an unicorn.

From where this tradition comes? Digging into Helsinki history, it seems that this came into place after the big fire that destroyed most of downtown in 1808. Then, the architect Johan Albrecht Ehrenström had the idea to name many of the buildings blocks into animals.

This tradition was used until the beginning of the 20th century and then normal street names replaced it, but in 1994 Helsinki citizens decided to do a revival of this wonderful tradition and brought the signs back to the central streets of Helsinki.

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The Legend: Paavo Nurmi

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The Big Bang Theory Sheldon learns Finnish

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7 Uudenlaista Shakkipeliä Netissä

Shakki on viihdyttänyt pelaajiaan jo vuosia ja nykyisin tarjolla on monenlaisia shakkipelejä netissä. Tavallinen shakkikerää edelleen ylivoimaisesti eniten pelaajia, mutta mikäli olet kiinnostunut tutustumaan muihin potentiaalisiin pelivariaatioihin – tämä artikkeli on sinulle! 

Tämä artikkeli käy hyvin lyhyesti läpi muutamia uusia shakkipelejä, joita voit tänä päivänä pelata ja niiden erikoisominaisuuksia. Shakkipelin variaatiot tunnetaan paremmin niiden englannin kielisillä nimillä, joten niitä käytetään myös tässä artikkelissa.

  1. Bughouse chess

Tässä variaatiossa, joka myös siamilaisena shakkina tunnetaan, pelilauta on samantyylinen kuin tavallisessa shakissa. Kuitenkin suurena erona on se, että peliä pelaa neljä pelaajaa kerralla – kaksi vastaan kaksi. 

Tiimitoverit istuvat pelissä vierekkäin ja pelaajat erivärisillä nappuloilla. Peliä pelataan yleensä aikaa vastaan niin, että kello asetetaan alussa viiteen minuuttiin. Mikäli tiimiltä loppuu aika, he häviävät automaattisesti. 

  • Blindfold chess

Tätä versiota pelataan normaalilla shakkilaudalla. Blindfold chess tunnetaan myös sans voir –nimellä ja myös se löytyy netistä pelattavaksi. Tässä variaatiossa pelaajat eivät näe nappuloiden positioita eivätkä he myöskään voi koskea niihin. Tämä variaatio pakottaa pelaajansa ehdottomaan keskittymiseen pelin alusta asti. Pelaaja voivat tarkista chess vedonlyönti sivut Blindfold.

  • Blitz chess     

Myös Blitziä pelataan tavallisella shakkialustalla. Blitzissä pelaajille annetaan tietty määrä minuutteja jokaisen siirron suorittamiseen koko pelin aikana. Maksimissaan yleisesti kuitenkin pelaaja voi saada vain 15 minuuttia, jotta kaksinpelissä pelin kesto voi olla puoli tuntia. Tässä variaatiossa on siis erityisen tärkeää tehdä nopeita päätöksiä.

  • Armageddon

Tämä variaatio on melko mielenkiintoinen ja siten myös aika koukuttava. Tässä variaatiossa tasapeliä ei ole olemassa ja molemmat värit saavat pienen edun väristä riippuen. Mustilla pelaavilla pieni etu on se, että he voittavat pattitilanteessa. Valkoisilla pelaavat saavat vastaavasti hieman enemmän peliaikaa mustiin verrattuna, yleensä kuitenkin vain noin minuutin. 

  • Wild chess

Tämä on nimensä mukaan melko villi variaatio shakista. Tässä variaatiossa valkoiset nappulat eivät aloita tavallisilta paikoilta vain villisti pelilaudalla. Mustat nappulat ovatkin kuitenkin tavallisilla paikoillaan. Tätä variaatiota ei pelata aikaa vastaan. 

  • Fast chess

Pikashakki on hieman tunnetumpi shakkivariaatio. Pikashakissa pelaajat yksinkertaisesti saavat tietyn määrän aikaa suorittaa kaikki liikkeensä. Säännöt vaihtelevat hieman pelinjärjestäjästä riippuen, mutta yleensä aika on maksimissaan kuusi minuuttia. Shakkipelin läpäiseminen kuudessa minuutissa ei todellakaan ole helppoa edes aloittelevaa pelaajaa vastaan!

  • Four player chess

Tätä variaatiota nimensä mukaisesti pelataan neljällä pelaajalla. Kuitenkin Bughouse shakista poiketen, pelilauta on hyvin erilainen. Pelilauta on hieman hankala avata tekstinä, joten siitä löytyy alta kuva. 

Peliä varten tarvitaan neljät erilaiset shakkinappulat, jokainen eri väriä. Yllättävää kyllä, mutta neljän pelaajan shakkipeliä voi pelata aivan samoilla säännöillä kuin tavallista shakkia. Sääntövariaatioita pelistä kuitenkin löytää netin syövereistä pientä tutkimustyötä tekemällä.

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Matkakohteena Tallinna

Tallinna on tullut monelle suomalaiselle tutuksi lähinnä päivämatkojen ja laivareissujen myötä. Pieni, mutta tunnelmallinen Tallinna kätkee sisälleen yllättävänkin paljon. Tarjolla on hyvää ruokaa, nähtävyyksiä, ostoskeskuksia sekä viihdettä.

On aika ottaa pintaa syvempi kurkistus vain lyhyen laivamatkan päässä olevaan Tallinnaan. 

Edullista ruokaa

Suomessa ravintolaruoka on ylellisyys. Se on usein viikonlopun huippukohta tai perheloman ylellisyys. Suomessakin on toki olemassa edullisia ravintoloita, mutta Tallinnan ravintoloiden hintataso pesee monin paikoin esimerkiksi Helsingin varsin selkeästi. 

Tallinnassa hyvää ja edullista ruokaa löytyy monesta eri paikasta, ja kun osaa suunnata kaikkein pahimmista turistirysistä vanhan kaupungin keskeltä hieman kauemmaksi laskee ruoan hinta merkittävästi. Myös vanha kaupunki pitää sisällään lukuisia erittäin suosittuja ja hyviä ruokapaikkoja. 

Vanhankaupungin lukuisten ravintoloiden lisäksi purtavaa löytyy esimerkiksi Rotermanni-keskuksesta sekä satamasta. Lisäksi ravintoloita löytyy myös Vapaudenaukion liepeiltä Solaris- ja Kaubamaja-kauppakeskusten läheltä. 

Edullisten hintojen ansiosta monen ruokalajin lounaat tai illalliset eivät käy kukkarolle kovinkaan pahasti. Samalla voi säästää rahaa, jota voi myöhemmin käyttää esimerkiksi virolaisella kivijalkakasinolla tai netin välityksellä luckycasinolla. 

Nähtävyyksiä jokaiselle

Tallinnassa riittää nähtävää. Kauniit merimaisemat, vanhat linnakkeet sekä lukuisat kirkot ja museot tarjoavat silmänruokaa. Eri paikoissa riittää nähtävää useammallekin eri päivälle ja matkalle. Alle olemme listanneet viisi parasta nähtävyyttä Tallinnassa.


Tallinnan tunnetuin ja suosituin alue on vanhankaupungin alue. Alue kuuluu Unescon maailmanperintökohteisiin, ja se on rakennettu jo 1200-1500 -luvuilla. Vanhastakaupungista löytyy paljon nähtävää, shoppailtavaa sekä ruokapaikkoja. Kauniit rakennukset ja vanhan ajan tunnelma luovat omanlaisensa tunnelman, jollaista on vaikea löytää muualta.


Tallinnan kaupunginmuurit ovat peräisin 1300-luvulta, ja vielä tänä päivänä muurista on jäljellä 1,9 kilometriä sekä 20 tornia. Kaupunginmuurit kiertävät kaupunkia, ja niiden vaikuttava olemus vangitsee katseen. Osaan torneista on mahdollista päästä myös vierailemaan, jolloin Tallinnaa pääsee katsomaan varsin vaikuttavasta paikasta.

Bastionin tunnelit

Bastionin tunnelit liittyvät kaupunginmuureihin, ja niihin on mahdollista tutustua opastetuilla kierroksilla. Bastionin tunneleihin pääsee tutustumaan Kiek in de Kökin puolustustornin kautta. Tornissa pääsee samalla tutustumaan keskiaikaiseen elämään siellä sijaitsevan museon avulla.


Katariinankuja on yksi Tallinnan upeimmista pienistä kujista. Vahvasti keskiaikaista tunnelmaa uhkuva Pyhän Katariinan Kirkon läheisyydessä sijaitseva kuja tarjoaa myös oivat kuvausmahdollisuudet. Kujalta löytyy myös Katariinan kilta, jossa taitavat käsityöläiset valmistavat lasia, koruja sekä ompeleita. 

Viron merimuseo

Tallinnan modernein museo tarjoaa mielenkiintoista tietä merenkulusta sekä sodankäynnistä merellä. Museo sopii hyvin myös lapsiperheille. Perinteisen museo-osuuden lisäksi merimuseosta löytyy myös erilaisia simulaattoreita, joilla voi kokeilla veneellä ajamista tai lentämistä. 

Yllin kyllin viihdettä

Nähtävyyksien lisäksi Tallinna tarjoaa runsaasti erilaisia vaihtoehtoja illanviettoon. Lukuisat baarit, klubit sekä kasinot mahdollistavat viihtymisen yömyöhään asti. Jos majoittuu esimerkiksi Viru-hotellissa, ei baaria todellakaan tarvitse lähteä etsimään pitkältä, sillä samassa rakennuksessa sijaitsee sekä yöklubi että tunnelmallinen baari. 

Edullisia juomia tarjoilevat baarit houkuttelevat kaiken ikäisiä aikuisia luokseen. Tallinnassa  illan jälkeen tili ei välttämättä näytä yhtä tyhjältä kuin Suomessa, sillä juomat ovat huomattavasti edullisempia. 

Jos haluaa päästä kokeilemaan onneaan, paras paikka on Hilton Park Hotellin yhteyteen rakennettu Olympic Casino -ketjun pääkasino. Moderni ja tyylikäs kasino tarjoaa runsaasti pöytäpelejä, automaattipelejä sekä muuta viihdettä. Tallinnasta löytyy lippulaivakasinon lisäksi myös runsaasti muita kasinoita. 

Kasinon pelaaminen onnistuu toki myös netin kautta. Jos pitkän päivän jälkeen mieli ei tee kivijalkakasinolle on ratkaisuna nettikasinot. Nettikasinoiden kautta voi pelata samoja kasinopelejä, joita löytyy myös fyysiseltä Olympic Casinolta. 

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Gold Panning World Championships invite gold panners to Finnish Lapland in August 2019!

The World Gold Panning Championships began in Tankavaara, in the magical landscape of Finnish Lapland in 1977. This summer the gold rush of Lapland will turn 150 years old as the World Championships return to their roots by bringing together gold panning competitors from 26 countries. The Gold Panning World Championships Festival will take place in Tankavaara Gold Village, Sodankylä on 5th – 10th of August.  

The World Championships in Lapland are a great experience for the whole family, whether they come to compete or to watch. Before the World Championships, the Finnish Open Gold Panning Championships also happens there, on the August 2nd – 3rd. The whole week consists of different competitions, entertainment and activities. During the championships you can experience the magical endless day of the Arctic summer, which is very special with its 24/7 sunlight. The event program and schedule are updated on the event’s site

There is also a category for beginner gold panners, so if you haven’t tried it before, you can still take part in the competition: but others are pro-panners, naturally! The rules of the competition are quite easy: the winner is the one who finds all the hidden gold nuggets the fastest! Both Championships will be organized in cooperation with the Gold Prospectors Association of Finnish Lapland together with Tankavaara Gold Village

Maintaining History – Gold panning in responsible way  

At Tankavaara Gold Village, gold is still panned on a small scale. The village is home to real gold prospectors, who are prospecting ‘the old way’ with a shovel. In recent years, the community has worked hard to make the whole process of gold-panning in the area more ecological and responsible, resulting in their own Certified Gold of Lapland network. By joining the network, the prospector and gold- and jewelry-smiths can get their gold ecologically and responsibly certified. Certified gold prospectors are committed to following mining and environmental legislations and the orders and instructions given by the controlling authorities. They also aim to carry out the mining guidelines given by The Gold Prospectors Association of Finnish Lapland and to develop more environmentally friendly actions all the time. 

“We are very happy to invite everyone to Tankavaara to experience the spirit of gold panning. When you try it yourself, it’s easy to see why finding gold with your own hands has caused such a rush in a history. It still has the same magic today.” says Marko Touru, owner and CEO of the Gold Village. He holds the World Gold Panning Championship title in the two-person team category, has gathered over 100 medals for individual and team competitions all over the world and also participates in the competition. 

The experiences of Tankavaara Gold Village and surroundings 

Tankavaara is located in an area of Finnish Lapland called Sompio. This areas also houses the Gold Prospector Museum, where visitors can get information on the gold prospecting history of Finland and the rest of the world. Tankavaara Gold Village offers daily gold panning activities as well as cottage and apartment accommodation. The restaurant ‘Old Gold Prospector’ is open every day. Gold Village accommodations are in the surrounding area, and camping is also situated near the competition area. The magical landscape of Lapland is nearby and easy to reach. Urho Kekkonen National Park is a stone’s throw from Tankavaara, an area full of nature trails leading to spectacular views. Reindeer can be seen in Sompio anytime, anywhere. Tankavaara is easy to reach by flying to Lapland’s main airports at Ivalo and Rovaniemi and continuing by bus or car. 

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When Finns exceptionally scream

Defining Finns as maybe the most socially awkward society in Europe would certainly be not very far from reality. Known for their introverted and shy behavior, one also has to love them after time spent among them when discovering their honesty, transparency and straightforwardness.

Although in many situations, being surrounded by Finns could resemble the attendance to a funeral due to the absolute silence around, legend says that people heard Finns screaming in exceptional situations such as:

1. When someone leaves the sauna door open.
2. When Finland wins the Hockey World Championship.
3. When Finland loses against Sweden in the Hockey World Championship.
4.When reindeers block the road
5.When at any concert of any band, someone asks to play “Paranoid” (including even in a Black Sabbath concert)
6.When you are the co-pilot of a rally car and a stone goes up your ass.
7.At a night bus at 4:00 a.m. returning home from a bar.
8.Belonging to the Choir of Screaming Men of Oulu.