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Dinner at Piatta

After a long day at the castle and museum  in Savonlinna, I wasn’t too keen on just having our hotel buffet for dinner, so near the tourist ferry dock, we stopped for dinner at Piatta, a nice little restaurant which offered not just great food, but a great chance to get out of the rain that began to pour down as we were heading in. Perfect timing!

Dinner at Piatta

Dinner at Piatta

Piatta

Piatta was an excellent choice – an Italian restaurant with a water view and excellent interior atmosphere. To start off they had a seemingly small salad bar. I say ‘seemingly small’ because the options were excellently arranged to create a fantastic salad to start our meal. I piled my plate high with cubed cucumber, sun-dried tomatoes, unripe mozzarella cheese, black olives, shredded carrots, on a bed of lettuce and topped the whole thing with delicious pesto dressing. On the side there were a variety of breads to round off the starter.

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Posted by on October 16, 2013 in Out of town - Europe

 

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Fast Food Finnish-style

Hessburger in Savonlinna

Hessburger in Savonlinna

In my previous post I mentioned that I ended up having to pick fast food during my trip to Finland when I got back to the hotel after my concerts. Of course, I took a few snapshots to share here – even though it’s hardly fine dining and isn’t sushi at all, I still thought that some of Happy Sushi Belly’s readers might find some of the differences fun to read.

Hessburger

Finland’s national fast-food hamburger chain is Hessburger, which kind of reminded me of a non-chain place that used to be open near where I live. We visited Hessburger on our first night in Savonlinna, mostly because it was easily seen from a distance, and since it was pretty late, we didn’t want to wander too much to try to find another place that was open.

I think we should have at least looked for a pub or something because I wasn’t too keen on what we ordered. We each had a cheeseburger, fries and a drink, and while the fries were fine and the drink was normal, we didn’t really like the cheeseburger at all. If we knew a bit more Finnish it might have been easier to pick out something more interesting, but being tired… we just weren’t in the mood for big surprises…

McDonalds

McDonalds in Finland is a bit different too – first off they have doughnuts on the menu! No, I didn’t try one, but I did try their coffee drink, which I thought would be a coffee-flavoured milkshake, but instead it was hot coffee with lots of milk, served 3/4 full in a milkshake kind of glass. The picture in the Turku venue made it look like it was coffee and chocolate, and the other flavours appeared to be pear and chocolate, strawberry and chocolate, and vanilla and chocolate – but who knows! (We thought it was ok, but not worth a repeat…)

Chips

Along with excellent Finnish candy, we also tried a few different flavours of old familiar things – like ‘Paprika’ (bell pepper) flavoured Lays potato chips – interesting, but again, not deserving of a repeat snack (unlike some of the candy we tried!). We tried these while sitting on a bench along the Aura River in Turku.

Restaurant boats on the Aura River

Restaurant boats on the Aura River

If you’d like to see some of my previous posts about my trip to Finland, please click the Finland Tag to see them all pulled together for you. If you’re interested in more sights from Savonlinna, I also have a Savonlinna Tag  and a Turku Tag for you to follow! Consider clicking the “Follow” button to the right to subscribe via email, or follow Happy Sushi Belly on Twitter. You can also follow us on Facebook, where you can join other foodies, or just follow along as posts are automatically sent to Facebook as well. Thanks WordPress!

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2013 in Out of town - Europe

 

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Dockside danish

In my last post I mentioned that sometimes the view more than makes up for a lackluster dining experience…
Well, this post is more boring food, just to share some awesome photos with you of beautiful Savonlinna.

Beautiful sunset in Savonlinna

Beautiful sunset in Savonlinna

Don’t you just want to run down that ramp, jump off the dock, and plunge into that water? Ok, perhaps not at sunset! Still, is there any wonder why I am eager to return to Finland and explore other areas of the country?

Amazing and impressive Olavinlinna castle in Savonlinna

Amazing and impressive Olavinlinna castle in Savonlinna

After visiting Olavinlinna castle (above) in Savonlinna and the Provincial museum, my travel companion and I headed down towards the main dock area, set on taking a lake cruise with one of the many boats offering regular service around the area. Since it was still a week or so before the Opera Festival, there didn’t seem to be a lot of tourists in town, but still we anticipated that we would have a selection of trips to choose from, as we had walked past the dock earlier and read the departure times and routes. Although I was happy to see the castle from a water-side angle, I really wanted to see more of the scenery around Savonlinna, so was planning on opting for a lake-centric tour which went further south than the other trips. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2013 in Out of town - Europe, Treats

 

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Lunch in a castle

Sometimes a bland, uninteresting meal is less about the meal, and all about the location. Since a lot of my recent posts about my trip to Finland have focused more on the food elements than on the travel, I thought this would be a good post to flip that a little, and share more about the location than the food. Frankly… when you read “lunch in a castle” – I bet you’re much more interested in the castle, than in what I noshed on for a mid-day meal!

Amazing and impressive Olavinlinna castle in Savonlinna

Amazing and impressive Olavinlinna castle in Savonlinna

Olavinlinna castle was founded in 1475 by Erik Axelsson Tott, and the location was chosen to lay claim to lands occupied by Russia. It was the first Swedish castle that featured thick towers which could withstand cannon fire, and is one of the few medieval buildings in Finland still in use. It’s also the most northern medieval stone fortress still standing. Today, Olavinlinna castle has three tall towers (Our tour guide warned us about almost 200 steps to get to the top, but she forgot to mention that the steps are all uneven rock, polished by centuries of footsteps, and that the height of each varies quite a bit, but all are very deep.) however originally there were four towers – one wasn’t quite as impervious to cannon fire after all! The castle withstood several sieges by the Russians during the first and second Russian-Swedish wars, and the castle was occupied by both Swedish and Russian forces at different times within it’s history. The town of Savonlinna grew due to trade supporting the castle, and the town was chartered in 1639.

Olavinlinna is also known as Olofsborg in Swedish, which translates to St. Olaf’s Castle, in honour of Olaf II of Norway. A network of lakes surround the castle, as it sits on an island. While the waters appear calm, there’s actually a fairly quick-moving current approaching the castle which means that the water never freezes over in the winter – an ideal element for defense, as invaders would have much more difficulty approaching the castle on foot.

Amazing and impressive Olavinlinna castle in Savonlinna

Amazing and impressive Olavinlinna castle in Savonlinna

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Posted by on September 1, 2013 in Out of town - Europe

 

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Primehotel Savonlinna breakfast buffet

In my previous post, I showed off the beautiful buffet at the Primehotel Savonlinna, in eastern Finland. Today I’ll show you some of the breakfasts my companion and I enjoyed during our all-too-brief stay.

Breakfast buffet in Savonlinna

My companion’s sugar-topped cereal

My companion really does like it sweet it seems; she sprinkled sugar on top of her cereal along with seeds, dried fruit, and nuts. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2013 in Out of town - Europe

 

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Savonlinna Buffet

Along with Turku and Naantali, another town I visited in Finland in June was Savonlinna. Best known for an annual Opera Festival in the Olavinlinna castle, the town has just over 27,000 residents, and is in eastern Finland, very close to the Russian border, and surrounded by beautiful lakes.

Our hotel was on a small island, accessible via a footbridge from the main area of town, and very close to the train station.  Like our hotel in Turku, our hotel had an excellent breakfast buffet, and for the few mornings that we spent in Savonlinna, we enjoyed what they had to offer!

Beautiful sunset in Savonlinna

Beautiful sunset in Savonlinna

We stayed at the Primehotel Savonlinna Oy hotel in Savonlinna.  This is right on Lake Saimaa – famous for the hard-to-spot freshwater lake ringed seals.  From our room we had lovely views of the town across the lake, and around the property there were two additional islands, one small one which was just for walking and hiking, and another larger island which had a number of interconnected walking/hiking trails, and one building – a pancake cafe! Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2013 in Out of town - Europe

 

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