Monday, January 25, 2016

Georgian hospitality

Tower of the wall in Signnaghi
Georgians are known to be very hospital towards guests and foreigners. I was told a story which highlights how important it is to be a good host for visitors. People from UNICEF was visiting Georgian rural areas to see if families needed some aid. The news about arrival of visitors reached the area and the families wanted to wish them welcome. One of the poor families was struggling and thinking how they could give the visitors a warm welcome. The family felt that they did not have anything good enough to offer for the visitors. Finally the family came up with an idea to sacrifice their only chicken which provided them steadily eggs and serve it for the visitors. When the visitors heard this they thought that sacrificing the chicken was stupid but the hospitality was so important to the family that they sacrificed something very valuable for them.

Georgians do not let you pay when you are their guest and will insist serving different foods. Though tourism has increased in Georgia and now there are also people who are taking advantage of the tourists. Beggars can be aggressive towards foreigners and sales people might charge more from foreigners.

Monday, January 18, 2016

500th post and moving to Spain

Winter landscape from Finland
This blog is now 6 years and 6 months old. I am very happy for being blogging for so long time and being able to publish 500 blog posts. During that time I have lived 24 months in Łódź, 15 months in Kuopio, 14 months in Joensuu,  10 months in Alcalá de Henares, 9 months in Ankara, 3 months in Madrid and 3 months in Tbilisi. It means that in Past 6 years and 6 months I have lived in 7 different cities and in 5 different countries. I have published on average 6 posts per month.

This is not an announcement to retire from blogging because a new adventure is waiting for me abroad. I am moving to Barcelona and I will continue blogging from there. I can escape the freezing cold -30 degree weather of Finland and see more sunny days in Spain.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The old new year

Toasting for the old new year
The sky was full of fireworks on the first of January in Georgia as it was the new year celebration. Yesterday night I also witnessed fireworks exploding in the sky. There was not as many fireworks as on the first of January but still plenty of them. Georgians like to celebrate the new year two times. The old new year is unofficial celebration day which is celebrated according to the Julian calendar. I have been said that Georgians like to find always a reason to celebrate.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Spain is a paradise for Finnish people

Beach of Valencia
I read an article of Finnish Riina making her dreams coming true by moving to Fuengirola in Spain.She works as a personal trainer and as a customer service clerk in a telephone number service company. There is a big Finnish community living in Fuengirola. It is estimated there are around twenty thousand Finnish people.

The article got popular and received in one day 168 comments and top comments received hundreds of likes. The most of the comments are very positive even though there is also some envy and jealousy in them. Overall people are wishing that they could do the same, wishing Riina good luck and hoping to be themselves enjoying warm weather of Spain. Finland is seen as a miserable place and Spain as a paradise. Spain is one of the top holiday destinations for Finnish people and therefore many Finnish have actually have had a chance to experience Spain for short period of time. Many seem to be dreaming about moving abroad but they do not see it being possible or lack courage to do it.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

How many calories does raw chocolate have?

Finished raw chocolate
Honey, cocoa powder and coconut oil

I have seen fitness bloggers highlighting raw chocolate in their blogs and therefore I decided to prepare some own raw chocolate. I used 70 grams of 100 % cocoa powder, 40 grams (100 ml) of coconut oil, 50 grams of honey, 100 grams of hazelnuts and 100 grams of almonds. The final result was full plate of 360 grams of raw chocolate. The taste was good and also approved by my chocolate loving friend. Then I decided to count the kilo calories (kcal) of the portion. 360 grams of raw chocolate which I prepared contained 2 372 kcal which is 658 kcal and 14 grams of protein per 100 grams. Regular milk chocolate has 545 kcal and 11 grams of protein per 100 grams. Switching regular chocolate to raw chocolate will not reduce the intake of calories. The quality of the ingredients between raw chocolate and regular chocolate is another debate.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Christmas in Georgia

Georgian Christmas tree
Georgian Christmas tree called Chichilaki is made of dried hazelnut or walnut branch. Chichilaki represents the beard of St. Bazil the great who is thought to visit people like Santa Claus. On the top there are three spikes where you place three fruits. Average size of Chichilaki is around 30 cm tall so it is generally smaller compared to a Christmas tree. 25th of December is not a holiday in Georgia. Christmas gifts are given on the first of January and Christmas is celebrated on the 7th of January.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Airport taxi Tbilisi

I arrived to the airport of Tbilisi at 5 am on Monday. My friend was late and decided to walk outside to wait my friend there. After stepping outside from the airport door I was surrounded  by 20 taxi drivers who were offering me a ride to the center. I declined offer from 5 taxi drivers while walking to a good waiting place. I was waiting my friend on my feet for 30 minutes and during that time at least 20 different taxi drivers came to ask me if  I needed a ride. There were few who were more persistent than others and I had to decline them 5 times as they came back to me again and again. It felt like Taxi drivers were fighting to have customers. Black market taxis were offering ride for 20 liras (8 EUR) as official taxi costs 30 liras (12 EUR).