Helsinki

Helsinki

Helsinki

My travel photography all started in Helsinki, Helsinki is the capital of Finland, it is a very compact city and easy to explore on foot but it still has 47 hotels.

I arrived in November and the weather was good but in December Helsinki saw the worst winter in twenty years, unlike the UK nothing stopped, there was a coach run by Finnair that went from the train station to the Airport, it never failed to run.

Helsinki has two outstanding cathedrals, the Evangelical Lutheran cathedral to admire its stunning architecture in Senate Square and Uspenski Cathedral is the main cathedral of the Finnish Orthodox Church in the diocese of Helsinki, and it is claimed to be the largest Orthodox church in Western Europe.

Each Christmas Helsinki has a Xmas market with over 180 stalls, its the best Christmas market I have ever seen, my photograph of the blizzard at Christmas time taken from the Helsinki Christmas Fair.

When it came time to return to the UK, the snow was so bad, British Airways stopped flying to Helsinki, so had to switch to Finnair I got home two days before Christmas.

Digital Nomads Working Remotely

Digital Nomads Working Remotely

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Remote Working

I have been working remotely since 2009, taking travel photographs. I have worked remotely (digital nomad) all over Europe, which includes, Spain, Belgium, Sweden, Helsinki, and Gibraltar.

My first remote working travel assignment was in Helsinki, when I was in Helsinki, they had the worst winter in 20 years, the

photographs that took in Helsinki included Helsinki’s two outstanding cathedrals, the Evangelical Lutheran cathedral to admire its stunning architecture in Senate Square and Uspenski Cathedral the Russian Orthodox Church.

This is a guide to the cost of living this guide to Digital Nomad living compares the cost of living and services between Finland and Portugal.

What you will need

To work as a remote worker (digital nomad) what you need is a good mobile broadband connection, when I was in Finland both Telia and Elisa have mobile broadband running on 3G sims. In 2009 you could pay about €12 per month for a basic 1 Mb/s 3G connection. A 100 Mb/s 3G connection was about €20-24 per month.

Telia now run 5G which is charged at 39.90 EUR per month (44.90 EUR/month after 12 months). It proposes speeds of 450 Mbps and unlimited data. In Portugal MEO is offering data cards for around €20, so the cost for mobile broadband is very similar.

Accommodation in Finland was expensive, this in days before Airbnb, My first apartment in Helsinki cost €2000, I soon moved to a smaller apartment at €1400. I prefer apartments so that can connect to the internet and process my photographs, and also have cooking facilities.

Now a monthly Airbnb rental in Helsinki for a whole place is around €800 to €1.200 per month (low season), in Portugal, it is only €600 per month for a good apartment.

Food and drink, Finland is expensive so weekly groceries for self-catering will be about €20, Beer cost around 6€ to 8€, whereas in Portugal these costs are almost halved.

I worked in Lisbon in 2017 and I found that eating out was not expensive, local restaurants cost between €10 and €14. I rarely spend more than €1.20 on a coffee or €2.50 on a beer. Shopping in supermarkets is very cheap but you may have to change a few brands as not all British goods are available in Portugal

Winter in Helsinki
Old Helsinki Town at Night

Most of my travel photography work has been in Europe recently so I have been thinking of relocating to Europe for some time and Portugal looks like a good option, it has a warm climate, friendly people, good food and historic cities. and fast and reliable Wi-Fi, and an affordable cost of living. Portugal is also regarded as one of the safest and most inclusive countries in Europe.

The Algarve, Portugal’s southerly, coastal region, has always been a good option for digital nomads and traveling travel photographers, particularly those visiting Lagos, but it’s never really taken off as a digital nomad hotspot. All that’s starting to change, however, with Lagos being the main place that nomads are flocking to.

But Lagos is one of many locations for digital nomads to consider, the coastal town of the Algarve are there for you to explore.

  • Olhão is one of southern Portugal’s traditional towns, Nestled along a cliffside. As the largest fishing port in the region, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Olhão is an ideal place to be tempted by its delicious seafood.
  • Carvoeiro is another picture-perfect destination. Even most travel photographers will be able to capture great pictures here.
  • Ferragudo, located across the Arade River from Portimão and west of Carvoeiro, is easily one of the most beautiful seaside villages in the Algarve and a favorite of Instagrammers
  • Cabo de São Vicente Wild, rugged, and isolated, the Cape of Saint Vincent is a powerful destination for surfing and travel photography
  • Aljezur and Vicentina Coast the northwestern coast of the Algarve is a favorite among surfers and nature-lovers. this part of the Algarve will offer a different view of the typical beaches and colorful cliffs normally expected from south Portugal.
  • Ilha de Tavira, the town of Tavira is a charming and quiet retreat from the usual crowds and resorts of the Algarve, but the Ilha de Tavira, or Tavira Island, is extra special. This sandbar is part of the Ria Formosa system yet stands out with its 12 kilometers of white-sand beaches
  • Peniche – Peniche is a surf town at heart. In fact, the Peniche surf is considered some of the very best in all of Europe
  • Largo – Pretty much the only co-working option in Peniche, Largo is located in a quiet area of the old district. Simple, friendly and affordable,
  • Coimbra – If it’s history and culture you’re after as a digital nomad in Portugal, Coimbra is worth checking out

Praia do Camilo Beach Portugal

Praia do Camilo Beach

Visas

Portugal is a member of the EU and the Schengen Agreement. That means travelers coming in from another EU country won’t have to apply for a visa at all. You have the right to work and settle in Portugal.

Portugal Tourism has stated that they will welcome British visitors to Portugal after Brexit.

DigitalNomads.pt

A web portal that’s built by Digital Nomads for Digital Nomads, DigitalNomads.pt might look and feel like Airbnb, but there’s a huge variety of listings on this one that you will not on other sites.

The best part is that the whole site is aimed specifically at location-independent workers.

 

 

Weather in Portugal

The climate in Portugal varies from north to south and from coast to the mountains. The south experiences Mediterranean weather with particularly mild winters and hot summers. Further north the coast is warmed by the Gulf Stream, so winters are still mild and summers are very warm. More inland summers are hotter but the winter temperature drops. In winter you can even find snow inland in Portugal.

In the Algarve, summers are particularly dry and sunny with 12 hours of sunshine each day and an average maximum temperature of 28 degrees Celsius (82° Fahrenheit) and a minimum of 20 degrees Celsius (68° Fahrenheit). Although temperatures in the north of Portugal are a little lower, there’s still around 11 hours of sunshine each day and the cool sea breeze makes it pleasant for a summer break.

Benagil Cathedral on the beautiful Algarve Portugal.
Benagil Cathedral at beautiful coast of Algarve, Portugal.

Visas

Portugal is a member of the EU and the Schengen Agreement. That means travelers coming in from another EU country won’t have to apply for a visa at all. They have the right to work and settle in Portugal

Weather in Portugal

The climate in Portugal varies from north to south and from coast to the mountains. The south experiences Mediterranean weather with particularly mild winters and hot summers. Further north the coast is warmed by the Gulf Stream, so winters are still mild and summers are

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benagil Cathedral cave near Lagos Algarve, Portugal.

Majorca Travel Guide

Majorca Travel Guide

Majorca Travel Guide

When you arrive at Majorca Palma airport apart from them being in a very busy location in the summer, what greets you first when you step off the plane is the warm Mediterranean climate which says welcome to the holiday island, I then pick up bags and head to the north of Majorca,

My favorite photography destination is Porto De Alcudia which backs onto the beautiful Playa de Muro beach where you bath warm waters of the Mediterranean which is very clean and very shallow or just stroll along the beach which is three miles long to C’an Picafort which used to be a small fishing village but now is a very popular holiday destination.

Restaurants in Port de Pollenca

 

 

Restaurants in Port de Pollenca

Majorca is an island of contrasts from Valldemosa in the Tramuntana Mountain range, the 13th-century monastery in Valldemosa has links to the Polish composer Frederic Chopin,

On the coast such iconic locations like old Soller Town, Port de Soller, Port de Pollença, old Pollença town, Cala Sant Vicenç, Port d’Alcúdia, Ca’n Picafort, and old Alcudia Town with its town wall dating back to the fourteenth century.

Majorca has been part of the Byzantine Empire, Moorish Islam Empire and in many towns like Pollenca,  the Christian churches and monasteries have influences from the Knights of Malta, and many other faiths

alcudia beach

 

 

alcudia beach

The Alcudia beach is situated in the north of Mallorca just a few kilometres from Port d’Alcudia and near the medieval town of Alcudia. Alcudia beach is a white sand beach and it is one of the island’s prestigious Blue Flag beaches. This nearly 3.5 km long beach has something for everyone.

In Alcudia bay, the water is very clean and generally calm, but occasionally waves can pick up from the north so it is important to keep an eye out for water conditions. Alcudia beach is not a party beach, though there are bars and restaurants open in the evening.

Wooden pier located on playa de muro beach, Alcudia.

 

 

Wooden pier located on playa de muro beach, Alcudia. Sunrise

Port de Pollenca beach is located in the north 10 km north of Alcudia, Port de Pollenca beach is nearly 1.5 km long, sandy beach that curves around the port and is surrounded by the Tramuntana mountains,  so this natural landscape adds a special quality to this beach. Port de Pollenca beach is a Blue Flag Beach.

In Port de Pollenca beach you will find plenty of the options where to eat or to have a drink. From easy burgers and fries to paellas, grilled fish.

The Pine Walk is a walkway that stretches for just over two miles, along Puerto Pollensa’s coastline. It gets its name from the pine trees that line the opposite side of the walkway, providing the perfect shade from the sunshine during the day

Orange Express Train

 

 

Orange Express Train

On the north of Majorca in Old Soller town is the Orange Express which is built in 1911 and goes through the Tramuntana mountains to Palma, the Orange express runs from Soller railway station, there also a tram to Port De Soller also of 1911, it seems every time I visit Majorca I end up photographing this remarkable train and tram.

The orange express was designed to take oranges and lemons to the Palma port for export, these days it a very popular tourist attraction.

On the 4th of October of 1913 Mallorca’s first electric tram line was inaugurated, running between Sóller and the Port of Sóller. The construction of the Sóller tram began after the inauguration of the Palma to Sóller railway line. One outstanding feature is the iron bridge over the Torrent Major

Cap De Formentor

 

 

Cap De Formentor

On the northern tip of Mallorca is the Cap de Formentor, where the top end of the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range meets the Mediterranean. Cap de Formentor literally means ‘end of Formentor’ – the peninsula is northeast of the port of Pollença.

You can no longer drive to the Cap de Formentor you have to take a shuttle bus in order to visit the famous lighthouse and the wild rocky peninsula on Majorca’s north-east coast which has spectacular views, particularly from the lighthouse.

Palma Cathedral Seu Seo of Mallorca

 

 

Palma Cathedral Seu Seo of Mallorca

The cathedral La Seu is the most famous building and landmark of Palma, which was first built by King Jaume II in 1300. Over time, many expansions were made to the main façade, as well as renovations to the inner rooms, and it was not until the 19th century that the cathedral obtained its current appearance. La Seu is one of the largest and most important Gothic cathedrals

The Castell de Bellver (Bellver Castle) just outside of Palma is unique among Spanish castles in being entirely circular and is a well-preserved 14th-century royal fortress with fragrant pine woods, and an interesting museum, and superb views over Palma Bay.

Gibraltar Travel Guide

Gibraltar Travel Guide

Welcome to The Rock

Welcome to The Rock, British style at the tip of Spain, if you are looking Britishness then you will find it in Gibraltar, from the moment you arrive in Gibraltar international airport you in a British Overseas Territory, which holds British values from the past, red phone boxes, fish and chips and much more. You can now either take a taxi or take the bus to the market place (service number 5) Gibraltar is a monolithic peninsula, its limestone base thrives unique vegetation and many species of migrating birds, Gibraltar is only fourteen miles from Africa so the climate is very mild. If you go the Douglas Lookout on the top the upper rock you can take great photos of the rock and Africa in one direction and Spain in the other direction.

The town itself is on the western side of the rock with many of the buildings outside of the town wall being built on reclaimed land; Gibraltar’s heritage goes back to the Moors who controlled the Mediterranean and Spain until 1492.

Casemates Square of Gibraltar

Grand Casemates Square, Gibraltar

I have visited Gibraltar twice and I love the rock, a little piece of England on the Mediterranean, great location, nice people and wonderful restaurants, and the Ocean Village marina is full of all types of fish, no Dolphins, they are out to sea, but you can take a trip on the many boats offering Dolphin watching.

the old town is only a short walk away where you will find the busy Casemates Square, with its Restaurants and its English style Pubs and fish and chips. The Star Bar (Gibraltar’s oldest legal drinking establishment) dates back several hundred years is in Parliament Lane.

Main Street Gibraltar

Main Street Gibraltar

Main Street is Gibraltar’s main commercial and shopping district. It runs north-south through the old town which is pedestrianised and lined with buildings displaying a blend of Genoese, Portuguese, Andalusian, Moorish, and British Regency styles.

Shops along this pedestrian-friendly thoroughfare sell pretty much everything, including cosmetics, perfumery, jewellery, designer glasses, tobacco and spirits, high end linens, and electronics. Marks & Spencer, Holland and Barrett, Next, F&F, Pandora, Dorothy Perkins, and Boux Avenue are to name but a few of the big-name brands.

 Irish Town name dates back to the early 19th century when Gibraltar was split into differing quarters and is one of the oldest streets in Gibraltar. It runs from Main Street, just south of Casemates Square to John Mackintosh Square, parallel to the heavily fortified Line Wall. Today it is a pedestrian precinct with bars, restaurants and coffee shops.

Convent Guard House in the city of Gibraltar.

The Convent (Gibraltar)

The Convent has been the official residence of the Governor of Gibraltar since 1728. It was originally a convent of Franciscan friars, hence its name, and was built in 1531, and heavily rebuilt during the 18th and 19th centuries. The official Changing of the Guard takes place a few times a year on anniversaries and special occasions.

The Southport Gates are three city gates in the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar. They are located in the Charles V Wall, one of the 16th century fortifications of Gibraltar. The gates are clustered together, with the South Bastion to the west, and the Trafalgar Cemetery to the east

Trafalgar Cemetery is key landmark in Gibraltar’s military history, it commemorates the famous Anglo-French/Spanish Battle of Trafalgar fought off Cape Trafalgar in 1805. Although there are only two casualties of the Battle buried in the Cemetery, a ceremony to commemorate Lord Nelson’s victory is held every year.

In Red Sands road you will find the Gibraltar Cable Car is an aerial tramway in Gibraltar. The base station of the cable car is located near the southern end of Main Street, next to Alameda Gardens

Gibraltar Top View

Alameda Wildlife Park

The Alameda Wildlife Park first came to existence in 1994. Local Customs authorities confiscated a collection of parrots, land tortoises and monkeys from illegal traders who were passing through Gibraltar. The animals were handed over to G.O.N.H.S., (Gibraltar Ornithological and Natural History Society).

Nestled in the beautiful Alameda Botanic Gardens, the AWCP is home to a collection of both exotic and native species. The AWCP is the only Wildlife Park in Gibraltar.

Alameda Wildlife Park looks after exotic animals confiscated by Gibraltar customs, unwanted exotic pets and animals such as the Cotton-topped tamarin, on loan from international Zoos, to raise awareness of important endangered species through conservation education.

Gibraltar Lighthouse

Gibraltar Lighthouse

The Europa Point Lighthouse stands proudly at the very tip of Gibraltar. Its great beam lights the way for mariners sailing through the often turbulent Straits of Gibraltar, where the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean collide. Stand on the very tip of Europa Point and appreciate the incredible views and the iconic red and white striped lighthouse.

Views of North Africa can be seen across the Strait of Gibraltar including Ceuta and the Rif Mountains of Morocco; as well as the Bay of Gibraltar and the Spanish towns along its shores. It is accessed from the old town by Europa Road

Bruges Travel Guide, Belgium

Bruges Travel Guide, Belgium

Bruges – Medieval Centre

The medieval centre of Bruges is remarkably well preserved and is a UNESCO world heritage site. Many of the medieval buildings in the ancient squares is a very popular tourist destination, so you need to plan your visit to avoid the tourists. Bruges is a heavyweight sightseeing destination, you can walk along a canal and explore the city, eat mussels and frits, and wash them down with the town’s own beer, brewed by Bourgogne des Flandres, and which is really nice.

The medieval town of Bruges is very popular with tourists thanks to its picturesque cobbled streets and historic buildings and the encircling canal and inside the city walls, many of the ancient buildings in the Basilica of the Holy BloodBruges are still privately owned so you may have to request entrance into the building, the Bruges almshouses which are whitewashed and can be seen in the townscape of Bruges, mostly clustered around a small courtyard. These were the precursors of public housing and were established in the 14th century by wealthy townspeople

Basilica of the Holy Blood in Bruges

Basilica of the Holy Blood in Bruges

Begin your sightseeing of Bruges around the central Grote Markt (Grand Place), which is surrounded by a series of gabled guildhalls and is also home to the iconic tower, which goes by the name of Belfry of Bruges (Belfort) and dates back to the 13th century. The other main public square in Bruges is the Burg, and this is where tourists will find the Basilica of the Holy Blood. Hard to miss is the city’s Sint Salvator Cathedral and also the beautiful Gothic-style Stadhuis (Town Hall), which is Belgium’s most historic and arguable most attractive town hall, is adorned with statues of various counts and countess from Flander

The city’s famous medieval diamond industry, the Diamond Museum (Diamantmuseum) offers daily diamond polishing demonstrations and boasts many valuable diamond exhibits. The Gruuthusemuseum is also worth investigating and contains a number of beautiful silk tapestries and Belgian antiquities, while for art lovers in Bruges, the Memling Museum is the place to visit and works by Germany’s celebrated artist Hans Memling enjoy an attractive setting, is housed within a former hospital chapel.

Panoramic city view with Belfry tower and famous canal in Basilica of the Holy Blood in Bruges

Panoramic city view with Belfry tower and famous canal in Bruges, Belgium

The city’s waterways on a canal boat ride. take ride on the open-air boat and get ready to see the city from the water, giving you amazing views of landmarks that you simply can’t get from anywhere else.

To find a canal boat tour, go to one of four quays in the city, Huidenvettersplein, Nieuwstraat, Wollestraat, or Rozenhoedkaai Quay. Each boat holds around 20 people, with tours lasting half an hour. The tours leave regularly but there are often long queues, so arrive early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid a wait.

The St. Janshuis Mill is one of the medieval flour mills in Bruges that has survived in its original location till today. It has been declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Bruges Belgium bridge over canal ancient medieval street

Bruges Belgium bridge over canal ancient medieval street

The St. Janshuis Mill or St. John’s Mill gets its name because it once supplied flour to the St. John’s Hospital. It is located on the banks of a tranquil canal on the ramparts of the original city fortress. There was a mill at the site from 1297 which was destroyed by a storm in 1744. The present building is the result of a reconstruction in 1770. It belonged to a family of millers until 1914 when it was purchased by the city of Bruges. The mill was neglected for 50 years and started functioning again in 1964.

St Jnshuis windmill bruges

Brugges Windmills have been carefully renovated and preserved and continue to make flour in the traditional way. In summer, when the wind is high, visitors can see the sails spinning at full speed just like it did in the middle ages. It is open for public view and visitors can learn the workings of a traditional flour mill from the millers. A steep staircase takes visitors to the museum located inside the St. Janshuis Mill.

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