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Perchs & herrings in the Finnish way

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Kala keittö (pronounced kala’ keïteuh) Fish soup Ingredients Fish: kala Perch: ahven (pronounced ah’rven) Potatoes: peruna (pronounced perrona) Sweet potatoes: batatti (pronounced batat’ti) Onion: sipuli (pronounced sipoli) Ginger: inkivääri (pronounced inkivairi) Vegetable stock cube: vihannes liemi kuutio (pronounced vianess lieymi koutïo) Dill: tilli Method Bring a large pan of water to the boil Gut and descale the fish Cut the potatoes and sweet potatoes into large cubes. Slice the onions and finely chop the dill. Cut the ginger into small cubes. When the water boils, add the stock cube, potatoes and sweet potatoes. Wait 10 minutes before adding the onion, dill and ginger. Wait another 5 minutes before adding the fish whole to the soup, head first so that the tail is not submerged 20 minutes later, it’s ready! Alternative recipe: perch on the wood fire… No comment! Sinappisilli Herring and mustard sauce Ingredients Sinappisilli (a traditional Finnish sauce made with herring and mustard) Dill: tilli Potatoes: peruna (pronounced perrona) Method Bring some water to the boil and add the potatoes. When they are cooked …

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Bivouac in Lapland

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We’re spending four days in the wide open spaces of Lapland to take in its beauty and sample its cuisine! While we’re here, a Finnish couple, Roope and Anna, are staying in the van with us. We follow their advice and look for “lakka” along the edges of the tracks. These Arctic berries are very rare, and very popular with the locals. By chance, we stumbled across an orange-tinted marsh, covered in these precious berries. Roope and Anna had never seen so many at once! With mosquito hats and hiking boots, we were ready to take on the mud and gather the creamy, amber fruit that isn’t too sweet and is slightly bitter. Here we are with three full boxes of the Finnish dessert, but we still need the main course. Roope, a big fishing fan, has all the gear we need: rods, all kinds of lures, knives, waterproof clothing, an inflatable boat, etc. He gave Bertrand some advice to find a better rod. Roope dedicated it to him using his knife. We’re going to …

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Nomadic feelings

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#1 Taking a Break It’s been almost 3 months since we left Nantes. We’ve driven 18,489 km through 12 countries, taken more than 8,000 photos, and written more than 65,000 words. We haven’t wasted any time. We’ve seen things, met people, tasted delicacies, tried out activities. We’ve thrown ourselves 100% into this trip and never forget how lucky we are. We’re moving every day, taking roads, ferries, tunnels, and bridges, marking them on our map. But lately we’ve felt the urge to stop, set up camp, take our time, stay more than a few hours or one night at a place. In the first three months of this road trip, we realise there have only been two days when we weren’t driving. We’ve decided to add a third! We’ll find a pretty and welcoming spot and we’ll stay there for one, two or maybe even three days. Before that happens, though, it will have to stop raining and get warmer than 10° because these conditions don’t really lend themselves to curling up in a hammock …

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Norwegian feelings

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#1 When we arrived in Preikestolen, it felt like we’d stepped through a rip in the space-time continuum… as if we’d fallen into the photos we’d been admiring for months. That was it… we’d arrived. It was our turn to soak in the moment and capture it forever. #2 Norway radiates a sense of freedom. Nature belongs to everyone, so we could camp wherever we wanted. The cliffs had no barriers, even in the most touristy spots. There were no rules to follow… we could light a campfire wherever and whenever we wanted. It was up to us to accept the risks. It’s as if this country assumes its inhabitants will be responsible, both permanent residents and those just passing through. You can sleep wherever, but you respect the place by leaving nothing but footprints. You can admire the view and even get close to the edge, but no one will be there to catch you if the wind blows a little too hard. You can enjoy your campfire, but you protect your environment. In …

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Flowery Friday

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Today, Saturday 25 June 2016, is a bank holiday in Sweden, just like every Saturday after the summer solstice on the 21st. Yesterday we celebrated “Midsommar” with our Swedish friends; it’s the second biggest celebration in Sweden after Christmas! The same thing happens in each village, everyone meets at 3pm at the maypole for the celebrations. It’s a big cross decorated with flowers and decked out with two circles on each side. But before you go to the party you have to get ready. You can wear a spring or summer outfit, but it has to be countrified! Pale colours, light fabrics… just don’t forget the flowers! In the morning the women go out to collect wildflowers and make crowns with the bouquets. Elsa found a few flowers along the roadside and, thanks to the patience and kindness of Eva (pronounced iiiva), she learnt to make her own crown. Eva has pedagogical experience as she has been a schoolteacher for over 40 years. For the last few of those she has taught Swedish to immigrant …

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Oulala from Fjällbacka

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Fjallbacka is a charming coastal village nestled between the cliffs and the sea. Walking along the port bordered by colourful houses is lovely. In fact, Ingrid Bergman chose to live here. She took sailing lessons here so that she could go out to sea and navigate between the dozens of islands and islets that are dotted across the horizon in Fjallbacka. Just like Ingrid Bergman, Ulla (pronounced “oula” like “oulala” she tells us) also prefers admiring the village from the sea. We met Ulla outside the library in the village, and after chatting to her she invited us aboard her little boat for a trip along the bay. Despite the wind and rain, we couldn’t turn down the opportunity. Here we are on Ulla’s boat admiring the village with its houses and cliffs. To warm back up after this delightful but damp experience, Ulla invited us to her house for a cup of tea. So we followed her! With a pot of tea and some rosemary biscuits we met her husband Sven. Ulla is a …

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Island sausage

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Susanne welcomed us to Fanø island with open arms. Originally from an island further east of Denmark, she settled on Fanø 12 years ago and is a community nurse for this island district. As we entered through her garden gate, she asked that we close it securely behind us because the deer adore her plants and other edible delights. Today, Susanne will teach us how to cook a typical Danish dish and dessert. Kold kartoffel salat & pølser Translation: sausages and cold potato salad Ingredients – 1 onion, løg – 800 g new potatoes, små kartoffel – 250 g crème fraîche – 100 ml liquid yoghurt – chives, chopped, purløg – sunflower oil, solsikke olie – butcher’s choice sausages, slagter pølser Recipe Instructions – Boil the potatoes in advance and allow them to cool and harden – Finely grate the onion – Cut potatoes into thin strips – Mix the crème fraîche, yoghurt, and chives. Then add the potatoes and mix carefully. Season as needed. – In a hot frying pan, brown the sausages in a neutral …

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The blower of Fano

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You never know what you’ll find on Fanø island. On Nordby’s main road, a pretty house with coloured windows hides at the back of a small courtyard. This is where glass blower Charlotte La Cour lives and works. Despite what her name might suggest, Charlotte is definitely Danish and only speaks a little French learned during her travels. She has been a glass blower for 20 years, 16 of which have been on Fanø. The first things you see when entering her boutique/workshop are the large glass-making furnaces. The largest and hottest is 1130° and stays lit around the clock because it takes an entire week to bring it up to the right temperature. She only turns it off when she goes on holiday. She gets her glass from the United States in small, ice cube-sized blocks. She melts these in the large furnace and the molten glass turns honey-coloured. Ronja, her daughter and assistant, uses a large rod to collect a bubble of melted glass that Charlotte kneads and forms into the desired shape. …

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Dreams On Wheels

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“It’s so clean and new it looks like a luxury hospital”, said Mattijs when he visited Patrick. Well, when you compare it to his van it’s obvious that our interior is a little lacking in personalisation. Stickers, flags, boas, cacti, coconuts, Hawaiian dancers… the van, a 1989 Volkswagen Caravelle, is full to the brim with little treasures, souvenirs from his travels. Mattijs bought it empty and completely renovated it. From the engine to the seats, the furniture to the sunroof, he did everything himself – and you can tell. We’re impressed with his work, and he is impressed with the equipment and technology in our van, he called it “the transformer”. He was bitten by the road trip bug in Australia after staying there for 6 weeks in a rented van. When he got back to the Netherlands he decided to buy his own to fulfil his dreams of becoming an adventurer. In September 2014 he found what he was looking for and spent 7 months restoring it. He test drove the machine for 5 …

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150 horses across the Channel

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Victoria and Richard live in southern England, in the little village of Elsted, north of Portsmouth. Their lovely home is surrounded by apple trees and huts built by their two little twins Beatrice and Daisy. We met in Mull, Scotland during a sevens rugby tournament. And they were kind enough to invite us to stop by their place for a barbecue during our trip south. Richard and his brother manage a jewellery shop in London. He told us that two days from now, he would be wearing his top hat and tails to present a brooch to THE QUEEN for her 90th birthday. To us, the royal family is part of the unchanging English folklore that surprises and thrills us. No matter what, it’s quite classy! But before this royal meeting, there’s a horse race at Goodwood. And Victoria and Richard have invited us to go with them! It will be a glamorous evening at the racetrack, starting with a six-course meal then dancing to the rhythm laid down by an international DJ. We are …

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