4 days in Finland: Turku

Turku was our first city of the trip. We flew from Gdansk with Wizzair and landed in Terminal 2 of Turku airport, which was nothing more than a warehouse roughly converted to a gate/check-in/duty-free/baggage-claim building!

We stayed at a wonderful Finish couple that we found from Couchsurfing, who were a bit obsessed with squirrel-dolls and treated us like kings! Kaatja and Jaakko, thank you so much for everything :)

A walk around Turku is a nice idea (even better if it doesn't rain, like it did with us). You can see the beautiful Cathedral, walk along the river with the old sailing boats and the windmill. You can also pass through the oldest road in Turku and the old prison. Turku is the oldest city in Finland, believed to have been settled in the 13th century.

Turku has a very cool castle. Unfortunately it has been destroyed in the past so inside it's a bit empty of old furniture, but they have made a good restoration so it still gives you this old-times feeling. The Historical Museum is there also, included in the ticket of 7 euros for entrance. Advice: be prepared to go up and down a lot of steps and go through the castle quickly to have more time to see the wonderful exhibits of the museum.

At night, you can visit the most original bars ever. Fins have the good tendency to re-use old buildings in new ways. This is exactly the case with the bars called School, Toilet, Bank and Pharmacy! We especially liked and spent a good 1 hour in "Koulu" (=School) which is also a fine brewery.

We had the luck to try some delicious typical food made by our hosts. Juustoleipä is a white cheese with almost no taste (like mozzarella) that they eat with orange cloudberries. Fins eat a lot of berries, and believe me they have a LOT of kinds!
One of most delicious dices, especially for breakfast, was the Rice pies (Karjalanpiirakat). Bake them, put Munavoi on top (boiled egg and butter mixture) and a slice of cheese if you want.
Finally, Fins' usual fast-food is Makkaraperunat, which is basically a dish with fried sausages and potatoes. It's a bit fatty and unhealthy, but that's why it's called "fast-food"!

Flight search? Easy!

From time to time, people have asked me how to look for cheap flights. I'm not an expert, but here are my recommendations:
== Summary ==Image via Wikipedia
Skyscanner is the best flight search website existing now (for Europe). You can use the interactive map, or search prices through a whole month or to a specific country. My favourite feature is that it helps you look for flights for weekend breaks from specific place to anywhere possible! It doesn't let you book in its system, but checks live prices and has direct links to the relevant websites.

There are also other flight search websites, most of them targeted to a specific country:

You can also check out directly the airlines websites. Known cheap airlines are:
ryanair | easyjet | wizzair | germanwings | vueling | volareweb | aegeanair

Of course you can always go to your nearest travel agent and let him do all the dirty work for you ;)

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Backgammon tricks


If the video above is not viewable, click here.

How to cook Chicken Curry in 10'

Because life is also about good food, here is what I'm making today  - quite simple recipe (if you ignore the weird indian spices) and delicious!  :)

Here is how to make it:

Indian Cuisine:How To Cook A Chicken Curry In Ten Minutes

If you can't see the video, click here.

Giving 10 mins of my life

Yesterday I went to the hospital to give blood for a relative that needs it. It was a very fast decision, the way it should be. Actually, I don't find this experience "thrilling"... and that's probably the good thing!

I was feeling very nervous in the beginning. I had never given blood before, not even had a proper blood test since I was 10!

The doctors gave me a free general blood test and told me that I have a bit low blood pressure but everything is fine with me. Then they put me on the big chair (god, now THAT was a great chair, I want one for my desk :P) The needle for the blood test was nothing compared to the needle of the blood-transfusion!! So I kept focusing at the TV, which was showing the Paralympics (ironic, right?).
This is an image taken by me of my arm approxi...All that's left (Wikipedia)
The whole deal took just 10 minutes. The nurse told me I had a "good vein"... Well, thanks very much ;P I did get a bit dizzy for a few minutes afterwards, because of my low blood pressure, but I stayed laying on the comfy chair and then drank some juice and crackers. That was it! :)

My conclusion was: I should do it more often! At least once or twice a year.

I also learned that if you are a volunteer, you can have a card with how many times you have given blood. Then if you or someone you know needs it, you can "give" it from the card. Quite useful, if you ask me - otherwise you have to "fund-raise" blood from other people.

It's a bit disturbing to know how many people need blood and how few people give blood... So if YOU are reading this boring post, then do the boring thing and donate some blood :)

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What do you do when your dad adds you as a friend in Facebook?

The signs were there...
  1. Your father tells you that he has been getting some "strange" invitations for joining a "sth-book" site. You reply "It's called Facebook, Dad"
  2. He tells you again about the invitations again - you mock lightly that he's ages behind and "everyone is there already"
  3. Some months later, he sees you in it and you show him the latest pics. He starts asking questions.
  4. Then one day, he asks you what name to put in his account... quickly, pull the master-switch of the house and run away yelling "FIIIIIIRRRRREEEEE!!!!!!!" (if he has a laptop with a 3G connection, the above method doesn't work - my case)
Now what???
Is there a way to restrict the privacy of just one "friend" in Facebook, e.g. not let them get news from you, or see your photos?
(As you see I'm terrified...!!)

My new office ;)

no comment ;D

For more pics with my new double hammock, look here.

Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind

I think I never written a movie review before... and actually I am not going to write one now either. I don't want to call this a "movie review". A review is what a professional movie critic would write about how nicely produced or ingeniously directed or well performed a movie was, sitting behind his desk, drinking his afternoon coffee in a grey office...

I just want to share my feelings and first thoughts after watching probably the best love story ever:

Where to begin... It's 3:05 in the morning. Writing this, I'm replaying again and again the song at the end of the movie, just to keep the feeling awake.

How two so weird people met and clicked together... how shitty they treated each other in the end of the relationship... both deciding to erase the memories one of the other... and then, as the memories went backwards to happier moments, realizing the big truth about life: No matter how bad memories you have, there are also good ones, and both of them are precious to keep.

But the cherry on top of the cake was that, even though they had erased each other's memories, they still fell in love again. Even though the end can be bad, the trip is still worth it...

Tales of Mere Existense

Lately I've been more and more interested about good comedy. A friend showed me these animations on YouTube and I just loved them. The guy is called Lev Yilmaz. It is not so elaborate humour, it's just so funny to see real-life situations of the author through his cynical eye. It's remarkable how similar are to our lives!

Here is one of his best stories:
"How we didn't date each other"

If you want to see more of Lev's videos, go to here.

Play, play, play!

I discovered the whole new world of online flash games! :P

Here's a really cool one for lovers of extreme sports...

Base Jumping

...and here is one for Troy lovers:


Halara! @ VerveEarth

I received a very nice email today :)
Halara! was invited to join other blogs from around the world at VerveEarth.

Here an excerpt from the email I got:
Your blog Halara! caught our attention. I'm the founder of a recently launched startup for bloggers. We are searching the internet for the world's blogs by geography, and we found yours for Greece. I would like to invite you to our site which plots the content of the internet on an interactive map of the world. VerveEarth is an entirely new way to surf the net. It shows spatial and geographic connections that a blog search engine could never reveal.

I guess I should keep on blogging... ;)

Wraia.gr - friends around you

As you might have noticed I'm a bit inactive lately... this is because I got a job! :)

I'm working almost full time on a new Greek social website www.wraia.gr

Wraia.gr differs from the international websites in the fact that it's local and it has a bunch of cool features:
The site is popular with teenagers and the youth and growing daily! :)

For those interested for more info, please contact me.


Aesop's Erotic Fables: "The Tortoise and The Hare"

There once was a hare who bragged about how fast he could achieve climax. "I can get there four times before you could even pull your turtle head out of its shell," boasted the hare. Tired of hearing his banter, and longing for the touch of another, the tortoise challenged the hare to a race to the proverbial finish line. The other animals of the forest did not consider this a wise decision. You see, the tortoise was a dried-up aged old man who hadn't been sexually active since a confusing and strangely erotic encounter with a teenage mutant ninja turtle nearly a decade ago. He didn't have much gas left in the tank, one might say. Or, rather, he didn't have many swimmers in the pool. No bullets left in the gun. No broth left in the turtle soup. You get the idea.

The animals of the forest gathered to watch the competition on a cold, wet Tuesday... the kind of day that makes a young robin's nipples poke ever so slightly out from her feathery bosom. As soon as the creatures decided the race would start (and the National Geographic cameras were rolling) the hare jumped out to a lightning pace. The hare was virile- young, strong, and stout of the carrot. It seemed as if he was born to breed, and the hare did not disappoint. In fact, he had produced two dozen offspring before the tortoise had even managed to become erect.

Basking in his initial victory, the hare stopped to rest in the thick brush along the side of the road where he had just impregnated a young bunny with sinewy legs and a cute, cottony backside. The hare looked back to the tortoise and cried out, "How do you expect to bust one when you are fornicating at such a slow, slow pace?"

The hare lit a joint and fell asleep, fantasizing about Lola Bunny and an Easter basket filled with Cadbury Eggs. He drifted off, thinking, "I'm like the fucking Energizer Bunny."

The slow and steady tortoise plodded along, humping methodically to a Styx melody playing softly in his Dolby Turtleshell Surround Sound. He thought about those vixen tortoises in the NES Mario games, shamefully avoiding eye contact with the lady-turtle he had just paid 5 lettuce leaves to screw. He fought back the tears of a wasted youth spent hiding in his shell, the long nights spent alone with a box of turtle food and a copy of "The Notebook."

The tortoise abandoned his partner and made his way over to the resting hare. He approached slowly and carefully nudged his turtley-beak-like-thing over the hare's legs. The hare did not stir. The animals of the forest quickly realized what was happening, and they began to cheer for the old tortoise. Before he even knew what he was doing, the tortoise was atop the sleeping hare, penetrating him with an urgency unparalleled in his sexual career. The hare awoke- stretched, and yawned, but it was too late. The tortoise had already climbed to the top of Mount Everest, so to speak. Or, rather, he achieved the big "O." He launched a man rocket. He delivered the payload to the back door. Got it?

The hare was embarrassed and humiliated. He had been defiled by the old tortoise. The triumphant shouts from the old tortoise could be heard across the forest; "Don't brag about your lightning pace, for slow and steady won the race!"

The hare lived with the shame for three years, but then eventually filed a lawsuit against the tortoise. The poor old turtle was convicted of rape and sentenced to the death penalty.

The moral of the story?

Never challenge a turtle to a sexual competition of any sort. 'Cause it's weird.

By The Gerk
from Arabian Monkey

Men's rule for women!

The Man Rules­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

At last a guy has taken the time to write this all down
Finally , the guys' side of the story.
I must admit, it's pretty good.)

We always hear
'the rules' From the female side.
Now here are the rules from the male side. These are our rules!
Please note... these are all numbered '1' ON PURPOSE!

1. Men are NOT mind readers.

1. Learn to work the toilet seat.
You're a big girl. If it's up, put it down.
We need it up, you need it down.
You don't hear us complaining about you leaving it down.

1. Sunday sports. It's like the full moon
or the changing of the tides.
Let it be.

1. Shopping is NOT a sport.
And no, we are never going to think of it that way.

1. Crying is blackmail.

1. Ask for what you want.
Let us be clear on this one:
Subtle hints do not work!
Strong hints do not work!
Obvious hints do not work!
Just say it!

1. Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.

1. Come to us with a problem
only if you want help solving it. That's what we do.
Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.

1. A headache that lasts for 17 months is a Problem.
See a doctor.

1. Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument.
In fact, all comments become null and void after 7 Days.

1. If you won't dress like the Victoria 's Secret girls,
don't Expect us to act like soap opera guys.

1. If you think you're fat, you probably are.
Don't ask us.

1. If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of them makes you sad or angry, then we meant the
other one

1. You can either ask us to do something
Or tell us how you want it done.
Not both.
If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.

1. Whenever possible, Please say whatever you have to say during commercials.

1. Christopher Columbus did
NOT need directions and neither do we.

1. ALL men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default settings.
Peach, for example, is a fruit, not
A color. Pumpkin is also a fruit. We have no idea what mauve is.

will be scratched.
We do that.

1. If we ask what is wrong and you say 'nothing,' We will act like nothing's wrong.
We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle, besides we know you will bring it up again later.

1. If you ask a question you don't want an answer to, Expect an answer you don't want to hear.

1. When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine...
Really .

1. Don't ask us what we're thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as a) sports, b) cars, c) sex

1. You have enough clothes.

1. You have too many shoes.

1. I am in shape.
Round IS a shape!

1. Thank you for reading this.
Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight;

But did you know men really don't mind that? It's like camping !!

TOP 10 hangover cures

I bet you all have had crazy nights with tough mornings after...
Here are the TOP 10 hangover cures, according to Forbes:
  1. Water (Lots Of It)
  2. Sports Drinks
  3. Pain Relievers
  4. Vitamins B6 and B12
  5. Berocca
  6. Prickly Pear
  7. Tripe Soup
  8. Haejangguk
  9. Rosiglitazone
  10. Breakfast of Champions
Read the full article here for more info.

Well I couldn't help adding the Greek recommendation for a bad hangover: Patsas soup (similar to #7). It's served hot and spicy, with garlic and vinegar, in the early hours of the morning. Guaranteed results!

What's your local hangover recipe?? I want to hear! :)

Greek broadband war - TV spots

Background: Broadband services were introduced lately to the Greek market and the National Telecom (OTE) together with the other private companies (e.g. HOL) are fighting to win the war of impressions through TV ads.

Here are two of the funniest ones that also come with embedded subtitles in English - enjoy :)

The attack from HOL (regarding the high fixed fee and slow internet speed of OTE):

The reply from OTE (claiming they're blaming them for all the problems):

Some more spots on the same humour: