Monday, March 24, 2014

Fun winter week in Lapland - where, when, how?

Yep. I spent my winter holiday in Kuusamo, in Northern Finland. It is the home of about 20.000 people, and one of the largest ski resorts in Finland, Ruka. 34 slopes with 21 lifts and 205 kilometers of ski tracks of pure bliss!

Picking your destination...

A fun week in Lapland is really not that hard to achieve! All you need to do is pick a nice spot and get a good group of friends, and you're pretty much all set.

So what are the nice spots in Northern Finland? There are many! Best bets for winter fun are the ski resorts. The biggest ski resorts are Levi (near Kittilä), Ylläs (near Kolari) and Ruka (near Kuusamo) where you find the most slopes, ski lifts, cross country ski tracks, organised activities like snow safaris - and also many shops, restaurants and a busy nightlife. All this is surrounded by pleeenty of peace & quiet and untouched nature. There's really no mountains in Finland but the fells are quite picturesque:

Slopes at Ruka and Levi

I like Ruka and Kuusamo area because there's plenty of things to do, it's still peaceful enough during off-season and its location at the southern edge of Northern Finland makes it easier to reach; you can drive there and not kill yourself of boredom in the process.

If you prefer an even more serene location, head out to some of the smaller ski spots, like Iso-Syöte, Saariselkä, Pallas, Pyhä, Luosto, Olos or Salla, just to name a few.

Lapland extends also over Sweden and Norway, covering areas mainly above the Arctic Circle. It is not only a geographical but a cultural region - with plenty of interesting places to choose from! Some of the famous spots outside Finland are the ice hotel in Jukkasjärvi, Kiruna in Sweden and Svalbard, the northernmost permanently settled place in Europe, in Norway.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Social dancing in Helsinki - where to dance salsa, bachata, zouk and kizomba?

If you're looking for where to go dancing in Helsinki you've come to the right place! The social dance scene is booming in our little northern corner of the world!!

Below a run-down of all the parties and socials for salsa (Cuban and LA), bachata, Brazilian zouk, kizomba and semba happening in Helsinki at the moment:

Monday's Afrolatin Night at Uggla - the upstairs salsa room

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

London Zouk Fest - a happy meeting of zouk styles!

Back-to-back festival weekends take a toll on any dancer. But I'm not any dancer, I told myself - I can take it! :D So just a couple days after Tallinn Salsa Festival I repacked my bags for London Zouk Fest. I had been looking forward to this lambada-zouk & Vero zouk weekend for quite a while - both my favourite zouk styles under the same roof!

Park Inn hotel close to the Heathrow airport was our home for the past five days. The event itself took place on Fri-Sun, with the artist line-up including such zouk stars as Solange Dias & Joe Koniak (the organisers), Renato & Babi, Alisson & Audrey, Xandy & Evelyn, Daniel & Leticia, Braz & Josy, Carlos & Fernanda, Jakub & Lucia, Ludek & Pavla, Yuval and many more. So not only was there lambada-zouk and Vero zouk, but also Rio style zouk, Mzouk and new fusion styles. A number of London-based teachers were also giving workshops and performing at the event, including Arthur & Aieste, Pedrinho & Linda, Davi & Sara and Gary & Marisa, to name a few.