This morning I woke up rather early and said my goodbyes to both my hosts that had to leave early to get to work :D
I spent my morning packing and preparing for my departure as well as looking for movie tickets. The pre-premiere Breaking Dawn tickets were released today and hence I had to make sure I got mine.
Once that was done, I rushed out the door and cought the bus downtown to get there in time for a 2 hour tourist bus tour that I had booked to participate in. I had to bring my luggage on the bus so I rushed from the Central Station to the Senate Square next to City Hall to get the bus from there.
We were taken around the harbour areas and the Uspenski Orthodox Church (which is beautiful from an architectual point of view)
We were taken past the Presidential Palace
and then a roundtrip along the harbor and towards the end of the tour we were taken to the Temppeliaukio Rock Church.
(In my mind it doesn’t look very impressive – either in the architectural or other ways)
Then we were taken to the Sibelius Park with the Sibelius Monument. It was built in honor of the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius.
After the tour I spent some time walking around (with my suitcase), I had lunch and sat down reading and relaxing until it was time to leave for the airport.
At the airport I checked in and went to pick up some cloudberry liqueur from the taxfree store. Not much else to do there. Return flight was quite uneventful but nice :D
I had an amazing stay in Finland and its definately not my last visit.
I actually learned a few words in Finnish as well (and quite a few more than when I was in Greece, where I learned 5, but only remember 3 or 4):
Ruoki = Food
Kiitos = Thank you
Kippis = Cheers
Kissa = Cat
Intie = way
Katu = street
Noita = Witch
Pupu = Rabbit
Ravintola = Restaurant
kirkku = church
Thanks to Ellie and Martin for hosting me and to Anni, Vince, Heydi, Harri, Timo, Orescent and Sanna for taking their time to meet up with me and making my stay a great one !
A perfect end to a perfect day!
After visiting the Zoo we (Martin, Elisabete, Kai (Martins father) and myself) decided to go to Linnanmäki Amusement park. Today was the last day they opened for the season and they were going to have a fireshow and lots of other treats for the public.
We arrived at 16:50 – 10 minutes prior to opening and after walking the whole day outside, we were all hungry and decided to have dinner at Safari Restaurant.
It wasn’t a 4 star one, but still quite ok for being an Amusement park restaurant.
As we finished dining we started taking in the Amusement park.
Night was falling upon us and the lights from the attractions were really cool. It is quite fascinating to walk around surrounded by so many lights and sounds.
The park had organized several processions with pumpkin men and women. Others were dressed as Witches (noita) and there were skeletons and ghosts dancing in the streets. They had even managed to fit in a headless man that was running around looking for his head.
There were also people dressed up as wild animals on the run (whom we later saw captured by caretakers …)
Of course we had to stop in the twisted mirror hall:
which gave me a really long and goofy head and Martin and Ellie looking like midgets (considering how tall Martin is… that was really funny)
In the end we went to see a fireshow which was really cool and on our way back I just had to try to take some pictures of the moving lights …
Martins father, Kai, was really nice and gave us a lift all the way home ! After a long day of walking I reached a total amount of steps today of 14374 and I must admit I was a bit tired … :D
Thank you Martin and Ellie for coming with me to this !
I met Ellie and Martin at Robert’s coffee at the Central Station at 1:30 and from there we went to Korkeasaari Island where the Zoo is located.
Outside the Zoo we met Martins father Kai and we headed straight towards the cat valley (kissalaakso).
However on our way there we made a few detours. First we visited the south american (always my favourite) jungle, the serpentarium and the african animals. We met lots of beautiful animals like these Emperor Tamarins, some
blue poison arrow frogs, some gorgeously green snakes and lots of other animals.
Once we were done in the American and African parts we DID go to the cat valley
There I was completely captivated by this sleeping kitty. Man I want one to cuddle up with.
This one was awake, but in a very relaxed mood
We spent a lot of the day walking around and it was a lovely day despite clouds and mild breeze.
Great day and it was lovely to spend it with Martin and Ellie as well :D
Posted in English, Finland, Friends, Nature, Travel
Tagged Cheetas, Finland, Finland 2011, Friends, Frogs, Helsinki 2011, Monkeys, Nature, Snakes, Tigers, Travel, Zoo
I started my day having a nice breakfast at home with Martin and Ellie and the cats. I had a relaxing start to the day and that was great.
Then I cought a bus downtown to the Central Station.
From there I headed to Atheneum Art Museum where I spent a good deal of time. The museum was nice. I particularily liked the exhibition about the Sami.
Once I was done at the Atheneum I went for a stroll in the streets of Helsinki and I went back to the Fazer Resturant that I went to with Ellie yesterday to have one of those amazing Omenapiirakka that I had yesterday.
It was just as delicious today!
I wonder if I can learn how to make those. The apple meringue pai with vanilla custard. Yummy :D
After Fazer I spent some more time walking around in the streets of Helsinki before I was about to meet Martin and Ellie at the central Station for our afternoon activities.
Posted in Couchsurfing, English, Finland, Friends, Travel
Tagged Couchsurfing, Finland, Finland 2011, Friends, Helsinki 2011, Tourist, Travel
Finally I managed to sleep in. It felt wonderful ! I slept until 10 am !!
I promise you, THAT don’t happen too often in my life !
I had breakfast with Elisabete and then we readied up to spend a day in the sun.
Ellie went with me and she walked with me showing me around in Helsinki. First she took me to the Fazer restaurant where we had a fantastic apple meringue cake with vanilla custard (omenapiirakka). The Fazer Restaurant has a lovely atmosphere and … the most delicious confectionary :D
When we were done with our coffee break, we continued walking in the streets of Helsinki. Ellie showed me the Helsinki Cathedral and the small shops in the area around.
Then we walked down to the Uspenski orthodox cathedral past the Presidential home and to the harbour market. At the Harbour Ellie and me split up and she went to continue her errands and I took the ferry to the island of Suomenlinna.
Suomenlinna fortress was buildt by the Swedes back in 1748 when Finland was part of the Kingdom of Sweden. The dry dock of Suomenlinna is on of the worlds oldest. Over 800 people live at the Suomenlinna islands at all time.
Suomenlinna is buildt on 6 islands: Kustaanmiekka, Susisaari, Iso-Mustasaari, Pikku-Mustasaari, Länsi-Mustasaari and Långören which form parts of Helsinki.
I had a great day at the islands. I spent most of it walking around enjoying the site and the sunny weather.
For more information about Suomenlinna check these links:
Suomenlinna official web page
Suomenlinna @ Unesco
Suomenlinna on Wiki
Leaving Suomenlinna we just got in to the city in time for the sunset and a beautiful view.
Back in the city I continued walking around and then I went to have some dinner before I went home. Martin and Elisabete were out for a birthdayparty and I had the house to myself (and the 3 cats). It was really nice to relax after all the walking today :D
Total steps today 15042
Posted in Couchsurfing, English, Finland, Friends, Nature, Photography, Restaurants, Travel
Tagged Couchsurfing, Finland, Finland 2011, Friends, Helsinki 2011, Nature, Photography, Restaurants, Tourist, Travel, Unesco
Cafe Tin Tin Tango
After visiting The Saurasaari people’s park Anni, Vince and myself felt quite cold due to the chilly wind and we decided to go have a drink or two in a nice cafeteria while getting warm again.
We texted the others to meet up with us there and enjoyed a few drinks while talking more. Heydi joined us, but left again to meet a friend before she would join us in the city. We talked some more and had more to drink and then we went downtown to meet up with the others.
Vince & Anni
We got the tram down to Kamppi where we waited for Martin & Ellie outside. We quickly realized we needed to wait inside and crossed the street to wait inside the entrance to the metro station. While waiting Heydi also texted us that she was going to join and then Timo joined us as well.
Our next task was more difficult, we needed to find a place that was both nice and affordable and not too far away.
We landed on a Thai restaurant nearby..
Tamarin Thai Restaurant
Upon arriving there our group has gotten one man bigger. Heydi’s fiance, Harri, was also joining us for dinner. At first we had some difficulties with the employers because they didn’t want us to re-organize the tables to sit together because of the numbers of our group. However we found a perfect solution and got to order our dinner.
I had a lovely rice dish with chicken, pineapple and cashew nuts that was perfect and it seemed that the others too were happy with their meal.
Harri and Heydi
Me with Vince
Martin & Anni
Ellie and Timo
Later Orescent joined us with his girlfriend Sanna and Anni and Vince’s friend David joined us. We were almost done dining at this time – leaving us only to finish up and pay before we left.
We rounded up the night with a few drinks at a nearby pub called Corona. It was quite crowded already when we got there and full of life !
Corona is a part of a concept called Andorra consisting of Andorra cinema, Bar Corona, Dubrovnik Lounge & Lobby and Cafe Moskva.
We had a great time and it was the perfect end to a very nice day !!
Sanna, Orescent, Martin, Anni, Vince, Heydi, David, Harri, Timo
Elisabete and myself
Elisabete, Sanna and Orescent
Posted in Couchsurfing, English, Finland, Friends, Party, Restaurants, Travel
Tagged Couchsurfing, Finland, Finland 2011, Friends, Helsinki 2011, Party, Restaurants, Travel
Despite being on vacation I woke up quite early (6 am norway time, but 7 am Finland time), but I stayed in bed and soon fell asleep again. Its not fun to wake up THAT early during the only vacation I have this year :)
Martin left early for work and Ellie and myself sat down to have breakfast together, before we both headed out at 10 am. Ellie on her way to work and I went downtown to play tourist for a while :D
I walked around downtown for about an hour before I went to Kamppi Mall to meet Anni and Vince. Its been 2 years since I saw Vince, but thankfully Anni I got to see in London in May. Oh joy. I got the biggest hugs ever from them :D
We went to get nuts and lunch to bring and then we went to get the bus to Seurasaari.
The trip took us some good 20 minutes, but in good company we hardly even noticed. Arriving there we took pictures and crossed the bridge to the Seurasaari Peoples Park. The weather was so beautiful and sunny and the trees were decorated in gorgeous colors of fall. It was such a wonderful day. Sure, wind was fierce and cold, but the company and the day was just amazing.
Just as we sat down to have our lunch we were crowded by beautiful squirrels, sitting in front of us – turning their cute, small heads from side to side and taking a few steps closer to see if we had anything of interest for them.
We pulled out our bags of nuts and started hand-feeding the small creatures and they took them without hesitation. Not the tiniest bit scared at all. Sometimes we would even hold back on the nuts and they would put their small hands on our fingers and start pulling to get the nuts loose. They were just so adorable!
Some of them were a bit more shy and didn’t dare coming close enough to catch the nuts so we threw them a bit farther so that they could also get some nuts.
Ok. I want a squirrel!
After lunch (ours and the squirrels), we continued walking around the island and the outdoors museum looking at the beautiful houses there. In summer there are 2 open cafeterias, but they were both closed for the season and we sat down by the water – enjoying the gorgeous sun for hours while talking and enjoying this precious time together. We were somewhat sheltered from the icy wind where we sat and that made the day even more delightful.
However, all good things must end and we decided to start walking back towards the bus stop. On our way back… we were cought by the wind and man was it icy.
We arrived just in time for the bus and it was so nice to sit inside.
total steps today 14349
Posted in Couchsurfing, English, Finland, Friends, Nature, Photography, Travel
Tagged Couchsurfing, Finland, Finland 2011, Friends, Helsinki 2011, Nature, Photography, Travel