A Travellerspoint blog

Does it always wind in Åland?

Little bit more exploring around Finland

sunny 19 °C
View Åland on hennaonthetrek's travel map.

14.6. Monday

I had already made all the reservations for my trip to Åland, when last weekend we were spending with my spouses family in their summer cottage, Tonis sister-in-law suggested that I should take their middle child (14 y.) with me since she hadn’t anything planned for the summer yet.
Toni was supposed to go with me but his summer holiday was postponed and I couldn’t shift mine, so I agreed and made the changes that Mia could come with me.

And this morning I hopped on the train from very gloomy Kokkola and was glad that the weather seemed to be improving with every kilometer we were moving farther from home.

In very sunny and warm Tampere we had to wait for our next train and spend the time on top of Torni hotel in Moro bar drinking moctails.


Moctails in Moro Bar

Our train was on time arriving Turku and after checking-in to our hotel we immediately leaved to explore the marina, Turku Castle and get something to eat.


World biggest daisy in the marina

Castle wasn’t open but we got to peak inner-ward anyway. Castle was builded in 1280 and has been used as an fortification, held court, prison, storehouse and barracks. 1941 it was bombed which led to restaurations takin place after war.
Now together with Turku Cathedral it is one of the oldest buildings still in use and the largest surviving medieval building in Finland.


Turku Castle

I had warned Mia that I am planning to take advantage that Toni wasn’t travelling with me by eating Chinese on this trip and that was what we did before heading back to the hotel. She seemed to like her fried chicken and I surely enjoyed my dimsums, rice and shrimps.


Chinese food

15.6. Tuesday

Last night weather forecast told that Vieno-storm would hit Finland at night and blow until noon. But when we woke up it was just little windy.
After hurried breakfast we took taxi to marina. First I thought that we could walk but in last night stroll we saw several signs towards marina (each which pointed different direction) so I wasn’t going to chance that it takes lot of time to find the right terminal, especially when we were already in hurry. The terminal was the one that I thought it would be but still it was nice doesn’t need to stress about the time.

Onboard we participated trivia. We came in 2nd and won chocolate but the questions were only about the ship we were on so our place was doe more luck than knowledge.
Also participated in free bingo. I have always wanted to be able to yell bingo! But will need to still wait for that, albeit I won some more chocolate from pity lottery after actual bingo.
Journey to Mariehamn from Turku took over 5 hours. Besides trivia and bingo we spend our time playing cards and Yatzy.

Bike renting places was just outside the terminal so we got our bikes right after disembarking the ship and didn’t even have to search for the place. Hotel we found after little detour. But with my sense of direction it was only expected that some wandering was to come... We had 4 kilometers from Mariehamn center to our hotel, Strandnäss Hotell was nice and the staff really friendly.


On our way to the hotel


On our way to the hotel


On our way to the hotel


On our way to the hotel

We didn’t linger in the room this time either but went for looking for food. Which we found and while eating decided to go searching for one of the many sightseeing spots there were along the coast. Again some detouring but weather was sunny albeit windy.
On our way back to the city we bought postcards, Mias grandma (my mother-in-law) made us promise to send her one and I always send one to my mom. We stopped to get drinks in restaurant at small-boat marina, and wrote the cards while enjoying the summer.


Benches at the sightseeing spot






Views on the way


Trail on the woods


Back at the marina

16.6. Wednesday

Weather was a bit grey but not cold this morning when we left towards Kastelholma Castle. And it was windy again. But as I said, it wasn’t cold so it just slowed as down a little we being on bikes. The views were similar than back home, fields and forests, and the coast. And sheeps and cows.
Mostly the biking path was marked well but on some of the bigger junctures I would have expected there to be signs were there wasn’t. But even with my sense of direction we were able to for the most part keep the right way. Albeit we stopped to read map A LOT. Photo stops were plenty too.
There also were actual biking paths all the way except for the last couple of kilometers which we had to bike onside of the car road.




St. Olaf's Church in Jomala






On our way to Kastelholma

After biking most likely over 20 kilometers, when we arrived to the castle we went straight to have café and cake. The cake was awesome, bit too big but so good! Chocolate cake with café mousse on top. They also had very summery music playing on the speakers and meanwhile we ate our cake the sun had started to shine!




My chocolate cake

The café was beside Vita Björn prison museum and Jan Karlsgården open-air museum.
Crown prison Vita Björn had been prison for 200 hundred years and when it closed in 1975 it became Finlands first public prison museum. Inside the building you could examine the changes in prisoner care trough years, starting with shackles and small spaces with many inmates to increasingly more humane conditions.

The open-air museum opened in 1930s and has real buildings from all over Åland demonstrating what the farm life was like. The name of the museum comes from Jan Karls who owned the main house. Among other things like Old dinner bell (which the matron of the farm would ring to the men working in the fields for them to know it was time to come home for dinner), stables and farmhouse there were old playhouse with staff for children to play with. Including stilts which we couldn’t resist trying. Without any good results beside laughter. No use for me for quit my job and join the circus!




Outside Museum


Dinner Bell


New career?

The Castle itself has builded in the end of the 14th century, first mention of Kastelholma Castle was in 1388. This Ålands only medieval fortress were first in small islet but as the land has been kept rising now only has water on two sides.
Castle has colorful history, danish admiral/pirate captain Sören Norby (County lord of Gotlands 1517-1525) took the castle by surprise in 1507, it has been Gustav Vasas (King of Sweden 1523-1560) hunting castle and it had destroyed in fires at least 3 times before it became an museum.
Inside there is changing medieval/historical interactive exhibitions, this time there were lady who was spinning wool. I tried too but wasn’t really good at it, maybe with a bit more practice.
For children there were baby ghosts hidden all around the castle which you were suppose to find.


Kastelholma Castle


Kastelholma Castle




Lady who was spinning wool


Or is this my new career?

On our way back to hotel we stopped for a drinks at Uffe på Berget, café on top of rocky hill where you had amazing views all around. You could also climb on top of sight seeing tower, which we of course did.


Uffe på Berget


Uffe på Berget


View from Uffe på Berget

About 45 kilometers since this morning we were back at the hotel where we gladly took a little break before biking back to Mariehamn for dinner.


Mariehamn city center

17.6. Thursday

We didn’t have anything specific planned but Mia had read about Åland Maritime Museum which we choose to visit today.

The museum was made in to shape of an ship and had masts, helms etc. from real boats. Also real captains quarters and souvenirs from sailors to their loved ones. Inside you could view the history of seafaring. I liked that there were real stories of real peoples and not just speculations.
Two of my favorites were Stava-Mosters Seamens Home and The English Boy.

Before 1884, seamens from ships who stopped at Mariehamn were having difficulties finding an place to stay in this young town, so Sailor Mission established Seamens Home which first matron was Stava-Moster (Aunt Stava). Stava-Moster had lost his husband and sons to the sea so she started renting three small rooms in her house. She had always coffeepot hot and its said that she confiscated the sailors money which she rationed to them as she seemed fit. She didn’t like men losing all their funds to pubs so she motherly maintain her house and the seamen who came to stay with her.

In September 1938 fourmasted-park Moshulu drawed the attention of 18-year old English boy Eric Newby in the harbor of Belfast. He stepped in to the ship where he was directed to seamens quarters where immediately put to work. He was scared to death but climbs in to the mast anyway.
18.10.1938 when Moshulu sets to sail he is already experienced climber. He has a camera with him and he is set to photograph the world as much as he can before it disappears.


Souvenirs from sailors

As for the climbing in to the mast, it was possible to try for yourself and I made it! Well, while it was a real mast from a real ship, it was only the last 5 rungs or so. Still feeling great for being able to get up there!


Perhaps I will become an sailor?

Docked just outside of the Maritime Museum were freighter Pommern which you could visit with the same ticket than museum. It is only ship in the world that has remained basically unchanged through years. Builded in 1903 in Scotland under name Mneme (re-named Pommern), made to haul timber from Scandinavia, saltpeter from Chile and wheat from Australia. Shipowner Gustav Erikson from Åland bought the ship in 1923 and it made its last gargo carrying voyage in 1938. Pommern has been an museum in Mariehamn since 1950s.

Since 17th century merchant sailing ships rivaled who could sail around the world fastest, if you were able to finish the journey under 100 days you were considered one of the fastest. Pommern did it in ninety-something days, I recall it was in 96 days maybe? I didn’t write it down because I was sure that I would be able to get the information from internet if I would forget, sadly I couldn’t and did forget. Still, the museum in whole was quite interesting.





Spending morning wandering in museum made us hungry and we hadn’t had the chance to taste famous Åland-pancakes yet so they were on agenda next. They were so good that Mia wanted second round.


Bagarstugan Cafe


Pancakes and soda

Clock was already well over noon when we finished with our goodies so we wouldn’t be able to get far anymore. There was one nature track close by which we went to explore, but that didn’t take long either. I was still full of energy but Mia was ready to spend rest of the day in hotel. It doesn’t cease to amaze me how much time teens today could use on their phones.


On the nature trail


On the nature trail


On the nature trail


On the nature trail

I had my Kindle with me but Mia said that she would be okay if I want to do some more biking. I still felt bad for leaving her alone (even when she said that she would be on our room happy using free wi-fi whole the time) so after just little exploring on the way we hadn’t gone yet, finding the tallest hill on Åland (not really but biking against wind made it feel like Everest), couple beaches and British flag fluttering on the Ålands wind (never figured out why though), I came back to the hotel been gone only little over an hour. Weather was still warm and sunny so I got Mia out of our room to the hotels patio where I read Kindle and Mia was still happily wi-fing.

We chose Nonna Rina to have our last dinner in Mariehamn in and couldn’t have chosen much better. I had pasta and Mia pizza, which both of us enjoyed immensely.


Nonna Rina

18.6. Friday

Going home today so just packing our bags after breakfast and biking to marina waiting our ship to come. And it is windy again so is it safe to say that it is always winds in sunny Åland?


Lots of sailboats seen on our way back home

Posted by hennaonthetrek 09:01 Archived in Finland Tagged #sea #sun #nature #castle #finland #åland #mariehamn #kastelholma #pommern #sighseeing Comments (12)

Above the Arctic Circle

sunny -3 °C

20.3. Saturday

7:20AM we steered our car towards Nuorgam, Finland’s northernmost village.
Before reaching there we would be sitting in the car for a long long time.
Combination of holiday (no work for an week!) and getting out of home (renovation chaos) was making me in to an very good mood!

First stop we had in Simo. There was lean-to made for Mauno Koivisto and his hunting group (Finland’s 9th president, two terms in 1982-1994), which made good stretching place and coffee stop.


Hankasalmenaho lean-to


Coffee from kuksa, wooden cup

Though the road out of there were really icy and my spouse, who was driving wasn’t too pleased about that.
In the end we reached Tankavaara Gold Village for another coffee break after 220 kilometers and crossing the Arctic circle.


Crossing the Arctic Circle

The village wasn’t big but in summer there would be possible to pan gold. In winter there were cabins available for rent for people going in Urho Kekkonen’s National Park (Urho Kekkonen was our 8th president, terms 1956-1982).
First sightings of gold was in 1539 but the gold rush in Finland didn’t start until 1868. If you compare our gold rush to Klondike for example, you see that ours was significantly smaller. Our peak was 500 hundred miners while stampede to Klondike was 100 000 miners.


Gold Village Cafe


Gold for sale


Gold for sale

Rest of the way we stopped only to do grocery shopping and finally, 13,5 hours and 910 kilometers later we were finally there! Our little holiday haven beside Teno, border river between Finland and Norway.
Temperature was only -3C and it wasn’t too late, only 9PM so we did what every finn would do, we heated up the sauna! And also tested our jacuzzi! What a bliss to be on a holiday.


Cabin at night

21.4. Sunday

When we woke up and walked to the living room the view were spectacular! We had a 1,5 wall made of glass and we could see frozen River Teno and beyond that mountains on Norway. Previous night it was already dark when we arrived so we haven’t got the chance to admire the scenery fully.

Morning coffee sitting at the coach and looking through the window was in order!


Morning coffee with amazing view

Weather looked great so were going to go for an walk and look around. Sun was shining but the wind was quite cold. Luckily it wasn’t more than -3C. The village was 1 kilometers from the cabin but before we could reach it it started to snow a lot. We actually had an mission on this walk too. The great packer my spouse is, he forgot his quilted pants, so were going to try to find new ones for him.
We couldn’t, there were clothes, shoes and everything you would need but not the right size for Toni.

Still, the trip wasn’t all for nothing, I found some postcards, fridge magnet and sausage sticks with telescopic arms.


Sausage sticks

Outside the weather was sunny again so we walked back to the cabin, left our spoils there and continued our walk towards north. As far as we could get!

At the border stone we turned around and get back to the cabin.


We are this high up north


Walking back from the border

Before night fall there had been more snowing and sun shining, only the wind was constant. When we sat in the jacuzzi we saw dim northern lights.

But after when we got out and dressed again the sky was on fire! There were vivid green veils dancing in the sky!

Have you heard this folklore about the origin of the Northern lights?

In a one starry night this fox was going to annual Cunning Competition. He was in such a hurry that he decided to cut through Lapland mountains even when he knew that it would be strenuous. In the end when he started to tire, his tale started to sag. So great was his speed that he didn’t even notice that his tail was hitting snow whirling sparks in to the sky on his wake. Those sparks danced in the sky flaming and changing color.
Even this day, high up in the North, if the weather is right those same sparks keeps twirling in the sky and they are called Northern lights or Aurora borealis.


Northern lights

22.4. Monday

This day we would head out to the wilderness.
Kaldoaivi is Finland’s largest wilderness which 2 924 km2 includes deep river valleys and gentle mountains. When I wrote this I tried to translate tunturi, which is a kind of an small mountain but translator offered me that it would be “mountain in Lapland”.

Through Kaldoaivi goes many hiking routes which variates from ones which you can walk in a day to ones that are near 100 kilometers long.
Shortest of them is 5,8 kilometers and takes an loop near Skaidjärvi (lake Skaid). I am not outdoorsy enough that I would enjoy walking days in wilderness and sleep in desert huts (which there are on the route of the longer hikes) but these shorter ones I like. Of course now is an winter so I don’t know what kind of conditions the paths are and to be honest I read that these routes are for experienced hikers so we will have to see if it is possible to walk this Skaidjärvi ring trail.

I am not sure how common this is in other countries over the world but in Finland there are these huts, almost, if not in every, town and city. Some of these you need to bring your own fire woods and in some those are provided by the town or city that attends to them.
One of them are in Skaidjärvi.

Weather was sunny today too and -6C weren’t too cold when you are on the move. We started with car which we left on the side of the road and got our rented snowshoes on. At the beginning of the trail we realized that conditions were so good that there were no need for snowshoes. We took tiny track outside of the trail and headed back to the car to leave the snowshoes there.


Trying snowshoes

We proceed towards Skaidjärvi with regular shoes. There went snowmobile tracks which were great to walk in and we saw only one snowmobile which we sidestepped off from the track. He passed us with a wave of his hand and our journey continued.


On the way to Skaidjärvi


On the way to Skaidjärvi

Even with the freezing wind the scenery were awesome and to me it felt no time at all when we reached the hut. Toni had some doubts that we were on the wrong trail when it looked like the trail would continue for kilometers and we didn’t see the hut. But the but was just after “Lapland mountain”.


The hut

The hut was quite spacious and we started to build a fire in the stove. The wind had blown a lot of snow in front of the shed so we had to dig a little to get the door to open to find the firewoods but ultimately we had fire going.


Digging firewoods


Making fire

We drank coffee while waiting for stove heating. Then roasting sausages and marshmallows for dessert.
Simultaneously the weather had changed again, which we notice to be normal in here. It was snowing so much that we couldn’t see the horizon anymore. But almost like the mother nature would know how long it would take to make sausages and be ready to leave, the snowing stopped and sun was shily peeping behind clouds.

After finding our way back to our car we decided to visit the highest point to this “Lapland mountain”, Isonkivenvaara. Our walking route should have gone by this point but somehow we missed it. My guess is that by walking in the snowmobile tracks to the hut and walking back in the trail, we just walked same way back but just little bit differently, when we should have just continue to follow the snowmobile tracks. But not being locals we didn’t know and how would you see any paths when everywhere is packed with snow.

At the top of Isonkivenvaara, whole lot of 222 meters from the sea level, is a Sitting stone where people had sat to take a break after climbing from the village.
You can also find and boat made from stone up there, called Nuorgamin menijä.


Stone boat with the Sitting stone on the backround

Back at the cabin we took a day dip to the jacuzzi and spent relaxing evening playing cards, drinking beer, sauna and some more jacuzzi.

23.4. Tuesday

Last day.
For some reason, maybe the few beers yesterday or the placing of the moon, who knows, both of us felt little bit lazy next morning and around noon it started to snow again so most of the day was spent inside.

But I was going little bit stir-crazy so immediately when the weather improved I went for an walk. We had seen a start of another walking trail on our way to Skaidjärvi yesterday so I head towards it. I knew that there would some climbing, the road was steep, but I thought that if I would be spent after the rise I would just go back but when I reached the start of the trail I was good to go on. The track was made for skiers and there were suppose to be another hut or lean-to which I tried to find.


Steep slope

There were only one skier track which I followed. There weren’t anyone to be seen and I enjoyed the feel of being alone.


Fielbmajärvi 3 kilometers


Enjoying my own time


On my own on Lapland mountain

In the end I didn’t find the lean-to nor the frozen Fielbmajärvi before I had to turn around. In here the snowshoes would be great but for being non-local, I didn’t know that. I had had couple of sinks earlier but not deeper than ankle but when I sank almost knee-deep in snow I knew it would be best to give up when my shoes were still dry. So I headed my own tracks back to the road, down the hill and back to the cabin, straight in to the jacuzzi!



24.4. Wednesday

This morning we started driving south at 7.30AM but we wouldn’t be going home just yet! Even if our cabin was perfect and I would have enjoyed spending more time there, we would spend next night at hotel at Pudasjärvi, little bit closer home.

We wouldn’t be driving straight there either.
I have been wanting to visit Siida Sami Museum at Inari and now when we would be driving by anyway we would stop there.

We could have slept little bit later though, we were waiting for the opening thirty minutes too early!

There are always floating exhibitions and this time one of them were called Albma Olbmot or Real People which consisted of photos of Sami people today.


One of my favorite photos of Albma Olbmot


One of my favorite photos of Albma Olbmot


One of my favorite photos of Albma Olbmot

Sami are indigenous people of Finland who live in north of Finland, Norway and Sweden and in Kola peninsula.
First people immigrate to the northern Scandinavia between 10 000-6 500 BC from areas which became Norway, Sweden and Russia. These groups formed the basis of our population and culture.

The firsts Scandinavians believed in nature spirits and sacrificed always part of their catch in these places of seita. Seita could be specific rock or natural formation which were hallowed to certain spirits. Like spirits of weather, fish or reindeer. If you know where to look, you could find these Seitas all over Lapland.


Witch drum


Hat of four winds

Source of livelihood for Sami people came naturally from nature, in form of fishing and later reindeer herding. Now the practice has come to be an cultural cornerstone in northern Finland.

In Sodankylä, is statue of reindeer and Laplander, Poro ja Lappalainen, which is made in 1970 to honor the huge amount of work that had gone in
to the reindeer herding industry for it to be the way it is today.


Statue of Poro ja Lappalainen in Sodankylä

Near the statue is one of the Finland’s oldest church. Build in 1689 to serve the people of Middle Lapland. Albeit we couldn’t go inside it made nice walk in the middle of all the sitting in the car.


Sodankylä old church

Still one more stop before the hotel. It was to be made because of chocolate! In Ranua, just before the entrance to the zoo are MurMur Castle where they sell Fazer chocolate. I was able to spend unbelievable amount of money for such short visit but it was all worth it!


Mur Mur Castle

Then it was only 1,5 hour drive to Hotel Iso-Syöte.

Of course doe to corona the restaurant was closed but you would be able to order food to eat in your room.
Unlike the restaurant the pool and sauna was open and situated just outside our room, so first little dip before food.



25.3. Thursday

After breakfast, also ate in our room, we took a little walk around the hotel. Hotel was situated at the top of the Iso-Syöte mountain so the views were great but the photos didn’t come up so. We looked the ski slopes and headed towards home at 10.20AM.


Take-Away Breakfast


View from our hotel room

Our one stop tactic didn’t quite work, we took a little detour in the city of Raahe, where we suppose to stop to have some coffee but the café was closed. Another stop for stretching our legs and we drove to another café where the owner was super nice older guy. I am sure that if it would be possible to sit inside and drink our coffee we would have nice chat with him but that wasn’t possible so we headed out to have our lunch.

Then it wasn’t but a quick drive (<200km) and we were home. Clock was 3.40PM, our car odometer have 1915 kilometers more and I had a nice surprise to find postcards from abroad waiting for me!

Posted by hennaonthetrek 17:56 Archived in Finland Tagged #winter #north #finland #lapland #reindeer #jacuzzi #northernlights Comments (14)

Shhh, don't wake the forest

overcast 3 °C


Welcome to the village of Särkynyt Silppuri

Let me tell you a little story. And for you to fully understand it I need to say two things first, I am working completely alone outside of the office hours and, I use to love to watch horror movies. By love I mean that Halloweens, Screams, Elm Streets and Ring use to be my favorite movies. The more frights I got watching, the better.

That said, this happened couple of years ago. I was at work, shifting gas bottles, the big ones which are taller than me. It was dark and I saw something in the corner of my eyes. Naturally, I jumped ten feet in to the air while turning my head to see better. There it was, standing perfectly still, exactly where I had left it mere minutes ago, one of the gas bottles. This was when I realized that with my vivid imagination it would be better if I stopped watching scary movies. I had given my self several frights during the years but being scared to death by immobile object which I should have known being there was the tip of the iceberg so to speak. Bye bye horror.

This incident of mine came in to conversation one day not so far ago when speaking of movies and one co-worker asked if I had visited the ghost village in Alavieska. Which I haven’t. Of course I got intrigued by it.




The village is built in the middle of the forest and is completely uninhabited. Former farmer made it in span of three decades. He had to stop working at the farm so he started to fill his time with constructing buildings at the piece of family owned land.
He wanted to keep the forest mostly untouched so he brought the woods out side of the village. You just got to admire the work and effort he put in making this ghost town. There is church with working organ, café, several places to roast something over fire and almost all of the buildings have its own fireplace, they are probably still in working order. And of course in Finnish fashion there is sauna.



The old farmers poems are laminated and placed around the village

Defying my somewhat skittish nature I braved in to the ghost village. And even tried to amplify the mood by playing horror movie theme songs but my companion said that it wasn’t working, Halloween went already (John Carpenters/ Halloween) and it wasn’t likely to get attacked by a shark in the Finnish woods (Jaws). But the grey weather was appropriate.


The church and the graveyard


Allegedly working organ

We set to explore our surroundings. The village was bigger and smaller than I expected it to be. There was more buildings but they were smaller. One thing was just what I thought, the surroundings were eerily quiet. And there the horror ended I am afraid. My spouse who was with me said that the most terrifying thing was the lack of spiders and ants which usually are galore in the woods. That we can explain with up coming winter though.


Phantom of the Opera // Even I had to bend to get in to this building and I am short.


Oh no, they put Piglets in the doghouse!

With the dry ice I brought with me I tried to get fog in to the photos. I quicky discovered that it was too windy for that. I would have needed to put a mountain of dry ice to get fog thick enough to be seen in the pictures. And then there would be white mountain visible in the photo and that looks just cold, not spooky so I opted to do without the special effects. Which was fun too.


Can you see the fog?

If it would situated a bit closer I would be sorely tempted to visit it at night. Just with my flash light..




Posted by hennaonthetrek 10:37 Archived in Finland Tagged ghosttown finland forest deserted grey eerily cabininthewoods Comments (10)

Sleepwalking and rocking through Zürich

rain 9 °C

16.2. Sunday

More precisely 6:50AM

T -3 hours for the train and I started to think as I drive home from work that I might be crazy. This will definitely be the last time that I will schedule a holiday after night shift! No matter how much more time it gives in the destination. This is the second time I do this and right now I don’t like myself very much.
This can go 3 different ways I think, fingers crossed that it will be the third and most unlikely option and I get some sleep in the train to the airport.
First would be the most likely one, I will be too hyped up to fall asleep and when we get to the airport I will be cranky as hell. Nice start for the trip, right?
Second would be that I could catch some Z’s but I will be even crankier than without them (I am one of those people who’s day will be ruined if for some reason I am to take a nap).
I am starting to think that I should pack some earblugs to Toni and tell him to ignore everything that comes out of my mouth today!

Same day, 20:00PM

Okay. I think that went surprisingly well. Mostly I kept my snappiness (snappinginess?) to myself, I got some sleep on the train and even drank the mandatory “Starting the holiday- beer” at the Oak Barrell in Helsinki-Vantaa Airport. And I also enjoyed it. The beer I mean, not the lack-of-sleep-travelling.
Usually when we go to the Oak Barrell, we know that it is going to be the most expensive part of our trip, the airport beer. But this time I had an inkling that it’s not going to be the case and I was right. That was flagrant already at the Zürich Airport. We both were spent after the day and I felt like an sleepwalker, so we took the easy way out and hopped in the taxi. The short 15 or so minutes drive to the hotel was already 55 Swiss francs (over 50 euros). But even thinking about finding the right train/bus to get from point A to point B and then to point D via point C felt insurmountable. So expensive taxi it was and I couldn’t be more happy after that short drive to get to the hotel and it’s more than friendly staff and the bed. Never in my life have I been more happy to get to the hotel. Usually hotel it just the place where I keep my staff and sleep but this time it was heaven!
We had bought bottle of wine and chocolate from airport and didn’t really feel like going for an dinner so we spent the evening in the hotel. Not my balloon-airplane-belly or more than dry eyes (I had the laser eye surgery month ago and I don’t need the glasses anymore! But the eye drops I need more than a lot!) could make this bed feel anything else than an pure bliss.


Swiss francs

17.2. Monday or The Day if you will

The feeling are more relaxed than yesterday and not even the lousy weather can dampen my good mood! It’s raining if you are wondering. This evening is the Five Finger Dead Punch consert which is the reason we are in Zürich in the first place. I am so excited!
Hotel breakfast was expensive, as expected but good, fresh fruits, bacon, eggs, pancakes, everything a person would want to eat really.
Toni had found out one mall, ShopVille, that we could go to be spend time out of the rain. Surprise, surprise, neither of us wanted to spent whole day at the hotel. From the mall we would go straight to the Hallenstadion for the consert.
And neither of us wanted to spend all our money to taxi so we planned to try something neither of us has ever done before. We would try Uber. We are like silly kids eager to try new things!
And I can totally understand why it is so popular! The guy came almost immediately. I was little bit surprised when I realized that he didn’t speak any English. But as it seems, that wasn’t an issue. He picked us up and dropped us off where we wanted. And the Uber app handled the money transfer.
The mall was another surprise, there wasn’t that relaxed vibe that malls usually have. ShopVille is located under an train terminal, which isn’t so odd but all over the mall is the signs and portals to direct to the right stairs to the right trains. It feels more like an train station than an shopping mall. The feel of it is just so busy.


Above ShopVille

Toni is on an holiday-vibes and in mood for an beer, we just don’t see any pubs anywhere. In all of possible places Toni spots beer in an Chinese fast food restaurant and wants to go in. I love Chinese food so I jump to the chance and start to order some food. When I am speaking with the waiter about the dishes Toni decide that he would like something too. He doesn’t like Chinese so I am more than surprised, happily! I pick him something I know he will like (fried chicken and sweet and sour sauce) and for me meat with vegetables. For the drinks of course beer for us both.
It’s first time I get Toni to go to an Chinese restaurant with me and tonight is the consert. This is a good day!


Happy me with Toni and beer in the chinese restaurant

Food and beers later it’s starts to be an time to leave for the Hallenstadion. Inspired by the earlier success we get another Uber to get us there. This guy didn’t speak English either.

In Hallenstadion we join the crowd already waiting. Even the waiting don’t dampen my mood. Nothing can today!


Can you see how excited I am?


Toni at the Hallenstadion

Inside we get some beers as we wait for the consert to start. FFDP has two opening bands, Bad Wolves and Megadeth.
Bad Wolves I was actually waiting for too, their version of Cranberries Zombies has played a lot in the radio and is quite good. I waited for nothing. They tried too much and that didn’t work. The Zombies they had the audience to sing. I hate that, I am there to listen to the band, not anyone else.

Megadeth was better, they had been around for some time (since 1983) so it was no brainer that they would know what they are doing. Funny to see how you could like more a band you know 2 songs from than an band you have been waiting for. For some reason I took couple of photos of the opening acts but not an single one for the main band. I just concentrated in to the show.





About the main band, I loved it! If I would be better writer I would tell you exactly how amazing the singers voice is or how good their performance, the pyrotech and the atmorsphere but since I am just me, I just tell you that it was money totally well spent!

18.2. Tuesday

This morning we didn’t make it to the breakfast for obvious reasons. Toni is blaming me for the last beers, lightweight, lol. I am feeling good hangover-wise but Aunt Flo came for an visit so I am in different kind of agony.
Eventually we emerge out of the hotel room well past noon. Googling an coffee shop we found one on our way to the Old Town and got our breakfast there.

As we walk towards the Old town I find that I really like Zürich. Even the air smells somehow better than in home. It’s one of the things that, to me, strucks the most about travelling. The smell, it’s the first thing you notice when you step out side of the plane (car, train etc). No matter what time of the day, or how tired you are or what the weather is like, the smell is something that you can not not notice and it’s different than in home. Sometimes better, sometimes worse but always different.

We stroll around Lake Zürich, Old Town and stop for an beer. From Lake Zürich I got some photographs from the Alps. If someone who are better in Geography than me, and know that no, it’s not the Alps but it’s Hill This or Mountain That, don’t tell me. I am now seen the Alps and I am happy.


The Alps


Little girl with her granddad making soapbubbles

Grossmünster and Fraumünster ?

We stop by in an souvenir shop to get the wall plate to Tonis mother and the fridge magnet. There is cuckoo clocks. A lot of cuckoo clocks! In the end Toni had to nearly carry me out of there when I was listening to the clocks and try to locate the one which was cuckooing.

Cuckoo clocks


Cuckooing cuckoo clock

We try Polybahn too, in that I feel little bit cheated. Was that really all, little ride up to the Polyterasse? How is it that it’s emblem of Zürich? It’s literally less than an 5 minutes long!





The view from the Polyterasse are nice but I could as easily walk up there. That is what we do when we go down, walk that is. From the Old Town we try to find somewhere we could get some food. Toni wants pizza or kebab etc. We have eaten junk food for days now so I persuade him that an real food in restaurant is way better. We even manage to pick one restaurant, really nice looking Italian and I already start to dream about shrimp pasta but when we step inside there is some funky smell in the air, maybe sewers? We don’t stick around to find out. Back to outside and finding another place. We stand outside of this small simple looking restaurant reading the menu when I hear one women walking by telling her friend that this is the place she has been talking about, and pointing the restaurant we are standing in front of. She loves the place. First hand, or maybe second hand (?), praise to the food, no argument from me. In we go.
She wasn’t wrong. Service is fast and good, the Riesling I choose is delicious, so is the fish I have and Tonis chicken. I even get dessert. Lime sorbet with an shot of vodka. Vodka you say, there can’t be much of it if the menu says an shot. The shot is really an shot, not an shot if you know what I mean. My sorbet is surrounded by ocean of 4cl worth of vodka. I like it though, when I don’t scoop up too much of the vodka on one spoonful. And Toni get dessert drink when I give him the remaining vodka after I have eaten all the sorbet.
Outside the sun has set while we have been eating so we get see night-time Zürich on a walk back to the hotel.


Lock bridge at night

19.2. Wednesday

Breakfast and Uber to the airport. This time the driver was really nice Italian man who did speak English. We talked whole way to the airport. He told us how nice the city is on summer and it is not hard to believe him.

Posted by hennaonthetrek 15:18 Archived in Switzerland Tagged switzerland zurich oldtown rockconsert fivefingerdeadpunch megadeth badwolves hallenstadion cuckooclocks polybahn polyterasse Comments (11)

Sauna and some sightseeing in our Capital

overcast 7 °C

To your convenience I have translated few words for you which I am going to use in this one.

Sauna = Is warm room where we finns go to relax either alone or in good company.

Kiuas = Heater in sauna. Warmed either by wood or electricity

Löyly = Direct translation of löyly is steam but in this context is not entirely correct. Much like sauna it is unique word to our language and it means the water you throw at kiuas, yes, the end result is steam but if you hear in sauna a sentence “Heitä lisää löylyä” (=Throw more löylys), it means exactly that. That you should throw more water in the kiuas.

This one night trip to our capital came out of necessity this time. It’s kind of funny, I haven’t been Helsinki in years, last time was to visit Linnanmäki when I was an kid, if you don’t count “went-thru’s” and this year this is already second time I visit.

Toni, my boyfriend had these chairs he had to take to auctionhouse and as we happen to be on our summer holiday from work we thought that we could stay the night and do some exploring.

In 2015 one of Finland’s most famous actors Jasper Pääkkönen get involved in project which resulted one of our many public saunas called Löyly.
We head there tonight. I haven’t been in the public sauna before this. Yes, I have been in sauna in swimming halls and spas but it isn’t the same than public sauna. I know that Finnish sauna culture might be little bit bizarre for foreigners but bare with us, we are normally shy and modest people but of our saunas we are proud!

And even if the experience is not the same than in own sauna, in Löyly the kiukaat were warmed with real wood and this is important in real sauna. You can get electric kiuas warm but it’s not the same than warming it by wood. The smell and the heat is far better with wood.
Hmm, I might have started to ramble a bit there..Back to the topic, Löyly. In their websites they recommend to reserve a shift because in the saunas fit only 40 people in total. But we felt bold and went in without reservation, and got lucky because we didn’t even need to wait to get in.

There were separate locker rooms and showers for men and women, saunas and lounge were common and you need to wear swimming suits in there. In total there were 3 saunas but one were private which you need to make separate reservation. One smoke sauna and “normal sauna” were open to everyone. I liked that the “normal” sauna was better than the smoke sauna. Smoke sauna was very dimly lighted so when you came from outside in you wouldn’t even see if there is someone already sitting there or not. Quite atmospheric really but some light would be nice too, it would be awkward to sit on a lap of complete stranger, lol.

The “normal” sauna was good for me, but I observed that some of the people who were taller than me, ahem, okay almost all of the others, I am quite short, had some issues with the height of the ceiling. Many actually hit their head while getting out.

However, my favorite part of the sauna was the lounge area, they had big fireplace in the middle of the room with class windows all around so you were able to see the flames no-matter where you sit. You were able to get drinks from the reception and we spent quite a lot of our 2 hours sitting in front of the fireplace.

Most of the other customers were foreigners so it was amusing to watch they experiencing Finnish sauna perhaps for the first time.
Out side there were big terrace where you could go to cool off between löylys or even dip in the sea. And it is open in the winter too. I have to admit that I were an wimp. I didn’t go for an swim. Usually I am the first one in the water, even if it’s cold, it’s one of the best feelings there is to go from the cold water to warm sauna. But the terrace floor was so cold that I was already freezing without even dipping my toe in the water…Okay, excuses, excuses. But it was cold! Many of the foreigners risked the cold water for an swim though.

In side were there were the common showers were also this ominous looking bucket hanging in the ceiling. I didn’t dare to pull the rope my self but I watched when couple of guys did. The bucket was filled with ice cold water so obviously I watched this within a safe distance. This, the bucket is not typical in sauna but it was nice addition in my opinion. Amusing for the spectators for sure!

Sorry to say that I don’t have any photos from the sauna, I didn’t feel comfortable to take photos when others tried to relax..

Following day we had time to visit couple of churches. The first one was Temppeliaukio’s Church also called the Rock church. In 60’s brothers Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen won a architect competition on their plan to make a church in the ground. Inside the rock to be more precise.
The dome is veiled in copper tape which were needed 22 kilometres of. Reredos is rock fissure from the ice age.
Instead of bells this church plays Taneli Kuusisto’s chime melody from the speakers which has been imbedded in the outside walls.


Reredos in Temppeliaukio's Church


Candles in Temppeliaukio's Church

Helsinki Cathedral was on our agenda next. It might be the most famous sight in Helsinki, or atleast it is one of them! It’s huge!
Officially it’s been in use since 1852 but they started building it in 1830.

Helsinki Cathedral


Organs in Helsinki Cathedral


Chandelier and pulpit

Suomenlinna and Parliament House were left for our next visit.


The 4 most famous man in Finland

Posted by hennaonthetrek 23:06 Archived in Finland Tagged helsinki helsinkicathedral löyly temppeliaukioschurch Comments (15)

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