Page 3 of Trabern Travel Blog Posts

Europe December 22nd 2013

This morning we ventured over the Vltava River on the Karlova Bridge and found ourselves in the Lesser Town Square. It is possible to climb up the belfry of the St Nicholas Church in the Lesser Town Square, but there are two other St Nicholas Churches in Prague. Talk about another day, another tower climb!! Unlike the last couple of towers we have visited, we had to take the stairs all the way to the top of the St Nicholas belfry. The stairs to the open viewing platform weren't too bad but, after that, we were able to climb even further on a very narrow spiral staircase. When we reached the uppermost level we were disappointed to find that the viewing area was enclosed and only had porthole windows. But then we discovered that the windows ... read more
Charles Bridge
St Nicholas Church
Tyn Church from the Belfry

Europe » Czech Republic » Prague » Old Town December 21st 2013

This morning after breakfast we finished our introductory walking tour with Pasquale. A couple had just arrived from Washington via New York and Amsterdam so Pasquale took us back to the Old Town Square with them which was handy for us because everything looked a bit different by daylight! Then we headed over to Wenceslas Square with Pasquale pointing out the supermarket along the way. Pasquale had recommended the 'free' walking tours that depart from the Cartier corner of the Old Town Square for a more in-depth introduction to Prague's Old Town. Although the walks are touted as 'free' you are expected to tip the guides for their services. Hmmn, why not just charge a set fee and be done with it?? Anyway, we headed over to Cartier corner and took a walking tour with Jana ... read more
Looking down on the Old Square
Prague Castle
Trumpeting the hour

Europe » Czech Republic » Prague » Old Town December 20th 2013

We had to wake up early this morning for a big day of travelling. Up at 6.00am and down to breakfast by 6.45am. Back in our room by 7.15am to clean our teeth and finish our packing and then down to the front desk by 7.45am to settle our bill before being picked up by the Yellow Cab service at 8.00am sharp. Our driver walked in the front door as we arrived at the front desk so we paid our account and then dragged our bags out into a dark and rainy morning to be loaded into the maxi-cab. Our driver was originally from London, but has lived in Finland for the last seven years with his Finnish wife. As we drove out to the airport the rain became sleet and, as we arrived at the ... read more
HBF Christmas Tree
Berlin Cathedral
Choir practice

Europe » Finland » Uusimaa » Helsinki December 19th 2013

This morning we started at the Uspenski Eastern Orthodox Cathedral that we walked around below yesterday morning on our way to the harbour. From up on the rocky outcrop that the cathedral sits on we could see across to the other big, white cathedral. From not knowing where it was now we can see it from everywhere! After photographing the cathedral in disappointingly dull conditions we wandered down to the Market Square where we purchased some reindeer antler souvenirs and a birch wood 'puzzle' trivet that has been jigsawed into four pieces so that it can be used as one trivet or four coasters. Very nifty indeed. From down near the harbour we walked back to Mannerheimintie to catch the tram to Kansallimuseo, the Finnish National Museum. Before gaining its independence in 1918 Finland had a ... read more
The Cell Block
Our Cell
Uspenski Cathedral

Europe » Finland » Uusimaa » Helsinki December 18th 2013

This morning we wanted to make the 10.20am ferry to Suomenlinna the sea fortress museum that can only be reached by water. After breakfast we walked down to the ferry terminal at Market Square where we purchased a two day public transport ticket each. After our experience in Stockholm we're a bit over city passes so we decided to just wing it with a two day public transport ticket and pay the entry fee for any museums that we visit. Unlike in Stockholm we had no trouble at all taking the ferry to where we wanted to go. The sea fortress was established on islands off the coast of Helsinki in 1748 when Finland was part of the Kingdom of Sweden. Ramparts on the western side of Kusstaankiekka date from the period of Russian rule in ... read more
Suomenlinna Cafe
Cannon fence posts
Suomenlinna Church

Europe » Finland » Uusimaa » Helsinki December 17th 2013

With our Lapland adventure drawing to a close we re-packed our bags after breakfast before putting all of our gear on for one last foray out onto the lake on the cross-country skis. We headed downstairs to put on some ski boots and then off outside to collect the skis and poles. Once we had clicked our boots into the bindings we shooshed off to see how Sophia's igloo was standing up to the weather. It was still there ... I wonder how much longer it will last? There were only patches of cloud today which meant that the sunlight from below the horizon was reflecting off the patchy clouds resulting in spectacular pink cloud formations. We took heaps of photos without really knowing whether or not the compact cameras could do justice to the show ... read more
Tracey Snow Angel
Red faced selfie

Europe » Finland » Lapland » Ivalo December 16th 2013

Oh dear, another rather gloomy day in Menesjärvi, but at least it's not still twenty degrees below zero; it's positively mild at only minus 3°! After breakfast I wrote up some more of our Lapland adventure and Bernie taught himself how to upload our videos to YouTube and then how to add the links into our travel blog. He has added video footage of us snowmobiling on Lake Menesjärvi at the end of the entry for the 11th of December and footage of our fabulous dogsledding experience at the end of the entry for the 12th of December. About 11.00am we geared up again and went out for a snowshoe shuffle along the track through the forest. I thought that we were going to do the short hike that we did with Toni on Friday night, ... read more
Forest Walk
Tree in the forest

Europe » Finland » Lapland » Ivalo December 15th 2013

The weather is rather gloomy today with a grey and overcast sky so this morning we were pretty lazy. We decided that we couldn't spend the whole day indoors though so, about 11.00am, we put on our outdoor gear and went down to the ski boot room to pick up some ski boots for another go at cross-country skiing. Our lesson with Lynda yesterday afternoon cost us €30 each, but we can now make as much use of the equipment as we wish for no extra charge. Outside we collected the skis and poles and carried them down to the lake. For our own safety we are not allowed to use the skis on the road or on downhill slopes. That means walking down to the lake and putting the skis on where it is nice ... read more
Bernie (Upright this time)
House near the Hotel
Houses by the Lake

Europe » Finland » Lapland » Ivalo December 14th 2013

Aaahh, the first of our three extra days to do as we wish. This morning we farewelled our English companions who flew up to Ivalo with us on Tuesday. They were dressed again in their civvies - no more onesies for them! - in preparation for their flight to Helsinki and then on to London. Sophia and Matt then have to drive up to Nottingham and won't be home until about 8.00pm so they have a long day of travel ahead of them. We hadn't put all of our gear on to wave goodbye but, even so, we decided to walk quickly down to the lake for a quick look. Bernie had the Sony camera with him so tried out its panorama function again. It really does make it super easy to take awesome panoramic photographs ... read more
Bernie in sunset
Aurora and Geminid Meteor Shower

Europe » Finland » Lapland » Ivalo December 13th 2013

This morning I ached allover from yesterday's dogsledding!! My upper body hurt from my driving efforts and what didn't hurt from that was bruised from bouncing around in the sled as a passenger! A reindeer skin may be warm and waterproof, but it doesn't provide very much cushioning between your butt and the sled. Dogsledding is certainly not for anyone who is not prepared to come away from the experience with some aches and pains and a few bruises! Not to worry, there are no broken bones and the rest will fade in a day or two ... and I still think it was one of the most fun things I have ever tried. This morning Toni drove us to the Porotila Reindeer Farm which is only about five minutes along the road from the hotel. ... read more
The herd
Deer Herder picnic

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