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Europe » Finland » Uusimaa » Helsinki April 28th 2020

Finland day two. The hotel is a bustle with people, a conference is being held in the hotel. The lobby is stuffed with people, groups of people laptops open, discussing topics important to them. We make our way to the breakfast bar, just off of the lobby. A lovely mix of old brickwork, and contemporary furniture. Giving a lovely vibe of traditions held, living alongside new. The smell of breakfast offerings dances in the air, a greeting for our senses. I find the usual fair of cheese, crackers, bacon and eggs. As well as the object of my desire, local delicacies. I try a pastry with rice in the middle, that is traditionally served with butter mixed with eggs. They have ginger snap type biscuits, and an Oreo type cookie that contains a minty filling. The ... read more
Skyline
Lamborgini in the street

Europe » Finland » Central Finland » Äänekoski March 27th 2020

There are more than 37,000 coffee shops in the United States, about 40 percent of which are owned by Starbucks, according to Allegra's World Coffee Portal. Americans spend tens of billions of dollars on coffee every year — and yet, they're actually modest coffee drinkers in terms of per-capita consumption. In fact, they're not even among the International Coffee Organization's top 20 coffee-consuming countries. No. 1 on the list? Finland, which blows away the competition by consuming 12kg of coffee per capita every year. According to the U.K.'s Independent newspaper, this is due in part to the fact that coffee breaks at work are protected by law. Coffee is also a big part of the social scene; it's custom to offer coffee whenever you have a guest. Don't expect to find a Starbucks on every corner, ... read more
Benefits of coffee
Peets, my favorite

Europe » Finland » Uusimaa » Helsinki March 21st 2020

Finland day 1. A city of romance and steam. Arriving at the airport, we head down the gangway, open minded of what the country will deliver to us. Their terminal is bathed in light, as it streams in through floor to ceiling glass windows and the walls encased in wood. We pass by these portals into the outside world, the landscape has changed since Iceland. The Stark black rocks, lichen hung cliffs. Moss and sub-Tundra plants, are replaced with trees as far as the eye can see. The Icelandic saying goes "If you are lost in the forest in Iceland, just stand up." We blearily travelers wander to the baggage pick up. Standing there we watch people move too and fro, in a chaotic choreographed dance. Dodging and weaving between each other. The language is foreign, ... read more
dry docked sub
Reindeer hotdog
The hot dog

Europe » Finland August 30th 2019

Today was a bit of a laidback day compared to my usual pace of sightseeing. I started the day with a little shopping. I have been wanting to buy a new shirt and found two that I think will work. I’m not a big fan of clothes shopping, but I rather enjoyed this experience. For one thing, there were no crowds of tourists jostling for position in line! After lunch I visited the Design Museum (only a moderate number of tourists there). Apparently Finland is noted for its designers and there is a room in the museum called Utopia Now with some of their greatest hits: Nokia phones, Fiskar scissors, the game Angry Birds. Later in the day I caught the 15-minute ferry to the island of Suomenlinna which was a fortress for a couple of ... read more
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Europe » Finland August 29th 2019

This morning I crossed the Gulf of Finland on another large ship and arrived at Helsinki around noon. My first stop, after dropping my suitcase at the hotel, was to visit the famous Cafe Kappeli where I had a large cappuccino and a caramel pastry. Suitably fueled, I set off to walk around the central city and saw some of the important sights including the Lutheran Cathedral and Finlandia Hall. The latter is, according to Rick Steves, the most important building architecturally in Finland. I can’t say that I was familiar with it. Maybe it’s more impressive inside, but I couldn’t get in because today it was hosting a meeting of some high-up people from the European Union. I visited a couple of other museums and churches, but my favorite thing of the day was dinner. ... read more
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Europe » Finland » Uusimaa » Helsinki August 17th 2019

The first 4.5 hr sail out of Stockholm was incredible weaving through hundreds of islands of every size from small treeless rocky outcrops teeming with sea birds, vast forested & uninhabited islands to idyllic island locations with private homes ranging from traditional red log cabins to palatial homes many with flagpoles flying proudly. Don’t know if they’re only holiday houses or permanent homes but would certainly be less idyllic in winter. We checked into the Hotel Arthur for a two night stay before an orientation walk around the city’s landmarks Including the Lutheran cathedral on Senate Square & the Uspenski Orthadox Cathedral. The rest of the old town is not that interesting with much off the city’s architectural design occurring during Russian occupation. We had our last group dinner for three passengers finishing today but will ... read more
Uspenski Orthadox Cathedral.
Stockholm archipelago
Sailing through Stockholm archipelago .

Europe » Finland » Uusimaa » Helsinki June 4th 2019

I only know about Finnish (saunas) baths, and pretty Finnish girls. And not much else, though I will try to find out on a short layover in Helsinki, Finland on May 24th. Aside from being the most populous city in Finland, it was the home of the 1952 Summer Olympics. And it has been, at least lately, one of the best urban standards for living, always ranked high in livable cities indexes. And it is ranked by the UN as the happiest country in the world. There are 187,888 lakes in Finland. The tendency, for us westerners, is to lump Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark together. But having grown up in a mostly Swedish hamlet in California, I have been schooled repeatedly about their difference. The Danes in our little town took great exception to being ... read more
Teemu Sellane
Sibelius

Europe » Finland » Uusimaa » Helsinki May 29th 2019

Wednesday 29thMay 2019 Hello from Helsinki After an early breakfast we made our way by taxi to Ferry Terminal D at the docks in Tallinn for the two-hour journey across the Gulf of Finland to Helsinki, Finland. Helsinki has been on our list since that wonderful mid-summer in 2005 when we entered Finland from Sweden in the north in our motorhome and only managed to get as far south as Oulu. Time was the enemy then as ever and we promised to return one day and visit Helsinki. Getting around Helsinki is remarkably easy. A €3, two-hour ticket, took us by tram directly to our ‘hotel’, The Hellsten Senate, a fairly basic apartment complex with our own suite – lobby, large bedroom and bathroom, kitchen, lounge and diner with TV and really great value in this ... read more
The Orthodox Uspenski Cathedral
Harbour-side market
Indoor market - Helsinki harbour front

Europe » Finland » Uusimaa » Helsinki May 14th 2019

Once we had again explained that to Barbara that this was a Baltic cruise and Helsinki was the capital of Finland and not somewhere in Japan, we headed off. We had planned to take the bus into the city but again at the last minute, madness prevailed and we decided to walk it. The walk was not too bad, only around 3km....it would have been 2 but we got lost. ooooh before we left we saw the Regal Princess pull into a berth alongside us. She is one of the huge Royal class ships in the princess fleet and she has the coolest air horn ever.... if any of you remember LOVEBOAT and the theme tune...she plays that whenever she is near or passing another Princess ship. I managed to catch it on video and it ... read more

Europe » Finland » Uusimaa » Helsinki May 14th 2019

Barbera didnt really want Gary to come up and play basketball with me and dave but, like a trooper, he completely ignored her and joined us in a game. We played 1x1 with one watching and, once I beat Gary, he and dave had a game together. None of what happened next was my fault....I was a mere spectactor. Dave threw the ball and it richoched off the hoop and onto Gary's head...unfortuneatly, he had his sun glasses on and it was this which did the damage.... The glasses were impaled onto his nose and cut the bridge quite badly.... we did not see the blood at first but once Gary had walked over to us it was bleeding quite badly. Oops!! we then told Gary that he was not permitted to return to Barbera until ... read more




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