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Europe » Finland » Lapland » Luosto November 26th 2018

We checked out of our hotel and caught the 11am ski bus back to Rovaniemi Airport, which takes about 1.5 hours. The flight to Helsinki took just over an hour and we viewed gorgeous crimson sunsets through our plane window. There was just enough time to have a quick snack in the lounge before our next flight. Before take-off, our plane had to taxi to a section of the tarmac for de-icing. This was interesting to watch as you pull into an area, with 2 trucks on either side. The trucks have a crane on the back with a box at the top where someone sits with a big hose. They spray some sort of foam mixture on the main wings and on the tail. It only takes a few minutes to do once you are ... read more
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Europe » Finland » Lapland » Luosto November 24th 2018

During the night, we finally had snow so we woke up to about an inch of fresh snow on the ground outside. The trees were also coated in a dusting. The morning was about minus 3 and we had no activities booked so we decided to have an easy morning lazing in our room, repacking our bags and enjoying the views through the ceiling. Around midday, we walked into the village and went for a walk around the lake – about 2kms in length. The scenery was really pretty with the snow on the fir trees just like on Christmas cards. Shelley even lay down and made a snow angel. After our walk, we went to the Bistro at the Luostotunturi Hotel for lunch. The afternoon was spent relaxing in our igloo, watching the sun go ... read more
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Europe » Finland » Lapland » Luosto November 23rd 2018

After breakfast, we were picked up at 10am for a visit to the Kopara Reindeer farm. It was minus 6 degrees, with a windchill of minus 9, so we wore our hired ski jumpsuits and boots. Our guide gave us a lot of information about the area and reindeer. He collected some lichen for us to feed the reindeer with. In Lapland, there are more reindeer than people (200,000 reindeer and only 180,000 people). He was of Lapis origin, rather than Finnish or a Sami (native). At the end of the tour, we were taken up to see all the huskies (both Siberian and Alaskan) in their pens. There is no snow at the moment so they are allowed out of their cages to run around for exercise. When there is snow, they get enough exercise ... read more
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Europe » Finland » Lapland » Luosto November 22nd 2018

It gets light very late in the arctic so we had a lazy morning in bed and went down to breakfast about 9:30am. Breakfast is buffet style and there is a section of cereals, breads and toasts with jam, some sort of unidentifiably porridge type mush, baby sausages and what looked like scrambled egg but tasted like baked custard… There were also croissants and several cheeses, cured meats, tomato, smoked salmon and cucumber to choose from. Following breakfast, we collected our clothes (ski jumpsuits and boots) and went back to the igloo to try them on for size. We didn’t think we needed them today so we put our own thermals and clothes on and went for a walk into the village. It is only a few hundred metres down the road and there is another ... read more
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Europe » Finland » Lapland » Luosto November 21st 2018

On Tuesday night, we stayed overnight at the Novotel at Heathrow airport so that we would be close to the terminal for our early morning flight. We were up just after 4am and the hotel taxi took us to terminal 3 at 5am for our first flight to Helsinki. We went into the Cathay Pacific lounge for some breakfast prior to our 7:30 flight. This first took almost 3 hours and we had some lovely views of southern Finland towards the end of the flight. There are a surprisingly large number of lakes and waterways in Finland. We had a transit of around 4 hours so we holed up in the Finnair lounge prior to our flight to Rovaniemi, which took 1 hr 20 mins. It gets dark in Finland around 3:30pm so we had a ... read more
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Europe » Finland » Uusimaa September 6th 2018

Day two was planned to be a whole different ball game, and the dawn til dusk rental car day had a planned itinerary worked into the mix. Leaving Tampere, and heading west, no planned stop-offs were worked into the mix between Tampere and the coastal town of Pori, most famed for being the location of the week-long annual jazz festival which jazz enthusiasts from all over the world flock to attend in their masses. It looked, on first glance, as if this was the only time Pori actually buzzes, as the town comes across as being liveable but really sleepy, with a few elements thrown in to make it worth the trek. Pori's cathedral is a highlight, as is the old town hall in all its architectural splendour, and the streets which sew together the urban ... read more
The cathedral, Helsinki
Lakeside scenery
The old town hall, Pori

Europe » Finland » Uusimaa » Helsinki August 31st 2018

Tish still needed rest to vercome her illness so Andrew headed out to Suomenlinna Island which is a UNESCO sea fort originally constructed by the Swedes when they invaded ad conquered this part of the world but as a sea fort, it was used by Russia in the 1800’s and Germany & the Soviet Union in the 1900’s. The fort is pretty much intact and there are 800 people living in the accommodations on the island which ensures buildings and structures are maintained. The stone structures including bunkers and tunnels are impressive and there is plenty of Military hardware around the islands to give the visitor an idea of life in the fort. Th most impressive structure is the dry dock which used a windmill and horse driven pump to empty the drydock after a boat ... read more
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Europe » Finland » Uusimaa » Helsinki August 31st 2018

The last full day of our holiday has finally come as we are due to fly out of Helsinki at around midnight to Singapore and then onto Melbourne and Adelaide. But before then there was much to see around Helsinki before we left. We started the day packing up our apartment, repacking our suitcases to ensue we met the 23 kg limit, placed our suitcases into luggage storage and headed for the Helsinki marketplace full of eats, souvineers and Knick knacks servicing the thousands of cruise ship passengers that must pass through this area each day. After 2 days in bed, Tish was well enough to venture out for a full day but we were still going to take it easy. However, taking it easy didn’t last for long as the ever adventurous Tish decided to ... read more
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Helsinki

Europe » Finland » Uusimaa » Helsinki August 30th 2018

With Tish still recovering from her illness, Andrew stepped out into Helsinki by himself for the day checking out the harbours both north and south of our apartment which is located on Katajanokka, a peninsular on the east side of downtown Helsinki. There are lots of walking tours through our neighbourhood so it obviously has played a part in Helsinki’s past but the quality of apartment buildings here is second to none. Down the bottom of our street stands the Uspenskin Cathedral which has a grand viewing platform overlooking th north and south harbours. The Cathedral has an amazing dome and while compact inside, it was very busy with antiquities. The viewover the north harbour included the Helsinki Eye and a number of cruise ships and ferry’s docked for the day. There was a large market ... read more
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Europe » Finland » Pirkanmaa » Tampere August 24th 2018

The title of this blog post alludes to the fact that Finland, as a nation, officially has the highest standard of living in the world, no mean feat for a nation of a mere 5 and a half million inhabitants. Tampere is the third largest Finnish city, and holds the other accolade as being the Nordic region's largest inland city, though by way of compensation for a lack of coastline, Tampere is flanked by a couple of sizeable lakes, those being amongst the sum total of Finland's 190,000 lakes - so much for Finland being dubbed the 'land of a thousand lakes' then! It is also said that Tampere ranks at the top of the tree when it comes to the average Finn's top choice of city in which to live, a factor possibly swayed by ... read more
Tampere city hall
City's prominent church
Tampere's orthodox cathedral




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