Leaving Finland

On our last day in Finland, we had a little adventure. We had planned to catch an early morning train to the airport, so we arrived at Helsinki central station around 5am. However, to our surprise, the doors were closed when we tried to get in. Looking through the windows, we couldn’t spot any life … Continue reading / view photos Leaving Finland

Visiting EMMA

A pleasant Easter Sunday walk on a misty morning took us to the cosy Cafe Regatta in Toolo — a part of Helsinki we’d not been to. At the secluded waterside cafe, I had coffee and an indulgent cardamom bun. I also got my dose of dog therapy playing with three dogs sitting in the … Continue reading / view photos Visiting EMMA

Return to Helsinki

After a restful night’s sleep on the train, we awoke to find ourselves nearing Helsinki. Since we had time, we made our way to the train’s restaurant car and had a hearty, piping hot porridge. Our hotel was around the corner from central station. We chose it because of our upcoming early flight, which would … Continue reading / view photos Return to Helsinki

Visiting Santa

Our time in Rovaniemi was drawing to a close. For our final day, we went to Santa’s village in the Arctic Circle. The regular Santa’s Bus takes about 40 minutes from the train station to reach the village. On arriving, we went in the first building we saw, which happen to have the line marking … Continue reading / view photos Visiting Santa

A snowy museum day in Rovaniemi

After yesterday’s gorgeous sun, the clear skies deserted Rovaniemi. Clouds blanketed the city, and snow fell steadily throughout the day, adding an extra layer to the already snow-covered ground. There was a silver-lining to the change in weather: the freshly covered pavements were more walkable. Given the less-than-ideal weather, we planned to dedicate the day … Continue reading / view photos A snowy museum day in Rovaniemi

Reindeer farm and sleigh ride

It was sub-zero in Rovaniemi but there is no such thing as bad weather: just inappropriate clothing. We took lots of clothes and were nice and toasty. I dressed the way I did in the Antarctic several years ago: lots of layers. Walking on the snow and ice from our guesthouse to Rovaniemi town centre … Continue reading / view photos Reindeer farm and sleigh ride

Rock church and train to Lapland

We had booked seats for the early afternoon train to Rovaniemi, which is close to the Arctic Circle. There were a few hours before the train left Helsinki. So, we walked via an unfamiliar route to Temppeliaukio Church, popularly known as Rock Church because it is built directly into solid rock. The church attracted nearly … Continue reading / view photos Rock church and train to Lapland

National Library, Suomenlinna and sauna

National Library This morning’s cultural exploration of Helsinki began at the impressive National Library of Finland. This houses the largest Russian literature collection outside of Russia. The ornate, neo-classical nineteenth-century building was designed by C L Engel, who also designed Helsinki Cathedral. On entering, we were quickly in the beautiful Cupola Hall. In the Slavonic … Continue reading / view photos National Library, Suomenlinna and sauna

Helsinki Art Museum and Cathedral

I’m reading the entertaining A Short History of Finland (by J Clements, 2022) at the moment. The book mentions Espoo, which, this morning, we passed through on the way to Haltia. The book includes some of the many myths and legends of Finland. During a period in Scandinavian history, called the Kalmar Union (1397-1523), Denmark, … Continue reading / view photos Helsinki Art Museum and Cathedral

Taiwan earthquake

Beyond broadening the mind, travel has a remarkable ability to forge profound connections to distant places. Through firsthand experience, you can cultivate a deeper sense of empathy and compassion towards the people and cultures encountered along the way. Before my visit to Taiwan, I admittedly knew little about the island. And if it had remained … Continue reading Taiwan earthquake