Holidays in Finland
We had our autumn holidays in Finland and what is the best thing to do when you have holidays. Traveling off course! So that’s what we did. This blog will be written by Isabell from Germany, Sanne, Lieke and Meike from The Netherlands. Everyone has written something about their experience during the holidays. Isabell and Sanne went to Sweden to spend their holidays there and Lieke went to Estonia (Talinn) and Meike went to Russia (Sint-Petersburg).
Off to Sweden!
After having had adventures in Finland for six weeks, we were ready for something new. So we decided to leave this lovely country and take the ferry to Sweden! The boat trip was amazing. We sailed through the stunning islands on the coast at sunrise and through the archipelago of Åland during the afternoon.
Although we expected Sweden to be very much like Finland, we soon found that both the countries are quite different. Not only was nature in Sweden (slightly) different from that in Finland, the people turned out to be different too. Only when we arrived in Stockholm, we realized that Helsinki and Finland in general have quite a special atmosphere. Only after we left the country, we found out that Fins are in general quieter than Swedes, Germans, Dutchies or other Europeans. We met a man on the ferry who told us that the history of Finland has something to do with this. We have not researched it yet, but it is definitely food for thought!
We stayed in Stockholm for two nights. Although the city was nice, we were longing to go to the countryside again, so we did. We decided that we wanted to go to Fulufjället National Park, a park which we chose because its landscape is so different from the Finnish scenery. We thought we could hitchhike there, since hitchhiking in Finland works very well. After we had waited for five hours in Stockholm, however, we realized that the Swedes might be a bit less open for it than the Fins. We decided to take a train out of the city and try it again. Although we did get a few rides this time, we did not reach the park by night, as we had hoped. So we picked out a stunning spot along the highway and we camped there, with the beautiful background noises of passing cars.
The next day, we took the bus to the National park. Or so we thought; the nearest bus stop was 30 kilometres from the park though. So we walked. And walked. And walked. We, again, found a beautiful place to camp, this time on a parking place next to the road. Luckily, an employee from Fulufjället National Park gave us a ride to the park the next day, and we finally reached our destination!
The park was absolutely amazing. We will not even try to describe it with words, we will just illustrate it with a few of the pictures we took.
The whole journey was an adventure education experience for us and we learned a lot from it. Hitchhiking, for example, taught us to be patient and to control our emotions. Because our trip had some unexpected turns, we also learned to accept it if not everything happens according to the plan. We learned much by doing, and we even practiced our camping and hiking skills! It was a lot of fun!
Off to Russia!
My name is Meike and I’m from The Netherlands. During my Erasmus in Finland I went to Russia to spend my days off. I chose for Russia because I will never get the change to go there. From Finland it’s so much easier to go there without visa troubles. I booked my trip to Sint Petersburg with the organization TimeTravels. This organization organize trips specially for students. So that was for us, Erasmus students, a really nice opportunity to go. So now I will tell you something about my experience!
We left Finland by boat, it was a really big cruise ship. The boat was called Princess Anastasia. I never been on a cruise ship so I was a bit nervous. I couldn’t expect how it would be to sleep on a boat and how to party on a boat. Yes, we could party on the boat. There were different places on the boat where you could eat, drink or party. After a nice show on the boat, there was time to party!
The next day we had to wake up early because we had to leave the boat on time. We were ready to go off the boat but we had to wait very very long. We arrive in Russia. They are really strict at the borders, so it took a really long time that we could go over the borders. There was a long line in front of the passport control. After 5 hours in total we finely arrive Saint-Petersburg.
After a short tour through Saint-Petersburg we arrived at the hostel. The hostel was totally new. I never slept in a hostel like that. Big kitchen, big rooms, big bathrooms witch we only had to share with 4 and WIFI on every room.
When we arrived at the hostel we had to prepare for the ballet. With a small group we went to the ballet, Swanlake. I think it was impressive. I never been to ballet in the Netherlands but because Russia is well known about their good dancers, I really want to visit it. It was worth it!
So after a nice sleep in the hostel, we woke up early because we wanted to join the free walking tour. During the tour we got a lot of information about the history of Russia and we saw almost the whole center of Saint-Petersburg. Even when the sun was shining my hand and feet were really cold and they were turning blue. That was the sign to go inside. After a nice (cheap) lunch, we continue exploring the city on our own. We visit some highlights in the city and off course we took a look at the souvenirs.
After walking for the whole day it was time to eat. We went to the hard rock café, it was placed next to the hostel. We ate a lot of spareribs and drank a few cocktails and off course we could go away without drinking a shot of vodka. That was the beginning of a party night in Saint-Petersburg. In the hostel we continued drinking nice drinks and afterwards we went to the club. The club was open for only all the students who were traveling with TimeTravel. That was a really big group!
The next day we woke up early too because we had to check-out. This day we were travelling back to Helsinki but first we visit the Hermitage museum. This is a really big museum placed in the Winter Palace. In the museum you saw a lot of gold, Russia is well known about their gold buildings and architects. And afterward is was already time to travel back. We arrived at the cruise again, but this time the party was not that big anymore. Everybody was tired of the trip and some students had to travel further to Talinn by boat. So they needed their sleep. So when we arrived in Helsinki the holiday was over.
Back to school again!
Off to Talinn!
Everyone went their own way during the autumn holidays. What did we have wild ideas and cool destinations on the schedule.
So many of us went to visit the neighboring country Estonia. The capital Tallinn is from Helsinki only two hours by boat. Tallinn has an old city center where you feel like you have entered a time machine. You think you are in medieval spheres. Wonderful to immerse yourself for a day or even more.
The city has a lot of history, during a guided walk we have heard a lot of information about the city. This was very interesting! Because did you know that Estonia was in the hands of: Denmark, Sweden, Germany and Russia?! And besides that there are many interesting and beautiful facts told. The city has had a city wall for a long time and parts of it have been preserved and transformed into a museum. At one of the many viewpoints you almost feel like a prince or princess who can be admired to his or her city. The magical colors of autumn and the last rays of the sun have certainly helped with this image, but even without it it’s pretty nice 😉
Besides the beautiful views, beautiful buildings and the medieval feeling. Tallinn is also worth a visit for cozy eateries where they also serve delicious food! All in all Tallinn is a cozy and nice city to be and definitely a must!
Once back on campus, we were flooded with holiday stories! Delicious. We are on half of our education, which means that our Finnish adventure will be over again in 6 weeks. Time flies! Fortunately, we still have a lot of beautiful things the prospect. Starting with the schools on the move project that we started last week! You will read more about that in the next blog!!
Foto made by Laura Verstraete
Foto made by Laura Verstraete