A Travellerspoint blog

A Winter Trip to Finland

Finland for an anniversary

sunny 55 °F

After a long day of flying, flight delays, and more delays, we made it home from NM. We made it home, just in time to get unpacked and re-packed.

Years ago I saw an article and photos of glass igloos in Finland, up in the Arctic Circle. I decided it would be a really great place to celebrate one of our anniversaries and maybe see the northern lights. Up until now, we’ve always been too busy to go, but now the time seemed to be right.

Several months ago we cashed in a bunch of our frequent flier miles for tickets to Finland. That in itself became a challenge when Turkish Air changed our flight from Istanbul to the US to leave before we’d actually arrive in Istanbul from Helsinki.

Turkey was having political issues at the time and we were a little nervous about flying in and out of Turkey anyway so impossible flights were a good excuse for a change. I called United and when they realized that the flights were impossible, changes were made with no charge to us. Now we will fly Helsinki to Munich to the US.

We leave on Monday, you’d think that we’d be ready for this trip, having known and planned it for months. But no, it is being put together even now.

First, we need to go from Helsinki up to the Arctic Circle. We thought it would be fun to work our way up, visiting cities on the way. We’d planned to drive but after reading warnings on Trip Advisor we decided the train was best.

I got online and after looking for things to do, I found a site that will plan trips depending on what one wants to do. I took their ideas and thought it would make a good itinerary for us.

We will stay in Helsinki for 2 days and were lucky to get tickets to a Sibelius concert at the Music Hall. We got the last 2 tickets available.
From Helsinki we will travel by train to Turku- A Christmas City, Tampere- when the lake is frozen people walk out on the ice to a café, Kuopio, Oulu and then Rovaniemi. Rovaniemi is the city for Santa Claus, it also sits on the border of the Arctic Circle, ½ on and ½ off.

I went to buy Eurail passes and found that they must be delivered to our house prior to leaving. As there was no time for delivery I called the toll free #. The lady asked for our itinerary and as I sat there looking at the map of train stops I selected the town of Oulu. Oulu was not on the online guide but it has a train stop which is good enough.

From Rovaniemi, we will take a bus to Kaksluttanen, where the glass igloos are. We have reservations there for 2 days. Hopefully, we will get to go on a Reindeer Safari and a Sleigh Ride. And we are hoping for northern lights.
Most of our hotels are free nights from points which is nice. I still have 3 nights to book and will get that done before we leave.

So much to do and so little time.

Posted by Miss Chris 11:08 Archived in USA Tagged winter travel finland train_travel Comments (0)

A Last Day in Taos

Last of the family time for now

semi-overcast 30 °F

Our last full day together in Taos, time to pack in food and fun.

After a huge breakfast at the Taos Diner, we were off to the square to do some major walking and a little shopping. Dale and I needed a new ristra for our front door and a new one for cooking, maybe more fabric for pillows for the couch, and whatever struck our fancy.

We then returned to the square after giving the grandkids a bit of lunch. We’d wanted to take them to Michaels Kitchen, for the best sopapillas in Taos. After walking for 10 min we arrived at Michaels only to find it closed until Dec 16th.

We decided that we’d just walk straight over to the toy store, Whirl, where there was a Christmas party going on for the kids. Kids ran around, made crafty ornaments and ate cookies.

By the time Clayton and Jen joined us we were ready to stuff in some dinner at La Cueva, yet another favorite gluten free restaurant.
From dinner, we came back to the resort as we had tickets to see Robert Mirabal.

Robert Mirabal is a story-teller, whose stories are told thru the music. It was an amazing show. He plays his flutes, tells stories and his daughters accompany him in song. There were not many people in the audience so we have a very intimate and moving evening.

Posted by Miss Chris 20:48 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip outdoor new_mexico taos grandkids Comments (0)

Thanksgiving in Taos

Thanks with the grandkids

semi-overcast 40 °F

Thanksgiving Day, a time for a celebration for sure. And we showed our thanks by drinking New Mexico champagne with our kids.
We decided prior that we were not interested in a Thanksgiving Day brunch or dinner. I could only eat the meat and kids could only eat the veggies; not worth the money in our case.

Jen and I started our day with a massage at the spa. I just wanted a relaxing massage and got just that, with a arnica lotion on my sore neck.
We’d wanted to take grandkids to the Taos Pueblo and to the Rio Grande Bridge, so we piled into 2 cars and went off to the Taos Pueblo first. Clayton had vivid memories of our Christmas Eve celebration there when he was about 11 years old. The sky was blue over the west Pueblo and stormy over the east. Great for some photos. Grandkids ran around like kids do everywhere. Their Native American was coming out.


By the time we got to the Rio Grande Bridge, Fynn was sound asleep. As I’ve been there lots of times I stayed in the car with him while Dale went out with the rest onto the bridge. The bridge is really a great place, there is a walk way on both sides and little places to lookout down to the bottom, 565’ down.IMG_20161124_143113292.jpg


Dinner was at the bar at Doc Martins, just nachos and drinks.

Posted by Miss Chris 19:45 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip thanksgiving new_mexico taos rio_grande grandkids Comments (0)

Back to New Mexico

Thanksgiving trip to New Mexico

sunny 40 °F

Several months ago, our daughter-in-law, Jen suggested that we spend Thanksgiving in Taos. She’d never been to Taos but heard us speak of it plenty. She then found the El Monte Resort and it looked like a nice place to stay and play. We reserved rooms for our 2 families.

After flying most of the day we finally arrived in Taos after 11pm. We got into our room, a small casita, the equivalent of a small cabin but New Mexico style.

We’d brought a bottle of wine and a pumpkin pie dessert from home. Those were perfect for winding down in our living room. We got the fire going and relaxed.

We had to meet Clayton and Jen early as they had to drive to Santa Fe for a cooking class we’d given them for a present. We meet at the restaurant at the resort, but as I suspected it would be, there was nothing I could eat. That was fine, the Taos Diner was only a 15-minute walk and they have most everything New Mexican gluten free.

We got the grandkids all bundled up and walked to the Taos Diner. It took a little longer with Fynn stopping to have a conversation with himself periodically.
After a good filling breakfast, we walked to the Plaza. Kids were not interested in the history, rather it was more fun to play tag and a sort of hide and seek tag game. Dale and I took turns running around with the kids.
After some pool play back at the resort, we took the kids to Orlando’s for dinner, another Taos favorite of ours. We were able to introduce the kids to real chili sauce, pure from the dried pods. I need to learn how to make a sauce like this.

Posted by Miss Chris 09:09 Archived in USA Tagged food road_trip walking outdoors new_mexico grandkids new_mexico_cooking Comments (0)

The End of a Road Trip

Alas, the end of one trip so we can pack for another.

overcast 60 °F

We’d originally planned to go from Hovenweep on to Arches, Capital Reef, Monument Valley and then home. We had wanted to visit more parks in Utah then got the idea for these from an article I saw.


We have been to several of the parks listed in the article and, although, we’d love to go back, knew that we’d have little time now.

Dale and I sat down during a rest stop break and mapped out what we could actually do considering the time we can spend on our way home. Oops, there went Arches and Capital Reef, chopped. That left Monument for a day, which is west of Hovenweep.

On the way to Hovenweep I checked the weather. A front was moving in and would bring freezing temps. When we got to Hovenweep, I checked the weather again, this time it said that high winds would accompany the storm. I started checking various cities along our route home and 40+mph wind gusts were forecasted.

In addition to the high winds forecasted, we were also out of fresh water in the RV. Even though the campground was open Hovenweep had no dump or fresh water for RV’s. And, by the way, because it was off season, the campground was free.

We decided that due to the high winds we’d take a safer route home and skip the rest of the parks. As we drove down the hill into Albuquerque that evening, we remembered why we loved that city. But also laughed as we will be flying there in only a few days.

Time to get home, unpack this rig and pack up for our trip next week.

Posted by Miss Chris 11:07 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip travel national_parks rv hovenweep Comments (0)

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