A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about walking

Off to Oulu

Continuing on north

overcast 15 °F

And so the train moves on, quickly to the north. On towards the Arctic Circle.
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It was dark when we boarded our train at 7:50am. The train started and as it moved quickly thru the dark, past small towns, we felt like we were in the Polar Express movie. As the sun came up we were entranced by the trees, completely iced over and glistening in the sun. This is a winter wonderland like nothing we have ever seen.IMG_20161212_112703687.jpgIMG_20161212_114801011.jpg

It was a 4-hour ride to Oulu and we did not know what to expect as every day we’ve had some experience entirely different than any other.

We were starving after checking into the hotel but the sun was still up and we thought we’d see the Baltic Ocean during the light. We walked down on the slippery sidewalks, I was hanging onto Dale. We had to laugh, if one went down, we both went down.
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There were no good photo ops but we did duck into one of the old markets. The building has little shops lining the sides and down the middle. Shops sell knit goods, meat including bear, fish of all kinds, coffee, and food to take away (food ready to eat).
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We then walked back to the smaller square and found a restaurant recommended in the guide book but lunch was finished for the day. So back to the old market for some Salmon Soup and coffee.

We walked more and were hungry still so went to a restaurant recommended by a woman, “The Flying Reindeer”. Of course, we had to have a sirloin of Reindeer!

We found a little bar, also in the guide book. One that was supposed to have a huge fireplace. We popped in and the bartender recommended a Finnish drink, not quite as strong as Vodka. They started a roaring fire and told us to enjoy it. As it was only 3F, we were feeling very smug.
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Posted by Miss Chris 20:29 Archived in Finland Tagged winter walking outside train_travel oulu winter_in_finland finnish_food Comments (0)

Visiting Kuopio

A day in Kuopio, Finland

overcast 18 °F

Another train ride working our way north. This time the stop was Kuopio.
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We had a longer walk, about 10 minutes, to our hotel. The walk was made longer after I slipped on the ice. But with my pants torn at the knee, I looked very cool! (cold?) Torn pants are the look of some of the young people.

We asked at the desk where to go and where the locals eat. The two people recommended that we walk to the lake and then marked on the map where two restaurants were. They said that the hotel also had 2 good restaurants.

The walk by the lake was beautiful but funny to see boats frozen in place for the winter. We walked until we were way too hungry. Winds were also picking up making it really cold. IMG_20161211_133435896.jpgIMG_20161211_133902797.jpgIMG_20161211_133911761.jpgIMG_20161211_134655677.jpg

On the way to the restaurant area, we were passing the cathedral. We decided to step inside and blow our dripping noses. We wanted to warm up a bit too. http://www.spottinghistory.com/view/215/kuopio-cathedral/

We stepped inside the cathedral and in the choir loft, above the door, we heard music, “Little Drummer Boy”. It became apparent that it was a rehearsal so we thought we’d sit down, warm up and hear the music. Within minutes people started streaming in and within 10 minutes the whole place was packed.

I went to the rear and picked up a brochure but, of course, we couldn’t read it as it was all in Finnish. There were numbers 1-24 listed on the front page so we thought that maybe it was about programs every night until Christmas. A lady sat down next to me and started to talk but I had to tell her that I did not speak Finnish. Alas.

The program started and people sang along, the lady next to me pointed to the song they were singing. We did not recognize most of the songs except for “Little Drummer Boy”, “Away In a Manger” and “Beautiful Savior”. Some of the songs were performed by a men’s chorus in the choir loft, this included the “Little Drummer Boy”. Otherwise, the audience joined in accompanied by the organ. A part of the rendition of “Beautiful Savior” is attached.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWRYdZEdvDg&t=1s
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We walked to the center square but winds were blowing and the restaurants did not have anything we wanted to eat. We decided to walk back to the hotel for dinner and sauna.

Posted by Miss Chris 03:08 Archived in Finland Tagged winter walking outdoors singing kuopio winter_in_finland kuopio_finland kuopio_cathedral christmas_songs Comments (0)

Today it's Tampere

A day in Tampere

sunny 18 °F

We thought it was cold, but it has gotten colder, more snow on the ground and less light in the day.
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We hopped the train to Tampere, arriving in the late morning. This train was another 1-1/2 hour ride and, really nice was that the station was only a block from our hotel. Easy walk.

We were lucky that a room was ready for us when we arrived, and we were upgraded to an Executive Suite. Especially nice, since this was all paid for with our points.

The hotel clerk gave us a map and pointed out a restaurant that locals love, a good walk away but easy walking. And off we were onto another experience.

The walk to the restaurant goes thru the town square and the New Christmas Market. We walked up the main street, crossed the bridge and there was the town square. Some beautiful old buildings surround the square.
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Up a hill, from the square is an old building that was built 1877 for a cotton mill. The restaurant is in what was the weaving area. The restaurant is a brewery and I was guessing that I’d find some wine to drink. But no, they not only brew regular beer but also gluten free beer. What a treat. http://www.plevna.fi/?page_id=263IMG_20161210_162757107.jpg

We found just what we wanted, Finnish foods, the Cream of Salmon Soup, that we’ve fallen in love with. We also had a meatball dish and a stir-fry, what we’d call a potato and meat scramble at home.
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As we ate, we were talking about how this salmon soup was more like what Dale’s mom use to make. We then realized that we have never seen salmon soup on a menu before Finland, but then, we are very close to Russia. When our dinner arrived one of the salads was a pickled beet salad, like Dale’s mom use to make. That made us wonder if she grew up with those dishes as her family did not come from the Russia area. Or if she learned to make them from Dale’s dad’s side, who came from Russia. Wish she was here so we could discuss the food with her.

A little further up the hill was the “old” Christmas Market. The old buildings are, for the most part, smaller. One building, selling various items, appeared to be a barn with a horse stall in the rear right side. Sheep were in the rear left side and the children were petting the sheep.
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It was a nice walk back to the hotel in time for a Finnish Sauna.

Posted by Miss Chris 00:55 Archived in Finland Tagged food walking finland tampere brewery christmas_market winter_in_finland plevna Comments (0)

On to Turku

Another stop on our trip to the Arctic Circle

overcast 25 °F

We wanted to hop on an early morning train, but alas, we took too long getting packed up so didn’t arrive in Turku until early afternoon. The cab driver to our hotel gave us some ideas for dinner and things to do.
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We quickly put our stuff in our room, asked the front desk to call a cab, but before we were off the lady gave us a map and circled the places to go and where to walk. In the cab, we were listening to rock music, like Penny Lane, in Finnish.

We had 2 things we wanted to do, go to Aboa Vetus recommended by the guide book and eat dinner at Foija, which was recommended by the cab driver.

We thought we’d eat a late lunch first then see the museum as the museum was open until 7pm and after 5pm the restaurant was likely going to be packed with reservations because of Christmas parties.

The restaurant has 2 levels, one on the street and one in the basement. The basement is very old, some of the brick walls are over 200 years old. The waiter suggested salmon and vodka, a wonderful choice for a starter.
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We ate our meal then walked to the Aboa Vetus. http://www.aboavetusarsnova.fi/en/exhibitions/aboa-vetus-permanent-exhibition
It was dark by then but we found our way. The Aboa Vetus is a museum consisting of ruins, some as early as the 13th century, existing under the present day city. Being interested in Archeology, this was of a huge interest to me and we both really enjoyed it.

There is an art museum, built on top of the ruins which contains various types of art. We went thru those exhibits as well with the time we had before closing.
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One striking exhibit is a sketch of the city of Turku. http://www.aboavetusarsnova.fi/en/exhibitions/okko-poylio-vartiovuori
The sketch is very moving but very dark.

Unfortunately, the Christmas Market was closed up by the time we walked back to the taxi queue. But it was cold (about 18F) and we were ready to go back to the hotel and have some wine.
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Posted by Miss Chris 00:36 Archived in Finland Tagged food walking finland turku outdoors train_travel winter_travel_finland Comments (0)

Helsinki Day 2

Another day in Helsinki

overcast 34 °F

After oversleeping and missing our free breakfast, we had to rush to the Cathedral at Senate Square for the free noon concert.

We arrived at the Square before noon and were surprised to find a group of people on the steps singing. We were under the impression that the concert would be inside the Cathedral, but it was outside and not at noon.

More people, both young and old, joined the chorus then Saint Nicholas and young kids joined in. They sang songs that we did not understand the words to, but we enjoyed them anyway. Then the group finished with Finlandia. We think we’ve heard it performed 4 times now, but then we are in Finland.
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We later came back to the Christmas Market as there were some candles that I wanted to take home. After we bought the candles we discussed whether we should have some Reindeer Sausage, we were not very hungry. I thought we should try it just because we were there. While we were at it, we decided to have more Gluhwein and some traditional Eastern Finnish pie.
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The food was so good and with stomachs full of food and insides warm from Gluhwein we walked off to the Music Hall for the evening concert.
We got to the concert hall, Dale in his best Levis and hiking boots, I in my best cords and warm LLBean boots, all dressed in our best. Fortunately, we passed through the people dressed for a concert. No one seemed to pay attention, or at least they were polite.

We did feel very glamorous drinking champagne with Christmas spices during the intermission. But it was easy to feel glamorous inside of the beautiful music hall.
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Even though we couldn’t see the stage when we sat back in our seats, the music was pure and sweet. We just enjoyed.

Posted by Miss Chris 00:24 Archived in Finland Tagged helsinki walking music outdoors sibelius christmas_market music_hall Comments (0)

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