“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” Joshua 1:9

December 21, 2013

Day One: Lapland Trip Lempaala to Oulu

20th December 2013

Well, yesterday was the day we set out to travel by car from my grandma's cottage in Lempaala to Oulu. By we, I mean my grandparents, auntie, uncle and cousins along with Harri. We started our day when the alarm rang out at 5:15 a.m. I have to say, I was amazed at how fast everyone became awake after around 6 to 7 hours of sleep! From then on the day went so fast that it went by as a blue, snowy blur...

The previous day Harri and I had left school early and got a train at 5:13 p.m. from Helsinki to Lempaala for the holidays. We had been so tired that by the time we got on the train Harri lost the ticket which he was sitting on. After we retrieved it, we talked about nonsence topics and enjoyed the absent view from the darkness. Anywayz, needless to say we enjoyed that train trip:)

The next day, Friday, we woke up and were dragged into the car by an invisible magnet with Lapland written on it. We were all asleep, and found it difficult to stay awake. However, we did all managed to find the wonder in the trip.

The darkness of the day made me annoyed. I was prepared for reading and knitting, but not for reconnaisance. Sitting and doing nothing is hard for me, but I listened to some christmas carols and was fine. When the sun did finally rise it was around 10:30 a.m., and I was bored. Not that I was finding it difficult to find something to do, which I was, but because I was tired out. I started knitting, but had to stop because I was really not sure if what I was dong was correct, and I couldn't be bothered to check:)

Luckily, we stopped along the way a couple of times for bathroom breaks and food. We all had a large buffet at an ABC roadhouse, and were full enough to continue another couple of hours to our hotel in Oulu. The scenery was gorgeuos, as always, which Ella complemented by saying "It's like a dream". Well, in truth it is a dream, because Mummu has dreamt of this moment for as long as I can remember...

Ella, my beautiful cousin.

Finally, we arrived at our amazing hotel. All-in-all, I think it is safe to say that we were all in awe. Kai kept jumping on the snow saying "Laura, come here. Look at the snow, It's so deep!" I think it would be a lot for a seven year old to take in:)

Kai, my other handsome cousin.

Eden Sokos Hotel in Oulu. It was very child-friendly, because we found a rubber duck on the desk in our room. Can you believe that it was only 30 euro for both Harri and I for extra beds in the room and breakfast?!?

We had checked in, been to the room, and put our swimmers one by the time Mummu decided she was sleepy. 'Bout time Mummu!!:) We had seen the pictures online, but nothing had prepared us for the vast area displaying a huge pool packed with slides and spas. I was overjoyed, and we headed straight to the slide :D As eigtheen year olds do...

Well, that was about it. After swimming we ate dinner, watched 'The Paradise', and went to sleep. The next time we were in the car we would be off to Santa land in Rovaniemi, and finally our rental in Levi.

Now you are uptodate,



July 17, 2013

Norway Trip: Day Sixteen (Last Day) Helsinki!!

16th July 2013

Yay!! We are one step closer to reaching our final destination!!

We woke up that morning feeling groggy, but excited about our ventures:) Over breakfast we discussed how much we had seen and how we were going to remember all the good times we had. I told them I have this blog, and they all agreed this was a great thing to do. I agree too:) I am so glad I did this.

Well, with the final day comes emotions: happiness with a twist of sad. The final hours were spent mostly enjoying the views on the top deck of the horizon of Finland and the many pirate ship like boats dotted throughout the sea:) I'd like to say that they were pirate ships when they came closer, but they ended up being sailing boats:( It was extremely windy, and I was suremy hair wold hold the "wind-swept" look for the rest of the day. Nm.

Finally, the door was opening while we despirately squinted at the returning daylight. The first thing I noticed was this magnificent building, and then the warming thought that this is HOME. The returning satisfacting of this incredible trip was gone until we arrived at our apartment and sifted through the many pictures we had taken. The bliss when I hugged my parents was so homely, and the becconing of my own room. If not for the trip, the coming home is the bit that makes it all worth while:)

I would like to thank those people who have shared this wonderful trip along with me through this blog. However, I would totally reccomend for you to go through what we went through and find your own way around Sweden and Norway! Because you cannot show everything through pictures and words, and that is something that is so special, and the memories are something you will remember for the rest of your life.

I feel like I need to bottle up all the memories of not just the things we have seen, but the funny little touches like when my grandmother laughed at my massaging or my brother running up the hills with me. The spray of the waterfall in Sweden, and the stomach churning, windy Trollstigen road. And wholey the drive that took my grandfather to a whole new level of driving!

Thankyou again, and have a truly awesome coming weeks!

Now, you are completely and utterly uptodate.



Day Fifteen: Sweden, Eskilstuna to Stockholm

15th July 2013

We left the Elite hotel reluctanty. The breakfast was great, and we enjoyed the flat-screen TV with multiple channels:) I think that is part of the reason Harri took so long to pack...

Anyway, after that we had smooth sailing, or driving in this case. Eskilstuna is a lovely town, and the drive out of Eskilstuna was very enjoyable. Unlike other trips through Norway we did not have to go on any ferries, but tunnels were of course the used alternative. However, there were not as many tunnels in Sweden as in Norway:D Yay!!

Along the way we saw many yellow fields, and expensive cars:) It was just the highway, so we didn't get to go through any little towns, but it was only one and a half hours. I was annoyed to know that I only got through two chapters in the disance we had to travel. I did stop along the way in some places which would explain the lack of reading, but I was still annoyed:z

This is when we started getting closer to Stockholm.

We parked our car close to the area for Silja Line ships to Helsinki. We were going to take an overnight trip from Stockholm to Helsinki, that way we would get there the following day! Home:)) We took the metro from the docking area to the city and went shopping! Well, I then went shopping, while the rest of us were too tired to feel the rush of shopping in a big city. Ah well... We did eat a lovely meal:)

At around 3:40 we drove onto the ship and found our cabin for the night. The first thing we did was to get something to eat and check our mail and stuff on the internet. It's amazing how much we rely on the internet these days...

On the ship there was not a lack of entertainment at all! There were two people standing on stilts, three people playing instruments, shops and game areas. It was a bit overwhelmin:) Mummu and I then went shopping, but we didn't find anything. We had a buffet dinner then. The room was seriously a km long! It was full of tables offering salads, mains and desserts. There was even sushi!! The food was scrumdidliumptious, and afterward I was truly full:) We went ot the top deck and watched the islands go back till we were so sleepy that we absolutely needed to go to bed and fall asleep.

Musical entertainment on board.

The only problem here was that the rooms were so squished together that we could here people talking in from all sides in our cabin, and so we all had the most difficulty trying to get to sleep that night. I myself woke up at least ten times during the night! It is safe to say that we all did not have a very refreshing sleep the last night on our trip:(

Now you are uptodate.



July 14, 2013

Day Fourteen: Oslo to Eskilstuna

14th July 2013

This morning the breakfast was delicious, and we quickly left the hotel. It was a nice feeling to be driving through the streets of Oslo, but I definetely want to go back to Oslo sometime. It is a lovely city, and there would be so much more to see and do:)

The drive was nothing special really. The scenery started morphing into flat areas an hour outside of Oslo, and we started seeing more yellow fields and farming areas. We stopped at a Viking museum to have a Gulasch soup, and off we went again. I thought Gulasch soup was from Germany? There was also Greek pie there, so I guess they had many international dishes:) Oh, and I finished the Nora Roberts book! The ending was so lovely:)P It was very powerful and controlling though, because we stopped on the way for a break but I couldn't stop reading. Exellently written!

Passing through from Norway to Sweden!!

After we passed the border I did not feel like starting the new book I had previously bought, so I started to graphically design the photos I had taken along the way on my journey:)) Here is one I played with:

We arrived at the hotel, and we were so pleased to hear the friendliness in the receptionist's voice, and to find our lovely family room. I cannot wait to go to sleep now. I feel like I am very drained from this trip...

Tomorrow, Stockholm!

Now you are uptodate:)

Laura. xoxo

Day Thirteen: Oslo

13th July 2013

I don't know how I ever slept last night... It was soo hot and the people outside kept talking as loudly as possible! I am not very happy with this hotel at all... Fed up. Yesterday we washed some clothes and today I wanted to use the iron. I do know how to work an iron, but I could not open the silly thing to pour water inside for steam! AYAYAY.

On the bright side this morning the breakfast really was superb. The only thing missing was Nutella:) We then started walking towards the center of Oslo, because we were located in the surrounding area. We asked someone on the way how we should get there and he told us to take the metro. The metros in Europe are great:) The metro took us right into the middle, we walked up to be faced with the National Theature (we think it must be) and a gorgous circular water fountain.

We were then given wrong directions to the information center. Nice. We eventually realised so, and walked in the opposite direction:) We made it and bought ourselves an Oslo Pass. This we found to be really worth while. With this pass you can get into the museums for free, discounts for restaurants and park in the city for free. We could also take a ferry to the little island off the coast of the mainland for free! The person who helped us purchase the Oslo Pass said that we should take the trip to island and go to some museams there. We thought that sounded good, and fortunately we got the last four places on the ferry to the island;) Amazing how much luck we have had!

On the island there were many exclusive places, and Harri said that one day he would live there:) The first place we went to was the Norweigan Folk Museum. There we found some amazing fashion and equipment used in the olden days. We also found some crazy new fashion styles.

After that I was starved, so we ate next to cows who kept mooing. It was very sweet:) Then we went to the Viking ships museum. The ships there are billions of centuries old, and they used to bury people inside the ships. They are still discovering new skeletons today in the wrecks they have recovered. Spooky:))

Funnily enough we all felt really tired, so we got the ferry back to the mainland and ate wonderful muffins and hot beverages:) The cups were so cute though, they were like noodle bowls, and they didn't have a handle. It was surprisingly easy to drink from.

I was willing to go shopping, and so luckily we found the mall street (cause Harri was planning on us going to an art gallery) that looked positively lovely and so welcoming:) I was truly happy, though, when I found a lovely bestseller novel to my liking. I am half way through the Nora Roberts book, so I needed to find a new one. The long trip home is still ever present:)

I will be very glad to leave this hotel for a better one tomorrow! haha...

Now you are uptodate.



July 12, 2013

Day Twelve: Myrland to Oslo

12th July 2013

The weather today was again perfect. Sunny, and even a bit warm! I was prepared to wear a skirt this morning, but the morning was still cool so I boiled later in the day from wearing three quarter length pants:)) The trip had the most amazing scenery, and I think that as we were more in the center of Norway, rather than near the coast, we did not see as many mountains.

I was allowed to sleep in abit, and so I tried to make the most of it. After we had breakfast we cleaned up the place a little: just vaccumed and cleaned the bathroom. Saved ourselves 200 krona:) Altogether that cabin was a little less than a pair of shoes. Really, what more do you need? There was a fireplace, tv, sitting area, fully-equiped kitchen, two bedrooms with bunk beds and a bathroom. It was quite cosy:))

The scenery along the way.

A vikings church built in the 1100s. We had to stop because we passed this building on the way from the motorway and Harri said that it was the picture in the tourist guide. So, it was a sight to see... Apparently:) The church was actually in this viking water park area, so we had to pay a small fee. But it was worth it I think. The church used to be yellow, and is made of wood and tar.

At this place Harri and I also went down a zip-line. It wasn't very long, but there was lovely views. We also went through these houses that Vikings must have used, probably a copy. It was enjoyable, and I would have like to stayed longer to swim, but we didn't have time.

After a few hours we got to Oslo, and found our hotel. The hotel was nice, but not as nice as I thought it would be.

Tomorrow, Oslo attractions!

Now, you are uptodate:)



Day Eleven: Bergen to Myrland

11th July 2013

Haha.. I am not sure what this place is actually called:) It's near to Geilo, but the area is so little that it is not on most maps.

Today was a lovely day, even though we woke up to workers knocking on the outside of the wall... The hotel we were staying, Best Western Hordaheim, is under construction till mid-July. It was really annoying yesterday when we found out that the room we were staying in was actually a corner one that would have had a balcony if not for the construction:(

After a hearty breakfast we walked through the old Bergen, or Bryggen, and stopped at a few shops a long the way. I found this really cute boutique selling bright kitchenware and stationary there; I ever so wich I could have bought a teapot! I saw one, but it was quite expensive...

Bryggen busy street:)

The cutest boutique.

St. Mary's church. The oldest church in Bergen, built in 1100s! Unfortunately it is currently under renovation...

Now to leave Bergen. It was soo sad, it is such an amazing place! I sure want to go back some time. Maybe next year, or even christmas : D The roads out of Bergen were good, but then further out the roads began to wind around in circles in figures of eight. We stopped at this little shopping center somewhere there and ate a lovely lunch. On the road again, and I finished my crocheting!

I am very pleased with the end result. Thankyou google for this awesome pattern! Without google I have no idea how I would survive...

We somehow arrived at this desertland place on the top of a hill, I think it may have been a national park. It was really isolated and fresh. In my opinion, after a week you would go crazy living there! Luckily we were not staying there, just passing:) It actually ended up being that the hostel did not give us an accurate address, and so we had to ask someone for directions; They then told us to drive another 55 minutes! We had thought we were much much closer than that! Oh well, we will just have to sleep in. hehe..

Tomorrow will be a 4 hour drive to Oslo! I can then start Nora Roberts!! Yay:PD

Now you are uptodate.



PS. Oh, and there is no internet connection here, so this post will probs be a day late.

July 10, 2013

Day Ten: Voss to Bergen

10th July 2013

Today we had a nice day. The weather was very welcoming and sunny. Much better than yesterday. I woke up to the sunlight streaming through the window. We checked out at around 10, because we wanted to get to Bergen by midday. The scenery was amazing, as always, and we did get to Bergen at 12.

The place we stayed at. It was a really cute little village, and in winter you can ski on the mountains. The receptionist said they get about 2 metres of snow some winters:) The rooms were quite a good price, and the kitchen was well-equiped. Ahhh... now to civilisation and breakfast in Bergen:)

Bergen! We firstly ate our pre-packed lunch, and went up this lift thingy you see in the picture. This is one of the main things my father said to do in Bergen. He had been before, and so he knew what to see. It gives you a panoramic view over the nine huge mountains around Bergen, the sea and Norway's unique houses. It is truly worth your time.

The hotel receptionists we talked to when we checked in told us that the walk down is very scenic and is only a 'light climb', but that was however not the case. It was quite steep, and in some parts we did get lost because the signs were not too good, but it was nice. Be ready to take out an hour of your schedule for this, though. The views we saw were very pretty, and I thought that it was completely worth it!

We walked from the top right hand corner of the mountain all the way to the bottom of the :)

We then had fish and chips for dinner at the market, had a very 'water conservative' shower (the shower did not really 'shower' at all) It was more like drops of water)) and let our feet rest. Tomorrow we will walk through the old streets, plan our way back to Finland and drive to Geilo. Geilo is half way between Bergen and Oslo.

Now you are uptodate:)



July 9, 2013

Day Nine: Maloy to Voss

9th July 2012

Yay! Again the bunk bed:) haha. In these types of places, cabins, you have to clean it yourself before you leave, or pay extra. We chose to clean ourselves, but since it was such a small cabin it did not take longer than five minutes. We saved ourselves 20 euro:) I had made sandwiches for us to take on the trip, so we packed those in the car to have for later. I quickly said farewell to the top bunk, and we all got in the car. Oh, and it was pouring with rain. Grr.

As it was raining, the start of the drive was very much tiring. The windows where quite foggy, so I finished my book by the half way mark:) hehe. The best part of the trip was three quarters of the way to Voss. Tom Tom told us that we had to ride a ferry over the fjord, it was really fun. In many places in Norway you have to go on ferries, but this was the longest ferry ride. It was a nice fjord:)

Then on the other side we stopped at a grocery store, since we would be making dinner, breakfast and lunch for tomorrow. After that the scenery started drastically changing. To begin we went through a long tunnel going upwards, it might have been up a mountain. Then the terrain was amazing! Unlike the other scenery we had seen so far in Norway:) Nice change.

We even met sheep! Haha.. We stopped to take some pictures along the way and a sheep came up to our car and bahhed at us, so we bahhed back. It was so cute:)

We arrived at our place, which was a ski hotel. It was extremely cheap, and we were not expecting much, but it was like walking into a tree house. Ahhh... Now we can relax before Bergen.

Now you are uptodate:)



July 8, 2013

Day Eight: Norway, Maloy

8th July 2013

This morning was the best morning:) You know, I had never slept on the top bunk, ever, before last night. And I actually found it so relaxing!! I want to go on the top bunk as much as possible now:) haha. Yes.

We were staying today at this little cottage near the town of Maloy. There are many of these places throughout Norway, you just have to know where to look. They are places called camping grounds, and there are usually places to leave a motor home and then cottages with free parking. Even though there was no breakfast, it was really nice to make our own breakfats again. There was even laundry facilities, so we decided to book this place for an extra day, today, and leave tomorrow to Vangsnes.

haha. This is our ritual for every day:)

The day was just spent in somewhat relaxation, however I spent most of the day on my Ipad looking for hotels for the following days and finishing my posts on the blog. Really, I only had a rest to go to the grocery store and eat. This blogging takes up alot of my time, while taking a trip where you do not have any previous bookings make it all more difficult.

It is all worth my time though. I am so happy that I have written what I have because it is something to remember my ventures from. Now I am going to read:)

Now you are uptodate.