September 12, 2014


Last friday we found out that Sam had not only Sunday off, but also Monday! If we have learned anything in our three (going on 4) seasons abroad it is that you should always take full advantage of two days off in a row and treat them like a vacation.  

So, I planned a little trip for us to Finland's capita, Helsinki.   We decided to drive, and it only took us two and a half hours to get from our apartment in Lappeenranta to our hotel in Helsinki.  Almost everyone here in Finland says, take the train to Helsinki its so great and fast (2 hours) and only 100 euro round trip per person...  so thats $258 for two people. Kind of sounds like a terrible price to me, considering how short of a distance it is.  I also do not believe you save much, if any time (with checking in, getting to your seat, getting to and from the train station etc.) taking the train vs. driving.  We were able to leave when we wanted, stop when/where we wanted, bring Raylan, go to our exact destination, and we were able to do a driving tour of Helsinki!  

We arrived in Helsinki around noon, checked into our hotel and went to Starbucks.  The end, what an amazing city, great time! Pumpkin Spice Lattes all around! 

Actually we did more than that.  We walked with Raylan down to the Market Square and grabbed some market fresh snacks before heading out on a ferry to Suomenlinna (Click links for more information).  The ferry ride only lasted about twenty minutes and was full of beautiful views of Helsinki!  The sky was clear and sunny, and it was about seventy degrees.   The ferry we took only made its round every hour so we walked around the sea fortress for two hours before heading back to Helsinki.  

Just checking out the rifling on the inside of this cannon.  (Dad, see I do listen when you are super excited and talking about boring things)

Once back in Helsinki we went back to the hotel, and dropped off our tired puppy.  Sam and I went out in search of a good restaurant for dinner.   We took our time choosing and finally picked a nice Italian restaurant very close to our hotel.   After dinner we went to get some chocolate for desert and on the way saw a magazine for the Liiga (Sam's hockey league) and bought it because it has a special on him and his slapshot (I think, I have yet to translate).  They took the photos for the magazine earlier in August by the old cannons on The Fortress of Lappeenranta.  I'll post more on that next week.  

 Then the tough part of the night came around, finding our Raylan some grass to go potty.  We ended up finding a little tiny patch of grass and walking her up and dow and up and down until it was time to go back.   

The next morning we had breakfast at our hotel.  It was a beautiful breakfast (European hotel breakfasts make most American ones look like such jokes) and the best part of it was that it had a whole gluten free section!  I was happy and very full of unnecessary carbs.  

We tried out Fatzer cafe.  Fatzer is one of (if not) Finland's largest brand of chocolate.  They have three factories, one of them is in Lappeenranta.   We along with Raylan tried some chocolate, coffee and a Budapest.  It is a beautiful pastry, that I didn't realize was banana flavored when I bought it for Sam.  He had one disgusting bite, and then the rest was for me! Many of you may not know but I can almost guarantee you Sam would rather eat any other food (i.e.: a bowl of dog) than have a bite of anything banana.  

We spent the morning shopping a bit around the city and then left to go back to Lappeenranta around two because I had a class that started at five Monday evening.  

We will definitely be going back to Helsinki later on in the season! 

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