I apologise in advance, there will be lots of pics, but then again there are gaps in the photos, as they include my kids and nephew, and we don’t generally put them on the blog!
As you all know, we had our surprise trip to Finland planned for the half term holidays. The main aim of the visit was to surprise my Pops for his 70th birthday!
Things are never smooth sailing, as I mentioned in a previous post to you all, but it started with traffic before we had even arrived!
Then once we checked in, the security check was another obstacle! I had all my liquids in a little bag, and was confidently striding over to take my bag off the conveyor belt when I realised that it was on the other side of the perspex screen… erm… what have I done now?
It ended up not being me, but Hubby Dearest slipping a roll on deodorant in my hand luggage! As the security guy checked everything, he asked me whether I had ever been told I resembled anyone… Nope, not really, apart from my mum!
Apparently I am the spitting image of Shappi Khorsandi, the Iranian Comedienne!
We managed to release ourselves from there relatively quickly after the guy told me that was a great compliment, and Hubby Dearest muttered “Hitting on my wife.. in from of me!” under his breath as we walked away!
The flight was as uneventful as it could be, with two kids who can’t be near each other for too long!
The sea of cloud we flew across
Arrival and taxi to the hotel was fine, and we were greeted by the sight of several older folk literally staggering around the front of our hotel, drunk! There had a vow renewal service there, and obviously, it was a very good party afterwards!
My brother was sat inside cringing… What a first impression of Helsinki! But we loved it! Looked like a great place to be!
The room was compact but able to accommodate all 4 of us, but there was no air conditioning, and considering the weather we had there, ranging from 23-25 degree Celsius the whole time, it was pretty hot!
I had my one and only drink there, a traditional Finnish brew called Original, made from grapefruit, that my brother introduced me too. It’s a shame I ended up too tired most evenings, as that would have been a nice end to each of the days!
The next day we were picked up by my brother ready for the main event, the photo shoot. Pops was speechless when we walked in, not expecting to see his whole little family in one room at the same time! I think we truly made his year! Many photos were taken, of the family and various combinations of this person and that!
This is what love is!
I snuck in and took some candid shots of the shoot taking place, and this is one of my wonderful parents!
It was so amazing to all be together, seeing my brother, sister-in-law, and my gorgeous nephew! Seeing our children bonding was priceless. They don’t get that chance much, but I was so happy to see it all!
After the photo shoot, we were whisked back to their flat for lunch. We experienced the Metro and walked through parts of the city too.
This was when we saw Pii Poo… Sorry, I had to giggle at that name… toilet humour… runs in the family! It was a toy and Lego shop that Lil Man was desperate to go to, but it was always closed when we went there!
After lunch, my brother took the boys to Team Helsinki’s cricket ground, which was like a dream come true for Lil Man, who got to play in their nets! He surprised a few there too with his skills!
We spent at least an hour a day, if not more, at various parks during our stay there, as there are these amazing parks for children all around the city. Children are given the opportunity to learn through play so much, and learn independence, and social skills through learning to share!
The next day we walked LOTS! From the hotel, we went down the Boulevardii.
One of the main roads in Helsinki city, it has a mix of amazing buildings and eclectic shops down it, cafes and restaurants spring up all over the place!
There are so many wonderful buildings to see, like the Cathedral, and various theatres, and the main station with its iconic 4 figures at the front.
We walked up the steps to the Cathedral, and my brother took an arty shot from the bottom, but I haven’t got that yet! It’s kind of ‘spot the Indians’! But I do have Pops and me helping each other down the stairs!
We went to a park named The Plague… beautiful park, gruesome history! Basically, when the Bubonic plague hit Helsinki it lost two-thirds of its population, and this was where many were buried.
A memorial to those that died of the Plague
We saw the Wooden Church, (surprisingly all made of wood), that was in the middle of the City.
We crossed numerous bridges too, over the canal…
There is also this great installation near my brother’s flat, on the dockside. Basically, a charity drive was set up called Horizons, to raise funds to clean the waterways around the city. Those that donated had their names on little metal plaques. They are all attached onto this wall, and when the wind blows they look like the waves in the sea!
I can’t forget to mention the Pissing Man! What a funny installation!!
The next day was a trip to the Zoo which is on an island! We walked in through the city to the docks to catch a ferry. Boy, was it hot!
I don’t entirely agree with zoos, and animals in captivity, but it was pretty amazing to be so up close to so many magnificent creatures, like lions, tigers, bears, to name a few!
Can’t forget the beautiful Peacocks and Peahens!
Oh, and I got attacked by a Canadian Goose! I unknowingly went to close to its nest, and it flew at me and pecked at my head! I still have a sore spot there!
This is not the crazy duck, but one with two gorgeous ducklings!
I also caught Pops and Mum strolling romantically through the enclosures!
And we can’t forget the giant mosquito!
That was also the night Lil Princess suffered heatstroke (told her to drink plenty and keep her hat on, but would she listen?!) so we dealt with vomit and all sorts, thanks to a great hotel staff!
The next day meant that I had to stay in with her, as she wasn’t right, but the rest of the Finndian contingency went on a boat ride courtesy of my Sis in Law’s brother. Lil Man got to steer the boat too, he was so excited! And they went to one of the numerous islands on the coast to paddle in the sea!
Lil Man sailing!
Popped for a coffee with my Pops, Mum and Brother, while Hubby Dearest had the kids at a play centre, and sis in law took my nephew for his nap!
It was a wonderful trip, all in all!
Here are a few other random shots from the trip…
Dog parking anyone?
Breakfast fit for a Queen!
Egg Box Lego! How cool!!
A boat Lil Man insisted I take a picture of!
Row upon row of Nakki – or Sausage to you and me!
Luggage packed, it was time for home…
Helsinki cried as we left…
And to top it off on the plane, Lil Man had a pocketful of change so wanted to buy something from the Dutyfree… he found Jellybeans for five Euros. Then he promptly spilt half of them on the floor. As he was eating some of the surviving ones, this happened!
Yup, that’s his tooth! Luckily it was already wobbly!
So now we are home, my piles of laundry are done, and it is back to the real world… one more day before school starts back…
I only wish I could share the video of Pops being surprised… I was just sent it today, but it has the children in it… Still this whole holiday has been a time to create priceless memories, and to cement relationships for the kids with their other family.
It was wonderful! I hope you enjoyed a little stroll through Helsinki with me!