Sawasdee Kha! This is my very first time to travel to Europe as I have got a chance to go to present my research project in Helsinki, Finland.
It will be a 15-day trip. I will make this trip worthwhile since I have a chance to go to Europe already.
I have ended up planning to travel in 4 countries including Helsinki in Finland, Tallinn in Estonia, Stockholm in Sweden, and Copenhagen in Denmark
Let's see what this trip would bring! ^^
Let's get this trip started!
1. Firstly, I need to get a visa. I apply for a Schengen visa with the Embassy of Finland. The details are through this link
http://www.finland.or.th/public/default.aspx?nodeid=43615&contentlan=2&culture=en-US. To submit the application, I prepare all required documents and make an appointment in advance. I would recommend you to submit your application for about 1 month and a half prior to your departure. So you could be sure that you will get the needed visa in time.
2. For accommodation, I reserve hotels for the whole trip in advance. It is convenient when traveling and easy to settle this way. I reserve all the hotels through www.booking.com and www.expedia.com. The detail of each hotel will be introduced later along the trip.
3. For the flight, I fly with Finnair from Bangkok to Helsinki and from Copenhagen to Bangkok on the way back. I reserve the flight ticket through this link
4. Ferry Ticket, I reserve the ferry ticket in advance as well. I need it to travel from Helsinki, Finland to Stockholm, Sweden and from Helsinki, Finland to Tallinn, Estonia. I reserve the ticket with Tallinksilja through this link
5. Money is something I must not forget to prepare.
6. I also prepare some Thai food to bring along in case I miss it but I plan to eat local foods mainly.
Everything is well-prepared so I am ready to go to Europe.
Let's GOOOOOO !!!!
Part 1 Helsinki - Finland, Amazing Wonderland
I woke up very early today and will go to the airport straight ahead. I am totally excited for this trip. That's why I couldn't sleep last night. I fly with Finnair this time and the flight departs from Bangkok at 8.55 AM. I will arrive at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport (Terminal 2) around 3.20 PM (local time in Finland). Yes, it will be a long journey.
Let's see how far it will be! // 7,915 kilometers, I want to pass out.
Sitting, eating, sleeping, and repeat, I have got a chance to eat all three meals on this flight. What I like the most is the apple. It tastes so good.
Once I get bored from playing games, watching movies, and listening to music, I like to look out of the window.
We are about to arrive in Helsinki and this is when I see the water drops on the window turns to be the ice crystals. The temperature outside right now is -57 degree Celsius.
I have finally arrived at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport (Terminal 2).
The immigration is up next and I am very excited because it is my first time. I try to keep smiling especially after answering questions and I have made it through. I am very happy. I will go and grab my luggage from the baggage claim area and will go to the city center right away. It is about 20 kilometers from the airport to the city center. There are shuttle buses available. They are in white color with Finnair screen parking at the bus station outside the airport. Well, I don't remember how much does the fare cost but what I remember is that you can get off anywhere you want along their travel route. For me, I will get off at Rautatieasema, Helsinki Central Railway Station which is the center of the city.
You can spot Rautatieasema Railway Station easily by the human sculptures holding lamp in their hands on both side of the main entrance.
I guess I can officially say that I am in Finland now. Once I step out of the bus, I wonder why it is very cold even the sunlight is pretty strong. The temperature is about 17 degree Celsius (yes, this is summer time). Next mission is to find the way to my accommodation, Hostel Domus Academica. I use the map that I have printed from Google Map to direct me there. I need to take the tram in front of Rautatieasema Railway Station but the thing is that there are two tramways. I don't hesitate to ask an Uncle who is around and I learn that I need to take the tram number 2. I have been waiting for pretty long and the tram doesn't seem to come. The same Uncle is very generous, he keeps talking to me about this and that while accompanying me to wait for the tram. It has been too long so the Uncle leads me to the taxi instead and he will accompany me all along. I don't want to disturb him so I try to refuse but he really wants to help and he said that he loves Thailand. Hence; I have ended up going with him. hahaha And I have finally arrived at my hostel. I am about to pay for the taxi.... the Uncle doesn't let me to. He said this is nothing. This is when I learn that you are able to pay for the taxi by the credit card here. Before I get separated from the Uncle, I thank him for everything and he gives me his name card and tells me to contact him if I need further assistance while in Finland. Oh my god! He is super kind.
Tram Station in front of Rautatieasema Railway Station
I am going to stay here at Hostel Domus Academica for the next two nights.
I am checking in now and the staff here are all very friendly. Hostel Domus Academica offers different types of room and most of the guests here are students, for more information you can go here http://www.hostelacademica.fi/. There is a dormitory room on the ground floor and this is where all the kitchen utensils and cooks tools are available. You are free to take them to use in your room. You just need to clean and return them before you check out. The living room is also on this floor. People are here for chitchatting, working, watching movies, and listening to music. Well, if we talk about my room, it is a twin bedroom. There are electric stove, oven, and utility sink, therefore; you are good to cook here. The bed is comfortable and there is a heater as well. So, I would say my room is not bad. Moreover, I am able to use the sauna for free everyday but it is limited to one entry a day.
This is good for two nights.
It is time to explore the city and get used to the place. My first stop is the supermarket. I would like to cook so I will buy some meats and salmon. All vegetables look yummy and they are very fresh.
Forum Department Store is huge. It is close to the train station.
These bell peppers are so sweet.
Sunflower seed bread hahaha
I bought one of these and it doesn't taste good. hahaha
Candies in football t-shirt package
I have accidentally run into a wedding ceremony as well. A lot of people are watching them too.
After wandering around, I look at my watch and have realized that it is already 9 PM. It is still not dark yet but people start to come out for a drink. I feel weird somehow. Anyway, I will go back to my hostel and cook before going to sleep. Tomorrow, I am planning to go to Suomenlinna Island so please stay tuned! ^^
P.S. 1: It gets completely dark around 2 AM and get bright again around 4 AM. Oh my Lord Buddha! This is not midnight sun but 2-AM sun.
P.S. 2: Finnish people are very good looking both male and female.
P.S. 3: My first day in Finland has been nothing but wonderful.
My second day in Finland has arrived and we are going to Suomenlinna Island today. I woke up early to take a shower, get dressed, have breakfast, and get ready for today's program. The weather today is very nice as well. I ask the receptionist downstairs how to get to Suomenlinna Island. The receptionist opens the map and circle places with instruction that I need to take the tram from here and then take the ferry from here. I think I am good to go now so I fold the map and put it into my bag.
I am ready to go to Suomenlinna Island now.
I walk slowly and enjoy the surroundings along the way. This is Temppapeliaukio or known as Church of the Rock. What is amazing about this church is that the interior was excavated and built directly out of solid rock. The church is closed today so I have no chance to go inside.
I am walking to the pier now. It is located by the market.
You can find a lot of handmade products done by Sami people in Lapland at the market.
If you are in Finland but can't find Moomin would be like you are not in Finland at all.
I am hungry now so I guess it is a good time to find something to eat. Since I am by the Baltic Sea so I will try the local fishes. I heard they are from Lapland.
This is a lot for two people and it is only 15 Euro.
3 words for this "Super very good"
There are many vendors selling different kinds of berries throughout the market.
This is very fresh so I will buy one of them. And yes, they are so good.
Let's go to Suomenlinna Island for real!
The ferry has just approached the pier and it is right after I ate. The ferry has the upper dock opened so I will sit there. I guess I make the right choice to sit on the upper deck because it is very nice up here. However, it starts to rain not long after. I move to sit downstairs where I am still able to see the view along the way.
* I would suggest you to go to check the timetable of the ferry and buy a ticket before wandering around the market. You can be sure that you can come back to walk around the market later if you still have sometimes before the ferry departs this way.
This is the atmosphere around the pier where I take the ferry to Suomenlinna Island. And look at the sky! It is pretty dark with all the clouds.
I am not sure what I see right now is a house, a restaurant, or a church. It is also on Suomenlinna Island.
I have finally arrived at Suomenlinna Island. Suomenlinna is known as the largest sea fortress in the world. It was built in the late 18th Century by the Swedish people living in the seaport of Helsinki and used as the navy base. Nowadays, it is a popular picnic site for locals because the island offers such a nice surroundings. People also come here for the museum. In addition, there will be a lot of activities and events going on during summer like this. For more information please go here
The atmosphere on the island
This corner is full with yellow flowers. It is very charming.
One side of this corner is by the sea.
If you walk further up, you will find a place assuming to be a turret in the past.
Inside is an office.
A church on the island
I have walked for about one third of the island and I am a bit tired. So, I guess some bakeries would help and I will eat here.
With no hesitation, I continue to cross this bridge to go to explore another part of the island.
A small port
This is artillery. It can be found all over the island.
I guess this is good enough exploring Suomenlinna Island. I have loads of photos from here. The atmosphere on the island is superb so I would rate it 10 out of 10. You shouldn't miss to come to Suomenlinna Island for any reasons when in Finland. I have no more energy after wandering around and it is time to go back to shore now. Please stay tuned for where I will take you to next! ^^