Saying goodbye to Turku

My last blog from Turku.
How weird does it feel to know that my trip to Turku is almost done. To be honest I’m actually not ready to go back home again. I do not feel like I’ve seen it all or done everything I wanted to do. And the students here become so close that it’s sad to say goodbye and to know that you will probably never see them again. Even though everyone says, ‘You can come back!’. Melodramatic is the answer: “But it will never be the same”. And realistically that is true, because these people, all with different nationalities, will never live together in one house again. My friends at home tell me to extra enjoy the last days. But how do you extra enjoy? I never understood that unfortunately.

Anyway, in order to try to see as much as I could from Scandinavic, this last week I went to Stockholm. A very beautiful city! Everywhere I looked there were beautiful views, and when I turned my head and looked to the other side there were even more historic buildings or churches  drenched in sun with bridges and water and lots of cute little shops. That sets me thinking because what do I actually have to look for in the Netherlands? What a tremendous hole with windmills and cows in it! And then our churches, can you already see a tourist visit one of those?! Absolutely ridiculous. Well maybe I’m underestimating Amsterdam. Because everyone is constantly talking about the great capital of the Netherlands. But compared to Stockholm…!! Amsterdam has three canal houses almost falling apart. Stockholm has some mighty big buildings, that’s worth something!

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Oh my bad mood is not over, it is too disappointing to know I have to go back. But soon enough my mood will swing. Saying goodbye just makes me melodramatic, which reminds me of melody, which reminds me of very ugly Dutch songs that I do not want to impose you with. So I’ll come to an end now: The bubble where I lived in for 3 months, where I found new lovely people to meet and enjoy when there was nothing else familiar anymore, that bubble has snapped. The world I build in Retrodorm, in Turku, in FINLAND is now a memory to savor an unforgettable time!

Text and photo: Anne André

Looking at a greenish cloud

Of course somewhere between all these posts, there must be a story about the Northern lights! So, here is mine.
In Lapland I was hoping to finally do one of the things you should absolutely do once in your life, see the aurora borealis. I had the image already in my head: everyone standing in the cold looking at the sky to spot this incredible phenomenon.

Three nights in a row we decided to try to spot the northern lights. We braved the 1.5 km sledge hill, walking in a maniac fast pace and managed to reach the top of the hill. Up on the hill, we lay in our sledges watching the sky with 3 stars, a lot of clouds and even more wind while -22 degrees. That did not last long. Luckily we were smart enough to bring some sledges with us so we had a lot of fun sledging down in the dark. Realizing that one of us came down walking with a bloody nose after crashing into a (normally very sweet) Thai girl. Also the next night we went to the hill, hoping to be luckier this time. And we were, because we saw something greenish, but not really spectacular. We were constantly wondering if we’re looking at a greenish cloud or the actual northern lights. Quite particularly that basically everyone gathers at the top of a mountain in -27 to see a natural phenomenon.

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The last night we went up again and yes the greenish cloud was there again, unfortunately the wind and cold also. A little disappointed we went home, to the sauna. When two of my friends went outside in front of our cottage to cool off after sauna, suddenly out of nowhere the actual northern lights appeared! And we had been joking before that we really had paid enough for our trip to Lapland to let the northern lights simply be included in the trip. I never would have thought that I would see the northern lights standing in my pajamas on bare feet in the snow but yes, it’s true! After one minute it was gone and it started somewhere else. But this is something I will never forget! 

Text and photo: Anne André

Tallinn!

The first trip I made, when I arrived in Finland was to Tallinn. We heared about Tallinn, the beautifull old historic city plus the cheap alcohol and that sounded really good! So we decided to take the ferry and just go. I really regretted that when we were waiting for the bus to Helsinki at 04:45 in -27 degrees but the story gets better.

Luckily we survived the cold, got to the ferry, and looked at the sea with ice floes and the sun just rising. A funny fact is that Finns and Estonians are drinking beer at 8 in the morning. But no problem, we’ll all just act like that’s normal! When we arrived in Tallinn, it was the first time in my life that I thought -6 degrees is actually warm! To get to our hostel we used the tram, which also was a new experience because they just stop in the middle of the street, between the cars who are waiting for the trafficlights. Why would you need a busstop anyway, right? Arriving at our hostel, there seemed to be no-one and it looked really dodgy. But after ringing the doorbell very long we finally got in and it appeared to be very nice inside. Never judge a book by its cover, or a house in this case.

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So it was time to shop, eat and drink for little money. Yes, a bottle of Baileys or a liter of wodka that makes me happy! Of course we also had to experience the night life in Tallinn. Which was quite nice, except the music sucked (and that was not only my Dutch opinion). After a kinda drunk night we slept in our nice bunksbeds and a cold room.
The next day we walked through Tallinn and saw the beautifull old city, with old coloured houses and shops, cosy streets and a lovely church. But all good times have to end so, happy, tired with a little headache and our bags filled with some good liquor and some souveniers we went back totally ready for some more party’s in Turku!

Text and photo: Anne André