Travel Guide: Rome, Italy

If you are reading this blog post, I would guess that you are planning trip to Rome or you are already there but don’t know what to do. Or then you are just interested what I have to say about this Italy’s ancient city. I have to start by saying that during my visit to Rome I didn’t fall in love. The city is nice, there is a lot of things to see and Vatican was amazing. But I didn’t fall in love. That doesn’t change the fact that Rome is still one of those places everyone should see at least once in their life time and so here is travel guide to Rome for anyone interested!

ancient_rome

Basic facts of Rome:

As the capital city of Italy Rome is also the fourth largest city in EU when compared by the population. Inside of Rome there is also Vatican, the smallest country in the world by population and area. Here some more basic information about Rome:

Population: 2,8 million
Language: Italy
Currency: euro
Time zone: UTC+1
Summer weather: dry and warm, average day temperature of 30°C
Winter weather: humid and cold, average day temperature of 12°C

rooftops_rome

Should I travel to Rome?

The short answer? Yes.
Rome is like a big museum so if you are not someone interested in history, museums and old buildings, going to somewhere else may be a good idea. But even then Rome is travel destination you should experience once in your lifetime. Walking around the old narrow streets takes you straight back to Europe’s ancient city and there is something to see literally everywhere.

summer_rome

When to travel to Rome?

The right questions would be when is not the right time to travel to Rome. We made the mistake everyone should try to avoid making. July and August are just inevitable death so don’t travel at that time. The average temperature of those months is about 26°C. What this means? Sunny days are impossible to get around in the heat of over 30°C. Especially if you are from a northern country like me and not used to over 30 degrees.

On the other hand, January can be quite cold if you are used to warmth. The best time to visit Rome would be late autumn, early summer or late spring. 

rome_history

How long should I stay in Rome?

Whatever you stay for a weekend or two weeks, you won’t have enough time to see everything. Rome is big, full of historical attractions and place that makes you quickly bored. In the end, you can get an overdose of all the history and cool places so I don’t recommend making the trip just to see everything possible. Take your time and be ready to miss some of the major attractions. Decide beforehand what you want to see.

The shortest time I would stay in Rome is for three full days. Think it this way: You will need one full day for Vatican, one day for Colosseum area and one day for just walking around, doing shopping or going for a day trip outside of the city. But the more time you have the better.

tourists_rome

Is Rome expensive?

Once again short answer is yes.
If you are not careful in Rome, you will end up paying too much for the things locals can get a lot cheaper. Main areas of this capital city are made for tourists and so also the prices are high. Check out the prices of attractions beforehand from the internet and see should you book online or buy tickets in Rome. When eating, go for the smaller side alleys and compare prices of different restaurants.

rome_colosseum

The most important tourist attractions

  • Colosseum, Forum Romanum, and Palatine Hill: These are maybe the three most important landmarks and tourist attractions in Rome. You can access all of them with the same ticket valid for two days. Just remember that you should start from Palatine and buy your ticket from there. We got inside with no waiting at all because there was literally no queue. After that, you can go to the shorter line in Colosseum.
  • Spanish Steps: It’s long tradition for tourists to take a break and sit on these steps while writing postcards to send back home. Perfect place for people watching (Following those vendors who try to sell everything touristy is too much fun!) but also amazing opportunity to see the beautiful view to Rome if you just have the patience to climb up.
  • Piazza Navona: Souvenir shops, cafes, and restaurants. Piazza Navona is one of the most popular places to hang out for tourists. Wander around the small streets, visit churches and just enjoy the atmosphere this plaza offers.
  • Capuchin Crypt: One of the most unique attractions in Rome. This crypt has remains of 3 700 humans. Their skeletons make out most of the crypt and its decorations. Definitely part of Rome’s history but a little different take on it. Not for easily scared people!
  • Vittoriano: Huge white monument honors the first king of Italy. It’s nice to see from outside but mentioned on my Rome travel guide for a totally different reason. What many people don’t know is that you can take lift up to the top part of this monument and see beautiful panorama view to the city.

vatican_museum

Vatican

Vatican is small country inside of Rome and one of those places you shouldn’t skip at any price. It is worth of using one full day so it also deserves its own post in my blog. Next Wednesday I will publish small post full of information about Vatican and all the travel tips I learned while visiting there. For nor I can just say a few things…

  • Buy your tickets beforehand or you will wait in line for hours.
  • Take a guided tour to their gardens! It’s totally worth it.
  • There are too many people everywhere.
  • Read the map before exploring Vatican museum. You won’t have enough time and willpower to see everything as well as you want so pick out the most important ones to see for you.
  • Don’t trust the “Vatican” sign in the metro! It’s a trap. Or well not really but it may be sign for the wrong entrance.
  • If you try to find the Vatican’t entrance and decide to ask help from local, they may not know the right way. We even asked help from a military person but he didn’t even know in what direction the country is. So, have a map and read street names.

Street art Rome

I have seen too much history… What to do?

  • Markets! Campo de’ Fiori, Borghetto Flaminio Market, Fontanella Borghese Market and Campo de Fiori are just a few markets you could wander around in Rome. Visiting at least one market is must to do thing for every travelers. Pick your favorite from flea markets, food markets or markets selling literally everything.
  • Go to see the sea and spend day on beach. Follow the locals on train and spent nice relaxed day on beach. You have deserved one day of rest between all the sightseeing in Rome. The ride only takes about 30 minutes.
  • Jewish Ghetto is always one of those places you should check out in bigger European cities. It has its own atmosphere and style when compared to the rest of the city. Rome’s Jewish quarter has many attractions for travelers from Tiber Island to synagogues and from small cafes to bohemian shops.
  • Roman Cat Sanctuary aka Torre Argentina may be historic attraction. To be exact it is the place where Julius Caesar was murdered. So, why should you visit here is your brains got overdose of history? The ruins are taken over by about 250 cats and animals always make everything better, right?
  • Testaccio is one of the local neighborhoods in Rome. You don’t see many tourists here and so it is good place to escape the too packed historic areas. Visit at least local food market and Macro Museum of Contemporary Art (even if you don’t go to the museum, their yard is old slaughterhouse and super cool). And don’t skip partying because there is several clubs and bars in interesting buildings all found side by side from same street.
  • Nothing wins shopping! Rome is historic city but also paradise for shoppers. If you are on budget go to the cheap flea markets and if money isn’t problems the area around Spanish steps and Piazza di Spagna is full of high-end shops. There is also some cheaper shops if you start from the Piazza del Popolo and continue along Via del Corso street. Basically Rome is full of shopping areas so just use Google and find the nearest ones.

streetart_rome

Rome + Low budget = no problem?

Rome is often seen as expensive tourist destination that isn’t fit for those traveling with small budget. This isn’t the whole truth. Even if you don’t have a lot of money, Rome has many free things to do and some of them also happen to be must things to do in Rome.

  • Spanish steps: Spanish steps is also included as one of the major tourist attractions in this blog post. As long as you don’t end up buying something from the vendors walking amongst tourist it should be 100% free.
  • Churches: Rome is the city of churches and most of them are totally free to enter.
  • Pantheon: This old temple is the most influential building in Rome. It is best-known from photos of beautiful light coming inside of the hole in its roof. Definitely worth of seeing and free.
  • St. Peter’s Basilica: This is free part of Vatican if you don’t have the money to go for tour inside. However be ready for long queues and waiting before getting in the crowded basilica.
  • First Sunday of the month: This may surprise you but first Sunday of every month is day when you can see Colosseum, Forum Romanum and Palatine Hill free of charge. You just have to wait in line for long time but hey, it’s free! Also many Romae’s museums are free on this same Sunday.

rome_spanishsteps

Beware of scams!

As super touristy city Rome is the paradise of scammers and shady people. Be always on your toes and if something feels too good to be true or just not right, get away. It’s not worth the risk of getting robbed. Here is list of some of scams or dangers you may encounter in the ancient city:

  • Help is not free. You will probably encounter this scam if you are buying tickets from the main touristy metro stations. There is someone standing between two ticket machines “helping”. In reality you could just turn the machine to English and buy your tickets cheaply. After you have bought the tickets this person helping you will snatch the change you get back from the machine as tip for helping. Tip: Pay the exact amount of your ticket price or make sure you are ready to lose the change you would get.
  • Fake tours, guides and tickets. Only buy tickets from official people. Someone may offer you possibility to skip lines or get cheaper tickets but remember to always think: Why would this guy get any special tickets if anyone else doesn’t have? Remember also ask the price always before buying anything from anyone.
  • Rose for beautiful lady. This tourist scam is getting popular around Europe. This usually happens for couples or families, not as often for solo travelers. Man offers you rose because you are so beautiful just to demand high payment after you have taken the flower. If you are girl traveling with boy, they ask the price from man traveling with you because what kind of guy doesn’t buy flowers to his girl, right?
  • Fake products. This should be clear thing. Be always careful when buying brand products and especially if the price seems to be off.
  • Photo with pigeon. I saw this a lot when traveling in Italy and around eastern Europe. Someone will throw food around you or take your hand and put food to your hand just for pigeons appear to eat around you. What any tourist would want to do in this situation? Take photo of course! Just be aware that it will cost… a lot.

rome_metro

Useful tips to remember

  • Water fountains can be found around Rome and you can get free drinkable water from them. Yes, I know this sounds suspicious but it’s the truth. Locals drink from them, tourists drink from them and even my mom ended up drinking the fountain water (before our trip she was totally against it). Just check carefully that the fountain you are using is truly for drinking and not just for decoration. If others drink from it, there is big possibility that you can too.
  • You can skip the longest lines if you are clever. Traveling to Rome means waiting in queues for too long whatever you do. However with small research and clever thinking you can skip the longest lines. We mentioned these things already but here is two examples: For Vatican buy your tickets beforehand and there is almost no waiting. When visiting Colosseum go first to Palatine hill where you can buy the ticket right away. Instead of few hours of standing in line in front of Colosseum you only have to wait for about half an hour.
  • Always carry big scarf with you. No, this doesn’t have anything to do with chilly weather or covering yourself from the sun. Churches and other sacred places in Rome have strict dress-code. You can’t enter if your knees or shoulders are showing. During the summer months top and shorts seem like luxurious choice but it means churches are off limit for you. Except if you follow my tip and cover yourself with scarf when needed.
  • Some locals enjoy “siesta”. This means that there is shops and restaurants closed during afternoon hours but it depends a lot from area to area and even from shop to shop. People in Rome usually eat later at evening so you should too.
  • Use metros or trams and save yourself from terrible bus journey. Streets in Rome are narrow and often full of traffic. We didn’t use any buses during our trip but that was because many people warned us about them before we left. Metros and trams are easy to use and don’t get stuck to bad traffic!

airplane

I saw Rome, what now?

Have you spent more than enough time exploring Rome but still feel like you could continue your adventure to somewhere else? Don’t worry! I am expert at making long and difficult travel plans so here is a few possible ways you can continue your trip from Rome to somewhere else in Italy or Europe.

  • Train: Taking a train from Rome is maybe the easiest and fastest way to get Around Italy. Some tickets are a little expensive so it’s good to buy your trip beforehand. However there is some cities you can reach with only using ten to twenty euros. I recommend cities like Nice, Florence and Pisa.
  • Long distance bus: This is slower alternative for trains but also often cheaper when we talk about longer distances. Remember always check the current rates for trains and buses so you will know which one to pick. Taking night bus is easy way to move between two cities but it’s good to know that Rome’s main bus station is kind of shady and chaotic. I recommend using buses for places like Venice, Milan or Verona. If you want to go outside of Italy, Zurich or Ljubljana are interesting destination accessible by cheap buses.
  • Airplane: Rome is big centric city in Europe so many low-cost airlines fly around the continent from there. At least right now you can get flight to many countries only with 20€. (This is not advertising in any way but I use SkyScanner to find my cheap flights. Currently they are the only website I know with working “Fly Anywhere” option.) Those twenty euros flights I found were destinations like Bulgaria, Malta, France and Romania.
  • Cruise: Many cruises visit Rome or leave/end up in Rome. So, what would be better way to continue your holiday than board luxurious cruise ship? Some of these cruises sail around Mediterranean Sea visiting France, Spain, Greece and other cities in Italy while some ships sail even further.

colosseum_rome

So, this was my Rome travel guide for anyone who is planning their trip. It was first time I write guide like this so any feedback would be nice. Do you want to see more guides like this? I had fun writing so whatever your answer is there will be probably more posts like this coming. Sorry! Have you ever visited Rome or do you have any tips I forgot to mention? All comments are welcome like always.

Also don’t forget to follow my InstagramFacebook and Twitter!

With love,

Lost Viivi

Travel Diary: Bremen

My Bremen-London-Brighton trip is already over but I enjoyed every moment on the road. I am again a little late but today I want to share with you my days in Bremen. Are you ready for another probably boring travel adventure? I hope you enjoy!

Day 1: Wait, Bremen is COOL?!

After reading things from internet and seeing some photos of Bremen I truly thought it would be just city I was passing by quickly to get somewhere else. The photos I saw looked so dull and gray. Why didn’t I find any photos of colorful street art, charming tiny alleys or beautiful parks when researching? Apparently many people travel to Bremen because it is cheap but this city doesn’t get as much recognition as it should.

I really want to return there because I liked the feeling of being traveler in Bremen but two full days were quite enough to see the major attractions. If anyone is now planning Bremen trip, I recommend staying for a weekend. It seems like perfect European weekend gateway destination. However, for longer time it may be a little boring if you don’t decide to do day trips to cities close by like Hamburg.

Travel Blog: Bremen

But now back to my first day! This trip started totally differently than my travels usually do. No early wake up or long way to the airport. I had evening flight from Tampere to Bremen. My flight only costed 30€ and it is one of the reasons I decided to go in the first place. I am all for the cheap trips and budget traveling.

My dad drove me to the airport and I may have been a little surprised of the size of Tampere’s airport. I knew it was small but never thought THAT SMALL. Surprisingly I have lived my whole life near Tampere but have never visited our own airport! In addition to being amazed by the small size of the airport I soon noticed that I had to share my flight with too exited group of teens on field trip. Fortunately, they didn’t sit next to me on the plane even if Ryanair gives the seats to you randomly.

Travel Blog Flying

Instead I got very talkative man next to me. One of the first things he told me was that he got parachute in his bag right above us so if we crashed he was ready to save me. I didn’t know should I feel comfortable or even more scared. And he never made clear if it was normal thing for him to fly with parachute or if he was going to use it in the destination. You never know about people you meet during traveling.

After my short flight I arrived to Bremen’s airport and literally walked trough the customs without any slow downs. The place seemed dead. There was only people from our flight, a few staff members and no one else. Then outside of the airport I was totally in trouble. Everyone, remember to research how to get from airport to your accommodation before you are in foreigner country without internet! 

Travel Blog: Bremen

Fortunately, I wasn’t alone. Next to me was this Asian girl who later told me that she studied in Finland and she was here to meet her boyfriend. We tried to find the tram together and then she even taught me how to buy right tram tickets (not as easy as it sounds like). She seemed nice but I lost her after getting on the tram.

My problems continued in the tram but once again I had nice people who were able to help me. I don’t know why but in Bremen’s tram your ticket won’t fit in the ticket machine where you should mark it. Who the heck has designed thing like that? Friendly group of local boys fortunately shoved me the logical solution: fold your ticket. I would have never figured out that by myself!

Like I said before, I wasn’t expecting a much from Bremen. Maybe that’s why it was love in the first sight. I stepped out of the tram in city centre. Old buildings all around me, students laughing and running over the tram tracks, trams passing by in lines. The last straw for me to be amazed was weather. You know that moment before storm when everything looks so fresh and vibrant. Sun is still shining but you can see dark clouds in the horizon.

Travel Blog: Bremen

I started walking to the direction I believed was right one (probably the first and last time in my life when I was right!) I had to walk past old buildings and old bridge. Then between two sides of the amazing park going through whole Bremen. And lastly to the area full of graffiti and artsy cafes. Later on I will tell you that this artsy area I totally fell in love with wasn’t as nice as I believed but first let’s talk about my hostel.

My hostel was nice and cozy. I got my key and basic information easily before going towards my new room for the next three nights. I scored lower bed but had to take bed that was in place where you will literally see everyone when they come to or leave the room. As shy person that’s good and bad thing. Why? Well, it is the easiest way to make friends in hostel. Just greet them with smile. However, after a while it will get tiring to not have your own hiding place.

Travel Blog: Bremen

It took a few hours and one trip to close-by convenience store (I may have bought too big bag of candies that took over my backpack and that I still have somewhere even if I gave them as souvenirs for my family and friends…) before I began meeting people in the hostel. There was a lot of people who had been on same plane as me. Finns talking everywhere. Surprisingly, I didn’t make friends with any of them but rather talked a little with some German guests. Pro tip for any traveler meeting Finns. We usually want to talk but we are just super quiet and don’t want to disturb anyone so you have to talk for us first.

Day 2: My Inner Science Nerd

I woke up late. Like breakfast was already over late but that’s wasn’t really problem for me because that food was expensive. However it was problem for a older hostel guest who was staying in same dorm room with me. He kept telling me that I should go to eat because breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I have no idea how the old hostel guests always want to take care of me. I feel like there is always someone who gets worried for my bad eating habits or wild adventures.

pink_cafe_bremenAfter my late start for the day I walked towards the closest metro stop. On my way I bought some food and ate it on the go. My tram trip was towards Universum Bremen museum. I love science museums but usually skip them while traveling because of the high prices. Visiting Universum was one of the best decisions I did in Bremen. That place was amazing! I can totally recommend.

16 euros (11 euros if you are student) sounds high but with that price you could stay the whole day in this interactive museum. Definitely better place if you have friends with you because then you can truly embarrass yourself while trying all the thing. For solo travelers this is quicker stop but still fun way to spent your one extra day in Bremen.

Bremen museums Universum

Only bad side was that it’s not the easiest place to find. I may have jumped of the tram like two kilometers too early. There is so many stops that have similar names. And then I couldn’t of course wait for the next tram because it would have been embarrassing! So, I did what any awkward traveler who is too scared to take public transportation would have done. I walked.

When you come to the Universum building, you will recognize it from the whale like shape. However the main door isn’t in that building but on another one across the street. This museum has three parts. The first building with changing exhibitions and lobby. Whale looking building with the interactive exhibitions. And lastly outside area with adventure park. All of them are worth of checking out but I would use most of you time in the interactive area.

Universum museum BremenHere is small list of my favorite things in Universum:

  • Playing with small artificial tornado. It was like normal tornado but a lot smaller and you were allowed to touch it.
  • Dark labyrinth. There was room where you couldn’t see anything and then you had to walk towards trough all these strange rooms. There was sounds, weird materials, soft floor, different objects, smell and all kind of things expect sense of seeing.
  • Intelligent computers. I totally fell for the computer area. There was all kind of tests for you and computers who knew things. Well, at least they tried to know things. This one computer was meant to tell your age, gender and current emotion if you stood in front of its camera. Wanna guess what it told about me? Apparently I am middle-aged angry man… Yeah, so correct…
  • Aquariums and turtles! As person who used to study animals you can totally charm me with just showing me some animals. Aquariums and turtles have always interested me. I could spend hours just looking at them.

This list was just short example of things you can find from Universum. The interactive area has four floors so there is a lot of things to try.

Universum_park

Maybe the funniest thing during my visit here was that I had expected children and maybe teens but the museum was full of old ladies, a few romantic couples and me. So, I can recommend this for people of any age. Everyone I saw was having a lot of fun.

After taking another tram trip back to the city center I meant to go back to my hostel and rest for a while. Didn’t go as planned. When I exited the tram the old narrow streets just attracted me too much. I had to go and adventure a little more.

I can’t really say anything about the old city expect that it is worth of visit. Aesthetically appealing would be the right term. Especially when it’s sunny. So, I spent a few hours just walking around and visiting small shops. Then I ended up to newer part of the center and shopping small. That took even more of my time!

Travel Blog: Bremen

Bremen has a lot of shops selling cards with cool texts. I of course had to buy one travel themed card but later on was disappointed… Why? My mom told me that they sell exactly same card in her shop… She takes all the joy out of my travel shopping. Every time I find something cool I realize that I could get the same thing from my mom’s shop.

After walking all day my feet were literally dead. Wearing high-heel sneakers wasn’t probably the best possible choice. But hey at least those shoes look super nice? I returned to my hostel and felt wanted just to sleep. Instead of sleeping I went on my computer because as basic member of my age group day without computer would be impossible. Also I had some writing jobs to do and after traveling too much this year every penny counts.

I am happy that I decided to surf around the internet for a while because one of my roommates happened to leave the room with his computer in his hands. Surprisingly we had exactly same computers and having something identical with your hostel roommate means that you are automatically new best friends. We talked a little but then he had to work and I had to work and we decided to talk more later on.

Travel Blog: Bremen

I knew that I should rest for a while but my feet took me out of the hostel. I ended up visiting the close-by art museum. I have always loved art so I have nothing to complain about. Except well I may have accidentally interrupted some kind of art therapy yoga class. The last room of this museum had big windows and it was huge open space. There was art on the walls and a few sculptures on the floor but about five people in the middle of the room made me freeze.

One of the five was walking around and speaking while the rest of them had their eyes closed and stood in odd positions. For a moment I didn’t know if I should exit or just keep going. You never know in these modern art galleries if people are doing something important or if they are performing art as part of the exhibition. I think that one person who was walking around saw the horror in my eyes because he smiled and motioned me to continue my way around the museum.

Travel Blog: Bremen

Do I even have to say that I left that last room too quickly? I don’t even care that I paid to see the exhibition. That situation was too awkward for me to worry about lost money.

After the frightening museum experience I decided to walk a little bit around the are full of pretty graffiti before returning to my hostel for the second time on that evening. This time I stayed, spend some time in the common room and then went to bed too late.

Facebook – Twitter – Instagram

Have you ever visited Bremen? Or have you had anyone interesting sitting next to you in plane? All comments are welcome like always! And sorry for my blogging silence. I have had total lost of inspiration but I think I am slowly getting over it. Thanks for all the old and new people who are reading my blog. I will come back soon with another as boring and long travel article.

Have an amazing day!
With love,

Viivi Severina

Travel Rant: The Moments After Travel

Returning home is always as terrible and as exciting. After being away for a week or two your own country seems so different than before leaving. Safe and sound. You know all the streets and understand what people are saying. You know how to act, how to fit in. It is easy and for the first few days that makes going back home so amazing. After surviving somewhere else being back at home is like relaxation that holiday should have given for you.

However after those few days coming home excitement disappears. You are back at home. Nothing has changed. Everything is exactly same as before you left. So many things have changed inside of you but no one seems to realize. Your family keeps doing normal stuff, friends keep asking photos from your trip and neighbors probably didn’t even know that you were away. In the end you are left standing there feeling odd. It is like this city, this country, these same old circles aren’t enough anymore. You need something different.

You need new streets, new cities, new places to explore. You want to taste foods you have never seen before and that will probably make you regret later even looking towards them. You grave for new interesting people who can teach you so much about cultures and countries you have only read from school textbooks. You need adventure. In your heart is traveler who just wants to see as much as possible because our time in this planet is limited.

Watching all the photos you have taken and going back to all the new memories you have collected, just makes everything worse. “I would still be there…” If you just hadn’t taken the flight back. If you just had decided to escape your life. If miracle had happened and you would do whatever you want with your life. But then again, if you didn’t return back to home every now and then would this traveling thing feel as good? Would every new experience be as exciting as right now if you knew that you could have them endlessly whenever you want? Who knows…

Right now all we can do is to try to survive this after travel blues. Enjoy the few days back at home and then start planning new trip for another adventure. Because we are travelers and that’s what we do. Endless cycle of planning trips, traveling to new places and coming back.

 

Travel Rants are my series of random travel related thoughts and opinions. It is non-edited thoughts straight from my brain and heart. I just returned from my Bremen London trip so it was good timing to bring this post series back. Like always all comments are welcome! Have you ever felt like this? Or how do you cope with after travel blues?

I hope you are having amazing day!
With love,

Viivi Severina

Photo Diary: Helsinki

So, I may have been lazy once again… If you are new here in my blog: Hello, I am the person who never follows her own schedules! But well because I have been busy (this not excuse, okay? I have really been busy) I can’t publish today the last part of my abandoned amusement park story time. I’m sorry everyone who has now waited for too long for me to finally finish it.

Right now I am in train going back home. Today I had crazy fun day in Helsinki. (And I even met up with fellow blogger for the first time! Thanks for Anub who was nice enough to not complain about my bad pronouncing or the terrible Finnish coldness.) So because I have nothing else to share with you today here is small photo diary from Helsinki. I hope you will enjoy it!
Photo diary: Day in Helsinki

I admit that I still love this view even after seeing it one time too many. In moments like this I can kind of understand why people want to visit Finland. However that doesn’t mean I will stop making fun of my beloved home country and our non-existing tourist attractions.

Travel Destination: Suomenlinna, Helsinki, Finland

Unfortunately, there wasn’t any snow in Helsinki. But even like this the city is beautiful and has its own charm. And we of course saw a lot of frozen places so maybe that makes up for all the missing snow? It’s not true Finnish experince if you haven’t almost fell over while walking on ice!

Travel Destination: Suomenlinna, Helsinki, Finland

One of our day’s major things to do was visiting Suomenlinna sea fortress. It’s been over five years from my last time here and I didn’t even remember how much I used to love this place. Suddenly I even remembered that as child my dream used to be grow up and live my life in this tiny cozy island.

Travel Destination: Suomenlinna, Helsinki, Finland
Helsinki Finland Travel FoodIt took us a while to find the right restaurant (that may totally be my fault and it probably has something to do with my bad luck while travelling) but finding the place was totally worth it. I haven’t eaten falafel for so long time so our choice was the best possible.

Photo diary: Suomenlinna, Helsinki, FInlandSun is setting in Finland guess what time it is! So if you don’t know northern countries have super short day’s at winter. So the sun was setting already at 3pm.

Travel Destination: Helsinki, Finland

Travel Year 2016 Helsinki

The last photo is me sharing my favorite Helsinki spot with you. I have always loves Senate Square. Now there was huge Christmas market but at other times of year you can meet funny tourists taking photos and just enjoy the beautiful view. I may have biased opinion about this matter so you shouldn’t probably believe my tip… I have had some of my best teen memories in this square. Being part of flashmob, meeting amazing people and doing crazy things.

I hope you are having an amazing weekend and that you are being more productive than I have lately been. And like always all comments are welcomed. Have you ever visited Helsinki? Or met fellow bloggers for fun travelling day?

With love,

Viivi Severina

Story Time: Abandoned Beauty

So last time I ended my story to the point where I was deciding should I go to the abandoned amusement park with these people I have just met. In the end it wasn’t hard decision (sorry mum…). Of course I went in! You only live once or something like that…

Part 1: Lost In Abandoned Amusement Park

Part 3: Problems with Police

I will again mention that you shouldn’t be like me. Later on this story I learn that visiting abandoned Japanese amusement park in fact is illegal and you will get in trouble. However I also learn that Japanese people and police are so kind and understanding. And I also may learn that there is something charming and special in abandoned places. It’s feeling I can’t even describe. So I hope you like this long boring story of me being totally lost like usually. Enjoy!

(In the first post I meantioned that I had lost almost all my abandoned amusement park photos. However, now I found a few photos more so I hope you will like them!)

Dreaming in Dreamland

abandoned roller coaster nara dreamland

So I was standing next to the abandoned amusement park and the couple I had just met stared me expectantly. After I answered for them all three of us approached cautiously the park’s gate. There was huge gap in the gate and we went inside without any problems.

My first look to the park made me breathless. Cute pastel houses, colorful plastic balls and eerie huge pink princess castle. It was perfect sight and I immediately knew I had done the right choice coming here. We started wandering around and checking what we could find. The couple was taking photos like professionals while I was just staring everything in awe.

After walking around for a while I decided it was time to part from that kind couple. After every minute I was feeling more and more like third wheel. After our goodbyes they continued towards the castle while I decided to wander deeper to the park. When their voices had faded to the distance I felt the scary “I’m all alone in this world” feeling hit me.

nara dreamland

I couldn’t hear birds, traffic or anything except my own breathing and wind. I have never really experienced anything like that so I decided to enjoy every moment and thing there was to see. First I found old roller coaster loop. I think photo of this exact spot is in every abandoned places article/video there is in internet. I hope I had all my photos because it was beautiful. (I don’t know how the heck did I lose half of my abandoned amusement park photos…)

I just stood there staring in awe and not even wanting to continue. How would anything I saw be more beautiful than that? Sun was shining behind the roller coaster and the sky was blue without any clouds. Once again perfect day and perfect moment.

abandoned_cars

After that I saw so many beautiful sights that lose the count of them. Huge swimming pool and water park are with its colorful slides and small food stands. Abandoned cars just being there behind every corner. Building after building full of stuff.  Park tickets, colorful props and dust covering everything except the foot prints wondering back and worth the floors.

It had been over hour at that point and I haven’t even seen half of the park. I saw some kind of  pond and decided to take closer look to it. The ride was adventure and amazon themed. There was sinking colorful boats in the small lake. Then I turned to look the ride’s ticket booth and at the same second started to run and hided behind wall close by. My heart was beating too loudly and for moment I was sure this place was cursed.

I tried to glance the sight that had scared me almost to death. It still looked same. There was someone sitting in the ticket booth. Someone without head and looking like rotten body. After I had evened out my breathing I decided to take closer look. My reasoning side told me there was no way that it would be real body. My more imaginative and scared side was sure it must be zombie or cursed traveller.

abandoned japanese amusement park

I went closer and closer and soon realized theobvious truth. The scary headless zombie body was just prop or decoration for the ride. Someone had propably stolen its head and arranged it there to scare all the intruders like me. The whole situation was making me laugh and I was letting out the sigh of relief when weird noices broke the silence and made me jump back to my hiding spot.

After listening closely the weird noices seemed to be car driving by except I didn’t see anyone. Later on I will realize that it must have been the guard but at that moment I just tough there may be road close by. The noice was gone almost as fast as it had began and I was ready to continue my exploration.

abandoned mirror house nara dreamland

I saw some more interesting thins: merry-go-round, more rides and another roller coaster. It was silent everywhere. Next spot I spend more time in was mirror house. Once again I was strugling with easy question: to go and adventure the inside or stay safely outside? The broken mirrors and messages left to the walls made the place look like scene from horror movie.

I had to jump over some broken pieces so I didn’t get wounds through my sneakers. I got totally lost. There was mirrors everywhere – some broken and some colored with spray paints. I kept walking around not understanding how would children’s amusement park have this place in it. Then I realised every now and then there was small arrows pointing the right way out.

After exiting the house of horror mirrows I continued towards the huge castle I had decided to visit last. I didn’t know how wrong the end of my happy day in abandoned amusement park would soon go! (Well, I had fun and can now laugh for the things that happened but at that time it was horrible…)

mirror_house2
“Not scared at all!”

So well… I may have problem with writing too long stories… Because of that you have to wait until next week to read the ending of my story (and also the main point where I get caught by Japanese police…) I’m sorry, I’m bad at not sharing too much boring things. But I hope you enjoyed my story or at least the photos.

I hope you are having an amazing week!
With love,

Viivi Severina