Photo Diary: Tallinn’s Christmas Market

Merry Christmas for everyone! I hope you are having amazing day spending this special time of year (and if you don’t celebrate Christmas have an amazing day whatever you are currently doing!)

To celebrate this beautiful day I have gathered photo compilation of my (and my sister’s) recent trip to Tallinn’s Christmas Market. The trip was present to my sister who hadn’t visited Tallinn properly before. We left home too early at one morning a few days ago and returned too late at the same evening. Day trips are fun but tiring so it wasn’t probably the best plan to do just before Christmas!

Leaving Helsinki to see Tallinn's Christmas Market

You may remember me telling earlier this year about my trip to Tallinn. This time our visit was shorter than that time even if I didn’t believe that would be possible. We spend only three hours in Tallinn and for that we had to travel the whole day. I think it was worth it but I don’t know if my sister (who got seasick) will agree with me.

In old town on our way to Tallinn's Christmas Market

I may have mentioned this a few times but my love for old colorful towns is endless. I could use months just walking around Tallinn and exploring all the small alleys and photographing every cure house I can find. This visit wasn’t exception to my previous one… I may have too many photos of random buildings!

Tallinn's old town and Christmas

There was a lot of people doing last moment Christmas shopping and running around hurriedly. I had meant to buy some presents too but ended up just buying shirt for myself. Well at least I bought something unlike my sister who didn’t got anything (this is unexpected because usually she is the shopper and I just get dragged along…)

Tallinn's Christmas Market

To tell the truth I was quite disappointed to the Tallinn’s Christmas market. It was beautiful, there was many happy looking people and all the bright lights charmed me. However it was smaller than I had excepted and after visiting a few Finnish Christmas markets this year I admit liking them more. Even if I didn’t like it that much I recommend one Christmas market visit per year for everyone! Just to get some Christmas spirit.

Tallinn's Christmas Market Train

I still have a lot of things to learn about photographing in darkness. But I’m happy enough with this photo so that means I’m getting better! My photo editing skills are also upgrading and that may have something to do with my sister showing me new editing apps. (She is the creative artist photographer of us). We had a few hours of nothing to do on our way to and back from Tallinn so she taught me many new things (like how to remove unwanted objects from photos.)

Tallinn's Christmas Market

Even if I didn’t buy anything from the Tallinn’s Christmas market walking around it was cozy. A lot of cute stuff and presents everywhere! I only have this photo from the market because I’m still too embarrassed to photograph things like this. Especially when the vendors are looking you angrily when you only take photos and don’t buy anything.

Tallinn's Old Town Quote

“Save The Camera Honey. Enjoy The View.”

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Merry Christmas! 🎁🎄 #christmas

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How is your Christmas celebrations going? I hope everyone is doing well and having fun with their loved ones!
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

Travel Diary: London pt. 2

Hello there and welcome back to read about my London adventure! If you haven’t read the first part you can find it from here: Travel Diary: London Also if you are wondering where the day 3 disappeared it will have its own post later on.

Why? Because otherwise this post would have been too long and I really want to dedicate whole post for Harry Potter studio tour and Madame Tussauds museum. But now let’s continue the story! (And btw thank to my sister who took that crazy bird photo… She is fearless!)

Day 4: Natural History and Shopping

I recommend living in hotels with breakfast because finding something to eat sound easier than it is in reality. Once again buying breakfast was causing us unbelievably huge problems. You would think it’s easy to find breakfast cafe from London but that’s total fantasy. We walked the whole few kilometers to the Natural History Museum without finding any cafe for us to eat.

Hyde Park Afternoon Walk
No breakfast here…

First we went through the security check where they didn’t check us properly like too often in these situations. Apparently Finns or our lost selves don’t seem dangerous enough to need proper security checks. After that we continued our mission to find breakfast and managed to find the most unhealthy but tasty looking chocolate cake I have ever seen. Of course we bought pieces of it for us to have as breakfast.

I have few words about the free Natural History museum. Dinosaurs, mind games and huge whale. Yep, that sums up our morning. Besides us there was a lot of school classes. When we left the museum we even accidentally walked in one of the school groups and got some wondering looks from the teacher.

Natural History Museum London

After surviving out of the museum (we didn’t go to every exhibition because it would have taken the whole day!) it was time to go shopping. We went to a few shops but in the end did most of our shopping in the Primark. Don’t judge me, I’m student and live on my own so shop full of cheap clothes is like a heaven.

I bought two more pairs of the jeans I had bought the last time. Even if those jeans made me looks like a smurf after I took them off. That feature is still part of them. I don’t know if I should be worried of them leaving ugly blue color to my skin? Well, at least the jeans only cost like 7€.

Animals in Natural History Museum London

But yeah that was our fourth day. The evening went planning our last day, buying some bubble tea and starting the impossible packing. I had totally forgotten how much I loved bubble tea. I even bought matcha one because it’s one of the foods I can’t get from Finland and I think I can’t live without!

Day 5: Hard Rock Cafe and Touristy Things

We didn’t have a lot of plans for our fifth day but ended up doing a lot. Our first stop was breakfast at Hard Rock Cafe. We had been arguing (well not arguing but just being indecisive together) should we use the metro or walk through Hyde Park. We ended up doing the last one and it was good decision!

Hyde Park Crazy Birds and Tourists
Thanks for my sister who took this photo. I would have never been brave enough to be so close to the birds! And I should be the animal carer of this family…

We saw more birds on our way and even crazier tourists trying to hug and befriend the birds. (You shouldn’t do this. Bad for the animals and unhealthy for you..) 

When we finally found the Hard Rock Cafe it was closer us than we had tought. The staffs were kind and place amazing so definitely recommend for everyone to go when in London! It was meant to be our breakfast but we both ordered cauliflower burger. It was vegetarian dish where the hamburger steak was replaced by cauliflower. I would eat all my burgers like that if it was possible.

Hard Rock Cafe London Vege

At this point it didn’t even matter that our breakfast was so fulfilling because we had eaten odd breakfasts everyday. Bento box, Fish & Chips and chocolate cake to name some of our crazy breakfast choices. But hey, we were on vacation so no reason to eat reasonably.

After the fulfilling meal we continued towards Buckingham palace and the royal shop we had promised to visit for our mom. Luck was on our side because once again the walk was shorter than we had expected. And on when we arrived to the palaces gates there was someone (probably important person) exiting the palace in horse carriage. So cool!

After the palace gates experience and realizing there was nothing to buy in the royal shop (just normal more expensive souvenirs) we decided to continue our walk. Next destination Big Ben!  I know we already went there once but my sister had forgotten her polaroid camera so we had to return to take photo for her.

Big ben and Telephone box London

Once again good decision because this time we decided to be more touristy than on the first time and lined to take photos of us with Big Ben and red phone booth. It was so funny how people would pose with the booth and even more people line up to wait for their turn to take the photo. No way for anyone to really use those phones to call. Tourist takeover!

Surprisingly even after taking some photos and buying souvenirs from stall next to the Big Ben we had almost half of the day left. It was time to head to get some culture experiences and what would be better place for that than Tate Modern museum?

The museum was huge. I mean I had known there was many floors and exhibitions but it was bigger than I would have never imagined. In my opinion too much art to see in one day. I have always loved museum and modern art and this museum immediately rose to one of my favorite museum. And one important point to mention is that the museum was free to attend.

Tate modern museum London modern art

We even found one exhibition from Finnish artist. We were wondering out loud why would there be Finn’s works in this popular museum when behind us woman said in Finnish “Why not?” and disappeared as quickly as she had appeared. I never get used to other Finns leaving our beloved home country and making contact on odd places.

After the museum visit it was time to return back to our hotel. We packed our too full suitcases and tried to sleep early because the next morning it was time to leave.

 

Day 6: Time To Go Home

We woke up too early to make it to our plane. First we had to take metro to the train station and then find the right train. I thought we would have more problems but fortunately the trains station has prepared for tourist and there is huge signs to find the right track.

Metro London Cool

We arrived early to the airport but then suddenly we almost had to run to make it to our flight. The airport really is huge. And the plains to Finland leave from the farthes corner possible. No, I’m not even kidding. We had to walk trough the whole airport to get to our gate.

This time I sat next to my sister but it was causing some problems. We wanted to see the same movie so if one of us was ahead the other one got spoilers before hand. Can someone make the plane TV’s sync and show the movies at the same time? Let’s just go back to the time where everyone had to watch Brain Games from the shared tiny TV.

So there was my London travel diary. I hope you enjoyed my long boring commentary. Have you ever been to London? And maybe done some of the things we did?

I will write again next Friday with the story and review from Harry Potter tour and Madame Tussauds. Have an amazing weekend!

With love,

Viivi Severina

Travel Diary: London

5 days in London is far from enough. This city is full of places to see and things to experience. However 5 days is just enough to fall in love again with the lively city. London, I will return one day and hopefully that day will be sooner than later!

Day 1: To Harrods without sleep

plane

Our bus to the airport left 3am so I didn’t get any sleep before that. We flew with the new Finnair A350 airplane and the movie selection was too good (Now You See Me 2 is everything!!) for me to even try sleeping. My sleepless night plan however backfired right away in London… We got safely and without problems to our hotel where the staff informed us that our room would be ready in four hours. Too much time to kill for me who hadn’t slept and for my sister who just happened to be sick.

harrods2

We left the hotel with a map and no plan. Our first mission was to find food and then while having mini picnic in the Hyde Park we tried to plan our afternoon. The decisions was hard because both of us just wanted to go and sleep in the hotel. In the end we decided to visit the luxurious Harrods.

Maybe not our best decision…

If you haven’t visited Harrods let me tell you it is amazing fancy shop where you would imagine rich people shopping. Fortunately there was a lot of tourists beside us so our “travel day straight from plane” styles almost fitted in the huge department store.

harrods

I have three tips for visiting Harrods:

  1. Get lost. There is no way you can find all the sections, floors and places. There is so many rooms full of stuff that it just is impossible.
  2. Visit the food/tea/sweets floor. So beautiful!
  3. Get amazed by the toys they sell. It may sound funny to recommend Harrods’ kids’ floor but it is the dream of every human. Good looking girls and boys are showing how to use the different toys. There is anything kid can hope for.

So after a while my sister started to complain she was too tired (why is she always sick when we travel together?) so we returned to the hotel and surprisingly our room was ready almost hour in advance. It was time to rest for a while.

rainbow

At the evening I left my sister to sleep and went for evening walk in Hyde Park. I would walk around there forever. The funniest thing in that park are the animals (and people taking photos with them). When you approach the birds with your camera huge gang of different birds immediately come for you to find food. Scary and cool at the same time!

My nature photographer side went crazy so here is some Hyde Park photos:

love

birds

hydepark

hydepark2

hydepark3

 

Day 2: Super Tourists Bus Touring

What would holiday be without hop-on-hop-off bus tour? Because my sister was still sick we decided to take our first day easy and go around the city on bus. It wasn’t as easy as we tought it would be… But maybe didn’t come as surprise for you because a lot of things go like that with me.

 

In the bus company’s website it said their office is in Baddington station. Well it wasn’t. We went to the station, saw place with the bus company’s logos and went in. Then I told I want to buy the tickets but the clerk informed me we were in the wrong place. The ticket counter was outside the station “next to the subway. The fast food subway.” With those directions we found the right place.

goldentours

After that we bought the tickets, tried to find the bus stop and finally our touristy day was ready to began. First stop King’s Cross Station. Or the station known for its Harry Potter 9 3/4 platform. Our first mission was to find breakfast. Sounds easy but it’s not…

We went around the station trying to find something breakfasty (can your ever say it like that?). Somehow we ended up going to Japanese place and eating huge bento boxes. It was so good! I recommend. The restaurant name was Wasabi and they had restaurants all over London. Cheap and tasty.

harrypotter2
All those people lining up to take photo with fake platform 9 3/4.

Conveniently we were able to see the ‘Harry Potter take your own 9 3/4 platform photo here’ -place. It was our next thing to do. We waited for 20 minutes and the line hadn’t moved at all so we gave up. It was good decision because when we visited the Warner Bros. studios there was identical photography point.

So it was time to continue our bus tour. We saw many interesting buildings and drove around London. Next time we meant to drop of next to Tower of London but accidentally forgot so our next stop was London eye and Big Ben.

lontoo

Nothing eventful happened here. Just us taking some photos and looking all touristy, someone playing Star Wars songs with bagpipes and a lot of polices and protesters next to the Big Ben. After getting our cool photos we took the bus and continued towards the amazing shopping paradise called Oxford street.

londoneye

It was almost hour of sitting in the bus before we finally we on the right stop. At this point it has started to rain and we had to run towards the shops. The luck was on our side because we found Primark right away and were saved from the storm.

london

Primark was heaven. Cheap and cool clothes. I bought fake leather jacket, cozy sweater and jeans (that will cause me problems later on…) After exiting the shop with too many bags it was already dark and we were almost dead. It was time to take metro back to our hotel.

 

Coming soon…

London diary pt. 2, review of Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio Tour and additional photo diary for all the London photos I couldn’t fit to those posts. I release new post every Friday so I will write and publish them some time soon. And to end this posts here is some London photos from my Instagram:

 

Have you ever visited London and maybe the places I went into? And are you as in love with this city as I am?

I hope you will have a good weekend!
With love,

Viivi Severina

Travel Diary: City in 7 Hours

Like I left my last travel diary we had to wake up at 6 am and soon after leave our cabin and the cruise ship to explore rainy Tallinn. It was my first time to Estonia which is surprising because most of the Finns have visited there at least once.

So we woke up, left the ship and arrived before seven at morning to the Tallinn’s old town. That early wake up did something good. The old town looked abandoned and we didn’t see anyone at that hour. Perfect moment to take photos without disturbing tourists.

tallinn4

For moment we took in the city and then our hunger grew so big we had to find the closest shop. Or we tried to find but got distracted by beautiful garden full of interesting art works. We walked past them and stopped to eat our breakfast cookies (because couldn’t find any shop). Of course right after that we did find the shop and went to buy our second breakfast.

We got some wondering looks from the local people when we went in and walked around aimlessly. We got even more odd looks when we bought chocolate cake. For our defense we were on holiday/adventure so eating something sweet before eight in the morning is acceptable! It was delicious (and cheap).

tallinn6

So after enjoying our odd second breakfast sitting on deserted park we continued our walk. There was still no people when we walked past the tall walls of the old town and it’s deep moat (guarded by birds not crocodiles.) The longer we walked the more people we started to see. Park’s caretaker, homeless man under bridge, people hurrying to work but no other tourists yet.

tallinn15

We walked up to the best observation spot in Tallinn (or so all the guide books say) and looked over the city. That may have been the moment I fell in love. I love old towns but Tallinn’s pastel colored buildings charmed me right away.

We visited some souvenir shops and wandered around without clear plan. No, we didn’t really plan anything before hand so our time went to thinking what to do next. Then we decided to stop by in the tourist information and almost took two hours long free walking tour. We however noticed that our time was ending too soon so no time for the tour.

tallinn21

Then we exited the old town and went shopping because what would Tallinn trip be without huge bags of stuff to take home. We found lovely shop from Viru mall. The clothes were cheap, cool and funny. Everything I look out for when shopping.

It was starting to be dinner time so we walked back towards the old town to find restaurant. On our way we somehow ended up in Tallinn’s biggest bookshop. We both love books so rather than eating we spend over an hour getting lost between the shelves full of books.

dreaming

And so I bought some more stuff! I bought three notebooks that had inspiring travel text in them (one of them above). How would I have left those inspiring notebooks to the shelf? I’m always in need of more wanderlust notebooks.

One fun thing (well, for us but not for the people outside…) was huge rain starting right after we entered the bookstore. It had been sunny for a while but when we walled towards the shop here and there few water drops came down. We went inside the shop and the sky broke down. Mother nature loves me!

tallinn28

So after the fierce book shopping we were super hungry and decided to finally hunt down some food. Finding restaurant wasn’t easy but in the end we sat down to the terrace of restaurant called Scheeli. (I recommend!)

All the other restaurants were full but in this one we were the only customers. We were joking about the food probably being bad or maybe the dishes were super tiny. Then the waiter gave us plates that didn’t look like the things we ordered and had only small amount of food in them.

tallinn25
The small dish we were scared would be our 14 euros meal but ended up just being gift from the chef.

We were laughing awkwardly and for moment were scared that we had really paid for those small portions. Fortunately the waiter told us it was gift from the chef. And before our food we even got fresh bread.

The real food we ordered, succulent corn chicken with potato-carrot purée, mushroom fricassee, flat peas and cheese sauce (14 €), was amazing! The staff were nice and funny so I totally recommend this place if you ever visit Tallinn.

tallinn29
Our real meal that was so good!

After all the hassle with food we only had a little time before our cruise would left back Finland. We went to buy some souvenir candies and walked back to the port. This time the mother nature decided to hate us because it started to rain and when we got back to the ship we (and all our things) were totally soaked.

And this basically was it. Maybe a little boring for you to read but super fun trip for me. My first time to Tallinn and new country to add on my list of places visited.

sea_cruise

 

I will be writing again next Friday and then we are going to be talking about using taxis abroad! I was recently contacted by website called ride.guru and I totally fell in love with their site (No, I’m not paid to say this. I just sincerely like the idea they have.) You have to thank them that I even got this idea of writing about taxis.

So basically I have always been scared of riding taxis but still done it few times when traveling. Next Friday I will be talking about some of my experiences and tips for adventurers who are scared of taxis like I am.

Until then with love,

Viivi Severina