My travel year 2017

The year 2017 is ending soon and like last year it’s time to look back at the amazing (and not so amazing) moments I had the privilege to experience. When 2017 was starting I promised myself that this year would finally be the year when I start truly traveling and will take it seriously. This may have been the first time when I kept my New Year’s resolution. Anyone who knows me or has been reading my Twitter knows that year 2017 was full of adventures and travels.

Travel Blog Flying

Starting my travel year from Travel Expo

I started my travel year 2017 with something inspiring and unbelievable. I went to Finnish travel expo “Matkamessut”. There I took part in this seminar meant for travel writers where they taught everything from writing a travel blog to taking better photos. Afterwards, I walked around the expo and collected a huge bag full of fliers from different travel themed companies and countries.

This all made me want to be a bigger part of the travel community. If I was writing Finnish blog, it would probably be easier. But at least during this year, I have made more traveler friends and even met a cool blogger from the other side of the world twice during 2017. Isn’t that amazing?

Travel Blog Gdansk

How to travel cheap?

Most Finnish people think that flying out from our lovely country is super expensive. In fact, this year I must have heard “How do you have enough money to travel?” at least hundred times from the mouths of my family and friends. Even randoms comment the amount I travel. One of the funniest comments this year must have been “Are you some kind of heiress with endless fortune?” Those who are wondering: I probably make less money than most normal people right now and everything is about budgeting.

During 2017 I have learned more and more ways to travel cheaply without giving up the best sides of traveling. I made my own schedule so that I can leave whenever and where ever flight tickets are inexpensive. Hotels are also out of the equation (if we don’t count traveling with my amazing mum!) and I have to skip some of the most touristy experiences. Traveling to so many places during this year has been possible because I’m not a tourist, I’m a traveler.

Travel Diary: Bremen

Cities that surprised me

Because I had decided to travel cheap and my budget wasn’t great at spring, there wasn’t a lot of choices while picking out the destinations to visit. At first, I thought it would be a bad thing but surprisingly it just meant that I fell in love with cities I might not have visited on my own. During 2017 I was lucky enough to travel to three cities that took me by surprise. Bremen, Gdansk, and Bratislava.

All these three cities were sold short for me. The photos of Bremen I found online were dull and painted picture of an industrial dark city. Gdanks seemed like a place made for tourists and nothing else. While many people told me that there is nothing to see in Bratislava. In the end, all three of these cities ended up on my list of places I have to visit again with more time. Surprises make traveling so much better.

travel Brighton

I found home from Brighton

Some places you just know that you will fall in love even before visiting them. Brighton is a place like that for me. I saw the photos of its huge pier, idyllic streets, and endless beach. That’s all I wish for a perfect travel destination. Even if you know beforehand it always surprises you how one unknown place can make you feel like you have finally found your home. Dark alleys, colorful buildings and people so happy its ridiculous. I fell asleep listening to too loud live music playing under me in the hostel’s bar. Brighton felt like home.

Cherry Blossom Trees in Stockholm

Too many times in Stockholm

Stockholm, city probably 99% of Finns have visited at least once in their lifetime. Even if my statistics aren’t the truth, Stockholm has been known as the easy and cheap destination amongst Finnish people for a long time. Stockholm cruises are always a popular way of traveling. I have taken this form of traveling to the next level because it just happens that flights from Stockholm are nothing when compared to the flights leaving from Finland. Because of this, I have visited Stockholm too many times this year. If I counted correctly I have visited Stockholm 7 times during the last 12 months. 7 TIMES!

tourists_rome

Adventures with family

I am all for solo traveling but it doesn’t mean that adventuring with my family every once in a while wouldn’t be on my budget list. One of the first trips of 2017 was with my mom, siblings, and cousin to Sweden by cruise ship. The idea of this trip was to see the pinkish cherry blossoms for the first time in our lives. If I wasn’t planning a return trip to Japan before, after seeing cherry trees in Stockholm it came one of my most important agendas.

This cruise wasn’t the only trip I did with my family during the travels of 2017. At autumn I went to Rome with my mom. That trip interesting. Not bad but definitely torturous because of the endless sun and hot temperatures. We saw a lot of local history like Colosseum and Vatican but also just walked the idyllic streets full of tourists. After traveling together my mom flew back to Finland and I continued by bus to Venice.

iceland_waterfall

Two longtime dreams

I believe that every traveler has a few dream destinations that have always wanted to visit. Iceland and Venice have been dream destinations for me as long as I can remember. I’m not even sure how or when my mind decided that going to these places would be dream come true. It must have been primary school and something to do with geography homework.

2017 was a lucky year for me because I was able to visit both of my longtime dreams. After spending a week in Rome with my mom, I continued by over-night bus to Venice. I arrived at early morning hour and fell in love right after exiting the train station. Getting lost is my thing and in city full of canals, narrow alleys and ending roads it’s easy. Iceland was almost an opposite experience but still as breathtaking. Alone traveling around Iceland’s south coast would be boring but with a good friend and easy bus tour, everything felt perfect. I even hiked on a real glacier!

adventure_blogger

Around East Europe by busses

Between my trip to Venice and Iceland, there was time for one more adventure. I think you know what that means! Time to do one more dream of mine. I booked a flight to Budapest and first bus from there to Bratislava. After that my plan was just to improvise and travel around East Europe by busses.

During the following two weeks, I had the privilege to visit four new countries and return to Poland. Like always traveling gave me more than enough funny memories, new stories and moments to share. However, I also experienced the most moving moment of my 2017 while taking a bus trip to Auschwitz. They teach us about it in school but really visiting this sadly famous place you truly could feel the pain and terror.

New York Travel

Taking over the USA!

The last trip of my travel year 2017 was to the USA. It was my first time crossing the Atlantic and visiting America. After Iceland, the first few days didn’t feel as marvelous as I would have probably felt if coming straight from Finland. It doesn’t mean that New York didn’t charm me. I loved running around with Starbucks mug and fancy paper bags. The museums I visited were unique and full of famous artists. Let’s not even talk about the three-story high bookstores or writing endless stories to my new notebooks in small cafes.

travel blogger

Starting something new 2018

And that’s my travel year of 2017. Adventures, adventures and little more adventures. I will now start my year 2018 with a new theme. There will still be travels around the world – I don’t think there is any other way for me to live – but at the same time I have decided new goal. During 2017 I wanted to travel as much as possible but in 2018 I will give everything I have for blogging.

Laugh if you want because this year my blogging schedule has been just sad. Feel free to not believe me but remember that when I once decide something it’s hard to change my mind. Next year I have decided to do daily blogging. It may sound crazy but I think that’s just fitting for my current life. Just follow my lost side blog and there I will tell you more about this plan later this week.

What hopes or resolutions do you have for 2018? Or what were the most memorable trips you did during 2017? Like always all comments are more than welcome!

With love,

Lost Viivi

Photo Diary: My New Home

Hello everyone!

How are you? I hope you have had amazing adventures lately because I have only been exploring this new city I’m now living in. And I’m sorry if nothing in this post makes sense because I have currently fever and flu.

Today I’m going to share few photos from my new home town. So like usually there is photos and captions for them. In addition to those I will be talking about something else between the photos. (My blogs future… Almost serious stuff…) Now let’s begin!

 

trainstation
I want to start with this train station photo. It starts to be too familiar building for me because when I want to go see my family and friends I need to take three hours long train journey. Tiring but fortunately I have traveller’s mind and can handle long transportation times.

I have been super busy lately and not only because of my new life as full time student. If you know the site Fiverr I just recently started to earn some extra money there. (Takes unexpectedly a lot of time!)  Like you may have realized there hasn’t been many post to this blog and I have been quite stressed to come up with some easy to write ideas.

Before I promised to publish new bucket list destination every Wanderlust Wednesday but now I have to eat my words and just promise to publish something interesting every Wanderlust Friday. (That doesn’t rhyme like with Wednesday… Maybe Fearless Travel Friday?)

hostelroom
Unfortunately this majestic place isn’t my home. But it is from hostel room I lived in my first week here in Kokkola. I recommend Villa Carleborg for everyone. 

So now you can expect new post every Friday. Next week I am going to finally publish that long waited Tallinn travel diary that has been waiting in my drafts folder for too long. I’m also planning a lot of weekend trips in the future so wait patiently for those travel diaries.

busstop
This photo is my closest bus stop. Oddly I haven’t seen any buses here in my first moth. Is there even any of them?

Another thing I wanted to talk about today is my YouTube channel. No, I don’t have one yet but if you have been following me long enough you may know that at one point I promised to start making videos when I get 1 000 readers.

Honestly I though it would take at least year to get so many readers but somehow it has only taken a few months. Thank you everyone who likes to read my blog! And especially the people commenting! It always makes my day when someone drops comment for my text.

kokkola2
This is Kokkola’s public living room or something like that. It’s full of art and you can leave your own piece there or just sit down and enjoy what others have done. 

Yeah, but now back to the YouTube subject. Is there any videos you would like to see? I have many ideas myself but I would love to get tips what you would like to watch me doing. Also I will probably make two channels.

One channel for travel videos I can then share here with my blog posts. And another one for random videos about literally anything. I will inform you more here in my blog when I get to the point where I have enough time to really make the channels. (Maybe next weekend?)

church
Local church in sunset.

 

I think this was everything I had to say today. Thanks for reading and I hope you liked the photos!

And by the way you can also follow me in Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. I try to be active there but I’m a lot better blogger than I am with social media.

streetart
And today’s photo diary is going to end in this photo of local street art. I totally love it and will take better photos of it for you later on. See you again next Friday!

 

With love,

Viivi Severina

 

 

Fushimi Inari Taisha

It’s time for first Wanderlust Wednesday! This is new blogging series that will have new post every Wednesday in my blog. (This is mostly for me to keep writing something every week… But don’t worry! I will still publish a lot of travel articles in other days too.)

The idea of this series is to recommend places for everyone to visit at least once in their life time. Kind of like bucketlist but destinations I have experienced and loved. The topics will be everything from countries to small attractions and even cozy accommodations. So follow my blog if you want more inspiration to travel!

Today I’m going to introduce one of my favorite places in whole world. If I could only do one trip before dying I would probably decide to go here. This place is beautiful, calming and full of secret trails. It’s full of tourists but also locals. So what place am I talking about?

Magical Forest Kyoto Torii

Fushimi Inari Taisha

Other names: Fushimi Inari shrine, Mt. Inari, Mount Inari

Where? Kyoto, Japan

How to get there? I always walked because my hostel was only two kilometers from the entrance (and I had a lot of time). You can also use train. It takes about 5min and costs 140 yen.

When to go? Fushimi Inari is always open. I loved the autumn leaves but don’t know about other seasons. I recommend going on early evening and walking to the top when it is still bright. Then stop at the observation/restaurant spot and admire the sun setting over Kyoto. (PS. At dark the place is scary but magical.)

How much does it cost? Totally free! Just remember take water and snacks with you because the ones they sell are pricey. And you may end up buying souvenirs from here or crave for ice cream on your way to the top. So you should budget some money to do that.

Why to go?

If I should persuade someone to visit Mt. Inari I would just show them some photos of the Torii gates covering all the paths up. Why I fell in love with this place, is a much difficult matter. So let me tell you one of the many tales from my visits to Mount Inari.

torii

My Story (To Get You Visit This Beautiful Place)

It was my second time on the top of Mt. Inari and it was starting to get dark. I knew the sun would be down before I would get back down. Fortunately the main trails have street lights so it was only a little scary to walk.

I was only one in sight but was able to hear other hikers somewhere far away. Everything glowed in green and red lights and big shadows came out of the shrines I walked past. There were no humans but several cats kept following me. If I tried to approach them they would run away and disappear to the darkness but soon after another cat would follow me again.

I was almost back to the main shrine and bottom of the mountain. There was more and more people around me, mainly locals at this hour. The cats were long gone because of all the talking, laughing and screaming. It didn’t seem so scary anymore. Then I decided to do something crazy that would either end up being catastrophe or once in life time experience.

fushimi_inari

There was small trail with weaker lights going steeply uphill and away from the way I was going. It took only seconds from me to decide and start walking there away from all the people. After me followed one family and two Japanese boys. We kept walking towards darkening forest and soon the family turned back because it seemed like this path would not go anywhere.

Then with flames that looked real fire lighted shrine came to our view. The boys behind me were laughing and having fun and probably wondering what I did here. I totally fell in love with the small shrine. Only for that my walk would have been worth it. The boys decided to walk ahead when I still admired the cozy shrine.

I had to do another bad decision. To walk more or to return back. The path going on didn’t have lights anymore. The forest was getting more and more dense and the only light I saw ahead was the phones of the two boys walking. Of course I decided to walk to the darkness.

I saw the boys turning and starting to walk towards me. I though maybe they decided it was too scary to go on. For me this trip was all about winning my fears so I took my phone and lighted  it up. At that point the boys realized I -the foreigner lost looking girl- had decided to walk more. They quickly turned and continued to walk towards.

japani 146

Maybe it would have been embarrassing for them to turn back if I was going on? Well, whatever the reason was they kept walking and I kept walking. Sometimes their light would get lost behind the trees and at those moments the darkness surrounded me. Scary.

After a long walk I saw light getting closer and closer after every step. Soon the two boys walked towards me, said soft hellos when going past me and continued laughing and talking. I decided to continue towards the light even if it meant I would now be totally alone in the forest.

fushimi_inari_taishaThe light ended up being yet another shrine and small waterfall. My night walk was becoming more and more worth the scared feelings. I think this was one of the most beautiful and peaceful sights I have seen. There is no words to describe the beauty I saw and unfortunately no photos because of the darkness. But maybe that is just a good thing so I was able to fully enjoy the moment.

So then I walked back the dark forest path and didn’t feel that scared anymore. I got safely back to the hostel and have now memory to last forever. I hope I can return here one day in the future… I returned to that exact spot later on but when it was sunny and warm. In day light it wasn’t as magical but still beautiful.

kyoto_sunset

This was my small story from Fushimi Inari. I would have hundreds of them to tell but we don’t have time for that. So instead I will just say that you should go and experience it by yourself.

Did I wake your wanderlust? Have you ever visited Fushimi Inari or is it already on your bucket list? I hope you enjoyed today’s subject.

With Love,

Viivi Severina

Travel Diary: Day In Stockholm Cruise

Hello everyone! Today you can read about my current family trip to Sweden. I have done this particular cruise for millions of times so for me writing about it sounds quite boring. However I know there is many people out there never heart about day in Stockholm cruises.

Basically the idea of this cruise is to spend one night in the ship, be seven hours in Stockholm and then spend second night on the cruise on your way back. Very popular thing in Finland and always as fun to go. I hope you enjoy my travel stories!

For those not having the patience to read check out my photo diary from this trip.

Day 1: Family Gambling Time!

The plan was leave at one pm so of course I hadn’t packed my things the night before. Bad idea? Probably. At least when I realized afterwards that I had taken three bras (for two nights trip) but no jacket or hoodie to go with my t-shirts. Don’t be like me and always pack your bags with time.

Ready to go and travel
Ready to go!

So after some panicking around the home my mom, little brother and sister were ready to leave. Don’t however think that getting to the cruise would be that easy! First my grandpa drove us 20 minutes to the train station from where we took the two hours journey to Helsinki. From Helsinki railway station we got tram to the harbor. Over four hours from home to the ship but totally worth it.

The funny thing in these cruises is the amount of Asian people growing every year. I mean when I was younger there was only Swedes and Finns but nowadays almost half of the people are Asian. But good for them if they have discovered the beauty of Baltic Sea. Until now it has been our well kept secret.

breezer on cruise
Drink that I did’t drink

To return back to my long story after boarding the ship it was time to find our cabins. My mom went to luxury when she bought our trip and we slept in two different cabins. Let me say no one would have survived if we had been in four person room. I love my family but spending two nights with them in small room would have made me crazy…

So if you are now wondering what the heck would we do on the cruise here is some of the activities…

  • Drinking. Embarrassing to admit but a whole lot of Finns go to the cruises (and lets not even mention the ones never leaving the ship in Sweden because of hangover…) I don’t drink but my mom like any great parent did buy me a breezer that my sister ended up drinking.

Sweets and food on cruise

  • Eating. We didn’t drink a lot but ate behalf of that. There is lunch and breakfast buffets in the ship. At the first day we went to the lunch buffet and I was ready to die for the full stomach afterwards. Sushi, ice cream, cakes, fries and just so much food I don’t even remember them all.
  • Gambling. The main activity we had on our first night was playing games to win money. Yep, gambling with family. The first night didn’t look that good in the playing for me and I went 5 euros to the minus (thanks mom for the money). However the idea isn’t get rich but rather have fun.
  • Tax free shopping. Perfumes, make-up, candies and alcohol.

Our mission at first evening was to buy Oreo Milka chocolate. Lats time we were on cruise it was my mom’s bright idea to buy it at the second night. That time the chocolate was all gone and we didn’t get it. This is something you can’t buy from Finland and its taste is from heaven.

 

 

Day 2: Museums, shopping and dead legs…

Between Finland and Sweden we have one hour time difference. So when my sisters clock wake us up and we started to wonder why my alarm didn’t went off we soon realized that we had woken up hour too early. Well I always receive the extra sleep with joy.

breakfast cruise silja line

Like I mentioned about the first day one of the most important part of cruise is eating. Breakfast isn’t exception. The tables are full of food for you to take and sometimes even too much options. (PS. Pancakes look good but after seeing the small children taking them by hand I decided to stay in the adult section.)

sweden sky and sea

So we ate and then was the time everyone has waited… We arrived to Stockholm and our seven hours long adventure began. That is quite short time to experience city so we had one destination in our minds. Mordena Museet. (For those who don’t understand Swedish or can’t reason the meaning: Modern art museum.) It was short bus trip and walking away from the bay so definitely recommend for everyone.

museum cool art

In the museum we first went to see Yayoi Kusama exhibition. Totally loved it. Colorful, photogenic and full of feminist/equality references. Those huge red balloons were just a start. After that came infinity rooms, bright colors and unusual pieces of art. Infinity rooms were my favorites (mirrors on walls, ceiling and floor. Makes it look like the room continues to the infinity.)

infinity room yayoi kusama
Look infinity room!

Funny story about problems taking the yellow photo and my shy personality. So we walked with my brother and sister to this small yellow room full of huge dots. In the middle of room there was a big box with small peeking hole in it. My sister looked in. My brother looked in. They were amazed. As good big sister I waited until they were ready, walked towards the hole and then group of small people were all around the box.

I lose my turn to group of kindergartens laughing and looking trough the hole. Great. I just left the room quietly while the kindergarten teacher ignored me and tried to make the kids calm down. Later I came back  to see what was inside the box and took that photo in awe.

urban outfitters sweden

After leaving the museum and walking towards the shopping areas we get a lot of complaining from my brother. Despite that we continued following my sister who is the fashionista of us. She had decided the shops we visited including Victoria’s Secret and Urban Outfitters. by first look Urban Outfitters looked like over priced teen shop but I fell in love. Guess what I bought! Lonely Planet’s Ultimately Travel List book.  It has 500 destinations long bucketlist of the most amazing travel destinations in world.

Silja Line terminal

After the shopping it was time to return to the ship. At this point my feet were hurting so much I was barely able to walk. I am still a little bit sick so walking so much wasn’t good idea. Fortunately my family (or at least my mom) was patient and walked slowly with me.

So we were back to our ship, half dead and half anticipating the coming evening. How did we start our return trip? Of course eating! If on the first night we had amazing buffet dinner now we had even more spectacular a la carte dinner in this Italian restaurant on board.

IMG_8292
The tasty food (but not very Italian?)

I don’t know what they use in that sauce but it was heaven. Usually the not so generous dishes get critic from me but this time it was blessing. I had enough space for the dessert. White chocolate cheese cake with berries. Once again HEAVEN.

So the eating went well and after some shopping the gaming machines called for us. If last night I lost today we had good forces on our side. I left the cruise with 28 euros richer.

One boy looked with jealously when I played with my sister. We had decided that from this game we would share the money with family. The boy told us he had lost 30 euros after we won 20. It was only 5 euros for everyone but even small money is money.

Now I am going to add one more thing to the list of things to do in cruise:

  • Enjoy the show. There is stage and dance floor next to the gambling are. Changing performances from Moomins disco to dance performances and drag shows are  presented here. Check out before your cruise who will perform when it’s your trips time.

band silja line cruise

The last thing we did this night was see the dance performance. To get places to sit we had to go there early. That meant looking intoxicated Finns jamming on dance floor and Asian tourists laughing for them. There was band playing and they were semi good.

Changing people danced to the music. No club dancing but rather tango etc. because whatever the music is people from Finland can do that. The show ended to the singer announcing we had birthday girl in the crowd and we should all sing for her. The older lady looked pissed of for her husband arranging this.

Once again the Japanese guys in front of us had fun laughing for the scene and shyly singing Finns. After that started the real dance show. Eurovision themed powerful and fun performance started of course with Lordi. If you don’t know what Lordi is, they are the only band that has made Finland to win Eurovision song contest.

sunset on the sea from Silja Line

After that it was time to do some backing and end our last night on the cruise.

 

 

Day 3: The last morning and crying sky

Another great breakfast and trip towards home. Once again I tried to walk towards the pancakes but then one pair of messy hands was trying to find the best pancake and I decided to just drink tea. Why I always end up drinking too many cups of tea when I travel?

siljalineship

Leaving the ship is always crazy. Two nights is enough time to put all your things around the cabin, lost pair of socks to small room and panic around the ship to get out. After that fiasco and trying to not crash with the other people running away from the ship we survived to the train station.

Train vr finland

Everything was still seeming sunny at this point but it quickly changed the closer we got our home town. Fortunately we didn’t get wet (a lot) but the weather has totally changed when compared to the perfect two days we had. Even the sky cried for our holiday’s end. (Or maybe not?)

 

Travel Diary: One Day Silja Line Cruise to Stockholm, Sweden
If you liked my post, feel free to share/pin this image!

 

So this was my travel diary. I hope you enjoyed it. And for those who have read my blog with sharp eyes and are interested if I did get in the university… No, I didn’t. Or I still have change if someone decides to not take their studying place. This means I will probably leave to explore the world at any moment (don’t tell my mom. She doesn’t know yet.)

Safe travel for everyone! With love,

Neidotta

Photo Diary: Day In Stockholm

Hello there and welcome to my blog! Like some of you may know I went to Sweden at the beginning of this week. I am going to publish travel diary about my trip but because I just happen to be lazy enjoy first these photos I took. (The real travel diary should be out some day next week. Sorry…)

So just to tell you more information before we start I went to day in Stockholm cruise with my family. Taking this cruise is quite normal in Finland and I have done it several times but every time it is as fun.

The cruise is three days long. First you spend evening and night in sea. The second day is spend in Stockholm and after that you return to the ship and spend another night there. I hope you enjoy the photos I took.

 

 

sunset on cruise
I have been on this same Silja Line ship so many times there isn’t a much to explore. However the scenery never disappoints.

 

siljalineship
Ship is ready. Welcome aboard!

 

Silja line ship
I’m totally in love with the Silja Line ships’ promenade street. Say whatever you want about our ship being small but I feel like in home here.

 

band silja line cruise
Listening band is always fun experience! Specially when some drunk Finns are dancing in front of you. The Asian guys next to us had fun time laughing to our fellow Finns.

 

sea cruise ship sweden
No complaining in our breakfast scenery. I would spend every morning like this.

 

sweden sky and sea
Finally in Sweden! It is so close to my home country but still so different. The building right is the Royal Palace. (Fun fact in Sweden it is called castle not palace even if there is nothing castle like in it.)

 

yayoi kusama moderna museet
Our main attraction in this trip was Moderna Museet and Yayoi Kusama exhibition. Here you see the self portrait of the artist.

 

infinity room yayoi kusama
Anyone else loving infinity rooms? Yayoi Kusama’s exhibition had several of them. I am in love.

 

Yayoi Kusama art colorful
Even my brother kind of liked it and stated that Sweden has better museums than Finland.

 

infinity room moderna museet
Another infinity room. This time with water and color changing balloons. This museum is definitely made for taking selfies.

 

victoria's secret stockholm
I’m not fashionista so for me find something from this girly shop was miracle. I am happy new owner of flowery toiletry bag.

 

colorful idyllic street in stockholm
Walking around all the alleys is something I want to do one day. Now it wasn’t possible because I was with my family. No getting lost with them…

 

Silja Line terminal
There’s our ship and Silja Line logo. Time to return home.

 

sweden island from cruise
Our last goodbyes to Sweden. I hope I will return soon. (PS. why are the islands here so idyllic and beautiful?)

 

sunset on the sea from Silja Line
If I would make one wish, it would be to see the sunset every day in new place…

 

 

Happy travels for everyone!

Viivi Severina