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!

https://www.instagram.com/p/BLrOVBVgoZG/?taken-by=viiviseverina

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.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BMXS3WrAQoY/?taken-by=viiviseverina

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

Photo Diary: Finnish Forest

Today’s Fearless Travel Friday (am I really naming this like that?) has subject that’s close to my heart. Today I am going to present photo diary from last spring. And this is not just any travel diary… The destination was Finnish forest, the place I feel most peaceful and safe.

The sun was shining (well, not really it was quite cloudy…) and all the snow had melted so I wanted to go for small getaway with my dog. After Finland’s long winter I always yearn for green forests and quiet peaceful walks in middle of nowhere. So I got my dog, hiking books and headed towards the closest national park called Seitseminen.

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Someone wasn’t as thrilled about this trip to forest as I was…

I have visited Seitseminen million times but this was my first time driving there by myself so of course I got lost. What I didn’t know at that point was how wrong this small trip would go. Like usually everything I screwed I everything and all the possible things were against me getting nice travel experience.

seitseminen

When I finally found the park I though my perfect day would start. The first thing I had to do was get map from the park’s information center. Because you can’t take dogs inside I decided to leave her for a moment inside the car. Between me and the information was huge hill that was full of slippery ice. (I had though all snow had already melted how the heck was there ice?!?)

So I almost crawled on my knees up the hill. I had just done my small victory dance when loud alarm startled me. My dog had somehow set off the car’s alarm system. Now between me and the embarrassingly loud car was that same icy hill. I tried to go down carefully but ended up falling down and sliding down on my butt.

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After shutting down the alarm, walking up the hill with my dog and finding place for my dog to wait outside I felt like winner. Nothing else would go wrong with this trip! Well at least I though so…

Going to the information center was totally embarrassing because I was probably the only visitor in whole park at that time. The nice person helping me totally knew that I was behind the earlier loud alarm. She also looked me oddly when I realized (and lightly panicked) that I had forgot my snacks and water bottle. But even if I seemed like total dork I get map and was finally able to leave to the forest.

map

It took me few seconds to realize that in fact it wasn’t yet spring but rather winter in the forest. There snow and ice everywhere, I didn’t have enough clothes and it was almost impossible to take photos and hold my super exited dog at the same time. I could have turned around but giving up has never been part of my personality. With insane bravery I walked deeper in to the green darkness.

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After walking a while I found the quietness and peace I came for. Few birds were singing and I felt like this was my home. This was the place I had missed every time I went abroad. I don’t have words to describe the rest of my walk. Perfect, refreshing, everything I needed in my stressful life.

Then after walking for good five kilometers (falling over every now and then because of the ice) I came to the end of the forest path. In front of me was yet another icy rise to climb. Of course I sprained my ankle… Well I was able to drive back home (not safe to do that so please don’t follow my example!) and never mentioned my not so successful trip.

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There is one more funny thing in this trip. It is part of the reason that I started writing this blog more seriously. The thing is there was this ‘summer job’ in Finland for blogger and I tried to apply for it and my blogging subject was this trip. Like you see I didn’t get the place but like usually when I’m rejected I want to show everyone that I can do it.

The rest is history! Well not history but during juny and july I got over 500 readers for my own travel blog even if I didn’t write everyday like in the job I would have done. I know those people who didn’t hire will never know what they missed when not taking me in but I feel quite good about that. And nowadays I would not imagine my life without blogging.

So thank you for reading my blog! And not judging me even if some of the posts are super boring stuff like this. Thank you!

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This is how my super lazy companion tried to hide from me after our trip. Don’t worry she is only playing angry and in reality we both love our forest adventures like nothing else.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post. Next week I will be on London so I’m not yet sure if I have time to write post for Friday.

By the way does anyone have tips for me what to do in London? I’m going with me sister and we have both been there before so we are trying to come up with something fun to do. Any suggestions are appreciated!

I hope you will have amazing weekend!
With love,

Viivi Severina

Travel Rant: Being Scared of Taxis

I’m going to start this post with confession:

I’m scared of taxis!

I know this sounds crazy for some of you so let me explain a little bit before we start. In Finland we don’t really use taxis that much. It’s more something older or drunk people do. So I have driven taxi in my home country only for few times. Because of that I haven’t been very eager to use taxis in foreigner countries.

taxi

I never planned to talk about this insane fear of mine. Well at least not until I got email from company named Ride.Guru. You see the closer I have come to my one thousand readers the more I have started to get emails from different brands. I read all of those messages and see if there is any I want to introduce for you.

Ride.Guru was the first one that caught my eye enough to make me mention them for you (and no this is not paid post. I just really fell in love with their idea!) I think because of them I will more confidently use taxis starting from now on. And their ‘ask the guru‘ section has already helped me to get know more about the “new things” like Uber and Lyft. I may soon be there asking too many questions…

However today we talk about my experiences using taxis while traveling and why my fears are quite insane (like fears usually are…)

intaxi

So my main reason for being scared of taxis is the price. How the heck can you know what will the ride cost?!? Using taxi seems expensive even if in some countries it may be cheaper and easier than public transportation. And it also is safer than using metro or bus at night time (especially for solo travellers).

For example taking taxi from Paris’ airport to our accommodation with my family was much cheaper than using train. The whole taxi ride I was in fear of huge bill but got happily surprised when it didn’t cost almost anything. Before our trip I had tried to find how much it would cost from different internet sites and forums but found nothing.

gettingtaxi

Another fear of mine is how to get taxi. Should I call or wave my hand around for all taxis on street? Well I can say now with some experience that this depends on where you are. Getting taxi from airport is easy. Getting taxi somewhere else is super scary (or is it just me?)

Apparently it isn’t as hard as I am imagining… Nowadays you can just use apps like Uber or websites or whatever to get taxi for yourself. And now when I can search from net the prices I think I can start using taxis more. Maybe even on my trip to London next week! I will update you later on if I did or did not have courage to try taxi travel in London.

Do you have any insane fears with transportation like I do? Or am I only one fearing taxi rides? And also if you have any good websites to recommend like Ride.Guru I recommend for you just mention them in comments. I’m always trying to find new places to research for my travels.

I hope you are doing well.
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

 

The Fascination with Bucket Lists

Hello everyone! Today I have my first guest blogger here in my GoTravelGlobal blog. I find Ilona’s blog super interesting and totally fell in love with this article she wrote for my blog so be sure to check out her blog. I hope you enjoy her inspiring bucket list themed post.

Ilona is an avid traveller from Northern Germany who explores the world through holidays in far-away countries and weekend trips throughout Europe. You can follow her adventures and see her bucket list on her blog.

The Fascination with Bucket Lists

I have a confession to make. I am obsessed with bucket lists. Especially travel bucket lists. I can spend hours looking at other people’s bucket lists. Some of them are very simple, merely a collection of places whereas others include specific experiences around the world. Many of them, like Viivi Severina’s bucket list are a mixture of both.

But what exactly is a bucket list and why are so fascinating?

A bucket list is a list of all things you’re hoping to accomplish before you die. The Bucket List Guy says that there are several possible origins of the word ‘bucket list’. The one I’ve seen the most often is that it is derived from the term ‘kick the bucket’. You see, in the middle ages, when someone got hanged, they would stand on a bucket with the noose around their necks. The hangman would then kick that bucket and the poor person would die.

Not the nicest explanation, is it?

sl41ac

It still doesn’t keep me from being fascinated with bucket lists. I’ve set my wordpress reader so that whenever I go online, all posts tagged with ‘bucket list’ are shown to me. I’ll browse through them and see if I get inspired to add items to my own travel bucket list. I do have a bucket list for other areas in my life as well, but let’s focus on the travel aspect here.

So why is a bucket list so fascinating and why should everyone have one?

Bucket lists will help you focus on your goals. Everyday life will try to throw as many distractions at you as possible. Do you know that feeling of just making it from day to day, reacting to what is happening to you? A bucket list can help you focus on what you really want in life.

This goes for travel bucket lists, too. Everybody knows a destination that is safe and easy to travel to. And we all know how much easier it is to stay at home. No flights to book, no risks to take.

Deep down, you’ve always wanted to see the gorillas in Uganda. But somehow, you never got around to looking up tours and flights. A bucket list can help you focus on what you want to achieve, so you don’t end up spending your holiday sitting around in your apartment, wondering what to do.

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Come on, those gorillas are waiting for you.

A bucket list can also help you focus on areas of the world you’ve previously overlooked. I put down pins on a map for every place and experience that was on my bucket list and quickly saw the ‘white spots’ that I didn’t know much about.

Western Africa, for example. I did a bit of research and quickly stumbled on Voodoo ceremonies – attending one was exactly what had been missing on my list. And on that note, if you need more inspiration for Western Africa, the westernmost point is located next to Dakar and very easy to access. Plus, Senegal is an amazingly easy country to travel through (I highly suggest you go in November so you won’t miss out on the pelican migration).

For me, travel bucket lists are not just about location-specific items. I also enjoy adding experiences that can be done all over the world. Sleeping in an ice hotel, ziplining and hang gliding are just a few examples.

Those items will help you focus on enjoying life. Maybe you can tick off one of them while you’re at home. It’ll shorten those months that are left until your next vacation. Or maybe you’ll realise that your next trip takes you to a spectacular hang gliding location that you shouldn’t miss.

No matter what’s on your bucket list, you will want to work on achieving your goals. I think part of the fascination of bucket lists comes from putting a difficult goal on the list and then not having to think about it anymore. Needless to say that this is not the purpose of a bucket list.

If you end up with all those amazing experiences on a list and then never look at it again, you’ll have the perfect excuse to go on with life as it is. Instead, what you should do, is take out your list over and over again and look at it. Read through the goals and pick one or two to focus on. That is why I highly recommend not only to create a digital bucket list but to also write it down on a piece of paper. That way, you can take it with you wherever you go and it’s always available to look at.

The next step to achieving goals on your travel bucket list is to set a time frame. Those goals you picked, choose a specific date to accomplish them. For example, let’s say you want to visit Easter Island. It’s a remote location and deciding to go there within the next two weeks probably won’t work. But it’s achievable if you set a time frame of two years.

As soon as you start ticking items off your bucket list, or even sooner, you should start adding new ones.

Bucket lists aren’t set in stone. You can add whatever you want. There are no rules for what goes on there and what doesn’t and I think that makes up half of the fascination with them. If you want to learn how to scuba dive, add it. If you want to stay in a tree house, that goes on there, too.

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Here’s another suggestion: Volunteer to help nesting sea turtles

Even travelling to remote and inaccessible places like Somalia is a possible goal. There are no limits because no matter how impossible the goal, if you work hard enough, you will get to that place and you will have that experience.

So what are you waiting for? Go and write your own bucket list. Or just browse through existing ones until you’re so fascinated, you’ll automatically reach for pen and paper to make yours.

A photo by Aaron Burden. unsplash.com/photos/xG8IQMqMITM