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

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.

cute_dog
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.

street

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.

snow

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.

sky

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!

hiding_dog
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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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

 

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

Photo Diary: Beautiful Tokyo

Today is my birthday! Thanks for everyone who has wished me happy birthday. To celebrate this day I have collected my travel photos from Tokyo (yes I finally found my lost photos…) and want to share them with you. This will be my first photo diary but definitely not the last.

All photos are taken by beginner photographer using her phone so I am sorry if some of the pics are not so good. I hope you enjoy my travels!

 

skyandriver
Getting lost in Tokyo means finding beautiful places.

 

Tokyo Ueno Starbucks
Ueno park was my love (and next to my home) in Tokyo and this particular Starbucks quickly came my number one place to visit.
Whale statue Ueno Park Tokyo
If someone is as enthusiastic as I am about Japanese (crime) dramas, this whale is seen so many times in them. I haven’t even realized it before coming back from Japan. It’s in Ueno park too.
Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum Harajuku
Tokyo is full of interesting art museums. This Taro Okamoto memorial museum is one of them.
Urban Torii gate
Torii gate somewhere in Tokyo between urban neighborhoods
Star Wars Toystore Tokyo Japan
I’m big Star Wars fan. (Or better said my whole family is) It was fun to notice how Japanese share my passion for Jedi. They had Star Wars everywhere!
Urban river Tokyo
In Tokyo i was blessed with some beautiful blue skied days and one week of rain and storms as balance. This is one of the best days.
Tokyo Old Railway Station
Tokyo’s railway station is still big mystery for me. I got lost and somehow exited from different door every time.
Korea Town shop Tokyo
Any kpop fans here? Well I don’t admit anything but Korea town may have been like heaven… I find these stairs totally cool.
Line Friends shop Harajuku
Harajuku is my favorite neighborhood in Tokyo. It’s full of surprises and small alleys. Every time I visited there was something new to discover.
Fabric street Nippori Tokyo
When your best friend and mom are crazy about textiles you can not dissmiss Fabric Town and Street in Nippori. Shop after shop this are is full of beautiful and cheap fabrics. (Look even Buzz Lightyear is shopping there!)
idyllic alley in Tokyo
Getting lost in Tokyo is like walking in to movie. I would just spend years in Tokyo to get know all the streets and corners. I discovered this place one afternoon but the fun fact is that even if tried to go there again (there was cute shop) I wasn’t able to find it second time…
Scenery in Ueno zoo park
This photo is from Ueno Zoo. It was so beautiful! Small lake full of plants.
colors of Akihabara
Akihabara was something I have never seen anywhere else. Even if it was raining (I have never seen that much water coming down from sky!) the there was so many people.
Colorful Ferris wheel flower field
I have maybe the worst phobia of high places. Of course I had to visit three Ferris wheels in my in my Japan trip. (Why am I doing this to myself?)

idyllic tokyo neighborhood train

 

So there was all the photos! If you want to see some more adventures from Japan check out these food post I have made:
Sweets in Japan

Food in Japan

More Food in Japan

Have you ever visited Japan or planned to go there? Making this post has made me miss the city so much… Maybe I should start to plan my second trip there. (Or maybe not because so many places I want to see!)

There was all for today. I hope you are having amazing weekend.
With love,

Viivi Severina