Although my summer it feels like I have been in summer for months, my summer break has only just begun. After a couple of weeks of depressing quietness in Munich, after everyone went home or started travelling it was finally my turn to leave Munich (and what has been an overwhelming hot summer that has been lacking the ocean and air conditioning) for my Scandinavian holiday.
My first stop was Finland, and I had been warned that it would probably be cold, but in a strike of luck I managed to chose the one week of summer that it was actually warm. Julia said I was pretty lucky to see the sun every day as it was a rare sight in Finland.
I was so excited when I saw Julia again, even though we had been apart for less that two months it seemed like a life time after spending almost every day together. Our first day started with a delicious cider on a boat cafe, and I was so excited to see the ocean again. After a relaxing start to the day we headed off for a tour of Julia’s home town, Helsinki.
First we looked around the small capital city, nosing around the market stalls, the churches and the arts festival that was beginning that day. Then we headed to the water front to eat some “typical” Finnish food. Julia brought small whole fried fish – I have no idea what kind, and i would say it was…. interesting. A favourite food of hers, I definitely struggled with the whole eat everything scenario we were in. Fish head, tail and bones is not something I will be rushing to eat again soon.
After lunch we took the ferry over to the Suomenlinna fortress. First built in 1747 by the Swedish Government in an effort to reinforce Finland’s defences against Russia, the fortress was later surrendered to the Russians in 1808.
In 1991, the fortress was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list because of its unique history and architecture. With the majority of the structures remaining in there origanal state it is seem as a great example of the methods and technology used in the 1700’s.
After heading back to Julia’s house I was lucky enough to go on the back off Henri’s motorbike for a fast paced tour of the whole capital. It was so exciting and scary to be on a motorbike for only the second time ever but it was also an amazing way to see the city in such a short amount of time. And for the first time I also wore sneans!! I felt super European but at the same time was so disappointed in myself for giving in to this weird European trend.
The next day we headed to Julia’s country house about two hours from Helsinki. The area was beautiful and being in the country made me miss New Zealand more after spending so much time in busy cities.
Julia is a pro at horse riding and was determined that this trip would be a chance for her to teach me how to ride a horse. At this point I wasn’t sure what scared me more, having been on a motorway on a motorcycle or getting on this horse.
But after an hour of supervised riding, I was on my way, learning how to get him to keep going and also how to turn and stop. I felt like a little kid and I was definitely proud of myself for not falling off.
By the end of day I was feeling a lot more comfortable around him and it will definitely be another reason to go back to Finland.