Helsinki - Turku - Tampere - Rovaniemi

Dates: 16th Dec'17 - 27th Dec'17

 

"The deepest form of Love is curiosity" - Iordan

"Happiness Is Only Real When Shared"

Travel to Discover

 

Travelers: Sonali Joshi, Sarvesh Prattipati, Harpreet Padda, Neha Sukhwani, Anurag Pareek, Shweta Sukhwani

 

Where to start from - the journey or dream to Finland started a long time back and when it finally became real that's the time you realize - It's was worth the ride.

 

We at Travel to Discover got a chance to meet 6 traveler's from different parts of the India and world - Sonali Joshi from Mumbai,India , Neha Sukhwani from Delhi,India, Anurag Pareek from Delhi,India , Sarvesh Prattipati from Hyderabad,India currently based in Oklahoma,US, Harpreet Kaur Padda from Amritsar,India currently based in Melbourne, AUS , and Shweta Sukhwani from Kota,India currently living in London,UK who later joined us in Rovaniemi on 23rd Dec'17 flying all the way from London. 

 

It all started in Helsinki, Finland - where all travelers met, the minute we landed - we were welcomed by snow on our way to Helsinki center railway station from the airport.The time when you felt a dream is realized.A different world you walk into and that too during the time of Christmas which indeed is the most beautiful time to be in Finland, festival times are always the best.The whole city is lit up with Christmas lights and you are on a travel during this time in Finland and you have just landed yourself in the heart of the country Helsinki. 

 

Helsinki welcomed us with cold, little snow but above all equality and a feeling that this world is even yours, enjoy it.To start knowing Helsinki more we started with our walking tour of the design district - exploring design museum , history and connections of Finns with design, entering into St.Jonh's church and making our walk all the way to cross three neighborhoods known for design and beautiful architecture, admiring the beauty of central railway station and all the Christmas streets beautifully lit up - we ended our walking tour at the Helsinki Cathedral. Conversations and Curiosity kept us all going.Wherever we walked a beautiful Christmas tree and lights welcomed us.The night ended with a good coffee at Kappeli, never-ending conversations and a long walk back home followed by some drinks and conversations at a great lounge in Helsinki.

 

Next day we got to know more about the city with a free walking tour with "Happy Guide Helsinki" - where we all met lovely people from different backgrounds of the world, curious to know the history behind this beautiful city.Oh boy, it was cold and winds were strong too but we knew what we were there for - "Travel and we traveled".The tour took us through all the major sights and walked us through all the important facts of the city. "Please note - Don't do something which slows down the efficiency of Finns - They don't like it at all."

 

On 2nd day in Helsinki - we were joined by another traveler Harpreet who was coming all the way from Melbourne, from there on after some food and conversation we were off to explore the main Christmas street "Aleksanterinkatu Christmas Street" and not to forget the very beautiful Christmas market or in Finnish "Tuomaanmarkkinat". Music at street, trams, and Glogi ( hot wine + Almonds + Cashew ) was waiting for us.The night kept rolling joyfully, we all were having a great time at Christmas Market.To Glogi to tasting local food to collecting Souvenirs to Christmas prayers and not to forget merry-go-round at the market we did all we could. A fabulous night came to an end with a long walk back home.Nights and days both went by flying, we all were getting acquainted with this beautiful city. 

 

An adventure was waiting for us next day - Not a good weather but we were off to Suomenlinna Island - Fortress of Finland which marks the Independence of Finland. It's big and beautiful.The priceless views and long nature walk in the chilling cold.Getting surprised by nature is the best gift you can ever receive.Day went by exploring this beautiful Island and who knew after a long day of travel a Christmas carol performance at the beautiful Rock Church was waiting for us.It was indeed an experience to walk back home with.

The night had more in store - after having one of the many Glogi's at the Tuomaanmarkkinat - we were off to experience a Finnish Sauna.Wood-fired Sauna which gives you guts to take a dip in the cold sea water and that's called a proper Finnish Sauna experience. Sauna and then a dip in the chilling cold water.An experience of life.Helsinki treated us very well - The start of the trip was great. A long walk back home, good food and sleep.We were all packed for Turku. 

 

Helsinki - Thank you - You look so beautiful during Christmas.

 

Turku - a beautiful city which was earlier the capital of Finland was quieter and charming in its own way.We checked into MS Bore, it's a  combination of museum and hotel ship docked permanently in Turku.After some food and getting ourselves sorted we were off for our walking tour in Turku - exploring Christmas streets and Christmas market of Turku which ended at the very beautiful and the most important religious site of Finland "Turku Cathedral".We sat and enjoyed the beautiful Christmas Carol performance by locals - beautifully they sang, the moment when you connect your soul with the Lord himself.We prayed for the happiness of humanity and people we Love.Night followed by drinks and conversations and a very long and beautiful walk back home. 

 

Next day started with a visit to Turku Castle - visit to Turku is not complete until the time you don't visit the castle which is now converted in the museum - we stood in awe - going through all the history behind Turku, Finland, Wars, German, Swedish and Russian history.We made our way to Handicraft museum which gave us the insight how the life was in good old days and the significance of Christmas.After a long day of travel, we settled down for some beer and never-ending conversations.Time was flying and we were off to our next destination Tampere. 

 

Turku - Thank you - We are gonna come back for more.

 

Early morning we were off to our next destination Tampere - an hour ride from Turku and we were in the beautiful city of Tampere.We walked out of the train station and it started snowing.Finally, we got a feeling - a beautiful road ahead awaits.We started our tour in Tampere with good food at the market hall of Tampere lined up with good cafes, restaurants.We continued with our tour and explored some towers giving panoramic views of this city.The evening we explored the beautiful Christmas markets of Tampere where in middle stood a huge Christmas tree and of course Glogi was well served.Night always have a different plan.

 

Tampere a small city but with a very vibrant vibe kept the energy rolling.The hunger to see more kept the group going and after a powerful breakfast we were off again to another viewpoint - it was indeed a long walk but the journey had so much in store - Christmas markets, Chocolate tastings, merry go round and last but  not the least "Tampere Cathedral" insanely gorgeous - House of God are always beautiful - you make a natural connection when your roots are from India. Last night in Tampere and we were bidding goodbye to Tampere drinking some Wine & Glogi at Hotel Torni rooftop bar which gave us panoramic views of the whole city and never-ending conversations followed and late in the night we were off to our last destination Rovaniemi.

 

Tampere - Thank you - You treated us well 

 

Last 4 days and we have finally reached in heart of Lapland - Rovaniemi - morning 6.00 Am we get out of the train and all you see is snow and lots of snow - Winter Wonderland. Raw nature, priceless views, nature all around and the whole city is decked up for Christmas.After settling ourselves in Cafe Koti a small beautiful boutique hostel and cafe in the center of Rovaniemi we were all ready to explore this gorgeous city.We started off with visiting the "Arktikum Science Museum" who gave us insight into how life is in LAPLAND, the science behind Northern lights, wildlife in North of Finland and much more. Before we could have asked for it - we were treated with snowfall - watching the snow falling slowly is a beautiful moment.The evening was mesmerizing - the whole city is decorated with Christmas lights and big Christmas trees.We could imagine our time how it was when we experience the same vibe for the 1st time during our Norway tour last year and this time with another group in Finland and we were all waiting for what we really came for "Northern Lights".The night of Christmas 24th Dec'17 finally came.After Christmas prayers, we all got loaded in Alex's car all dressed in thermal suits looking like Astronauts ready to witness the Aurora Borealis - when green lights dance in clear sky in front of your eyes - It's nature one of the best gifts to humanity - Alex drove all the way to Pella close to Sweden border and in middle of nowhere we stopped, waited for Aurora to appear and after some time , far off we saw a big strech of Green lights in sky but still not satisfied - we drove more and made a base in middle of frozen lake, literally in middle of nowhere and after some time we finally got blessed.We saw the magical "Aurora Borealis" - we had a bonfire in the middle of a frozen lake, cooked sausages, ate some salmon sandwiches, Aurora cookies, photographs and much more.It was a magical night. 

 

The next two days passed by doing activities like husky rides, snowmobiling, Sauna experience in snow and last but not the least we got a chance to meet Santa Claus in Santa Claus village.We all celebrated Christmas there, watched a pre-Christmas party where Santa left with his elves to distribute gifts all around the world, saw the Arctic circle line which passes through the village, and priceless views of Lapland sky. 

 

Last night as per Finnish tradition it's a big party after Christmas and we were lucky to be part of it.We danced our way through.All in all, it was a great trip.We got a chance to meet such lovely people this time on the trip.On the 27th Morning, all travelers went in different direction walking from Rovaniemi with a beautiful feeling.

 

Rovaniemi - Winter Wonderland - Santa Claus Village - Mery Christmas 

 

We were happy that everyone walked back home with a lot of memories and that's what matters.Memories stay forever.Happy that we have this trip as a chapter in our small journey.Love for travel connects the world.Connecting Cultures and countries- Finnish and Indian.

 

India - Helsinki - Turku - Tampere - Rovaniemi

 

Thanks to all travelers who joined us on this beautiful journey.It was indeed a pleasure to meet you all and this trip happened because of you all.Last but not the least a big thanks to Alex from All About Lapland who was our guide for the Northern Light's Chase tour.

 

Thanks Finland

 

Love - Travel to Discover - Everything happens for a reason, Love & Hope always #Mutlumesc #TeIubesc 

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