Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Baltic Sea Tour

As I write this, I just noticed that this is in fact my 100th blog posting. Never thought I'd get this far but I guess if you just keep putting one foot in front of the other, you eventually make it there!

I have been away on trips for virtually the past 5 weeks and this is going to continue next week as well since Shane and Sonja from Victoria are coming for a visit and Norway tour! Cannot wait!

As Kim had some fellow collegues and friends from Victoria over in Helsinki recently, we decided a spontaneous trip over to Finland which ended up being a whirlwind tour of four new Countries and their respective Capital Cities in five days! Our trip essentially went like this:

Fly into Riga, Latvia (cheap flights in and cheap to stay),
Take a bus up to Tallinn, Estonia
Take a ferry over to Helsinki, Finland,
Take a ferry over to Stockholm, Sweden,
Fly back to Trondheim, Norway

This was really a City tour which we have never really done before but we really wanted to experience some older Cities, all of which have lots of culture and time built into them. It is amazing at how short a distance you can travel in Europe and have a completely different cultural experience. In Canada, you can travel 5000km and everything is still pretty much the same in terms of language and overall culture. On this trip, we found ourselves on the second day in three different Countries and Cities, all with their own unique background and of course, different languages. Kim and I have learned a bit of Norwegian but trust me, this does not help you out at all when it comes to Finnish; it's a entirely different beast!
Helsinki, Finland

We had amazing weather over the entire time period with high 20 to low 30 degree temperatures. You just don't get shorts and sandels everyday over here in Trondheim although you don't normally either in Helsinki or Stockholm... we just completely lucked out. The whole trip was just a great journey and experience. We made the best of it as well be renting bikes in Helsinki and becoming a member in the City Bike program in Stockholm which was super fun (there are racks of bikes all over the City which you can take and return at your will).
City Bike Tour in Stockholm
The bikes really allowed us to see more of the City besides the downtown. And besides, who doesn't like to rip around on some cruisers!
Rock'n out the Singlespeeds in Helsinki

We did the whole trip with budget conscious in mind staying in hostels and trying to eat on the cheaper side. Even so, like Norway, the Scandinavian Countries are not cheap so if you decide to go, plan on getting your booze fix in Riga or Tallinn before heading up to Helsinki!

I would highly recommend anyone who is over visiting Europe to do a similar trip to this as the sights and travel between Cities was just superb.
We have sooooo many good photos from this trip that you can check out here.


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