TheTurtleTrip: DISCOVER SUOMENLINNA SEA FORTRESS

In 1991 Suomenlinna was added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites as a unique monument to military architecture.

We reached this UNESCO World Heritage Site by ferry from Helsinki Kauppatori (Market Square).

SUOMENLINNA boat

SUOMENLINNA boat

The trip (about 15 minutes) from Helsinki to Suomenlinna was more like an adventure than a short ferry ride. We could enjoy the magnificent views of frozen Helsinki and the surroundings from the sea. The highlight was the crossing through the ice covered waters. We could hear our ferry breaking through huge blocks of ice along the way… it sounded pretty crazy 😮

Suomenlinna

Suomenlinna

When we stepped off the ferry, we already knew that Suomenlinna worth a stroll 😘

First we saw the Jetty Barracks, main gateway to the fortress. It’s the beautiful pink building that was designed to accommodate 250 soldiers in peacetime and now houses the visitor information center, some restaurant and the Jetty Barracks Gallery.

Jetty Barracks

Jetty Barracks

Stepping along the blue route we could see tourist attractions like Suomenlinna Church, Great Courtyard, Ehrensvard’s tomb, Center Shop, the Suomenlinna Museum and other amazing sights.

Suomenlinna Church

Suomenlinna Church

hobbit-style homes built into the ground, Suomenlinna

hobbit-style homes built into the ground, Suomenlinna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ehrensvards tomb Soumenlinna

Ehrensvards tomb Suomenlinna

Suomenlinna is an important historical site and one of the most popular tourist attraction, but it also has a lively community of some 800 residents. There is a school, library and grocery store, and more to make the island a good home for its inhabitants.

Cafe Vanille on Suomenlinna Island

Cafe Vanille on Suomenlinna Island

hobbit-style homes built into the ground.

hobbit-style homes built into the ground.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We could enjoy the silence of the Island because there were few tourists. Maybe because it was a weekday, and the weather wasn’t very friendly.

After a few hours of exploring the place, we can say that Suomenlinna is more than a sea fortress- it’s haven of peace, reflection and history.

It is the place where you are one with nature.

Suomenlinna surrounded by half-frozen sea

Suomenlinna surrounded by half-frozen sea

 

We liked this peaceful winter day… and we were ready to come back in Helsinki.  🤗

Have you ever been to Suomenlinna? We would be happy to read your experience or tell us in the comments if Suomenlinna is on your bucket list 🤗

 

 

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TheTurtleTrip: OUR TOP 3 EXPERIENCES IN HELSINKI

Seeing Helsinki from the air, I said…

We have arrived into a proper winter.

We were so eager to explore the attractions of the city and now we are happy to share in the post our         W😍W trip in the capital of Finland.

Strolling through the city

Helsinki is an eye-catching city and its sights are almost within a walking distance. We noticed that there are many wonderful places to see.

Railway Station, Helsinki

Railway Station, Helsinki

 

Railway Station is a fairly typical station inside, but what makes it really spectacular is the clock tower and the two pairs of statues holding the spherical lamps outside. We found out that it was chosen as one of the world’s most beautiful railway stations by BBC in 2013.

 

 

Tuomion Kirkko or Helsinki Cathedral

Tuomion Kirkko or Helsinki Cathedral

 

 

Tuomion Kirkko or Helsinki Cathedral is a white and impressive Lutheran Church, with beautiful green domes and astonishing architecture. It is probably Helsinki’s best-known and most admired symbol. We liked the cathedral and the view from its steps that lead down to the Senate Square and the Statue of Alexander II.

 

 

Uspenski Cathedral, is the largest Orthodox Church in Western Europe. The red brick facade, green roof and the golden cupolas make it a quite special church. Stepping inside, we felt a peaceful and contemplative atmosphere.

Uspenski Cathedral, Helsinki

Uspenski Cathedral, Helsinki

It was nice that we could take photos and videos with our drone from this place.

Curious to see the beauty of this Orthodox Cathedral from all angles…? Check out our Instagram account @theturtletrip 🤗

The SkyWheel is the newest landmark of the city. We couldn’t enjoy the panoramic views of the city and the sea from this sky wheel because it was closed.

Helsinki

Helsinki

Experiencing the tram sightseeing tour

We found out that an exciting way to enjoy Helsinki beauty on cold days is with the tram. We purchased day-tickets and started our tour with tram 2 that is recommended for sightseeing and then for architectural tour we took tram 4. So, for a whole hour we saw the city in the warmth 😊

tram 2

tram 2

tram 4

tram 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the public transportation system in Helsinki is very good, we used it to visit other amazing tourists’ attractions that are not located in the center.

Temppeliaukio Church or Rock Church

Temppeliaukio Church or Rock Church

 

Temppeliaukio Church, known as a Rock Church because in fact is built into rock. When we entered in the church it was a really special ambiance, something different from other churches that we visited. It was very peaceful and spiritual… This was lovely!

 

Sibelius monument, Helsinki

Sibelius monument, Helsinki

 

 

 

Sibelius monument, located in the Park with the same name. It is made from silver tubes of various sizes that evoke the pipes of an organ. Near the monument is the bust of Sibelius. It is a noticeable and unusual monument.

 

 

After our walk through the park we managed to find near to the water, the lovely Café Regatta.

The hot chocolate was really yummy 😋

Café Regatta, Helsniki

Café Regatta, Helsniki

Going to Hokey Match

Finland is one of the world’s leading Ice Hockey nations and it has been consistently ranked among the best teams in international hockey.

Being in Helsinki we wanted to not only see the main tourist attractions, but also experience what Finnish people do and so, we decided to buy tickets for an ice hockey match, knowing also that hockey is the most popular sport in Finland.

We bought the ticket from Helsinki Ice Hall, with one hour before the hockey game HIFK vs Ilves starts.

The arena was almost full and the atmosphere was awesome.

Hokey match, Helsinki

Hokey match, Helsinki

The match ended with the score 3-0 for HIFK.

It was our first time at an ice hockey match and it will remain a memorable experience. We are going to include it in the list “living like locals”.

In the end…we can say that we didn’t see a match… in fact we saw a show.👍👍👍

Hokey

Hokey

Hokey match

Hokey match

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Helsinki is a really interesting place to visit and we hope you like it … So we will be happy to know about your experience in Helsinki! 🤗

 

TheTurtleTrip: SNOW VILLAGE IN YLLAS, FINLAND

Lainio Snow Village changes its size, shape and design each year. This winter it was built for 17th time and we could enjoy a unique decoration of snow and ice on the Game of Thrones theme.

It was cool to find out that this construction project requires 20 million kilos of snow and 350 thousand kilos of ice, as well as a few weeks of labor by the talented snow architects and designers from Russia, Poland, Latvia and Ukraine.

Snow Village

Snow Village

We’re amazed to see the snow art gallery with a lot of breathtaking sculptures. With every visiting room from the gallery, our admiration grew more and more 💗

Cinema Snow Village

Cinema Snow Village

Snow Village rooms

Snow Village rooms

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snow Village rooms

Snow Village rooms

Snow Village rooms

Snow Village rooms

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snow Village rooms

Snow Village rooms

Snow Village rooms

Snow Village rooms

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If somebody asks me which room or sculpture I liked more, it will be really impossible to give an answer. All that we saw was unique. 🤗

 Marvelous place, with a WOW at every step.

The main feature of the village is the Snow Hotel. We hope that on the next trip to Lapland we will spend at least one night here.

The village also has an Ice Restaurant, Ice Bar and Ice Chapel. Never imagined that an ice building could reflect so good all needed aspects of living in a small community … we even realized that can live there for a while without any issues. 👌

Ice Chapel

Ice Chapel

Ice Restaurant

Ice Restaurant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We couldn’t go to next itinerary without enjoying a meal and a hot drink in the Snow Village Restaurant, the atmosphere inside was unique.

PS. Strolling through this unique place, we can say that this year The Snow Village is perfect for a winter adventure for Game of Thrones fans.

We finished our visit of the Snow Village with a very nice impression and we were ready for Aurora hunting activity. Read more about lately activity here.

Have you seen any Snow Villages in the past? How it was? Tell us if it is on your bucket list for 2019? We are happy to hear from you 😘 ✍

TheTurtleTrip: OUR TOP 3 EXPERIENCES IN LAPLAND

Our flight landed in the afternoon of 24 January and we stepped out into a frozen beautiful land, transformed by winter into a fairytale.

     We’ve Found Winter Paradise.

Lapland is a charming place, somewhere between fairytale and reality that beckons us to experience its wonder.

We have pick up the car from Rovaniemi airport and headed to Saariselka, where we have booked our house. After about 3 hours of stunning snow scenery on our road, we have arrived to the destination.

The owner of the chalet, greeted us with a cheerful hello and a warm smile. The Aurora house is located in the forest that gives a special charm to it. We also liked that inside was clean and pleasant.

Aurora house

Aurora house

Aurora house

Aurora house

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our trip promised to be full of joy and not only because Lapland was spectacular, the main reason was the birthday of my lovely husband 💖

Drive around the forests on a snowmobile

We got equipped with some warm suits, face masks and helmets. Then it was the time to live a new adventure.

snowmobile adventure

snowmobile adventure

Snowmobile driving offered us a breathtaking winter scenery of the forest and a lot of adrenaline 😄

For night activity, we choose to drive with the snowmobile till the highest point in Saariselka. The place offers us a beautiful white landscape and the silence was so compact that you can almost touch it.  It is a good spot to see Auroras and night sky. We weren’t so lucky to see the Northern Light there because it was cloudy.

night snowmobile adventure

night snowmobile adventure

night snowmobile experience

night snowmobile experience

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Without a doubt the snowmobile experiences was one of the most entertaining experiences we’ve had in our trips. We made around 50 kilometers.

Snowmobile driving was incredibly fun! 😍

Husky sledding

Dogs sledding in Finnish Lapland was on our bucket list from the moment we planned our journey.

On the second day of our trip, after snowmobile driving, our adventure continued with the husky safari.

My heart warms when we met the dogs! They were so cute, friendly and we loved to pet them 💗🐶💗

husky

husky

husky dogs

husky dogs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a few minutes of interaction with these adorable animals, we get the instructions how to manage the dog sled and finally start our ride through the snowy forest. Dima was the driver on the back of the sleigh, while I comfortably sat in the front. ☺

The excitement of gliding across a frozen landscape in a dog sled was a wild and irresistible feel for us.

After about one hour of sledding, we were back at the farm from where the tour started. The instructor invited us into a nearby yurt and served us with warm tea, coffee and some cookies. We talked about the life of the huskies and how to become a professional dog sledder and to take part in competitions. Basically, it is A HUGE amount of work.

It was one of the most magical days we’ve ever experienced.

Aurora hunting

It’s never a guarantee that you’ll see the Northern Lights…it is always a surprise.

We got a bit unlucky with the weather cause was cloudy for most of the trip. However, on our last night we checked the weather forecast and at about 100 km from the place we were, the sky was clear. We decided right away to not sleep that night and act like professional aurora hunters 🤭. Based on the Aurora forecast we had 5 % chance to see this magic phenomenon. It sounds disappointed…but we said that we should do all what depends on us and karma will help us… and voila…the clouds cleared and we could see the spectacular AURORA! That’s something we never get tired of seeing.

This was the best reward for us.

Aurora

Aurora

Frankly speaking, we didn’t know what to expect when it comes to the Northern Light. Sooo…seeing it…was so beautiful and is really an amazing phenomenon to witness.

The highlights of our trip in Lapland are the unique outdoor activities we tried.

We are so happy that we could live the real winter adventure and also feel it meditative charm and peace.

PS. I loved the squeaky sound of walking on the snow and I really miss it now.  Sometimes it’s the most insignificant thing that brings a lot of joy.

  Lapland made us it huge fans.

Have you ever been to Lapland? Which experience are you most excited to live? Share your thoughts with us 😊

TheTurtleTrip: LOVELY DAY IN SANTA CLAUS VILLAGE, ROVANIEMI

Magical is truly the word to describe Lapland.

Rovaniemi is the official hometown of Santa Claus and an amazing city on the Arctic Circle.

We visited Santa Claus Village in the end of January and for us it was the best time – it felt Christmas Vibe, there was snow everywhere and not so crowded like in other periods of time, as we read.

Within the mini village there are many activities like, reindeer and husky rides, snowmobiles, ice slides, shops etc.

Simply seeing Santa Claus Village blanketed in snow. It was just so pretty!

Santa Claus Village

Santa Claus Village

Christmas exhibition

Christmas House hosts the unique Christmas-theme exposition. The exhibition is like a voyage back in time where we could learn about Christmas holiday and its most recognized traditions in different parts of the World, about the real Santa Claus as well as the history of the Christmas tree🎄

Christmas exhibition

Christmas exhibition

It is a very informative exhibition that leads to Santa’s office. It worth to take a look  😊

Say Hello to Santa Claus 🎅

We have met Santa Claus in person at his office. He greeted us with a big smile and with his arms wide open. We were lucky because the waiting line to get into his office was short.

Santa knows several different languages and we really enjoyed to speak with him. The atmosphere inside was fascinated. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that Santa was in our small hometown Moldova. The time we spend with Santa was so lovely  🤗

Everybody can visit Santa Claus for free, the only cost is if you want the photo with Santa as you can’t take any with your own.

Meeting Santa is a memory we will hold for a lifetime.

We promised ourselves to bring our children here when they will have about 5 years old or so…We can’t imagine how happy we could be if we had experienced this amazing adventure in our childhood 😄

Santa is here

Santa is here

Santa’s Official Post Office 🏤

This is where all the letters written to Santa Claus from children around the globe make their way here. Each Christmas, Santa receives about a half million letters and even more remarkable is that every single letter is read by Santa and his postal helpers.

Guinness world record: The longest wish list to Santa Claus consisted of 75,954 wishes was presented to him at his official post office in Rovaniemi, on 5 December 2012.

It is nice that you can send postcards to your loved ones with a stamp and post mark from the Arctic Circle. Another lovely thing is that you can ask Santa to send a letter to your family or friend anywhere in the world.

Santa’s Official Post Office

Santa’s Official Post Office

We wanted to make a special gift for our nephews and ordered a personalized letter from Santa Claus that will be send for Christmas 2018. I can’t wait their reaction 😄

Eating time … Santa’s Salmon Restaurant

After some hours of strolling through the frozen village we get hungry. We started to look for a place where to eat and get warm up… and found a teepee-looking house. Getting inside we was so surprised that the salmon was cooked over the fire in the center of the restaurant. It was our first time when we ate in such a place and it was so magic that we step inside without even thinking about such a nice frame.

Santa’s Salmon Restaurant

Santa’s Salmon Restaurant

The salmon that arrived at our table was…yummy 😋

Finnish people have their recipe to cook the salmon…so we challenge you to try it at home, you’ll never regret.

Santa Claus Village

Santa Claus Village

It’s easy to believe in magic, when you see it with your own eyes. Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi for sure offers magic for everyone, regardless of the age 💙

Would you go to Finland to see the real Santa Claus? Or, have you already seen him? We would like to read your experience in the comments of this article.

Santa Claus Village

Santa Claus Village