23.12.2016 - 01.01.2017
So to Helsinki we went for (what we thought would be) a guaranteed white christmas!! Exciting!
We arrived on the 23rd and were quickly advised to stock up on food and drinks as evrything would be shut on 24th/25th. No problem, it's lovely to be cozied up indoors when it's snowing outside.
We wandered into the town and found more fantastic fairy lights and busy streets...we began to wonder when the snow would come down (christmas is only 2 sleeps away!!)
We slept in on Christmas eve. This is the big day in Finland, it's the day when families all get together, they have the big meal and open presents. Hence, everything is quiet and shut down. We opened the curtains quietly hoping that there would be a blanket of snow over the ground, we would go for a lovely stroll and throw snowballs. We got this ...
Rain, rain and more rain.
So we figured there was only one thing for it!
Bubbles, cheese & crackers and sauna (no pictures allowed).
Saunas in Finland are very similar to in Sweden, but in Finland you hit yourself with tree branches as well (not really sure why).
Christmas day was much the same to be honest, we opened our presents (didn't take long), went for a stroll to the beach had a very tradition meal of chicken burritos and popped back to the sauna!
All in all, it was very relaxing!
The next couple of days we wandered around the city and kinda didn't do alot! Helsinki is a neat city, with lovely buildings and we enjoyed the atmosphere of christmas there.
We caught the overnight ferry down to Tallinn, Estonia. It was aprox 30mins before we departed that it started to snow in Helsinki!! Unbelieveable! The ferry was interesting because we got on (it was kind of a cruise ship) at about 6pm and we had arrived in Tallinn by about 10pm but we had to stay on the boat till 9am. We guessed it was a money making scheme because the ship was kitted out with nightclubs, shopping, bars and restaurants.
We checked into a hotel (oh la laa - thanks Kevin and Jackie!!) in Tallinn and went for a walk into the old town. We were immediately struck by the beauty of the buildings and the cleanliness of the city. Estonia has a very interesting history as a country who has been constantly under foreign rule. It is now a country who believes more in witchcraft than any religion, but they still celebrate Christmas, in fact they were the first country in the world to put up a christmas tree.
We had a great time wandering the streets, checking out the christmas markets, eating meat with our hands, drinking vana tallinn (a yummy liqueur), exploring the old city walls, looking at the beautiful buildings and wandering some more. We met up with the lovely Amy and Klem on the 30th and did more of the above with them. As well as escaping from an escape room!
New years eve was spent at an Irish bar (we are all about traditional), before heading out to the town square to join the local action!
Happy 2017 everyone. Get excited because 2017 has snow!!!