I have arrived!! No one ever said traveling to another country is easy, however I have to say I had very smooth flights. I once heard it said that if you are a pilot for Icelandair you have experience flying in all weather conditions. So without hesitation, I felt good in their hands. A mere 5 hour flight and we arrived early in Keflavik. This gave me time to get a look at the recent improvements to the terminal since I last visited a year ago. I quickly found my fav cafe and ordered a delicious smoked salmon sandwich. It was prepared exactly as I remembered it. A nice piece of bread piled high with fresh Lox. Delicious every time!
It is quite impressive to me how icelandair can move luggage so fast in an hours time. But that they did, and it was indeed waiting for us when we landed in Helsinki. We found our way to the train station, bought the tickets at a kiosk then headed for the platform. About a 25 minute ride later we arrived in city center. Using our google maps app we walked the 10 minutes to Hotel Kamp where we were warmly greeted. Our room is beautiful, and newly renovated. We even have our own library of books! The room is spacious and pleasantly appealing. The marble bathroom is complete with my very own rubber ducky in the bathtub. I love the nightly turndown service with chocolate, a white towel on the floor, and my very own slippers laid out!
Yesterday, we walked down the harbor front to the Viking line express ferry. This ferry carries passengers from Helsinki to Tallinn, Estonia in 2.5 hours. The ship was a mini cruise line with staterooms aboard, shows, cafes, and even a buffet restaurant. The staff was friendly, and the ship clean. We made our way to the cafe to watch the scenery and drink coffee on our short ride.
Upon arrival in Tallin, we took the number 2 bus to the upper old town area. We walked up to Toompea, then crisis-crossed our way down most of the little streets. From the medieval looking wall and all the way down through the town was spectacular! We stopped along the way at a cart selling fresh roasted candy almonds, and even found ourselves exploring several antique stores looking for hidden treasures. All in all a fantastic way to spend the day.
I was quite interested in watching the Finn’s at embarkation as many had small suitcase and some luggage racks. On the journey home I soon found out why. I originally thought some would be staying in Estonia but I was wrong! A lovely lady onboard told me it was cheaper for Finn’s to buy alcohol in Estonia as there is no tax. Here in Finland alcohol can only be bought in state run monopoly called Alko. On the ferry back people were loaded down with cases upon cases of beer and other goods!
I had the wonderful opportunity to speak to a lady and her daughter onboard and learned a great deal about Finland, social medicine, and the school system. After all, Finland is known for having the most highly educated people. Today I look forward to learning more about Finland on our walking tour so that I will leave with a better understanding of the culture, it’s history, and people.
Until then, safe journeys,