COTTONTAILS AND CUPCAKES

Month: November, 2014

The Land of Moomins.

by cottontailsandcupcakes

A quick 2.5 hour ferry trip and over to Helsinki we went. Given what everyone has said about the err. expensive nature of Scandinavia we got on the tram and first stop, Lidl. We filled up my case with breakfast items and snacky nibbles. Then I left Rafe with a coffee in the cafe and went shopping. My aim, Scandinavian Christmas decorations and all things Moomin. I found lots of decorations then found a moomin tea caddy and cookie cutter. Job done. Then back on the tram to our hostel and called it a day. The hostel had more of a family vibe than party town. Woop. There’s always the one though that insists on talking really loud at 12am.

We got up early and headed out the following day. At 8.30am it was still quite dark out. We got the ferry across to Suomenlinna Sea Fortress, an island 15 minutes out from Helsinki. We didn’t realise the Finnish were late risers and most of the museums were shut over the winter. We strolled around for an hour or two but it was baltic. Rafe got to play with the cannons for a while though.

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We headed back into the Centrum and went to Stockmanns, the Finnish equivalent of John Lewis. I picked up some more Moomin goodies, including a big Moomin print bath towel for Squirtle when he arrives. Then I needed to feed Rafe (as usual) so we went for a traditional Finnish lunch, Pizza Hut. Turns out that Finnish cuisine isn’t for us. The whole organic 3 leaves and a piece of raw fish just doesn’t do it for us. We stuck with what we knew.

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Back on the tram for more exploring, we went to have a look at the Lutheran Cathedral and Russian Orthodox Cathedral. They stick out quite prominently from the Helsinki cityscape. I managed to also find myself buying some wooden toys and a puzzle, and an advent calender, and a load of Finnish chocolate. I may in fact have to wear all the clothes I brought with me on the trip to fit the shopping in the carry on luggage.

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We decided against eating out again for dinner, we had a kitchen at the hostel so cooked Bratwurst and Potato Salad and gorged on chocolate. It’s more or less dark by 4pm in Helsinki and it really throws your day out. You start winding down at 2pm and want to get into bed at 4.30pm.

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Our last day today in Helsinki, we slept in, had croissants then a little explore around a market before heading to the airport. I managed to fit everything in my case somehow and it closed. I only had to wear one outfit too (well two cardigans but still). 

I am currently somewhere in the air between Finland and the UK. The plane has wifi, how fancy. I don’t miss much when I’m travelling apart from my bed and apparently the bump wants custard really bad.

Elk Soup and Wild Animal Pasties – Tallinn

by cottontailsandcupcakes

We’ve spent the last few days exploring Tallinn in Estonia. It’s backpacker and stag do paradise here but very few here at the moment. Great location for a cheap winter city break with no crowds.

After an awful flight, nothing on EasyJets part mind (shocker.), turns out being hot and tired and nearly 6 months pregnant makes you faint whilst hurtling down the runway at Gatwick mid take off.

We landed in Tallin and given its economy we took a taxi to our hotel. €8 is definitely worth 15 minutes of luxury, what a treat. We checked in to our room and went to bed. After our nap we went exploring.

It’s definitely what you’d call baltic weather. Five layers later we braved it, there was still snow on the ground from a few days prior. We went up to the old town and headed to the town hall. We had a look around the Christmas Market (bog standard european Christmas market) then went to a medieval style tavern for dinner. No lights, no cutlery, just wild animal pasties and elk soup. It was very touristy but good fun. Cheap too for the novelty. We did a bit of aimless wandering, grabbed some cheese pastries for the following days breakfast and headed back.

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The following day we went on the wander again. Headed up Toompea Hill to the lookout point. Strolled along the old cobbled steets and had pancakes for lunch. We then took a tour of the Bastion Tunnels under the old town. They go on for miles but most of which are inaccessible yet. We did a tour of the renovated section. It’s mad to think Tallinns homeless still live in some of these tunnels on the other side of the town.
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We had another look at the old town , found the Kalev chocolate shop near our hotel then decided on our dinner options. We went for dumplings in a studenty-cafe-diner type place. I’m not sure if they’re particularly Estonian but I’m not interested in the national dish of pickled herring.

Chocolate overdose and bed ready for the ferry to Helsinki that was today.
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