The land of a thousand lakes

Trip Start Jul 02, 2010
Trip End Aug 02, 2010

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Flag of Finland  , Southern Finland,
Sunday, July 11, 2010

We woke up at 3.45am (feh) for our flight from Dublin airport. Predictably, after 6 days of bad weather, the rain has now stopped! At the airport we got the fortunate news that we had no problem getting a seat on Aer Lingus to London Heathrow. Already half of our daily stress was over. You could call it the luck of the...yeah well you know what I mean.

Upon arrival at London Heathrow, we made the long trek to Terminal 3. Whilst going through security, I thought to myself "That guy in front of me looks really familiar - is it Tony Blair"? Well no, it was actually Alan Joyce, the CEO of Qantas. I was going to go up and introduce myself (apparently he likes to meet employees) and maybe try and get a photo with him (for my Facebook profile photo of course) but he looked pre-occupied and in a rush, so I didn't want to risk the hassle of it.

Finnair also gave us the good news we needed - we had secure seats on the flight to Helsinki too, so we were finally able to relax until our arrival. For a small airport, Helsinki's Vantaa Airport is total chaos! Once we landed, we went straight to the wrong baggage collection area (security had to escort us to the correct one), then waited about 45 minutes for our bags, and finally met my friend Heddi and her husband Pennti who had come to collect us.

Heddi is a pen friend from back in my school days, so we have been writing for about 23 years now (I think we started when I was 5 or something). In that time, I have visited her in Finland three times prior to today. Right now, Finland is unseasonably HOT! And to make matters more interesting, Finns don't have air conditioning as they rarely need to use it. But it's a great change from the cold of Ireland (and Australia for that matter).

After driving back to their apartment, we went to a nearby restaurant for dinner. Despite best intentions, I didn't end up ordering reindeer which was on the menu, before we all came back to watch the World Cup final.

The next day we headed into Helsinki to look through the city. We took a lunch cruise around the Finnish harbour before heading back. All the herring you could eat!

Later that evening we went to a friend Janica's house. Her husband Mischa has a house on a small Finnish island which was the perfect setting for dinner. Mischa came and collected us by motorboat, so there were 11 of us including their infant son Benjamin, Heddi's cousins Solveig and Assi, and friends Johanna and Jon. And I thought Richard Branson was the only one who had his own island.

Tomorrow, we head to St. Petersburg to begin our Trans Siberian adventure. Quite nervous about it (particularly since so many people wrote "Stay safe" on my Facebook profile) but I'm hopeful it will be an adventure we enjoy too.
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Lisa GIlliland on

Sounds like you guys are having an amazing holiday. I love reading your entries. Can't believe you confused AJ with Tony Blair !!!!
Will be sending through the eXcel nominations to your hotmail account this week.
Talk to you soon

Gudron on

Hey guys, how exciting..enjoy and keep the stories + pics coming whenever possible! The party here in NL is over, so time for me to go back to Sydney, I'll let you know once I'm back! Have a great time and can't wait to hear all about your trip! x

elke jerome on

Hi guys, sounds like ur having a fabulous time. Am enjoying your comments and photos. Just wish we were there with u. Heddi looks really well. Weather here has been wet, wet & more wet, but not too cold at all. Keep enjoying your adventure.uv and hugs mum and dad xxx

Glenn on

Love the Finnish Paradise..

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