Day Trip in Helsinki

Last Friday seemed like a nice enough day (it wasn’t raining!) so we decided to do a day trip to Suomenlinna, a sea fortress built across six islands just outside Helsinki city centre. The construction started during the Swedish era in 1748 and it’s now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We got married there six years ago and we try to visit every time we come to Finland. So Friday morning we packed our picnic blanket along with some coffee and snacks and made our way to the ferry on the Market Square (Kauppatori).

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Us in 2016

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Us in 2010

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My Little Messers

After visiting the church and some strolling around, we found a nice place for our picnic.

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Fart gun!!

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That’s me, enjoying myself. Hello!

We did a lot of walking and exploring on the islands and even visited an old submarine! There are plenty of tunnels to get lost in as well, the Little Messers were very excited.

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On our way back, heading towards the Market Square, Kauppatori

After hours and hours of exploring and generally just running around, it was time to head back. We had seen the SkyWheel Helsinki over on the other side of the Market Square and the kids were asking if we can go on it as the ferry was docking. We promised to go and see if we can get on it and how much it costs. Well, once you’re there you can’t really turn back and we thought the €38 for the family ticket might just be worth it. And it was, if not only for the views but again, the kiddies excitement was contagious. The only thing I was wondering was why on earth had they used blue tinted glass?!

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Up over Helsinki – Katajanokka behind Mr Messer

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The Excitement!

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Kauppatori, Rooftops of Helsinki, and Helsinki Cathedral to the right

After all of that we were all starving and didn’t really fancy cooking. It was Friday night after all so we decided to find a place to eat and have a sneaky glass of wine (for me!).

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Did not know they are family friendly in these places!

We found a perfect spot at a courtyard between Aleksanterinkatu and Mikonkatu. The whole courtyard is reserved for the three restaurants located around it and you can order from any of the restaurants, you can even mix your orders between the restaurants, but if you do that the food might arrive at different times. They also had colouring for the kids! The last time I was there, probably around 10 years ago, the experience was vastly different…

I must say this day is one of the best memories from this summer!

 

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Day Trip to Tallinn

It’s Friday morning, the Little Messers are playing with water in the bathroom and I’m enjoying a (fairly) peaceful cup of coffee after a much needed long sleep last night. You see, yesterday we took the ferry across to Tallinn and it was a loooong day for all of us with over 24,000 steps taken and bucket-loads of excitement…

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We took an early morning ferry (8am departure, it felt like I had to get up in the middle of the night!) and the kids were obviously beyond excitement. I would have needed a cup of coffee. We took the tram to the harbour and by 7.30 we boarded Silja Europa. We had booked ourselves a cabin, even though it’s not necessarily needed, but I felt with the two kids in tow it might come in handy and it did. It was well worth the extra €20 as we were able to leave our belongings there and also sit down and rest for a little while between food and play areas! I must say the facilities on the ship are fantastic when travelling with kids. There are so many play areas and so much entertainment that the 3.5hrs flew by.

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We arrived in Tallinn at 11.30 and headed to town. It was overcast and we didn’t see the sun all day, but it was warm and didn’t rain so I’m happy with that! It was also quite a nice day for walking around, had it been over 25 degrees, the step count would have been far less… We spent the whole day strolling around the Old Town. Almost as soon as we hit the Old Town of Tallinn, the kids were starting to look like they will need a snack sooner rather than later. We walked down Uus and found a lovely little coffee shop serving delicious Italian ice cream near The Broken Line monument.

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From there we continued to explore the Old Town along Pikk and saw many wonderfully old and magnificent buildings and churches. I do love old towns and I must say Tallinn’s Old Town is right up there competing with Nice and Lisbon or Cascais!

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We finished our visit at a restaurant called Lounge Deja Vu on Vana-Viru with some pasta and wine before we strolled back to the ferry with our bellies full and happy to have made some lovely memories with Vaari.

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For more pictures, please visit my Flick album here.

A Family Holiday in Cascais, Portugal

I have fallen in love. With Cascais that is. We booked our summer holiday already before Christmas so it was a long time coming! Also, a friend from work goes there every summer with his family (they have kids around the same age as our little messers) and he’s always telling us stories from their holidays so the expectations were high.

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Streets of Cascais

Cascais is a little town on the Atlantic coast about 40 mins’ train ride from Lisbon. It’s big enough to have three beaches within walking distance from the town centre and more than enough restaurants and shops to go through over the ten days we spent there. On the other hand, it’s small enough to have that lazy rhythm of life when your pace walking along the tiny streets has reduced to less than half from the usual pace you race through the streets at home. Continue reading