A Finnish Birthday

For those that don’t already know, Finland is one of my favorite countries. I’ve only been there twice now, but both times I had a wonderful trip!! So, when Micah and I were planning out the backpacking portion of our trip, I was very excited to see that I would be spending it in Finland and with some good friends. Nichole and Antti are two wonderful hosts and they gave us a great Finnish experience.

We flew into Helsinki and Nichole picked us up from the airport and we made our way to Turku. Because we got in so late, we went straight to bed and got to sleep in the next morning- which was glorious! We putzed around for most of the morning, and then went on a tour of the Turku castle. Antti had to work during the days, so it was girl time all day long, but we are all huge history/museum nerds, so the castle tour was right up our alley. We also got to try on some costumes, which was one of my favorite parts! After the castle tour, we got some lunch and went shopping. I needed some more clothes and other little things we ran out of- I finally was able to get some conditioner for my hair which made me very happy! After shopping, we stopped for waffles with ice cream, and then walked around town and saw the Cathedral. It was formally a Catholic Cathedral, but one of the kings or lords or something got greedy and reformed Finland to Protestant, which is how it remains today.

We were tired of walking around after the Cathedral, so we headed back to the apartment for a rest and then headed to their summer cabin that’s right on the Baltic Sea! We got there a bit late, but because it’s summer you can’t really tell the time because the sun barely sets. We did a sauna and swimming in the sea and then had a late dinner (at midnight!) but it didn’t feel late because it was still so bright out. Last time I was in Finland, it was January so I had the opposite problem of it being dark most of the time.

The next day, we lied around all day. It was so wonderful! As much as I wanted to go swimming and kayaking, the weather was spotty (raining off and on) which gave me the perfect excuse to lay inside all day and rest and relax. It was exactly what I needed after walking for so long. That night after Antti got back from work we did another sauna and swimming and then we had my birthday dinner and cake. I requested Mexican food and to make my guacamole with cake for dessert; and boy, did Nichole deliver! We had enchiladas, the guac was great, and I had the most beautiful cake ever!

On day three of our Finnish adventure, we headed back to Turku in the early morning, which of course gave me a reason to nap later in the morning! ☺️ We explored around town, there was the Tall Ships Race going on while we were there, so we got to try some great food and look at some really cool ships! Naturally, we had to take a nap later in the afternoon and watch a movie! We also had a typical Finnish summer meal of sausages- which were like a combination of hotdogs and brats- it’s a bit hard to describe but they tasted great! We also had a lot of strawberries, there are so many strawberry stands, we couldn’t resist buying and eating all we could! We even got some to go when we left on Friday.

Friday was another good day of relaxing and checking out the Tall Ships festivities. There was a parade of sailors, music, and all sorts of activities going on. The really awesome part is that Antti and Nichole live right where it was all happening so we felt like VIPs all week! Friday evening we left for Stockholm via cruiseship. It was my first cruise, so that was a fun experience with many beautiful sights, but I think I’d like to try it somewhere warm next time!

Once again, I want to thank Antti and Nichole for being so generous and opening their home to us and being the “hosts with the mosts”! We had a wonderful time and I know I can’t wait to come back again someday!

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