Sunday, December 21, 2008

Bye bye Helsinki

Saturday, 13.12.2008

Time is running by too fast!
On my last 2 days after coming back from my Riga & Vilnius trip, I packed all my things, said good bye to many of my fellow classmates, cleaned my flat and prepared everything to leave.
My flatmate Cedrick already left earlier to another place and I saw him last time on Thursday night, when we came back from Riga.
Seok Heon left on Saturday about 3 hours earlier than me. He took a flight from Helsinki to London to start his time as volunteer at a place for elderly people to support them. He'll stay there till the 2nd week of 2009 and start his tour across Europe thereafter for about 3 weeks till he leaves for South Korea again.

As I was alone on Saturday midday, I returned my flat key to HOAS office downstairs and took the train & bus to Vantaa airport. The airport was not busy at all on this Saturday. I checked in all my baggage (I had about 6kg overweight) for free. Check-in was easy and fast, the flight was really ontime and arrived even a bit earlier in Vienna. The food was excellent, my baggage was the first on the belt in VIE and so I was able to see my parents earlier than scheduled at Vienna International airport :-).

OS345 from VIE arrived exactly on time so my flight was on time as well.

Leaving Helsinki during bad weather conditions.
Approaching into Vienna during bad weather conditions.
Well, the weather is not the reason to go back home :-).

Helsinki & Metropolia (and of course all related persons):
Thank you, it was a great time and a nice and new experience. I won't miss it in any circumstances! I hope to stay in touch with many of you as good as possible.

Hei hei Suomi ja Helsinki. Minä rakastan sinua! Toivottavasti nähdään pian!

This will be the last entry in this blog. I hope you enjoyed reading!
Bye bye readers!

Trip to Riga & Vilnius

Monday 08.12. - Thursday 11.12.2008

On Monday I had my last exam at my university for the "Information Systems for Business" course. This one was ... how should I say this ... horrible. The tasks during class were quite easy but the exam itself was really difficult. We had to do 12 pages of multiple choice questions and some excel exercises. My feeling on that exam where really horrible but finally I got a 4 (which is equal to an Austrian 2). I don't know how I managed it ... but who cares :P.

Trip to Riga (Latvia) and Vilnius (Lithuania)
Nevertheless, right after the exam I took the train from Myyrmäki to Helsinki to go on a "big" journey with Heon, Dobroslawa, Lukasz, Sun and Jarek. Our journey plan: Going from Helsinki by commuter train to Tampere, take the bus from Tampere railwaystation to Tampere airport, take Ryanair-flight (for EUR 1,00) from Tampere to Riga and continue with a local bus to Riga city center. That's the thing we did.

You won't believe it. Tampere really has some x-mas lightning to offer, compared to Helsinki.

Tweety is welcoming us as well *gg*.

Our Ryanair Boing 737-800 at Tampere apron.

Our "living room" of our hostel in Riga (Baron's hostel).
Extremely cheap (EUR 5 / person / night) and a looot of space, free internet, ...

..., a big flat screen with 80+ channels, ...

... and a kitchen for everyones use.

After we arrived at 11pm we started our nightly Riga sightseeing tour. That's a "normal" car for Riga. Pffff

And on our way through the city, we were invited by a stranger to join him to an ERASMUS party somewhere.

The day after: Riga sightseeing during daylight.

A few words about Riga:
a very nice and friendly city, English skills here are not as good as in Finland but still "useable", the old town is really a must-see, the lightning of many buildings during nighttime is like a dream, the prices here are really low if you are used to Finnish prices (arround half or less of the Finnish price, WOW!). You really can see the strong economic development in recent years --> you can see A LOT OF really luxurious cars on the streets.

Riga has a lot of old buildings in very good conditions

A typical picture for Riga ... Old building and modern and luxorious cars right in front

A supermarket bakery with a lot of excellent and very cheap.

Our lunch break at a "Double Coffee"-shop, a widely spread coffee shop in the Baltic region.

The orthodox church ... at least one of them ^^.

The monument of freedom.

The center galleria shopping mall in the old town.
A very modern and big shopping mall with all well-known brand stores.

A nice night shot of one of the bright lightened buildings in Riga.

10.12.2008 - Bus trip to Vilnius
Today, we continued from Riga to Vilnius, which is a 4 hours bus trip in a really comfy bus which offers large seats, newspapers, toilet, drinks, free internet, music videos, .....
As my schoolmate Christoph is living in Vilnius, I took the opportunity to visit him.

Our coach service to Vilnius. Nice coach, isn't it?

As we arrived in Vilnius, we went to a typical Lithuanian (tourist) restaurant to try the famous Lithuanian Cepelini (kind of meat-filled dumpling). It tastes better than it looks on this photo! :-)

Afterwards we started a sightseeing tour on our own, just with the tourist map in our hands.
Conclusion: they have A LOT OF churches here, the prices are a bit lower than in Riga and the city itself is not very spectacular, already a little boring because you have seen everything which is worth to see in about 3 hours (almost like Helsinki).

In the eastern part of Vilnius you can go up a small hill and enjoy the view over the city. That's really recommendable!

Me in front of the newer part of the city. I have been there!!! :-)

The Vilnius cathedral at the cathedral square which is really big.
A nice building.

Afterwards I met Christoph. I also slept at his place for this night.

Our dinner this evening was served in a stake house. Not too much, but delicious.

Afterwards, there was an ERASMUS leaving party ongoing in Vilnius so Christoph and I took the opportunity to celebrate the last days as ERASMUS students (even if I'm not studying in Vilnius ... who cares). Well, that was really "funny" :P.

The day after was quite unspectacular. We travelled back from Vilnius to Riga (by coach), spend 4 more hours in Riga (a bit sleepy).
As last "attraction" in Riga, we visited the really recommendable Sky Bar on the 26th floor of the Reval hotel, the highest building in town.
There you have a great view over the city and you can enjoy a drink high above the floor level.

The stylish lounge and bar on the 26th floor of the Reval hotel in Riga.

Nightly (5pm) Riga

At arround 6pm, we headed back to the bus station to take the bus to the airport and the Ryanair flight to Tampere (once again, only EUR 1,00, amazing) the bus from Tampere airport to the railwaystation and the pendolino train which took us from Tampere to Helsinki in 1:34h.
We arrived at home in Helsinki at half past 1am, as our flight had 45 minutes delay and we weren't able to catch an earlier train.

The nice airport of Riga ... respect!

And the "busy" apron in front of the terminal

This was our last trip together and we really enjoyed it! Riga is a great city, I really want to visit it again. Vilnius is nice as well, but not that spectacular, except you know somebody there ^^. Thanks Christoph for your welcoming and sorry for any inconveniences. :-)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

My last week & House building

Saturday, 06.12.2008

Time passes by soooo fast, horrible! In exactly one week from the time I write this article, I will land at Vienna International Airport again and my ERASMUS periode will be over by then :-(.

What I did today: I educted myself a bit in concerns of Finnish building construction habits (greets to my HTL :-D ). That means, I passed by a few detached, semi-detached and flat buildings in my area to see how they are building their houses here. At many places I have been yet, there are mostly flat buildings but hardly any detached houses. That's the reason why I tried and managed to find them. At all I have to say that there are very few building sites here in Helsinki region.

A quite modern flat building, with glazed balconies and a clinker bricking-up, as it is common here.

A typical but a little bit older detached house.

With different coloured wodden lagging.

A newer detached house with a plastered facade.

And, wow, a building site.

And another building site for a condo building. All concrete.

My plans
What I'm doing this upcoming week? As I have my last exam on Monday and no classes except Thursday and Friday any more, I'll use this time for travelling to Riga & Vilnius.

My exact plans: On Monday afternoon (08.12.) --> Going by train to Tampere. Flying from Tampere to Riga with Ryanair (Round-trip ticket booked for EUR 2,00 total ^^). Enjoy Riga for the whole Tuesday. Continue our trip from Riga to Vilnius by intercity bus on Wednesday and arrive there in the afternoon. Enjoy Vilnius and meet Christoph there (my personal guide, hopefully ^^). On Thursday midday, going back from Vilnius to Riga by bus and then in the evening from Riga to Tampere and arrive by train in Helsinki again at arround Thursday midnight (11.12.).

Friday will be appartment cleaning & packing day and Saturday (13.12.) will be my departure back home. I'm excited how our trip will be. At all, we are 2 to 3 people on this trip.

Here we go and see you soon!

Seurasaari island

Wednesday, 03.12.2008

Today I used my free Wednesday for a trip to Seurasaari island, a pretty small island in the northwest of the city center (click on above link for the map!).
During summertime, Seurasaari is a island to spend your freetime for picknicing and leisure, like Suomenlinna, just far smaller. Furthermore, they offer an open-air museum.
BUT ... yes, it's winter. Therefore --> NObody was on the whole island, except me. I have been there :-). How was it? Wet, dirty, cold and dark. During summertime it HAS to be better *gg*.

Enjoy the pics and also check the time on the right lower corner of the pic!

On the bridge from the "mainland" (on the left) to Seurasaari island (right)

A part of the "open-air-museum"

The Mailahden hospital (big building). See also the aircraft on the right (camera exposure time appr. 6 seconds because of the darkness).

View on the nightly business district Ruoholahti.

unfriedndly looking, cold, dark and wet footpath. Wäääh.

A nice shot with the moon above the gate.

Aaaha, Ronald McDonald has his domicil here :-D

Polish "international evening"

Saturday, 29.11.2008

On this Saturday morning we had, once again, Business in China till early evening. Hmmm...
But afterwards: As our Polish couple invited us to their place for an "Polish international evening", we took the chance to try some different foods and drinks *gg*. Nothing more to expain about that, I think :-D.

The main ingredient of our main dish. Looks ugly, doesn't it?

But if you fry it, you can really say that it tastes like potatoe fritters ("Kartoffelpuffer").
Was delicious.

Then the obligatory korean dish - Rice with sesame oil, tuna and chili paste served in a seaweed leave

Afterwards a Polish pizza, hand-made of course. Delicious!

Hyvää ruokahalua! / Bon appetit! / Mahlzeit!