It has been several days since my last post and a lot of stuff has happened since then. To begin with, a group of friends and I traveled to Tampere over the weekend between Week 2 and Week 3. Kayna, Ashley, Erin, and I took a train on Friday from Jyvaskyla to Tampere. We then walked a the few blocks to our hostel called the Dream Hostel and Hotel. It seemed like it very far away, but only because we zig-zagged through the streets. It really was only around the corner. On Saturday, we then took the bus to the big observation tower. It is the second tallest observation tower in the Nordic area. It is located on the coast of the Baltic Sea so in one direction you can see the water and in the other directions you can see the city. The weather was beautiful and clear when we went so we were able to see for miles. The observation tower is also located in the middle of an amusement park. After lunch in the park, we wandered around looking at all the rides. We ended up paying to ride one roller coaster called The Tornado because it looked like the most fun. We were right. It had so many twists, turns, and loop-de-doops, we were screaming through the whole ride. We then found an area within in the amusement park called Angry Bird Land. Since Finland was the country that created the Angry Birds, it seems only right that they have a portion of the land dedicated to it. We had several photo shoots with all of the characters throughout the park. Later, as we were walking back to our hostel, we found a small chocolate shop. Everything smelled so good! I wanted to buy one of everything, but I knew that was a bit excessive. Instead, I bought twelve individual ones. (See image) They were all delicious!
The next morning, we checked out of the hostel and walked to the museum center. For this area, we paid one price and were then able to see multiple exhibits. My favorite one was the game museum. There was a massive collection of video games, arcade games, and board games throughout history and visitors are able to play the majority of them. There was also this wall of gaming systems throughout history up until about 2015. I was surprised how many of the various systems I had seen or played throughout my lifetime. There was another portion of the museum that was dedicated to rocks and minerals. Many of these minerals were various types of stones that we use as gems such as Amber, Amythest, and Diamonds. All of them were beautiful. There was one area that had huge stones where a portion was cut away so visitors can see the Amythest inside. I enjoyed this since my birthday is in February and Amythest is my birth stone. My group then traveled, by train, back to Jyvaskyla.
Early Monday morning, my roommate, Ashley, and I traveled by double-decker bus to Helsinki. Since neither of us had a class during the third week, we decided to do some traveling. In Helsinki, we went to Linnanmaki Amusement Park, got the all-access wristbands, and rode all the rides available (some were ridden multiple times.) Despite the sprinkling throughout the day, we had tons of fun. By the end of the day, our voices were a bit hoarse from all of the screaming we had done on the rides. We then began our walk to our hostel we were staying in for the night. The rain began to come down a bit harder, which made the walk seem dreadful. It didn’t help that we were relying on free wifi from the surrounding buildings for directions. Needless to say, we got incredibly lost. After about an hour and a half of using spotty directions and getting soaking wet, we found the hostel. Thankfully, we both had traveled only with what we could carry in our backpacks so we weren’t dragging any luggage behind us. That evening we research and planned our route for the next day to get to the harbor and our ferry. Tuesday morning, we woke up very early and traveled to our ferry destination. The rain had passed and the traveling was much nicer and easier. We then got on the ferry, which was a giant ship, and travelled to Tallinn, Estonia. It may have been the fact that it wasn’t raining or that we were well rested, but everything seemed bright, beautiful, and happy. The area that Ashley and I explored was the old-city town. Our favorite part was one cathedral that we were admiring from the outside to then realize not only could you go inside, but you can climb the 60 meter, stone, spiral-staircase toward the top of the steeple. It took a long time to climb, since people were attempting to also climb down. We eventually climbed the 260 stair spiral to witness the scenic views. It was well worth the effort to climb becuase the views were breath-taking. The rest of the city was beautiful and we thoroughly enjoyed our visit. Our travel back to Finland was on a cruise ship, which was lots of fun. We then travelled that evening from Hesinki to Jyvaskyla arriving in Jyvaskyla at about 3:15 am. Needless to say, the 45 minute walk back to the dorms felt like a marathon.
On Wednesday, the activity suggested by the International tutors was to go see the Finnish National Ballet company perform som of their numbers. Seating was not enough for everyone that was there, but thankfully I had arrived early enough to save some seats for my friends and I. The ballet was amazing with numbers from ballets such as Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, and Sleeping Beauty. There were also some modern numbers that didn’t quite make much sense, but they were still interesting to watch. Since, then there has been a lot of down time just hanging out with friends, gathering souvenirs for family and friends back home, and working on assignments for previous courses. Now into class of Week 4. This course has been about learning and teaching about diversity, which has been interesting, but also somewhat repetitive. Only a few more days left, then it’s time to head home. There will probably be one more post after this one and then my Finland adventure will be over.
Until next time,