As much as I want to explore Europe, I have to remind myself to also explore Finland! I decided to take a day trip to Turku, the oldest city in Finland. I have to say I would not come to Finland and stay for a week in Turku, a day would be enough.
How to Spend a Day in Turku:
Visit the Market Square
Unfortunately, when I was in town it was pouring rain so there were not many vendors out. I have heard though during the summer it is pretty big. And in the winter they will have a Christmas market.
Check out the oldest church in Finland
The inside was amazing! Choir practice was also going on when I visited, which was amazing to hear in the church. Upstairs of the church there is a museum that only costs 2 euros or only 1 euro if you’re a student. The church also has a bible that is thousands of years old!
See Turku Castle
Turku castle is the largest surviving medieval building in Finland. I will say the castle is about a 40 min walk from the city center so you will either be prepared to walk that long or take public transportation. There are tours you can go on or just see it for yourself!
Restaurants in Turku
I did notice that there was not that many choices in Turku to eat. I finally found a place called Tres Restaurant where I had a delicious salad and soup for only 10 euros.
If you just want coffee there are a lot of options. If you have never visited a Fazer Cafe, this is one to check out! They have them in other cities in Finland since Fazer is a Finnish brand.
There is a pretty nice sized mall and also shops around the city for shopping.
If you are planning a trip to Finland here is a blog post on Helsinki and Tampere.
Thank you for reading!
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Fall is in full swing over here! We went from sunny weather straight to rainy and cold, but if you’re anything like me you love love love fall. Even if it is rainy 😉 The scenery here has been amazing with the changing leaves so I wanted to share my top three things to do in Tampere during fall!
Tampere and Finland in general has some great forests to hike through. The leaves are beautiful during this time and also you can see the amazing views of the lakes! If you’re lucky you may even find some berries that are still good on your hike.
Go to Pyynikki Observation Tower Cafe
Pyynikki is said “puuneekee” incase you were wondering 😉 Not only does this cafe have a tower that you can go up and see the views, but they also have amazing donuts! It is located in the forest so you can also take a break from hiking and have a snack 😉 To go up the tower it is only 2 euros. I would deffinetly check this place out!
Go to a Sauna and Lake
I’ve posted before that Finns really love their saunas, but they also love jumping in the lake after. They believe that even in the winter it is good to go for a swim in the lake. I have been to the sauna many times, but I have not jumped into the lake after. I will let you know if/when I do and what I think!
What’s your favorite thing to do during Fall?
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This weekend I traveled with two other au pairs in Tampere to Helsinki, the capital of Finland. We took the bus from Tampere and it only cost us around 18 euros round-trip. The trip was also only two hours long. There is also a train you can take and tickets for trains and buses are usually cheaper, but we didn’t book the tickets until the night before. Here is how we spent our day in Helsinki 🙂
One Day in Helsinki:
We got on the bus at 9am and arrived in Helsinki at 12pm so we went to get something to eat first thing. One of the girls knew of a ramen noodle restaurant that was really good so we went there. At first went she suggested ramen noodles I thought of the packets you can get really cheap at the store, but I was surprised by what real ramen noodles are!
After lunch, one of the girls wanted to go to a store called Bypais.
This store has an outlet store about 20 minutes from the center by bus. It was kind of confusing to find because it was in the middle of the country.
When we got back to Helsinki, we went to the city center to see the market.
I have always loved Europe because of their open markets! The smell of the fresh fruit and seeing handmade products is my favorite. The open market is located right by the sea, so it has a great view.
Next stop was the Helsinki Cathedral located in Senate Square.
This is right by the open market and harbor. We stopped to take some pictures and enjoy the view.
We then headed to a cafe for a coffee and cake break!
I really recommend the place we stopped at, Kulma Cafe. The coffee was delicious and the cinnamon roll I had was big!
For the rest of our day until it was time to go back we did some shopping.
I learned a lot about Finnish brands including Iittala and Marimekko. Iittala is a glassware brand that is very popular. In Finland glassware is very popular so almost all Finnish have Iittala in their homes.
Before we got on the bus, we stopped and got some snacks for the ride.
I was introduced to a little pastry that has rice and cheese on top that was so good! It is a Fazer Rukiinen Piira. These are originally from Russia and have different flavors. At the store it was only 39 cents, so a must try!
We had perfect weather for a day in Helsinki!
Helsinki is a beautiful city that I recommend visiting! What is your favorite Scandinavian city?
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This past New Years Eve, a group of my friends and myself made a trip to Boston where another one of our friends lives. We stayed for two days and then made our way to NYC for New Years. Before the trip I was honestly more excited to see NYC since I had never been, but I have to say Boston really surprised me. It was nothing like I expected. Boston has the perfect mix of colonial history with modern innovations. This city with its cobble streets and location on the water is perfect for your next weekend getaway.
3 Reasons You Should Visit Boston:
Boston has so many things to do! Museums: The New England Aquarium, Museum of Science, The Boston Tea Party Ship & Museum, Boston Children’s Museum, and the Kennedy Library. We went to the Kennedy Library and all thought it was really interesting. You can also take a trip over to Harvard. You can also check out the Freedom Trail.
The food is amazing! With fresh lobster (umm hello lobster mac n’ cheese), clam chowder, bagels, and Boston cream pie how could you not want to come?? Roxie’s Grilled Cheese is another favorite for their delicious grilled cheese and truffle fries. If you love donuts like I do then add Union Square Donuts to your list. They even have a peanut butter and jelly one.
Did I already mention the cobble stone streets? The vibe this city has is really amazing and it has the views to back it up. Something about a city skyline on water really gets me. There are also so many unique shops in the city to check out. Going down the winding small streets and finding a cute bookstore was probably one of my favorite moments.
Going to Boston in the fall is definitely on my bucket list. It was amazing in the winter (but really cold) so I can only imagine what it would look like with fall foliage. What cities have you visited that surprised you?
I will be sharing the rest of our trip, NYC in my next post!
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For some of us, we do not need any reasons to travel or to book that flight. But sometimes we do need that extra motivation to keep going and follow our passion of traveling. I am currently feeling excited, but also starting to get nervous about my upcoming move to Finland. Those thoughts of, “will I be okay and make it as a travel blogger” and “will I get lonely” always creep into my mind. But I have to be brave and remember my passion.
Travel Quotes That Will Inspire You To Explore:
I really love this. We get caught up so much in our everyday small things that we forget that there is so much more going on in the world. Traveling is very humbling.
Travling opens up your mind to learn so many things! This is one of my favorite things about traveling; learning about different cultures and the way that people live. We are all unique and it is beautiful.
One of the reasons I started my blog was to be able to do what I am passionate about, traveling. I want to see the world for myself and not through a screen; I want to taste the food and experience the atmosphere.
Honestly embarrassed at how many times I had to look up how to spell Shakespeare 🙂
Yes, be brave. Such a simple statement, but sometimes such a hard thing to do. In these last weeks before I am going to be brave and go for it and I hope you do too. Wether that be going for that job, quitting your job, moving for love, moving for you, or just to get out of bed in the morning; BE BRAVE. You can do it and I believe in you.
p.s. here is the link to the website I used to find my au pair family
Is there anything that you are or want to do that you are nervous about?
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This past weekend I headed up to Chicago with two friends to meet up with two of our other friends. One lives in Milwaukee and drove down and the other lives in Chicago, which is pretty convenient because we can just stay at her place. With everyone’s hectic schedule we headed there on Thursday and left on Saturday morning, so really we had one full day to explore. Here is how we spent our day in Chicago!
Brunch! This is seriously one of my favorite things to do. We went to WHISK where the whole restaurant is decorated in all things Ron Swanson. The restaurant is also BYOB, so grab your favorite bottle of champagne (or four) and head over! You don’t need to bring your own juice, they have fresh squeezed orange and grapefruit juices that they will provide.
It was very hard for us to decide on what to get because everything on the menu looked delicious! I ordered the Veggie Croissant (super yummy!) that had american cheese, spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, garlic aioli, and two eggs and is served with house potatoes. I am a fan of anything with avocados or aioli so I had to get it. If you have a sweet tooth they have a pumpkin cinnamon roll pancake that looks delicious. We were going to order it to share, but were too full after eating our meals. This only means I have another reason to go back 😉
After brunch we headed out to the lake! We went to Oak City Beach. We didn’t expect to have good weather so we did not bring our suits, but we just enjoyed the view. I did see there was a company were you can rent chairs if you do decide to spend the day by the lake. I love that you can sit by the water and have a city view!
Unfortunately, about 30 minutes after we got there it started to pour! So we had to hurry and order an Uber back to my friend’s apartment.
It pretty much poured all night. Since we didn’t feel like going out in the rain for dinner we ordered pizza in. There are so many restaurants in Chicago to choose from though for dinner! This one is more of an after a night out place, but Cheesies is a place to definitely check out if you love grilled cheeses. They have a grilled cheese with chicken tenders in it, so amazing!
After eating and getting ready we made our way to the Lion’s Head Pub located in Lincoln Park which is a sports bar and upstairs is The Apartment which is for dancing. Lincoln Park along with Old Town is a good area to check out if you are looking to go out. There are a lot of bars to choose from.
Other Activities to Do While in Chicago:
Lincoln Park Zoo: Free!!
The Art Institute of Chicago
Cloud Gate (the bean)
Museum of Science and Industry
Garfield Park observatory
The Chicago Theater
Shopping on Michigan Ave
Chicago has so many things to do no matter what your interests are! What is your favorite thing to do while in Chicago?
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In my last post I wrote about my amazing week driving through Ireland. When I was packing for my trip I honestly had no idea of what to bring. Will it be really cold? Will it rain a lot? These questions left me lost on what items I should pack. Since I am back from my trip I will share with you what I packed for one week in Ireland in March!
My Packing List for One Week in Ireland:
Rain boots: Since these were my biggest item I wore them on the plane. It wasn’t the most comfortable, but it saved a lot of room in my bag. With Ireland’s unpredicatable weather you never know if it will rain or not. We were lucky and it did not rain during our trip, but the year after my friend took the same trip and it rained the entire time. Better safe than sorry in my opinion.
Black wedge booties: I bought mine from Target and they are so comfortable! I wore these out at night and they were perfect when walking on the old cobble streets.
Tennis shoes: These will come in handy when your feet are hurting from walking so much!
Pants(2): I brought a pair of regular skinny jeans and also a pair of black pants.
Black long sleeved dress (pictured below)
Light Jacket: I got mine from J.Crew, it is no longer available but is pictured below
Vest: I also got mine from J.Crew, but they are no longer available
Traveling to Ireland was on the top of my bucket list, so when IU’s spring break aligned with St. Patrick’s Day I knew I had to go! I was able to talk three of my sorority sisters to make the trip with me and we had a blast getting to road trip through Ireland.
While planning our trip we realized that we wanted to fit a lot into the week and taking public transportation would take a lot of time and make it so we would not be able to do as much. So, we decided to rent a car and road trip through Ireland. Since I am under 25 years old the car was more than if I was, but split between four people it ended up only being $200 per person. The car was booked through Hertz and didn’t have any problems with the service. I even wrecked the car and didn’t have to pay more in the end because the insurance covered it. We chose a four door automatic and even had the option to get a GPS and wifi (lifesaver!) for the car.
Driving on the other side of the road was weird at first, but since everyone else was driving on that side also it makes it easier to just follow traffic. My wreck happened in a parking garage when I was trying to get out. They are much more narrow that what we have in the U.S.
The week started in Dublin for one night. We were pretty jet-lagged when we got there, so we kept it simple for the first day. One thing we did that I suggest doing is going to Christ Church Cathedral Dublin and taking the tour of the church. At one point in the tour you get to ring the church bells, which is surprisingly pretty heavy and fun!
The next morning we headed to Cork, which is about a three-hour drive from Dublin. During our stay in Cork we stayed in a hostel that we booked through Airbnb, Stay Cork. It was a one bedroom apartment that also had a small kitchen and a pull-out couch. I definitely recommend this hostel, it was in a great location and I liked having a private space.
A short drive out on the city center is the Blarney Castle where you can roam the gardens and even get to kiss the Blarney Stone. This was one of my favorite days! The weather was perfect and we got to explore a castle. I honestly didn’t have high expectations, but the gardens were beautiful and since we came during a low travel time the crowds were low.
It is said when you kiss the Blarney Stone you get the gift of eloquence. I would also not recommend wearing a dress to do this :). You can read more about the Blarney Stone here: Blarney Castle & Gardens.
Next on our road trip we headed to Doolin where the Cliffs of Moher are located. Our Airbnb that we stayed in, Nellie Dee’s B&B, was my favorite through the whole trip. You could see the Cliffs from the living room! The owners also made their own brown bread that was delicious. I wanted to ask for three baskets to take with me. We only stayed in Doolin for one night and wished we would have stayed at least one more. This town is what you think about when you think of Ireland, small pubs with live music and amazing food.
Watching the sun set over the Cliffs of Moher was an experience that is unexplainable! If you go to Ireland the Cliffs are a must see. [bctt tweet=”Watching the sun set over the Cliffs of Moher is an experience that is unexplainable! ” username=”Board4Chynna”]
The next morning we were back on the road to head back to Dublin. The drive between Doolin and Dublin was the longest drive during the trip so we did not arrive back in the city until later that day. On our drive back through the countryside, we had one of those crazy experiences that you only experience while traveling. While driving on a seriously narrow road a woman runs out with a wooden spoon in her hand. As we stop not really sure why someone would be running with a wooden spoon, we see a massive bull running down the road! I have never been close to a bull in my life especially one that has gotten loose!
St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland! I unfortunately did not get any good pictures of the parade, but it was a fun experience! On our last day we went to Trinity College to see the library and the Book of Kells. To get into the museum it was free because of the holiday which was a nice surprise. Most nights we spent in a pub meeting locals. Since it was a holiday week there was almost always live music being played.
During our trip we didn’t do the big tourist attractions: The Guinness Factory or the Jameson Factory or the Temple Bar. We were told to pass these places up because of the holiday and people were going to be targeting tourists to pit pocket them. We were also told not to take our passports out at night also and just take a picture of it to show so that it would not get stolen.
Have you been to Ireland and do anything fun while there to add to the list? Thanks for reading!
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I remember getting off the metro into the center of Barcelona like it was yesterday. I had dreamed of going to Europe my whole life and it was finally a reality. Traveling with two of my friends, we booked a trip through the travel group, EF College Break, and honestly had no idea what we were doing when we got there. Luckily for our first time abroad we did it through a tour group because, as newbies, we did not prepare as we should have. We literally just packed our bags and showed up!
Looking back at this trip, I had a blast and made two lifelong friends that we met in our tour group that we still travel with today, but there are some mistakes that I did learn from:
The first thing I wish we did was to know what to do if/when your passport/whole purse is stolen. On the last leg of our journey, we were so tired and being pretty careless at this point about having our things out. After getting off the train from Rome to Naples and walking to find the metro, my friend had her purse sitting on top of her bag. We didn’t think anything of it until when we went to pay for our metro tickets and it was gone. Of course panic ensues. Luckily though a nice man who did not speak English helped us through this time and without him we would have not known the steps needed to get a replacement passport. If you have something stolen from you, like your passport, you need to get a police report to give to the American Consulate. We had no idea this had to be done and without that man who helped us, we would have been in a mess the next day! It is also important that you have extra copies of your passport picture, photocopies of your stolen passport, and a copy of your birth certificate or social security card. Luckily after getting all of her necessary materials (after waking up at 8am to get passport pictures) we were able to get her a temporary passport for the rest of the trip.
The second thing I wish I had done was to notpack so much! I know you read this on any travel post there is out there, but it is still so hard not to do. Trying to walk (or basically run in London) through the metro with a suitcase is not fun. You also do not get the luxury of elevators like in America. Half of the clothes you pack you don’t end up wearing, so learn from my mistake and pack smart!
Lastly, I wish I would have stoped and enjoyed the culture. Being on a tour group means you are most likely always on the go. While it is nice that everything was planned, I do wish I would have just sat and enjoyed the place I was in at the moment. This is my biggest regret because I feel like I did not get to fully enjoy and understand the city and the people that live there. It is nice to do the touristy things, but also remember to get lost in the streets and really experience the culture.
Is there any mistakes you have made from traveling or wish you did differently?
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