Category Archives: Travels

Helsinki, Moominworld and Brahehus

Now to the second installment of our holidays in Finland. I can’t say really why but even though Helsinki plays such big part of this trip I only have one single pictures from it! It might be because I lived there way too long or took last time enough pictures? No idea. So after one week at my parents cottage we drove to Helsinki to meet up with a lot of friends. With a lot of friends I mean really a lot to visit in just two days. Especially on our second day we had a tough schedule in which we met up with someone every hour from 10am till 6pm.

Only picture from Helsinki at Linnanmäki

But now to the beginning of the Helsinki trip. We were already late as we run into tons of traffic jams on the way which meant that we arrived 2 hours late to Linnanmäki the theme park in Helsinki to meet up with several Chinese friends. With Chinese friends I mean exactly the ones I wrote about meeting in Xi’an so you might guess what all went wrong in just two days. We had in Helsinki a lovely place to stay just 10min by car from the city center. However this meant that we were nearly one hour away from any other place we had to visit, talk about excellent planning again by my wife (just as in Xi’an!).

Edward the Booble at the Bath house

The second day we were supposed to meet with our Chinese friends at Ikea at 10am and then eat there later lunch. Yes, it did not work out that way. When we left at 9am and were half way to Ikea we got a call that they were just preparing once again beef noodles for breakfast. Yep, we had to reschedule everything, meet with other friends first and then went to Ikea to eat lunch on our own. Much later our friends arrived so we had coffee and cake with them. The rest of our Helsinki time was spent on meeting with other friends, checking on our old apartment and rushing on the third day to get early enough to our next location.

Nathan is not too sure what to think about this

The third day which was day number 10 in Finland we drove to Moominworld. From Helsinki it is a bit less than a three-hour drive as you will get stuck behind slow cars all the time. What to say about Moominworld? It is just a wonderful place for little children and also for adults. The amount of Japanese tourists was rather interesting but then again Moomins are still a big thing in Japan and they just opened/ are about to open a Moomin Theme Park over there. We had perfect (too hot) weather and explored the whole theme park for several hours. Everywhere you can find buildings from the different inhabitants of the Moomin Valley and character are walking around and interact with the visitors. We really enjoyed our time there even though Nathan was not too fond of meeting some of the character, especially Stinky and The Groke.

Brahehus

After Moominworld we drove to Turku Harbour to take our ferry back to Sweden. Well the drive through Sweden was nothing special once again but we had a longer stop at the Brahehus at Lake Vättern. Brahehus is an old ruin of a castle which sits about 270m above sea level. From there you have a stunning view over the countryside and especially over the Lake Vättern. The lake itself is so big that you can’t even see the other side. The entire length around the shore of that lake is around 300km, so it is a pretty big lake. At the castle we enjoyed the view and Nathan tried his best in boulder climbing but his mom and grandma were not so fond of it as it was rather high up there. After that trip we drove once again to my Uncle for a night and then left early morning to the second long drive through Danmark and back to Germany. With this our Finland holidays ended and normal working life got back immediately as we started work the same evening we arrived home.

Have you heard about Moomins before?

Be sure to follow me also on Facebook and on Twitter as I will post there occasionally pictures which do not find their way into my blog posts. Furthermore there is also my Instagram account in which from time to time some pictures and short videos might pop up.

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Finland Once Again

This summer we managed it again to travel to Finland. The last time was back in 2016 and before that we hadn’t been in Finland since we moved to Germany back in 2014. This trip was a bit different from all the other holidays we had thus far as we did not go by plane but by car.

Taking a walk through Bjuv in Skåneland

Our plan was to drive all the way from Germany through Danmark and then to Sweden. There we would stay for a night at my Uncle’s house and continue the next day to Stockholm to take the ferry to Turku (Finland). I must say it was not the easiest car ride in my life but we still managed rather well as little Nathalie the Thunder Goat only got grumpy on the last 1-2 hours of each day. The trip from our hometown to my Uncle in Sweden is around 500km and the trip from there to Stockholm another 550km. Besides those long car rides the trip from the harbour to my parents cottage is like nothing at just 270km. At first I was planning to drive from Germany to Stockholm all in one day but that would have been impossible with Nathalie. Of course MIL managed to sleep the entire trip and thus missing both the big bridges (Great Belt Bridge and Øresund Bridge).

On the ship to Finland

The entire trip to Finland and back again clocked at over four days so we had only ten days in Finland of our two-week (unpaid) holidays. The first week we stayed at my parents cottage at Nummijärvi where I had once again more than enough work to do from mowing the lawn over chopping firewood to trying to figure out why the boat engine isn’t really working. Besides that we also visited an old friend of my mother in Vähäkyrö and basically just enjoyed the life at the cottage. Nothing special happened there except that I crashed my drone into a tree so I had to chop that one down as well just after finishing all the firewood tasks, just basic luck for me.

The big church in Vähäkyrö

At the cottage both kids finally were able to spend their entire energy each day. Never before it took less than 30s to get Nathan to sleep. Even Nathalie was a manageable beast during that week and slept rather well. My dear Chinese mother-in-law was the basic herself and did strange things such as going out each day with a fly swatter and trying to kill mosquitos or suddenly disappearing into the forest to collect blueberries without proper shoes (there are vipers everywhere!!!). All in all I enjoyed the week at the cottage and the next blog post will be about Helsinki, Moominworld and the trip back to Germany.

What is the longest distance you travelled by car?

Be sure to follow me also on Facebook and on Twitter as I will post there occasionally pictures which do not find their way into my blog posts. Furthermore there is also my Instagram account in which from time to time some pictures and short videos might pop up.

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Sightseeing in Xi’an

We have been multiple times in Xi’an and visited each time some new locations. The most we saw back in 2011 during our first holiday there when my parents were both visiting. Over the years I developed a better understanding about the city compared to my wife who grew up there. She is kind of resisting in learning anything new about her home town and she has zero sense of direction thus making every place we visit new to her even though we had been there before. So how to decide what places to show when friends are coming for a weekend visit?

Peaceful times at the Guangren Temple

Those friends are all from my wife as they were together in the same dormitory when studying in Finland during their first year (in Kajaani to be precise, my wife moved later to Helsinki). All those friends kept close contact over the years even though some moved back to China, others stayed in Finland and we moved to Germany.  Now when we had our holiday in April/ May in China and some of them decided to come over for a visit. All of those friends married and got kids so we had a bit bigger group coming over which required some good planning. My wife had grand plans for her friends, very grand plans. They all failed.

View from the City Wall

They did not fail because of not putting enough heart and time in them. No they failed because my wife didn’t consider two things. First of all she has zero sense of direction and has no clue at all how long it takes to go to some location and second of all she did not consider that her friends mess up plans completletly each time, every single time and are always, really always late. Because of this mess we only saw few sightseeing spots such as the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda with the Fountain show, the Small Wild Goose Pagoda, the City Wall, the Muslim Quarter, Guangren Temple, Qinglong Temple, the City God Temple and few other temples of which I have no clue about theirnames any longer.

Some Booze at the Guangren Temple

Just to show you why all planning failed I give you two examples. The complete lack of any kind of sense of direction of my wife lead to a rather embarrassing failure. She had the grand plan of going with all people to the City Wall, walk a bit on it till we reach the city center and go eating in some famous restaurant. You see the City Wall goes all around the old city center and is roughly 14km long.  So we entered the City Wall at the West Gate where my in-laws live. For some unknown reason my wife had the idea that you could walk on the city wall straight to the old city center (note it still goes all around, not through the city…). She had this plan also while facing 36 Degrees Celsius and walking together with little kids. Needless to say everyone gave up after not even managing 800m on the wall (out of the needed 5km on the wall and further 2km walking to the restaurant) and going to eat in some small restaurant near the wall entrance.

#Nathancuty just like a real German tourist, Sandals and Socks! (plus Adidas Shirt)

Now to the problem how her friends mess up plans each time and are always late. On the second day we planned to meet up at 10 in the morning to take a little walk and eat at a restaurant famous for Liangpi. Shortly before we arrived they called us that they just woke up and bought some beef noodles for breakfast. For breakfast! By the time everyone was ready to move it was already 12 and all of them were too full to go eating for the next hours leaving my wife, Nathan and me starving. You might say something like this can happen from time to time but this actually happens each time we meet them (also during our short Finland trip this summer, but that is stuff for another blog article).

Even though nearly everything went wrong what could have gone wrong we still had a great time with them. It was really nice to meet them again and their kids. Sure there were frustrating moments but living each year 3 months with MIL made me kind of immune to such things.

Do you have friends who are always late or mess up all your planning?

Be sure to follow me also on Facebook and on Twitter as I will post there occasionally pictures which do not find their way into my blog posts. Furthermore there is also my Instagram account in which from time to time some pictures and short videos might pop up.

https://www.facebook.com/CrazyChineseFamily

https://twitter.com/CraChineseFam

https://www.instagram.com/Crazychinesefamily