Tag Archives: holidays

Another Trip to China

Yes, we will be travelling to China this year again. We haven’t been there since 2016, the year my father joined us there and we had the awesome City Tour Extreme . We did not visit China last year as Nathalie was just born in summer and we did not feel like travelling anywhere by plane with her (afterall she is the Thundergoat). This holiday in April/ May  is something we have been planning ever since last year. Not only because my father will be once again with us and additionally we will have two kids to entertain but we will be also travelling to Japan!

Soon again at the airport

Okay, Japan is like 90% certain as we are still waiting to get the visa for my wife. Turns out the whole process is a bit annoying for Chinese when travelling not with a tour group. Thankfully we had a wonderful person giving us advice at the embassy on what to do in order to make the application much easier for us. Japan is a country we wanted to visit for so many years as even nearly did so on few occasion. We did not manage to do so as each time something got in the way such as unfriendly embassy staff telling us in Finland it is impossible for Chinese to enter their country without a tour group  in 2014 to being just not healthy enough back in 2015. So right now the only thing stopping us is not to get a visa for my wife (or she just gets too lazy again to travel once we arrive in China).

How much luggage we will have this time?

My wife has been planning the entire trip for the past two months now and has a small folder with all the details! We will be flying from Xi’an to Tokyo spend few days there and then travel to Osaka for another few days before flying from there directly back to Xi’an. Within Tokyo we have not really planned anything yet as we just don’t know what to do there. However while there we will visit the nearby Studio Ghibli Museum and Thomas Land (that idea I got from Eleventh Monkey as little Babel is also a huge Thomas fan as Nathan). We hope that my wife’s cousin will have a bit time to show us around Tokyo as she has been living there for nearly ten years. In Osaka we will be doing standard sightseeing as that city is a must see in Japan according to basically everyone I know. I would have loved to visit the Nature Aquarium as I am a huge fan of the late Takashi Amano and his work but Niigata is just too far away from our two destinations.

No Nature Aquarium for me this time 😦

Except the trip to Japan we do not plan anything big in China itself. We definitely will have a photoshoot for the kids, similar to the one we had 2015 for Nathan. I guess we will be doing our standard sightseeing around Xi’an with my dad and I plan on eating as much different food as possible there! Besides those little things I hope we will have another trip to the Qin Mountains or some other countryside visitation just to get out of the city and all the pollution. I do wonder how well my father will manage this trip as he will turn 77 this year. One thing he told me already, he wants to go to gym during the holidays in China in order to stay in shape for his bicycle competitions during the summer time in Finland. Guess he is the most active person from all of us.

One of the dishes I need to eat!!!

Have you planned your holidays for this year already?

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The Fairytale City Prague

Recently we decided to have a little holiday somewhere nice in Europe. Okay it is not that recent anymore as I actually wanted to write about it for three weeks but some computer troubles kept me at bay. At first we wanted to go to Ireland but due to some visa difficulties for my wife we settled for the Czech Republic, or to be more precise for Prague. From Hamburg it takes only a bit over one hour to get to Prague by plane which is rather nice compared to the 8 hour nightmares to China.

Somewhere lost in Prague

Getting from the Prague Airport to the city center is fairly simple as it takes only about 40 min, first by bus and then by metro and it is super cheap with the tickets costing only about 1 Euro something per person. Our hotel was located in the New Town, now don’t get some modern ideas about this so-called New Town as it was founded in 1348! For me as a German who is used that many cities don’t have much historical substance left the city of Prague is just amazing. Everywhere you look in the city center you see historical buildings. I thought that Dresden was already incredible but Prague is on a whole different level. We stayed for three nights in Prague, giving us enough time to discover the city on our own pace. All the locations we visited were within walking distance except the Prague Castle for which we took another 5 min metro ride. For a family such as us this is just perfect as it makes getting around so easy.

Look at that bubble!


Nathan developed right from the start his favorite spots in the city. For one there were those main locations where soap-bubble performers were active and another and most important place was Hamleys. I had no idea about this toy shop chain before as they don’t have any stores in Germany or Finland. Let’s just say the Hamleys store in Prague was a little wonder world (only 6.000 sqm…)for Nathan with a carousel in the middle of the shop, several slides (one going from the second floor down to the first!), many other different activities to offer, staff dressed up in some nice costumes and of course toys and more toys everywhere. I have no doubt Nathan could have spent the entire holiday there.  When you are in Prague and have kids you need to visit that shop (okay, even without Nathan I would go there).

The mighty Saint Vitus Cathedral

On our first day we went around the area of our hotel. I was rather happy that our hotel was just a few minutes away from the famous Wenceslas Square yet another tourist site.  Everywhere in that area are restaurants so it was no problem at all to find a new place to eat for each day. However I must say that it was a bit odd that nearly every second restaurant is either Asian or Italian, just  like Little Italy and China Town combined right there in the middle of the city. Yet I don’t want to complain as it allowed us to give in my wife’s cravings for Asian food every day and then allowing me to choose another restaurant for dinner (I never get to choose usually!). Each day we tried to visit a few main attractions in Prague so we did cover at least the Wenceslas Square, Prague Castle, the Old Town, Charles Bridge any many other place within walking distance from our hotel.

Wenceslas Square

During the entire trip we wondered how this holiday would have been with MIL. For some reason wherever we go and she is with us it is just too much stress. We came to the conclusion that it must be because we do not only have to watch our for Nathan but for her as well. My wife once told me it is like having two children to look out for, with the older being mentally behind the younger one. I know sounds mean but Nathan knows the animals already better than his crazy Chinese grandmother.

Do try some of the Trololo, I mean Trdelník which can be found all around the city

All in all I can say that Prague is a wonderful city and I can only recommend going there at least for a couple of days. The city has so much to offer from all the history, over the food and last but not least the beer. For us this was now the last trip we will take in a while due to some reasons to which I will come in some later blog post. I do hope that after 2017 we will be able to travel once again. Oh and sorry  with the following flood of pictures.

Have you been already to Prague or plan to go there at some point?

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Enjoying the Nature

We have been now at the cottage for about a week. The time was spent with working on my poor old car, helping my parents with small repairs at the house and entertaining our little son.

Our new expert fisherman

Especially Nathan seems to be very excited about the cottage. Wherever we go he looks around and stares at new things such as flowers, our boat or even more simple objects such as grass. Nearly everything can make him smile and each time it makes the day a little bit brighter. Yes, he can be easily excited. But he also gets much more cranky about everything which might be due to the fresh air all the time and bright nights due to no real sunset at the moment.

In this aspect he is very similar to my parents-in-law. When they visited us last summer they were amazed by everything such as the blue sky, the lush green and according to them everything felt so much more fresh than in China. Well, sure it feels more fresh when you have suddenly only +28 degrees Celsius instead of +38 and no more smog everywhere…

View from our cottage

But my nice parents-in-law also struggled a lot with these very long days here in summer. When they go to sleep it’s nearly as bright as daytime and when they open their eyes in the morning it is again (still) bright. I don’t even realize it anymore as I grew up with these summers but someone who is used to total darkness at around 8pm has hard time adapting to this new situation.

His feet are touching for the first time sand and cold lake water
Last summer my in-laws said they would like to return again, but this might be impossible. We move soon to Germany and when my in-laws come to visit it will be there, in our new home, not in Finland anymore. But then again, somehow we will manage to take them for another trip into the nature, we don’t know yet how but we (my wife) will figure something out.

Now we still have over one week left here which I will spend by doing the very same as before, working. In Finland people say they go to their summer cabin to work, not relax. I have to agree with this saying as I have never done anything else but work here with my parents. However all hardship is paying off in the end, especially when you sit down after a long day and see the beautiful nature unfold right in front of you.