Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Juhannus - Midsummer

The day after I arrived from back from Eurotour was Juhannus (midsummer), the night where the sun doesn't set (or, in southern parts of Finland, the sun sets but the sky doesn't go completely dark) and there are many celebrations going on.

I spent the day decorationg the house with my host sister and then in the evening I went to Koivulan kokko (Koivula's bonfire) which took place on the rivers edge less than 1km from my house.

front door decoration

the overall effect

Koivulan kokko

We had dinner at home then waited up until midnight and went outside (still some light, sky kind of a light navy colour, enough to read a book by) to do some midsummer rituals. Firstly you pick up as many pieces of fire wood as you can and then count them, if you have an even number it is a supposed sign that you will get married soon. Then you pick 7 different types of flowers and sleep with them under your pillow and you will see your husband/wife to be, had never done anything like this before so it was a unique experience for me.

As dark as it got, as you can see unfortunately it was clooudy
so that made it darker than it would normally have been.

Collecting firewood

7 types of flowers

All in all I really enjoyed my first midsummer, it was an amazing experience.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Eurotour 2011 - Austria & Germany

Left our hotel and headed for Austria, we had a brief stop in Innsbruck, where parts of The Sound of Music are and also to be the host of Olympics.

what am I supposed to call it then??

In Innsbruck, able to take a carriage ride of the city

Because, of course, I thought there would be...

Left Austria behind then headed into Germany where we stopped in a small town for our lunch, you know you are in Southern Germany when there is a guy walking around in lederhosen.


We enjoyed (food formerly referred to as..) schnitzel whilst listening to a guy in lederhosen (possibly guy from picture above) play an accordian and yodel and two boys maybe around 9 and 12 performing traditional German folk dancing. We then headed to Berlin where we were to be staying that night.

The next day we went to the War Museum where there was a lot of information on World War 2, a lot of facts I didn't know before I came here either. THen we went on a bus tour of the city.

'Why dontcha go fishing or play a game of croquet or something?'

Berlin by night

famous pedestrian lights of Berlin - red

famous pedestrian lights of Berlin - green

Part of the Berlin wall

The Berlin wall

Berlin Wall

We then left Berlin and headed for the harbour from where our boat back to Finland would depart...

Spent a whole day on the boat spending time with all the other exchange students, especially those whose year was drawing to an end and I don't know if/when I will see them again


Mocktail - 'the exchange student'

It is hard to beieve how quickly the last 19 days went but the memories will be with me forever

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Eurotour 2011 - Italy!!


The first place in Italy we stopped was Verona, of William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet fame. Basically we had a 2 hours to have a quick look around the city and the we continued on the way to our hotel.

Masked characters offering photo opportunities (for a price)

On the way to Juliet's balcony

Juliet's balcony


leaving Verona

Loved this castle just casually sitting on the the side of the hill..

Our hotel was in a reort area and had its; own reseved section of beach just 2 blocks from the hotel, everyone headed to the beach for an hour then back to the hotel for dinner.


We left the hotel mid-morning and headed for the boat which would take us all to Venice!

First view of Venice

Everything I ever thought it would be - an aweful lot of gondolas, canals and beautiful old buildings

Exploring the city:

we then went on a gondola ride, I went with Baptiste, Erick, Imke, Andrea and Ashleigh (off camera/next to me)

our gondoleer (not sure if that is their real title)

we went past this boat in a canal and I wondered as to whether this is a parking ticket?

^^ This is my favourite photo from all of Eurotour!

Experimenting with different camera effects

I really loved the day in Venice, there was also masks from Commedia Dell'arte which I studied in drama back in Australia so it really interested me.

We then had the next day free at the hotel/beach, good to have a solid day of just relaxation with no bus time!

After 2 days, we packed our stuff and headed into the Italian alps, a long bus trip ahead of us.

Our hotel

We spent the afternoon hiking in the alps, it was lots of fun despite the fact it started raining.