Skip to main content


I've received a few requests for a report of my recent trip to Spain and Portugal, so I will give a few summaries. I'll start with Helsinki. While we didn't count it as a vacation, it was our transit point and an integral part of the trip.

Highlights from Helsinki:

-While still in St.Petersburg: The Russian lady accosting us in the middle of the intersection on our way to the bus, offering a better deal on a Russian bus for 15 euros. We accepted.

-Having a panic attack on the bus because we were soon headed for Portugal and didn’t speak a word of Portuguese; leading us to laugh over a pronunciation guide that described one particular vowel sound as a “strangled ‘ow’”

-Arriving at Helsinki before dawn and wondering how we were going to wait another 30 minutes for stores to open. Then realizing it was only 4:30 in Helsinki and we would have to wait a lot longer than 30 minutes.

-Realizing that Sabrina’s book about Lisbon had been left on the bus, and traipsing around Helsinki for over an hour (what else is there to do at 4:30?), tracking the buses that went by and asking a myriad of people until we finally figured out where the Russian tourist buses were parked.

-Spending an eternity trying to operate the key to open the door to the Quaker apartment where we were going to spend the night. Knocking on all the neighbors’ doors and finally opening it ourselves.

-Falling in love with the Helsinki transportation system, particularly the tram, which we rode just for fun with our all-day pass. The metro’s interior couldn’t compare to St.Petersburg’s elegance, but we were in shock at the lack of crowds and absence of ticket inspection. They threatened a hefty fine for being caught without paying, but I didn’t see anyone get checked.


  1. We plan to go to Helsinki for a weekend some time soon, so all day ticket is a good information. BTW, where did you mount on that bus, that goes to Helsinki?

  2. By the Oktyaberskaya Gostinitsa there are buses that leave in the evening (9:30?) I believe there are a few more options. They were right across from Ploshad Vosstaniya. Those were the Russian buses but I think there are Finnish ones too.

    In Helsinki we bought a pass that included the zone where the airport is. I think it was 11 euros. But for just downtown I think it was 6 or 7 and good for all major forms of transportation.


Post a Comment

Just added word verification to reduce spam. Nothing personal!

You’re welcome to leave a link to your own blog here if it's relevant to this blog.

Please make sure that your comments are 1) relevant and 2) respectful (i.e. no cuss words, attacks on individuals).

Popular posts from this blog

Movie theater triggers

Summer always has a special feeling in the air. In St. Petersburg, of course, it stays light until close to midnight nowadays.

David's workshops are over, so he is on "vacation," resting from all his hard work. ;)

Andrei's workload fluctuates. Lately we've been having guests several times a week, so it feels busy even though Andrei is working fewer days. And the summer will probably fly by!

Since Saturdays are free now, Andrei and David (almost 6) went to the movies this weekend. And they let ME come, too! My in-laws stayed home with Sophia (almost 2). We don't often do this type of configuration because David is so attached to his grandparents. But he was okay with leaving with us as long as he knew he could play with them afterwards.

It was my first time in a movie theater since The Fire at Kemerovo a few months ago. I wouldn't really say I was nervous, just more aware. Probably the way Americans might have felt after the Aurora shooting. I looked arou…

Hobby pruning

I promised myself that if I did some paper sorting I could do a new blog post.

Remember hobbies? When I got married I swore I would never let myself forget how busy I was when I was single. And by that I mean look down on unmarried men and women as if they had lots of free time on their hands. We all have plenty to keep us busy. And who made it a virtue to be busy, anyway?

But, I will say that I was SHOCKED to open up all my old notepads and skim through them. Detailed notes from sermons, grammar from studying several languages (mainly Greek, French, and Italian) for FUN as well as formal Russian courses. Notebooks full of Bible passages and questions that I had written down meticulously. A Calligraphy instructional guide along with several pages of my attempts. And of course there were all the notes from lesson planning for teaching English, and different ministry projects I was involved in.

Although looking at the notes made me jealous of my past self as if I had lots of free time,…

A tender heart

Andrei and I were having an intense discussion. I was crying. I think it was the second day of it, and when you live in an apartment, nothing gets past the kids (or neighbors-not that there was anything to be concerned about).

David was desperate to cheer everyone up. He ran up, forced himself between us, and shoved a book about the Nativity in our faces. He turned the pages, pointing to each picture depicting the birth of Jesus.

He thought that the birth of Christ would be the thing to put a smile on everyone's faces. Wasn't the Nativity enough to make everyone's problems melt away? It should be the correct answer, right? We did kind of turn the corner after that and had everything cleared up with a little more discussion.

Before bedtime, I went into David's room to assess the situation since the kids had been playing in there. There were a bunch of books on the bed and I wondered why the kids had gotten into the books. It wasn't something David would normally do …