Holiday Photos

Enjoying the Hotel in Stockholm ready to have a do yourself drink from the local supermarket – as the mini bar is to expensive

View from the hotel room.

Stockholm is so beautiful – they even have crowns on their bridges

The parks are fun

A band for changing of the guards – especially for us!

End of the road

Well today is the end and it SNOWED – well just a little. 

We caught a little ferry across to the fort and as we got off the boat – about 15mis from Helsinki it was sooooo cold and it started!
We went to the museum  walked around the island and then found a great brewery and had lunch and a beer.
It was a long day – late flights out are a bit of a pain . But we are now at Helsinki airport and enjoying a quiet glass of bubbles before boarding. Also using the internet.

Did I mention we went to see Circus Finlandia.  A good night out and amazing tricks if you are under 4. But we had a ball then went and had dinner.

We did a little summary of our trip and decided we did not want to come home. Apart from that we had a few really big  favourites. One being able to travel first with Pip  – she made a great travel buddy. Pip we loved having you with us. Must do it again. Also great having Phoebe with us in St Petersburg. We loved having you there Phoebe and feel very lucky to have two girls travel with us. We miss our boys and always love having them along – but its different with girls!

It seems ages since Italy but that was such a great start. Bertie was so lovely to Pip and I. we feel very lucky to be the only members of the family to see her soooo big.

Well signing off now – flight just called.

See you all soon

Fran x

Last night!

hello for probably the last time – till the airport.
We have had 2 lovely days in Herringcity no Helsinki I mean. It’s a lovely city – smaller than Stockholm, but has it’s own charm. Sadly it has been grey and rainy thou not heavy just drizzly. There is no shortage if coffee shops to warm up in and lots of shops with the most amazing innovative design things around. No doubt about the Swedes and Finns – they like a smartly designed object.

We walked and caught the 3T tram around the sights and last night went to a great little concert – cellos mainly. It was very good with the performers all being talented beautiful young men and women.

Tonight we are off to the circus! The Finlandia circus are having a season so decided to try it out.

Steve had a little splurge and bought my birthday/ Christmas present today – some  silver jewellery from a lovely young designer married to an Italian. Lucky me.

Will try and put photos on when I get to a big computer!

See you all soon

Steve and Fran in Stockholm

Finally arrived in Stockholm at about 8.30 I don’ t like airports- a big waste of time
Anyway we arrived in at 8.15 and got a taxi to our lovely old hotel on the waterfront. We got a room with a view- it’s lovely but Steve may have to sell shares to pay for it.
Today we woke to the most beautiful blue skies…… so we walked! And walked and got cold and had a great look at Stockholm. We went to the small island which is the old town and just a short walk away. We saw the Royal Palace – but the thing that we saw along the way was much more an eye popper!
 A beautiful Swedish girl, perhaps on her way home with – now this is what she looked like:   starting at the feet; black ankle boots, black tights , long long legs and a dress that didn’t really cover her butt cheeks despite the pulling she was doing, whilst talking on her mobile phone. Nice butt! But no class!

The old town and the Palace turned on a very good changing of the guard . The band played on after the guards changed  so we had lots to see and listen to. Steve can’t believe a band can sound so good with only 1 trombone!
Had a nice lunch to warm up then got the tram across to the Museum of the Vasa – a ship that sunk in the harbour here 333 years ago and has been brought up and restored. Very interesting and Steve loved it.
We walked home via a little Market got some beer and mixer for my vodka and put our feet up in our room and watched the gorgeous sunset.
It is soooo expensive here! The food is so expensive we might have to cut back!
Most places show their menu and the average price for a main is around 250sek which is 50 dollars +
 . The locals must be well paid.

We think we would like to put together the following:
the suite at Tallin, the coffee shop in Moscow, the food prices of Vilnius, the food of ????, the view of Stockholm, the grand churches of St Petersburg, then u would have the perfect place to visit.
Sorry for any typos- v hard on the iPhone.
Would love to send photos but it’s hard to download. It’s different now – there are almost no internet cafes as there is wifi everywhere and people have their own laptops.


Hello from Vilnius airport . We are now waiting for our flight to connect to Stockholm through Riga. It’s delayed due to SNOW – not here but In Riga. Amazing. We are now getting to Stockholm about 8 tonight. The perils of travel. No wonder we like the Lux coaches we have been using for our little trip through the Baltic countries .
To amuse ourselves we are using the free wifi to send email, write my blog and Steve is now amusing himself looking at his iPhone app on flights in the area. I think he might interfere  with their flight plans!

We enjoyed Vilnius very much. It is very green and has some beautiful buildings. The scariest museum we looked at was the KBG one. It was very scary to think that people here were still be killed or sent to labour camps in Siberia u til the 80’s. It was chilling. The poor people from these countries. The Russians are paranoid and I think even today they keep track of people thou they dont know why . Getting a visa , where you stay , leaving the country – all under great scrutiny .

We also went to a lovely piano recital in the art museum by a lady of Swedish/ Japanese heritage. She was quite old late 60’s but so strong in her playing and all by memory
more soon off to lunch……


Staying once again in a lively small hotel in the old town. Riga is not quite as cutsie as Tallinn but is old and has an interesting story to tell. We went to 3 churches and 4 museums today. All quite small and manageable! Not trying to do the Louvre and Notre Dame. One told of the history of occupations- not jobs but who has taken over! Very sad for them. It’s like they have never been able to do their own thing. As they are on the Baltic- like Estonia they were wanted by the powers. Enough history.
We walked and I observed that the museum guards were all “older”women. I hope they are paid but if not then they have a dry quiet time where they can read, knit, snooze, follow you around and generally waste time!
Last night we walked around the quiet streets- this is off season  so not heaps of tourists. We found a nice Latvian restaurant and promised  ourselves not to drink vodka- for a change. So what did we do? After the wine we thought we should try the local drink called Balsam. Enquiring what it was from the waitress she told us all the locals do in fact drink it to ward off the colds. Good enough for us we say and so 2 small glasses appear. Well it was a cross between cough syrup and a reay bad ?/$!’kh.

This afternoon I lost my new red beanie bought in Tallinn. It’s so hard juggling coat, scarf, hat, gloves, bag, umbrella, camera! I managed to drop it somewhere but no worries the street markets were on and I now have a dusty pink beret.
We also went to the Museum of Decorative Arts. They had a special exhibition of clothes in the art deco style from Europe and America. It was divine. I haven’t seen the Valentino show at Goma yet, but this was good. Reminds me – who wants to see Valentino when I get back? There is an uplate on Nov 12 .
Tonight is the big night. We are meeting Merkus to hand over Irma. Will let u know tomorrow how it goes. It seems we will be alone again.
Tomorrow we leave for Vilnius.


Leaving Tallinn

Today we had our last breakfast in the lovely breakfast room and we’ll be catching the 10am bus to Riga. It’s a little overcast today and when we stick our heads out the door will get a blast of the chill air.

Riga in Latvia will be interesting. Mostly because we will be handing Irma over to Merkus! Yes Steve has had his old school friend John’s mother Irma in his bag. She died over a year ago and John had been wanting to go to Riga to scatter her ashes – so Steve kindly offered to bring her with us. She has been in his bag just waiting handover. Stranger thnings have happened but I don’t know what they are! I’m sure Irma has enjoyed her trip and now willl be meeting relatives in Riga.

Impressions of Tallinn: Yesterday we went to the Estonian town Museum – and it showed clearly how the Estonians feel about being occupied by the Russians for so many years. It must have been so hard during those years – and they show have no love for the Russians. We also went to the outdoor museum – a kind of Estonian Old Sydney Town. It was in a beautiful forest and had the original farms set up and great explanantions of life as a farming Estonian. We visited th little school and show some kids on excursion. Naturally I had a chat to the teacher and told them where I was from in Australia. The kids were interested but had little English.

well off to Riga.
Hi Bertie ´how is little Cleo coming along? and your final assignments?
Love to all Fran