Let’s Wrap Up Summer 2017
I did this ABC in finnish few weeks ago and
thought it would be fun also to do it in english, but much easier as well.
If you wonder why I say that, just take a look at Finnish alphabet with all å, ä, ö 🙂
And no, am not kidding!
We really have those letters & silly words like pääkallo (skull) or ääliömäinen (moronic) or what about yötön yö (midnight sun). Am sure you got my point 😀
As I mentioned on my previous posts (here & here), I was working a lot.
Hard work really pays off. Got to see & do a lot during those 3,5 weeks, on August-September.
I think it’s about a time to wrap up this summer cos the fall is really here.
We even got our first snow in Finland (which I dont like too much) I would rather have this cool, bit rainy weather instead that snow & icy, yak…
But hey let’s go! ⤵
A – AINAZI, AUSTRIA
On our roadtrips we usually have our first stop in Ainazi, just few kilometres away from Estonian border.
It feels like going home since Latvia is one of the fave countries & I call it home-away-from-home.
Sometimes we also grab a burger here, coffee is good too & gas is cheaper than in Finland.
We also do a little shopping here on our way back, cos those cheaper prices 😉
Plus you can find beautiful, not crowded, beaches near Ainazi!
We decided to drive from Maribor to Brno through Austria, since it just happened to be there and our navigator said it´s also the fastest route, so why not to check that out.
It was ok, saw some nice views here and there but nothing like I wanna go back, let’s stay here feelings.
And it was damn expensive, gas was über expensive, so was the coffee & ice cream..
So we noticed that was too west for us, lets hit the road & auf Wiedersehen!
B – BALATON, BOOKING
Ooh Balaton! It feels like the holiday starts really here!! Cant wait to get back there!
One of the fave places for sure. Just missing back there & we love the Lake so much that we’ve actually been looking for places to live at there, just a dream now, but maybe in future?!
There is just something there, and we are not the only ones, our friends came there too and they have already booked a place for next summer.
We ended up there by accident couple of years ago, just meant to drive through but we stayed for several days & been back 3-4 times since..
Amazing spots to visit & take pics, great shore line, love those sunsets & bar-street, there are also family friendly places, thermal spa’s etc.
B stands for Booking.com
We found Booking on our first Via Baltica- holiday 2011 and been a heavy user since that.
On this summer tour we booked all but one place using the app.
I love it, it is easy to use, simple & fast.
We have had some (small) issues, like this summer with one place in Poland (check Z) but am still a fan 😉
I love writing those reviews and read those, even if am not going anywhere I love to check out different places. Girl can dream right 😉
If you havent used Booking yet – I have something for you.
If you use this link to book your hotel/apartment/hostel, you will get 15 € on your credit card after your holiday for next stay & I will receive the same.
C – CROATIA
We visited Zagreb (capital city) last year, it was ok but didnt really want to go back.
It was nice so dont get me wrong, but there was just something missing.
Jani suggested we should visit Croatian coastline, since he has been there, but over 30 or so years ago.
I was like ok, let’s go, wasnt super excited, but am glad we went, since happened the same than with Hungary: I fell in love with that coastline, small villages, food & amazing sunsets (well hello)!
D – DIESEL, DRIVING LICENCE
As I mentioned before gas is cheaper outside our country (I prefer those eastern countries for also things like these).
We have had this diesel car for two yrs now, had old petrol car before.
And had one very close call- situation this spring in Estonia.
We needed to get more gas and Jani accidentally put petrol in our car, luckily it was only like 8 litres & our gas tank was empty.
After a panic, google searches, several sms’s and few more calls, we decided to try his buddies tips and push the car back & filled it up with diesel. And it worked!!
But I suggest you dont try this, if you dont know what you’e doing..
We had luck cos it was only 8 litres until he realized & all went well, our car has been running perfect!
Driving licence Woohoo!!!
I have been dreaming for years to get a licence and get to drive.
And this summer my dream came true. I got my licence one day before our summer day & was so excited!
But I didnt drive there.
I didnt want to cos the traffic is wild there & that damn manual transmission..
And to be honest Jani wouldnt let me, even if I would have wanted, cos that crazy traffic and that damn transmission system.. 😀
E- EXTRANET, EUROPARK, E67
Finished my school on June and couldnt really work on school months (but I loved it though cos I was able to just focus on my studies instead stressing out about money too).
After I graduated, I was working full-time in Loviisa on weekdays and was able to do extra work on weekends. Thanks Kati for giving me those shifts again!
I was also lucky to work with Minttu (my goddaughter) & some other great buddies!
Europark = Shopping Center in Maribor.
Huge place with plenty of shops & great deals!
I dont go shopping in Finland that much, it’s too expensive!
I do visit grocery every now & then cos I have to, but I buy pretty much all my clothes, shoes, make-up etc. abroad, as I did now as well ☺
E67- Via Baltica!
I dont know how many times we have driven up and down this road, I have lost count..
One my fave roads, even though taken that road tens of times 😀
You can read my stories here and here!
F- FORINTS, FOOD
I say florint.. Been to Hungary many times so how hard could it be??
Forint is the currency of Hungary. The forint’s name comes from the city of Florence, where gold coins were minted from 1252 called fiorino d’oro or florentinus (Wikipedia tells), so maybe I get that florint from there?!
Forints and dinars (RSD) are great, I feel so rich when I have my wallet filled up with those currency..
I remember somebody wrote that she lose weight on holiday, cos there are different food than back home, so she wont eat.. Whaat??
I try to avoid carbs home, but not on holiday.
It really works, I feel better & have more energy + of course wanna look good in pics (kidding!).
On holiday I love to eat & drink what ever I want and the food is usually so delicious, if I wouldnt watch what I eat at home I would be huge.. Just look what they serve there.
No drooling on my page pls ?
G – GOOGLE & GOOGLE MAPS
I use Google a lot, searching for places to eat at, events, sightseens etc. well dont we all nowdays?! 😉
I still remember those presentations at school when we didnt have computers and had to go to the library for the encyclopedia. Oh those days! So easy & quick now!
We have TomTom but it doesnt always get us where we should go to.
Sometimes it offers weird detours, sometimes those detours have really been time-saving and good ones, sometimes we have ended up driving small field roads in Poland in the dark or through the gypsy neighbourhood in Slovakia.
And the address system isnt that user-friendly anymore, trying to find out the right address/place is sometimes really frustrating. So we use also Google Maps.
Google offline maps are great too, esp. outside EU-countries cos the data costs a lot.
Just remember to download the map before your trip & learn how to use those map-systems!
It seems I navigate the best without any map.. 😀
Here you can see our route this summer, close to 5000km’s (by Jani) ?
H – HUNGARY, HAUNTED HOUSES
Hungary is gorgeous! And as might have mentioned, I would like to live there..
Haunted houses were part of our summer holiday, not once but twice.
We both loved our apartment in Sibenik but got some strange feelings there, heard some weird noises and
few bizarre things happened.
We didnt talk about those until we were driving away, so it wasnt just somebody said something and you start to sense the same. Nothing bad happened though & we are thinking to go back next year if possible 🙂
During these years Riga has become more popular, so rooms been sold out (checked from Booking and hotels pages) as it was now too, but then we saw an apartment free & took it.
Another haunted place, no wonder it was free 😀
We heard the story from our friends (owners of Karjala Bar) later the day.
But before the that, we saw some people on the street taking pictures of the building.
Our hostess was in such a hurry too.
Hmm.. maybe that explains that ”locals doesnt want to go there” stories heheh 🙂
We were also told there are ”haunted house”- walking tours in Riga, that would have been fun, unlike the first night there 😀
I – IPHONE, INSTAGRAM
I dont remember any place we went to starting with letter I, so I will put my phone & pics here.
Those are my things!
I didnt want iPhone back then, wanted to stick with my old Nokia but when I got Jani’s old phone I fell in love! I have upgraded from iPhone 4 to few 5’s and am looking for a new one now 😉
Instagram – well once upon a time I thought am not going to have iPhone, use facebook much and not going to have Instagram. Oh well 🙂
I created IG profile a year ago but started to use it more just this winter and I love it!!
Love taking pictures and I love to look others pics & hear their stories.
You can check & follow me (and our trips) HERE
J – JELEN
Am not biggest beer fan, I rather have something else to drink so if am telling you I like Jelen –
it’s a lot to say! We visited Serbian Beerfest couple of years ago and enjoyed!!
Great place to taste different beers, even though you are not a beer-fan.
Or maybe it is just we have bad beer in Finland?! 😉
Jelen is one of Jani’s fave beer & he was happily surprised when our friends (who we seem to meet more on the road than here) gave him one, when we met at Balaton on August.
They made their Romanian/Bosnian/Serbian tour before Hungary (with 2 small kids, huh!).
If you didnt know Jelen means deer, and we saw those a lot in Poland.
When we tried to look for our place in Zwardon, we noticed eyes glowing in the dark, in the woods &
were like what the he..?!
Realized they were deers and few of them came to check our car close, probably wondering who were the idiots in the mountains after midnight on weekend.. 😉
K – KARJALA BAR, KRKA
Found Karjala Bar on our first winter trip to Latvia and since that we visited’em every time we hit the town.
Hawa & Jana (Finn-Latvian couple) own the place and you always feel so welcome there!
You get there good finnish traditional food, nice desserts, some finnish (but also local) beer & they have good collection of liquids 😉 And they really take good care of their customers!
I got to ”warn” you though if you go there on friday/saturday they have karaoke there, the place is crowded. But you get to see some interesting shows esp. from the karaoke hostess, she is amazing!!
Almost forgot, you can see all finnish hockey games there (world champ’s, olympics) & KHL!
Krka- when we were in Sibenik we wanted to visit Krka as well.
So we booked a day trip there & I got my boat ride finally 🙂
They told us it is end of season but oh my, it was crowded (the pic dont tell the truth)!!
Nice place but way too many people. I wonder what it is like on high season..
L – LATVIA
Of course ?
Latvia is my fave places among Hungary & Serbia (Croatia made to my list this year cos the coastline).
Visited Latvia first time 2011 and since that been there many times, must be 20 + times!
Riga is the top destination but been in other places too.
There is just something that keep us going back there, over & over again.
M – MARIBOR, MUSIC, MIDSUMMER
Another ”Balaton” destination, meaning we wanted to go back!
I really like Maribor: small town, not too many tourists, you can just wander around & enjoy the days.
Maribor is very beautiful, has nice attractions, great shopping places + karting, good food (especially that salmon pasta- letter F) & excellent wines!!
They also have very good & fast BMW service, which we luckily didnt need this time!
I miss our old car not because it was thirsty but because those sounds!
Last holiday we had with that car, we didnt even finish one album, just opened our windows and listened to the engine! Now we have a diesel car & Spotify..
KISS is great to listen in the car, love the energetic sound!
Led Zeppelin is also in with many albums.
I cant stand any sleepy kind of music, Jani loves to listen jazz sometimes and it is really not my thing 😉
Midsummer – pretty much the only weekend I dont take any work on summer.
Midsummer in the city is not my thing, had enough of those.
I just wanna leave the city and go to Jani’s parents summer house.
It is a heaven on earth. Three days there & I feel like a new person & ”ready” to work my as* off again 😉
N – NOT AGAIN
Last year we stayed in Ostrava & this year we went to Brno.. Mistake!
It was first time I was ”counting the hours” and was happy to leave the place & Jani said the same.
We stayed in Brno 2 nights and we both were thinking if we had booked 3 nights we would have left earlier.
I dont know how to explain, but I just didnt like it there.
Cool thing was this underground exhibition & our check out 😉
O – ODESA
One of my dreams came true (again), I was asked to go to Ukraine, as a tourleader, yaiks!!
Kiev- Pervomajsk- Odesa- Kiev. Nervous but hell yeah!!
I thought Odesa would be more like all about the beach – kinda city, but the beach was like 30 minutes away and the place we visited was more like made for tourists, amusemet park, lots of bars, shops, restaurants and new, huge apartment building facing the Sea.
I loved the Black Sea though and it was so hot there, even it was just May.
We also visited those catacombs and it was very interesting!
Odesa is beautiful, there are a lot to see, cheap to shop & eat, people are nice & friendly!
P – PHOBIA, PRIPYAT
I have a fear of flying, but I do jump on the plane every now & then.
Am scared but still excited to go, you know what I mean.
I would miss so many great places & opportunities if I would not fly, so I just need to force myself to go and hope for the best.
I think I have done pretty good job since I have been to Serbia & twice to Ukraine this year 😉
Pripyat – Part of our Kiev trip we also visited Chernobyl and Pripyat.
It was interesting, sad, spooky.. Impossible to explain.
Q- QUE PASA?!
There is a town somewhere in Lithuania, called Panevezys (hard to pronounce it, right?!)
If you have been on Via Baltica, you have probably seen this motel or those planes at least.
Been taking pictures of those fighter planes, but never stayed over a night, till this summer.
Usually we drive to north Poland for the first night, but we were able to leave earlier on Friday so this motel was at the right place then 🙂
We didnt book the room in advance cos we checked from Booking app the situation & price.
Yes, there were rooms available but the receptionist spoke lithuanian, russian, spanish and just little bit english. We can only english and few words of spanish/russian so our conversations were bit funny, but we managed to have a room for lower price & got also some drinks.
It was dark when we got there,but this is what we saw from our balcony the following morning!! Qreat! 😉
R – RIGA, ROAD TRIP
Riga – my love! Home-away-from-home.
Last year places in Old Town were sold out, so it was great to get there on this summer holiday,
even though we spent our Easter holiday there as well. Already missing back (letter L)!
Ice hockey, sushi, burgers, those streets, shopping..
Highlight of the year is our summer holiday for sure! 3 weeks or sometimes 4 weeks (if lucky) on the road!
Am a huge road trip fan. It’s the best way to travel!!
You get to see so much more, meet new people, visit different places, weird places and also funky roads..
Like these in Croatia!
S – SO MANY
Suwalki, Sibenik, Senj, Skradin, Siofok.. As I said so many & am not sure if I mentioned all..
Suwalki – often our first night stand but this year we stayed in that Fighter Motel (check P).
But we stayed here 2 nights on our way back home.
I dont know how but my home is marked to be in Suwalki on GoogleMap, that is hilarious!!
Suwalki is a nice spot, great mall, very cheap to shop some more, because they’re smart and have own currency, zlotys.. There is also karting plaza and other stuff to do. Check W for more!
Sibenik– I wasnt too rapted to visit Croatia again, but am glad we went there.
Charming small town, ended up staying there one extra night cos like it so much..
Sibenik stole a piece of my heart & we are planing to go back next year if possible..
Senj – on our way back North we ended up to this cute, coastline village.
Perfect place just to relax and do nothing really..
There is a castle+museum, stunning sunsets, watersport & Tesla charger 😉
If you need a lot of things to do and people around, this is not your place!
T – TRAFFIC, TOLLS
In past, Poland has really been high on the crazy traffic list & after our first trip there 2011, Jani said he doesnt want to go back ever again, but we went back 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017..
It feels like it has got better! I never thought I would say so but yeah, it is actually a nice country 😀
Well, there are still some crazy-drivers, going 180km’s, overtaking from right etc. but it’s getting better and now the title ”crazy traffic” goes to Austria/Czechia and Lithuania 😀
TOLLS – I prefer Vignettes’s, at least they are faster and you know excatly how much you need to pay.
Most expensive road tolls we paid on this trip & had most traffic jams where in Croatia cos those toll’s.
There should be more toll booths or something! Locals can buy e-tolls but still.
Luckily we left the coastline & headed to Slovenia before Sunday.
I wish they would take vignettes as well, but I dont think so, they get more money now.
Sometimes roads are good, sometimes they are in not too good condition and leave people wondering where the money goes?!
You can choose avoid roadtolls/paid roads, but dont wanna try that anymore, it would probably be like an old field road for horses 😀
U – UKRAINE
I was asked to go, not once but twice, to Ukraine, as a tour leader.
It was another dream come true, get to travel on my birthday- even though it wasnt any holiday but still!!
I didnt expect to like Ukraine that much, but I did and I do wanna go back..
V – VIGNETTE
Vignette – ” a licence to drive”.
Some say roadtolls are easier since you cant miss the payment, but I prefer vignettes cos it is just one payment you do & that’s it!
But yeah, you need to be careful when crossing the border esp. Czechia/ Slovakia, it is easy to miss!!
Many countries has e-vignettes now days, has probably something to do with environment things, but you still get a sticker at some countries.
We had our last year stickers on our windscreen, oops!
I hope the camera caught the right one & we dont get any fine afterwards 😀
W – WINE, WIGRY
Wine – Maribor and Stara Trta, world’s oldest wine.
Well, didnt taste that but enjoyed some glasses of wallet-friendly wines there!
I didnt even drink wine in my past (had bad experience when I was a teenager 😉 ) and now am having wine at restaurants with my dinner & buying some to home..
Enjoyed a glas of white wine in Piramida’s and have visited Wine Festival as well.
Am I getting old??
Wigry – check also S as Suwalki.
Our fave spot in north Poland is actually located in Wigry (part of Suwalki region).
Very nice, quiet area, surrounded by a huge National Park & some lakes.
There are lots of hiking and cycle routes. People also visit the monastery next to the Lake.
If we had more holiday, I would like to go there, go for a hike & explore the Park area for few days.
Just before we left, we went to see X3. My dream is X6 but cant really afford one 😉
Even though I wanted to have that X, am so glad we didnt buy it, cos things went south with my workplace (bad-behaving boss) and we also got to test this car more!
Everything went great with this 1-serier but am not gonna lie, I wish we had that X – when we were in the mountain..
But as I said nothing got broken, we got where we wanted to go.
And everything was great on it’s annual inspection, we had right after this road trip.
So this one has really proven himself ✌
Y- YOU SHOULD..
You should go on a road trip. At least once!
After you have one, you gonna probably realize you wanna ride the roads more, than just fly to your destination.. Of course depends where you are & how much time you have 🙂
Z – ZWARDON
That deer place.. Our plan was to drive from Panevezys to south Poland.
Booked a room from a mountain hotel, near Slovakian border, just to get some place to sleep at.
Mistake! We never found the place.
We drove up and down those friggin hills, had navigator, google map, iphone map & even those coordinates but nope..
We tried to call them multiple times, emailed, called to Booking’s customers service & tried to call that place few more times. No answer.
This was 11:20-11:30pm and check in should have been till midnight..
More calls & mails & driving till midnight and then we gave up.
I emailed to Booking that we couldnt find the place & they didnt answer the phone or mails, so now what?!
The next day we got an email from Booking, saying we did a no show & they gonna charge us that 20€.. dziękuję (thanks)!
I sent them feedback about those calls/emails but only answer we got was ”they waited us and will charge the room price” jep, jep..
So even it was only 20€, it annoys me since their ”service” sucks.
I was told I can not write a review either cos we didnt stay there.
I said I want to write about how difficult it was to find the place & few things how they could do better in customer servive, but no.
So I am going to publish my reviews about the other places too, and will have few words to say about this place too.
ZZZZ – sleeping
Since we didnt find that Zwardon place, we were pissed of and tired for driving whole day, so we just decided to sleep in the car.
We drove to Slovakia & found 24/7 gas-station/cafe & slept there.
Didnt have any blankets or pillows (as we used to have) so I just was just hiding under my jacket & was glad we have tinted windows ???
It is not X but multi-function car, after this trip I dont think I wanna get rid of this anymore 😉
So this was my summer 2017 ?
How was yours?!
If you have a similar post or gonna make one, let me know / link it here, it would be fun to read those!
Feel free to like, make some nice comments or follow me there! ?