Helsinki, Steroids, and Punta Cana

You should be wondering what the three items in the title possibly have in common.  I will tell you.  They are three phases of my current life journey.  Helsinki is one of the stops on my last vacation in May/June.  Steroids are my current life travel recommended by my doctors.  Punta Cana is where I am off again for vacation in about two weeks.  They all relate.

First topic, in order is Helsinki.  The President was just there and you may have seen photos or videos of his visit.  You may or may not have noticed that it is still light out at 10:00 pm.  It is a weird feeling for those of us who live further south on the globe, but it is nice.  It is not so nice at other times of the year when the darkness prevails for so many hours.  It is my second time in Helsinki.  The first time we were flying to St. Petersburg and there was a long layover.  There was provided a free shuttle bus from the airport to “downtown”.  We spent the day buying fresh berries at the market, sight seeing, having a repast at a café, etc.  We then took the free shuttle bus back to the airport to continue our trip.

This time Helsinki was one of the stops on a cruise.  We didn’t want to do the standard sights while there, since we had already seen them.  One of the “tours” offered through the cruise line, Holland America, was to WinterWorld.  I looked into it.  I found that I could book the tour directly through WinterWorld.  I did it on-line.  They spoke perfect English in their emails and greeted us when we arrived in perfect English.  If you buy through the cruise line, it was more expensive.  You also have to come and go per their schedule.  Further, you are on a big bus.  I emailed WinterWorld directly.  For less $, they offered a private taxi/van pick up, tour of the city, and visit to WinterWorld.  Also, we did not have to pay in advance, but not until we arrived there.

What a great time we had in Winterworld!  It was adult fun in the snow, even though it was very warm outside.  It is an enclosed winter wonderland.  There were 4 of us.  Our driver/guide met us with a sign and a large private van at the dock.  The Holland America concierge in the Suite Lounge was kind enough to let me use his email/cell phone from the ship the day before to make sure all was in order.  Internet/email/cell phones on ships and in European hotels is another topic.

We took a photo of our driver and van when we returned to port.  We weren’t sure we would like it all in advance.  haha  Most taxis/transport services that we encountered throughout our multi country visit were more in the nature of vans than old fashioned traditional taxis.  We have found that in other countries also.

You see the big bus in the background?  That was not the way we wanted to go!  We opted to go to the fun first and the tour afterwards.  Most people do.  This place was so much fun!  There were so many things to do.  It was COLD!  After you check in, you are directed to a changing area.  You NEED a warm suite, boots, etc.  You don’t look pretty, but you have to be warm from the cold.  After you get all dressed up and enter, you get an alcoholic drink at an ice bar.  Yes, vodka…it’s Scandinavia.

Then on to the fun!  They have cross-country skiing (on flats) to get around.

They also had two igloos that you could go in.  One had furniture in it.  The other had


Then there were the manual sleds, for two people.  I was the passenger and hubby was the propeller.  haha

Behind the second photo you will see a “slide”.  You get little pads to slide down on an ice slide.  We tried, but didn’t get good photos or videos of it, because it is so fast.  We have so many other photos and videos of this fun time.  You needed the protection from the cold!!!!!

The final fun for us was a dog sled ride.  The dogs are really friendly and quite at rest when not “working”.   I pet them all before our ride.  And, no that is not me with the camera in the photo.  I am seated in the dogsled.  That is hubby’s sister in law taking video of us on the ride.

This post is too long as it is.  I have so much more to share.  The steroids and other photos and videos from Helsinki and other ports will have to wait.  Doctors have put me on steroids for pain.  I have spent my life avoiding them.  I will agree to a short term of them, but am really pissed that the doctor told me he was prescribing an “anti-inflammatory” and it was a steroid.

Punta Cana is so close.  I am looking forward to total relaxation.  Europe was fun, but a lot of effort.  I live at the beach, but want a beach vacation!  We’re looking forward to that for XMas and New Years.

Then there is the next trip already booked for another cruise of the Atlantic to Amsterdam!…..with other stops in between.  I love to travel!!!!

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