Back in Finland (Last Post for this Blog)

Hey

It has been quite some months now since I’ve returned from Germany and I feel a small urge to go back still. We were told before we left for exchange that after you come back to Finland you might feel a little depressed. It is ture that one can feel that life is a little boring afer an eventful year, but trust me it will pass in time. Once you return from an exchange semester you will be surprised how unchanged things are. I guess many are afraid that they will miss out on something if they go for an exchange semester. Truth is that you will miss out if you don’t go.

The exchange year in Germnay is something I’ll never forget and I’m happy that I ceased the moment and wen’t to Germany to study for a year. If you are feeling a little unsure about going for an exchange semester, the one thing I can tell you is that you will more likely regret not going than going.

I would like to thank everyone who helped me along the journey and to all my friends, colleagues and family who made this year happen.

– Dalsu

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Last months in Esslingen

Since the holiday in Finland it has been very busy in the office. The bachelors thesis is technically complete and everyone is very happy with it. It has been very great experience at Festo. The last few weeks there has been a paintball tournament with the colleagues, visit to Daimler motor works and a climbing park afternoon. It was great to see the colleagues outside the work environment and to play some paintball. If you get a chance to go play paintball I recommend you to go for it. It was a lot of fun for an exchange of few bruises. Also the climbing park similar to one in Laajavuori, Jyväskylä was great. Below few pics of some events.

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There was also time to celebrate Juhannus with Eetu and Diarmuid. We were unable to set a bonfire and instead went to enjoy the nice weather to Eetu’s balcony.

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On one Thursday we went to Hamburg Fish Market with some colleagues which was visiting Stuttgart. Lots of different types of fish and food with beer as usual. The atmosphere was great, so I do advice you to visit it if you are in Stuttgart area in July

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At the same time there was an international food festival which offered many freshly cooked and tasty dishes.

 

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Besides working hard on the thesis I had the chance to participate in a project where a small team of students at Festo would build a costume for a company running event. We ended up building a dragonfly out of Festo parts and our modular costume brought lots of smiles and positive feedback during and  after the running event.

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Our B2Run Students at Festo team.

As we all know, Germany did win the Football World Cup and the celebration was as wild if not more wild than if Finland had won the Ice Hockey World Championship gold. Before each German game a video projector was placed on the parking lot on our dorm, projecting the game on the wall so everyone could join in and enjoy the game together. The beer gardens were full hours before each game and the atmosphere was great. Every game was almost like a party where people came together to enjoy and have a good time with their friends.

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Watching the game at a beer garden.

During the last two weeks I had a presentation for the thesis work which went pretty well and a really great farewell party. Thanks guys! The last evening before leaving Germany we had one last gathering at a colleagues house for a barbecue party. We had really good locally grown fish, and all the foods were really tasty. It was very nice  that the event was organized and it was a great way to end my stay in Germany. Then the next day it was time to say goodbye to all the colleagues who had really helped me out a lot during my stay at Festo. I will really miss them and the exceptionally positive work environment. I highly recommend to apply for Festo. It is truly a great place to work.

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Machts gut! Alles Gute! Bis zum nächsten Mal

– Dalsu

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Summer holiday in Finland

Sweet home Kuopio!

I had worked some extra hours and in combination with my holidays I could take two weeks off from work/bachelors thesis to visit Finland. I had the chance to visit Festo Finland in Vantaa, which was really great. I staid a night at the apartment of Johannes who was kind enough to host me for a day. Thanks a lot Johannes! Too bad my suit case could not fit any German beer. Next time.

After Vantaa I flew back home to Kuopio to meet family and friends. There were some formal parties to attend which made the holiday very special.

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Just before midnight @ Kuopio

After being such a long time away from home it was great to just be at home.

And as the saying goes, “visitors are like fish after few days they start to smell” It was time to go back to Germany to finish my thesis.

Thank you everyone for the special holiday!

– Dalsu

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Portugal

Just two days in Esslingen and on the way again. Not complaining. This time to Lisabon, Portugal.

Anni had arranged a place for us to stay at her friends place. Our host was a very lovely Brazilian lady, Silvia. She took really good care of us and cooked delicious dinners for us. Many thanks again Silvia for hosting us!

The first evening Silvia suggested for us to go to Sintra and to take a bus to the Cabo da Roca. It is the most western point of mainland Europe. It was a really cool place with an amazing view.

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The view was truly mesmerizing and by the time the sun had gone down, the buses would not go anymore. For a moment we thought we would have to walk quite many kilometers back, but then we found a Russian couple who were luckily heading for Lisbon. The couple was very polite and would not take any money for the 40 km trip. Thanks for the ride!  So earlier I had bought a bottle of wine which we were planning to romantically drink, but what happened was a minor disaster. I had got the “most” expensive wine from a store for 5 €. (Did I mention everything is pretty cheap in Portugal).  The bottle opener got stuck and the cork would not budge. After some major engineering work the head of the bottle broke and since we had not taken wine glasses offered by Silvia, we had to pour our expensive wine to our water bottles. Now how romantic is that?!

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The next day we returned to Sintra to visit the Palace of Pena and the Moorish Castle. The palace was something out of James Bond movie with positively detailed and strange architecture. I recommend everyone to visit, because such palaces just don’t exist anywhere else. The park which was part of the palace was very beautiful, but we managed to get lost few times due to the odd map which was available in the tourist office.

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The following pictures are from Lisbon. View from the St. George castle.

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In Lisbon it is possible to take an old tram that goes to different hills around the city. If you have time to spare I suggest to try it.

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The last days we visited the Pasteis de Belem, which is over 135 year old cafe serving a local specialty. The place is very famous and the lines might get qute long, but we had no trouble in finding a table. We also went to Cascais to enjoy ice cream and to go to the beach. The water of the Atlantic was cold and refreshing after being in the sun all day. We had lots of fun and our five day trip went by so fast that before I knew  I was back in the office in Esslingen. Lisbon and the neighboring towns are a nice combination of nature and urban environments. I recommend.

– Dalsu

 

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May Day at Amsterdam

Amsterdam…  What comes to your mind when you hear it?  I can tell you that your probably not far away.

I flew to Amsterdam to meet Anni who travelled from France and Outi who flew there from Finland. We managed to all meet in the same place so we could start an amazing four day city holiday.

The Las Vegas of Europe, definitely a no no, no go place for  little children. Unless you are ready to explain all the “things” hanging on the windows of stores and the smells from the coffee shops. Surely you woudnt dare to take them to the red light district. Don’t let me get started with the red light district.

Amsterdam luckily offers” much more”…  make that “some more” things to see.  We visited the Van Gogh Museum and since we had bought the tickets online, we didn’t have to wait and could cut a line of about 400 freezing tourists. Oh did I mention it was pretty cold there. Rain, wind, cloudy weather. Too bad the others didn’t have online tickets. The day it was sunny we took the canal cruise wich was about 8€ and it is worth all the money. First we thought that the cruise seems a little short until the captain of the boat took us to the narrow canals that zig zag the heart of Amsterdam.

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View of one of the countless canals.

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From the left: Anni and other people being tourists at background.

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From the right: Person,person,person,person and Outi

Amsterdam does not have its own Big Ben, Eiffel tower, Colosseum or a pyramid. It seemed like the IAmsterdam sign drew the crowds.

The hostel were staying at was called Durty Nelly’s. It had a pub downstairs and everything essential for a few day budget trip. During night ear plugs were a must due to the location of the hostel on the main party street. The days went by too fast, but I can conclude that it was a really fun trip with Anni and Outi and 3-4 days is definitely enough to see the main tourist attractions in Amsterdam. The last evening we went to a really nice Indian restaurant which was recommended to us by the staff of Durty Nelly’s. I can’t remember the name, but if you go there and feel the need for some great Indian food near a big church, just ask the locals.

– Dalsu

 

 

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Fruhlingsfest

Yes! They have it during spring AGAIN!

For three weeks starting from Easter the destination for thousands of beer thirsty Germans was the Fruhlingsfest in Stuttgart. Our colleagues from last semester Eemil and Olli flew back from Finalnd so that they could take their lederhosen for a walk for one more time. We all had a lot of fun again, and maybe we’ll have to take our lederhosen there again some time in the future.

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From the left: Cesar,Dalmar, Eemil, Turo, Olli, Aaro, Tiina, Henri, Sarah and Eetu.

We had time for one last lunch before Olli and Eemil flew back to Finland to recover.

– Dalsu

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Easter road trip to Vienna and Bratislava

Aaro, Henri, Tiina, BMW and I. 660 km of autobahn ahead. “What could possibly go wrong”. …. STAU! (traffic)   We were stuck for about 3 hours  , but on the other hand we had plenty of time to enjoy the scenery. It took us over 11 hours to drive to Vienna. The worst traffic was on the A8 from Stuttgart to Ulm and on the road from Munchen to Salzburg. In Esslingen you can see quite often a Mercedes prototype with body panels covering some details, but the car below…. we could not even tell what it was.

Most of the pictures in the post have been taken by Aaro, special thanks for letting me use the pictures in this post.

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Usually there is no speed limit but the STAU really slowed everyone down. I had been warned in the office about traffic and it was terrible indeed.

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The next day started with a parking ticker (apparently sundays don’t have special parking rules). We were not going to let it ruin our day and took the tram from our hostel to the center of Vienna. Oh our hostel was amazing. It was an actual apartment flat, with a kitchen and two bedrooms and everything you could think of for the price of a hostel.

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From the left: Aaro, Henri, Tiina and I

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The Schönbrunn park is a place everyone should visit while in Vienna.

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In the picture below you can see the Prater. It is an amusement park in the middle of Vienna. Tiina and Henri were brave enough to try the Sling Shot, while Aaro and I had our feet firmly on the ground. You two are crazy!

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The following pictures are from Bratislava.

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In Vienna we spent 2 days touring around down town, Prater and Schönbrunn park. There was alot to see and two days just were not not enough. The city is very beautiful with Jugend style architecture everywhere.

Bratislava, Slovakia was quite small and one days was enough to see the main tourist sites. Now if you have accidentally watched the movie Eurotrip, you can definitely  forget about opening a hotel with a nickle. The prices are much lower than in Austria, but surely not that cheap.

– Dalsu


Carnival

Every spring a carnival is held to welcome the summer season and to throw away the cold winter. Carnivals are held in many places in Germany and luckily there was one near Esslingen in a town called Vaihingen. The atmosphere was similar to Finnish Vappu except people would not have a nation wide hangover the next day. Hundreds of people were dressed in scary outfits to scare the little kids and occationally he little bit older people too.

Saksalainen "talvenhäätö" karnevaali ja joku on onnistunu pukeutumaan linja-auto pysäkiks.

On the way to the event, the train was full of people ready for the celebration. This particular guy had somehow managed to dress as a bus station with the timetables at the front and at the back.

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This fellow was having a bad day after being kidnapped by the beast from the crowd.

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One important thing to remember is to bring some clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. At the carnival water and pieces of paper are thrown at the crows and occasionally someone will try to paint your face with a water-soluble marker. The above picture was taken just few seconds before I was covered in purple. And girls, watch out for your hair… The girls in our group got a completely new hair style for free.

 

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The same event is held also in Esslingen and in Stuttgart, so during the beginning of March you will have plenty of chances to see it.

– Dalsu

 

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Bachelors Thesis at Festo

Part of my double degree program is to complete a 30 ECT credit Bachelors thesis at a company. I was very lucky to get a spot at FESTO where I started working at the beginning of February. The specific topic is ____________. Or in other words classified. I have really enjoyed being at the company. Everyone is very polite and helpful and everyone seems to an expert in the job they do.  For all the students who are planning on doing an internship or a thesis, I suggest to start searching for the position 4-5 months before the intended start.

The thesis will take 6 months in total to complete, but with the help of a really great team I’ll hopefully be successful.

– Dalsu

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Ski trip to Oberstdorf

No snow in Finland, no snow in the Stuttgart region. It was definitely time to see some snow and travel to the Alps.

Oberstdorf has numerous ski resorts and is located only around 200 km away from Esslingen. A very easy choice for a student with a budget. You can buy a train ticket that includes a ski pass to the slopes, which is only around 50€.  We didn’t know at the time that the train ticket includes the ski pass and rented a car. Our group was very international with Felipe from Columbia, Sam from Germany, NaChu from Argentina and Emilia from Spain. As you can probably guess… alot of Spanish was spoken on the back seat on the way to the slopes.

Sam was very nice to lend a ski box for the car, skis and boots for the girls. Felipe and I were out of luck since there weren’t any items we could use. We rented skis at Oberstdorf and drove to Fellhorn which was only 8 km away.

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I have been skiing few times before but never had I seen slopes that were so steep.

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Fellhorn has many slopes and the cool thing is that you can ski from Germany to Austria. It was the first time any of us crossed a country border with skis on.

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The slopes were steep, seriously steep, but we had a blast and by the end of the day our legs had no more energy left. I highly recommend everyone to go down hill skiing  in the Alps. Some previous experience in the sport is quite helpful due to the sometimes difficult and steep slopes.

-Dalsu

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