Category Archives: Trips

Venice

Easter and longer weekend was getting closer and closer. What to do? Originally we planned to go to some beach in Spain but apparently someone else was planning that same so flights were too expensive for us. We had to come up with plan B. Our budget was also very tight. We ended up renting a car from Thursday evening to Sunday evening and booking a camping place from Venice. So, Friday morning at 4 am. We turned our car hood to Venice direction. Driving there from Esslingen took about 10 hours, partly because of my small extra routes in Italy. I wanted to experience some smaller roads in Italy so we decided to drive from Trento to Lake Garda. That route was totally worth few extra hours. Small road over the mountains was pretty perfect to drive and to watch scenery. Also Lake Garda was really beautiful.


On our way to Venice
Anyway, we got to Venice and our camping area (Camping Rialto) around 2 pm in Friday. Camping was better than we expected, they had big 2 person tents with floor and beds. And the cost for two nights and two persons was only 44 €, perfect.
Venice itself was okay, maybe not so astonishing what I expected but still very nice. Biggest minus was big amount of tourists. More peaceful areas were very nice and we managed to find nice pizza restaurant right at coast, which was one of the coolest places I have eaten in. Pizza was also very good.


We wanted to take Gondola drive there but we had to back off after hearing the price, 80 €, maybe one day. Mostly we just walked around the city, but one day we took a water bus to Lido island right next to Venice city. The island was cool, full of very nice houses and beautiful areas. There was also long beach, but unfortunately beach was not so nice. It was pretty dirty and looked a bit unmaintained. We also found weird forgotten area at the other head of the island, all the houses were empty and the area looked like it has gone through some kind of catastrophe.
Sunday morning we headed back to Esslingen, now the driving took about 7 hours, since we drove via motorways.
I also have to give small advertisement, we rented a car from Sixt and we were very happy with them. Car was about 80 euros for the whole time and we got brand new Audi A3 Quattro. I was much happier with Sixt than Europcar what we have used before.
I can recommend Venice to everyone who likes to be near water, but you should try to choose the time to visit there so that it is not during the biggest tourist season.

See you soon!

Paris

Hi,

At March we did a weekend trip to Paris to celebrate Sarah’s birthday.
Paris has never been a “must go” place to me, but of course I have always thought that it would be interesting city to see and visit. Before going there I didn’t know very much what to expect, except Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and Notre Dame. Also what I heard before the trip was that people in Paris are rude and proud and they don’t like anyone who is not speaking French.
But after the trip I have to say that we didn’t experience anything like that during our stay in Paris.

Without any planning or research we managed to go there during weekend when all the trains in Paris were free to use because of some kind of campaign to reduce cars and pollution inside the city. So of course we took advantage of that and used metros to go longer distances around the city. But if you have time, walking is the best option, since there is so much to see.


My slight fear of heights almost made me to shit myself when we went to the top of the Eiffel Tower, but luckily we survived without laundry.

People were also very nice, no one acted rudely against us. And what best, there is nice cafes and restaurants everywhere, for the good coffee La Cafeotheque is the place and probably the best bakery in Paris is La Patisserie Cyril Lignac, unbelievably tasty macarons and cakes. With a smaller budget you can also find good food and wine there, like we managed to do. Now I know how blue cheese snails and stuffed duck neck tastes like, and Sarah has experienced whole plate full of weird sea animals 🙂

All in all it was a very good trip and very nice city where we definitely have to go to visit again one day.

Pre – Christmas party

Something extraordinary happened at November. I did a trip which I certainly didn’t plan to do when I started my exchange student – time in Germany. I travelled to Finland.

But I have good expalanation for this kind of travelling. I came to visit Pre – Christmas party in Himos. And I went there with Sarah. The story behind that is simple: I got invitation to party, but I wasn’t going to join the event. But I told Sarah about it and she said that she really would like to see Finland. I also wanted to show her my great homeland and visit the party with her so then  we decide to book flights and make surprise visit to Himos and Jyväskylä.

It was good decision, I got to see my good friends and family with Sarah and also had a chance to show her something of Finland. And best of all, Sarah liked the country. Unfortunately we had only two days time to be in Finland so visit was really short but maybe next time we have more days to be there.

Road trip

At the beginning of November we decided to do another Road Trip to Europe. This time we had two cars and three more people than last time. We got some reinforcements from USA to this trip. So whole group was the 4 Finns (Me, Dalmar, Eemil and Olli) plus Sarah, Alex and Scotty. Original plan was to go to Switzerland via Lichtenstein and stay few days in Zurich and Bern. But plan changed quite a lot. First we went to Vaduz which is capital of Switzerland. After that we headed to Zurich but once we got there and started to find place to sleep we realized that our bank accounts and Switzerland is not a good mix. After a night in youth hostel in Zurich we decided to drive to Bern and from there to France for next night.

Olli admiring Vaduz

France was much more suitable for our budget. We drove to city called Mulhouse for night, it wasn’t very beautiful city but we had good breakfast in local cafeteria there and prices were reasonable. After Mulhouse we drove North in France. It was area called Alcase, which is famous of wines. Really nice looking landscapes and villages. We also found one old castle from there it was called Chateau du Haut- Koenigsburg, beautiful place and big castle. Other night we spent in small village called Saint-Hippolyte, tasty food and good wine.
Next day we headed to Hagenau and from there back to Esslingen. Nice trip, lots of driving, great views and nice experiences.

Exploring surroundings

Our dormitory lies in area which is a bit hilly. So it’s quite nice to do small hikes to hills during weekends or free days. Usually we have always found some new and cool places during our expeditions. So far the longest walk was last Saturday when me, Olli and Sarah conquered a hill which has bothered us since first walks around surroundings. It’s quite far away and only hill without trees, so we had to see what’s up there. We walked there through forest which is some kind of national park, so scenery was really beautiful. We ended up walking in forest even further than the hill, so walk to destination took about 2 hours. But it was really nice, because it has been a long time since being in peace of forest and nature. Finally when we arrived to hill we found out that it was some kind of old refuse dump area, or at least that is our best conclusion about the place’s function. It was bit hard to get to hill and we felt bit weird being there but finally we conquered the hill so it doesn’t bother us anymore.

Finally on the hill!

By the way, forests here are awesome. Especially deciduous forests because they are so different than at home. Trees are really big and they usually have leafs only at top of tree. And sometimes the ground is really clean, there is no underbrushes so it’s easy and nice to walk around there. But of course nothing beats good old Finnish birch forests 😉

What’a f*** Where are we…

Hockenheim DTM – race

Last Sunday we did a trip to famous Hockenheimring. There we went to see last DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) race of season. I have never before seen those races but I think after seeing them once, I have to go to see them again someday. Thanks to Kenny whose idea whole trip was, I have once again seen something new and exciting. Day was good though it was quite cold and rainy.

Small rain doesn’t bother – Eemil, Olli, Dalmar and Kenny

 

 

Volksfest vs Oktoberfest

Autumn brought with it traditional festivals to Germany. And of course we had to find out what kind of celebrations those are. During our first exchange student week we already booked tickets to Oktoberfest in Munchen, just to make sure that we get there. At that time we didn’t even know very much about these local festivals here in Stuttgart, which are called Volksfest. Before going to Munchen we had possibility to experience Volksfests with large group of exchange students and our tutors.
After visiting Volksfest first time I realized that I have never before seen parties like that. We had lots of fun. In the end we ended up going few times more to Volksfest and we had good time there.

Then came time to visit Munchen and Oktoberfest. First expression of Munchen wasn’t good because it was cold and rainy when we arrived there. It was Saturday afternoon when we went to Oktoberfest area and quite fast we realized that it was too late to try to get inside in any of festival tents, every place was already full. So in the end our experience of Oktoberfest was one beer and Apfelstrudel in one small place at festival area, but Strudel was good and place was nice. And best of all, when we went back to hotel we found out that there was a Sauna! After relaxing in Sauna we went to city to eat good dinner.
Whole Sunday we spent walking around Munchen with Sarah, Olli and Eemil. I was surprised how beautiful city Munchen is, expensive but beautiful. Totally worth visiting.
At Sunday morning Dalmar and Anni headed back to festivals and spent their day in there. They had good time there and we at city so in the end everyone was satisfied.

Best tent in Volksfest – Wasen wirt

City of Munchen

Kessler and Bodensee

Last Friday we had another different day at school. The topic of that day was tour in a Germany’s oldest sparkling wine producer Kessler, which is here in Esslingen, and it was mandatory! Well I was more than willing to visit there so no problem for me. At Kessler we had a tour in whole factory, we went through warehouse, cellars and producing areas. And at the end of tour we went to tasting room where we tasted three different Kessler sparkling wines. Tour guide said that Kessler concentrates on quality instead of volume and that was quite clear after seeing their factory and tasting their products.

Other trip arranged by school was last Sunday. That trip was to Bodensee, third biggest lake in Middle-Europe. Bodensee is in a border of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Trip included tour in a Zeppelin museum, castle tour in Meersburg and boat trip from Meersburg to Friedrichshafen. It was long day but we saw many interesting, stunning and beautiful things so it was totally worth it. If you go to Bodensee, do it in summer and take the boat trip.