Recently we were privileged to be invited to a wedding in the Midlands, England. In my mind this conjures up visions of vast expanses of land and rich estates – a kind of Pride and Prejudice meets Downton Abbey – small towns, cute country lanes, rolling hills, hearty food and wide varieties of dialects. My husband and I opted to add a few days of unplanned driving – the aim was to wander aimlessly, traverse the hills, take in whatever sights we happened across, and eat and drink till we burst. Goal achieved! As I mentioned from my last visit to England, my opinion of the country has changed somewhat from being a boring (normal food, English-speaking) destination, into a familiar one that reminds me nostalgically of home.
With the longest day of the year just around the corner, what better place to spend a long weekend, we thought, than right up north in Helsinki!
We flew into surprisingly warm weather, and it stayed that way almost the entire time, save for a small sun shower one afternoon – 25 degrees in Helsinki is almost unheard of in June! I was very happy to note upon arrival that our hotel (Hotel Cumulus) had decent curtains that blocked out a fair amount of the night-daylight. Though if you tend to be light-sensitive, I would recommend taking an eye mask anyway. The hotel was perfectly located, only a 5-10 minute walk to Market Square, right near a big supermarket and across the road from a daily market. The subway station was also right there, along with the bus stop to the airport.
Ljubljana is a place I’ve always wanted to visit (and always wanted to be able to spell correctly), and since it’s only a couple of hours drive from where I now live in Austria, it’s surprising that it’s taken me over three years to get there.
Visiting the London area in the past (eg. When I was living in Australia) was always a bit of a lowlight. Not bad, of course, just not as exciting as the rest of the trip.
It was a place that was easy, where I knew the language and had friends to stay with. It was a rest stop, a place to recuperate. Or it was simply the most practical or cheapest place to fly in and out of.