tiistai 28. marraskuuta 2017

Warszawa with dear guests

I got to spend some time with my friends from the Czech Republic, as they visited Warsaw about two weeks ago. Ivo arrived on Wednesday followed by the rest of the group arriving on Thursday afternoon, after some troubles with the Polish railways - how unexpected! It was their first time in Warsaw, and I, a local with the experience of few months, was more than delighted to be their quide.

So I took my guests to some of the necessary places,
starting from my favorite milk bar to the Lazienski park and the (in)famous shotbar Chupito. The principle of the bar is that you need to point what you want, and hope for the best. You cannot really guess the taste since the shots have names such as LOL and Pikachu. We took the part of the Old Town's Free Walkative Tour, which was in my opinion extremely interesting. I learned lot of new things about Warsaw's history I didn't know before, and I would recommend everyone who's visiting Warsaw to take part on this tour to learn about the city in more detailed way. It's starting everyday 10.30am from Zygmunt’s Column on the Castle Square and it's free of charge! We also visited the Cultural Palace but somehow we didn't quite reach the viewing terrace - next time we'll manage to do that, for sure ;)

Others left on Friday evening, but luckily Ivo stayed with me until the next Thursday. We did some essential Ivo-sightseeing, so we travelled around with trams and metro. With the best possible company (and terribly overpriced coffee from Costa) it was rather nice activity. We visited the railway museum which had a cool backyard full of old locomotives - creating the nice contrast between the city and its skyscrapers right next to the place.

We visited the Uprising Museum, which was probably one of best museums where I've been in Warsaw -  educating and interesting place with well built exhibition. It'd be another place to visit if you'd ever find yourself from Warsaw, admission on Sundays is free. After the museum we went to eat pierogis because obviously, when in Poland, you need to eat them as much as you can! Especially if and when you have only one month left in the country...

On Wednesday we headed to Gdansk. As did the first snow this year, winter is here. It was relaxing to spend time in Gdansk, after the busy week in capital. We had enough time to check all the essential places in the old town, and we also somehow managed to end up to a middle of an advertisement shooting. Not that we would have minded, but it happened that they'd decided to build their set right in front of our hostel, so our access there was denied. But clever as we are, we just basically went around the set and managed to sneak to our room.

Next day Ivo flew back to the cold country and I stayed in Gdansk for couple more hours. It was enough time to take a tram to an important location, as you can see from the picture above. #onlyfunforfinns. Soon it is December and my final month here begins. Still I got lot of studying to do, not to mention about essays - and when I'll be back in Finland it is finally time to concentrate on my thesis. On the next week there will be an important day, 6.12., when Finland will celebrate its 100th independence day. I have a plan to attend an independence day event held in Warsaw's Finnish Embassy. It is the first time I'm abroad during the independence day, and even though traditionally the main programme of the day has not been fancier than to watch other people shaking hands, it would feel weird not to celebrate at all.

Do widzenia,

(ps. I was not trying to escape, but I saw some ducks over there.<3 )

maanantai 13. marraskuuta 2017


I witnessed the event everyone told me to stay away. Here are pictures from last Saturday, when Poles were celebrating their independence day. At least in some cities. Here in Warsaw on the other hand, there was a massive demonstration, march of fascists and neo-nazis. The amount of people marching in their rows left me speechless. Angry people shouting to the ones who were - and will not be there. Scared people (including me), scared from their hostile message and behaviour. They warned me not to go outside, but I wanted to see it with my own eyes. They were right - such a sad sight.  

A spontaneous holiday

Two weeks ago, I had a week-off from University. Meaning that I didn't have lectures where I would've had to attend. I thought it was time to change the scenery, and as I found myself missing my family and friends, I knew where I wanted to go.

So I made a sudden desicion to visit Finland. Not for a longer time, just for a week. Only few people knew about it, the rest came to know when I arrived to their doors. Why bother to tell that I'm coming, right? I found a pretty good deal from Gdansk to Turku - the tickets to there and back were less than train tickets from Helsinki to Vaasa and back :D. And if I wanted to visit Finland before January, the only time to do it was before my studies were about to get more intensive!  
My first task was to travel to Gdansk. Since my flight was about to leave at 9am, the earliest train would've been too late. I decided to travel with PolskiBus (yeah, local OnniBus). Again I got to experience the benefits of night traveling, and the joy of sleeping in a bus. But I have no complaints - I am getting professional in this so I slept almost the whole journey. Next task was to find a bus to the airport. It was easy by using the lifesaving app Jakdojade. It works actually in every major city in Poland (Warsaw, Gdansk, Poznan, Wroclaw, Krakow and so on...) - so if you are ever traveling in Poland, this app will save lot of time from you!

I dont know why I had the image that the airport would be small. Probably because the destination from there was Turku, I thought they would be somehow comparable. But no! Gdansk Lech Walesa Airport seemed lot bigger than I thought. After arriving to my gate I heard Finnish for the second time in Poland after I arrived in September. The first time I heard Finnish was in Chopin Museum in Warsaw. I outrageously crossed the line of Finnish personal bubble by looking at them and smiling. (#finnishnightmares) But to hear your own language in a country, where you barely have a common language with natives, feels surreal - especially when the language is as minor as Finnish.

My runaway trip back to Finland was full of activities - I visited four cities within the one week. That is what happens when your friends and family are living all around the Finland and you obviously want to see them all. My first destination was Helsinki, where I met my dear friends Aada and Taru. After a long "one and a half months" without seeing each other we finally got to spend time together again, being restless as always.

After Helsinki, I headed to Jyväskylä. I wanted to see Ivo, even though I knew he would come to Warsaw soon. The only minor tiny little detail was that I quite forgot to inform that I would be coming to Finland, so he was rather surprised when he realised who is there standing outside his window :D In Jyväskylä we threw a party with Erasmus students and Polish vodka. Small tip, if you ever book a common room and there is someone coming after you - fear not! You can always negotiate to combining your partys, or like in our case wait for the latter party to simply die out before it even begun.
For the weekend I had some plans in Vaasa. Like with Ivo's case, I had a small surprise to my beloved Iitu who thought I would be in other side of the Europe. We appeared to her door and our small squad was almost whole again - expect our fourth member Tiia who is currently in Germany, we missed you! On Saturday we attended to a Halloween party at Aleksi's and Alissa's place and I was reunited with both of my cats (who ungratefully were rather sleeping than cuddling with me...)

We visited a viewing tower in Svedjehamn, which is on the coast, even further from the Replot bridge, basically somewhere almost in Sweden. We rewarded ourselves with some munkki after climbing to the tower but it was also worth to climb just for the view! The next destination after Vaasa was Tampere. There I spent nice two days with my parents and the endless amount of food. No kidding, they were serving food in a manner if I hadn't eaten in ages.

Now as I am back to Warsaw, it is time to concentrate on my studies again. I will have a dear visitor, Iivo coming here on Wednesday, and on Thursday even more friends are coming! I am thrilled to show them around in my hometown, and share my favorite places with them - see you soon guys! <3

Do widzenia,
- Iiris

All good here

Long time no hear! I have been extremely busy while settling back to life in Finland. Obviously so busy, that the whole January just passed ...