Cruise ship arrives to Helsinki

I love ships. One of my dream is to take a trip on a big cruise ship somewhere in Mediterranean or the Caribbean islands.

My first job in Russia was in a cruise company. I’ve started my career in a river cruise company, I was selling a lot of cruise tours on the rivers and lakes of Russia. Most popular river for cruises in Russia is Volga, every day in summer you can see a lot of boats going by the river in both ways. But river ships are small, they have only 3-4 decks. I went twice for a short trip to Valaam on these kind of ships and I liked that. Staying on a boat is very safe and relaxing.

On my last year in that cruise company we started selling sea cruises. It was a nice experience. These ships are really big with a lot of place inside for attractions, good cabins and really interesting stops every day in a new town and country. Can you imagine: your travel is relaxing and you see a lot!

Now I am in Helsinki and I see a lot of these ships every year in the city center. Today I saw another side of a cruise ship travel.
Travel assistant is my education at the moment. One of the duties of Travel Assistant is to work in the harbor and to help organizing meeting of tourists from a cruise ship. They help to organize process with guides and bus, help tourists to find right bus or give them information about Helsinki, advise what they can do here for one day.

Today we visited Melkki harbor, near the western terminal. The first stop we made at Verkkokauppa shop, there is a view point on the 7th floors rooftop. You can see from here towers of Helsinki, harbor and seaside, where international ships arrive to Helsinki.
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On the top you can see also model of an old MIG-21 jet fighter aircraft. If you arrive to Helsinki by the boat to the Western harbor I recommend you to visit this place and have your first meeting with Helsinki.
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After that we were going directly to the Melkki harbor. Harbor territory have open zone and closed zone. On the open territory you can walk free, there is also stops taxi, hop on-off busses, taxis and shuttle busses.
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Our group visited the restricted area, information about our visit was sent before our tour to the harbor. You need to be a tourist from cruise ship or to have permit to visit this territory. Restricted area made for safety of tourists from the visiting ship.

Ship has arrived
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Spanish cruise ship has arrived that day, and tour program for them was in Spanish.
There were 21 buses in the harbor, 13 of them were booked for Provoo tour, others for Helsinki sightseeing tour.

Travel assistants were in blue uniforms and they organized guides and arrival buses, gave directions and placed brochures for tourist in buses.
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When everything was organized tourist were going from the boat to the tour buses, others went directly to the city.
We stayed with the tourist information persons and helped tourist, gave out maps and the information on how to get to the city center or some other sightseeing place.
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Different walking routes to the city center are marked on the map. One of the interesting routes is design route.

Finally most of the tourists has left and our excursion and practice in the harbor was finished.

Cruise ship left that evening but the season time has started and we will see a lot of them in nearest future.
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Study tour to harbors of Helsinki

Why did I start my blog?

This spring I’ve started a new course Travel Assistant at my school, and one of our task is to write blog about our education process. I’ve found Travel Assistant course quite interesting for me. Our group was in different excursions and we saw a lot new and interesting things in Helsinki area.
Well I would like to tell about our first excursion to harbors of Helsinki. It was 01.04.2014.

We had guided tour on a bus from Central Railway station of Helsinki. Our guide was the dock master of the port of Helsinki, and we had visited the harbor, where in the summer time big cruise ships stay.
I want to tell a little bit about these places.

Länsisatama ja Melkki
This place close to terminals of Tallink and Saint-Peter line. Also harbor close the last stop of tram 9 and the big electronic shop Verkkokauppa.
It’s the newest harbor and there also will be a summer restaurant and cafe.
Travel Assistant and the guide need to be at the place 30m-1 hour before cruise ship departure.
The Harbor territory is restricted and one need to have a permit to get inside.
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Travel Assistant’s work in the harbor is to provide information for tourists about guides and the right buses, help finding a shuttle bus, to check that guides and buses are on the place and on the right time. Also provide information for the tourist about the city, route to the city center and what tourist can do in Helsinki.

Hernesaari harbor
It’s biggest harbor now in Helsinki.
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It has the longest pier and territory. It is close to the city center. Bus number 14 go directly to the Kamppi bus station, also tourists can walk to the city center by special line.
Only guided tour buses are allowed inside the restricted area. Here you can find WC and souvenir shop for tourist. Outside this area tourist can find hop-on-off buses and taxi.

Katanjokka harbor.
This harbor is located near Viking line terminal. The pier is fit only for one ship. The harbor is only 800 meters from Kauppatori. There’s also a new sightseeing observation wheel not far away from the harbor.
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The tour to the Helsinki harbors was really interesting, I’ve got a lot information about cruise ships and travel assistant duties.
We also had an excursion on 11.04, where we were listening to several incoming tourist office agents lectures, about harbors, travel assistant and guides work. It’s was an interesting information about the features of travel assistant and guide work.

I hope one day I can try myself as a travel assistant for a tour group.

Finnish traditional food for non-finns mämmi

Finland is wonderful contry, here a lot of intresting and of couse food, it’s a lot of delishes thing you can taste in this contry, but some of them strange..

I am living in Finland more then 6 years, but traditional food mämmi I can’t understand, maybe I need to be finn.

    The ingredients for mämmi:

    4 cups water (1 liter)

    1/2 cup sorghum or dark molasses (1 dl plus 3.5 teaspoons)

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    1 cup rye flour (2.5 dl)

    Boil the water, molasses, and salt to a slow boil. Use a whisk to stir in 1/4 of the rye flour. Whisk vigorously and turn off the heat. Let the mixture cool for at least 10 minutes, then whisk in the rest of the flour.

    Stir in the remaining rye flour (and two tablespoons of bitter orange peel if you are using it, I didn’t). Remove from heat and pour into a 1.5 quart (1.5 liter) casserole dish. I sprayed the dish with some cooking spray first, the recipe didn’t say that it was necessary to grease the dish, but I think it would stick terribly if you didn’t.

    Bake at 275 F (135 C) for 3 hours.

    Serve with whole milk or cream and a sprinkling of sugar.

    Did you try before that and what do you think about mämmi?

Fresh look at Saint-Petersburg

 

WP_20140420_029Kazansky  cafedral in Saint-Petersburg

Last trip to Saint-Petersburg was amazing, I spent time like a tourist in this city. I lived here 6 years, have been styding in the University and knew my city well.

But usually I stayed at my family appartment outsite the city center.

On my last trip I booked a hotel in the city center and felt myself like a real tourist.

Hotel Dostoevsky located in Vladimirsky avenue close to Nevsky avenue, only 5-7 min by foot.

 

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Vladimir cafedral, viewpoint from bar Raskolnikov in Dostoevsky hotel 7 floor.

I walked a lot from the hotel to the city center or other places. Hotel was close to metro station and many shops  around this place.

It was first time like a tourist in Saint-Petersburg and I discovered some intresting things and details

  • Saint-Petersburg is a beatiful city
  • It is a big city, from one point to another you can to travel long time 1-2 hours.  In the city center you usualy need 30 minutes for travel.
  • Now it’s not cheap. I have lived here before, studied in the University, worked, and I felt that it’s not expensive, but not in these days.
  • This is a cultural capital, there are a lot of theathers and museums.
  • I recommend visiting Grand Maket museum, a miniature model of Russia, really intresting exhibition for childres and adults. Here you can see a part of the Olympic village in Sotshi, or most known parts of Saint-Petersburg, or a big plant in Siberia.

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I also recommend to take a time and visit Peter&Paul Fortress. In a sunny day you can have a nice time there.
I took excursion in Peter and Paul Fortress, and refreshed my knowledge about the history of this place and the Romanov Emperors dinasty.
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There is also a nice park with a good view to Neva River, Winter Palace and others architectural sights.
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Near the Peter and Paul fortress located city beach, where local people take a sun bath in spring – summer time.
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Saint-Petersburg´s city center is amaizing place: many old buildings, a lot of canals and rivers, small parks and monuments and theaters. A lot of people know about Mariinsky theatre and other famous theatre Mikhailovsky. On my last evening of this trip I have been at this beatiful and old theatre to see opera named Flying Dutchman. It was a great perfomance. If you stay in Saint Petersburg for few days I recommend visiting one of thеse theaters.

Royal loge in Mikhailovky teatre
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And I also got a new friend there!
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