alfie langer, My host's home, Wales


Posted May 31, 2007, 9:48 pm
alfie langer has packed his bag and is off to fly to Austria where he will stay with a very nice family.
Safe journey litle bear.

Posted Jun 10, 2007, 10:54 pm

I arrived in Vienna/Austria now after a quite fast journey! Only my arrival in Vienna was a bit exhausting because I was locked in the mailbox for more than 2 days since my hosts were in the countryside for the weekend. Luckily CK was in the same mailbox just in the envelope next to me so we had great fun chatting...

Our host took us out of our narrow prison this evening and we are both very curious to discover this city. We were told that we'll maybe also go to the countryside a bit so it seems to become a nice stay here in Austria. Will tell you more later!

Sleep well!

Posted Jun 19, 2007, 12:42 pm
I'm having a great time here in Austria so far and I'm in good company of some other toyvoyagers here. At the beginning there were 5 of us (meanwhile only 4 are left) and we have alot of fun together! Except of me there is Pooh, an inofficial voyager (but a really nice one) from Taiwan, there is CK the Koala also from Australia, then there is Taro the little bear from Japan and Frida, the German frog who already had to say Good bye and continue her journey to the UK.

On Saturday we went to lake Neusiedlersee with our host. It's not far from Vienna and since it was a very hot day it was nice to spend the day at and in the water. In the evening there was a big thunderstorm - really impressing at the lake...

Posted Jun 26, 2007, 10:49 pm
Oh, what a busy time I'm having here in Vienna! I hardly have any time to tell you about all my adventures... I've done ALOT of sightseeing - I saw almost all of these beautiful buildings here in real which I only knew from pictures so far. So my mates and I had a special guided tour through the center of Vienna. We saw St. Stephen's Cathedral and a beautiful Subway Station nearby, built in "Jugendstil". Then we had a walk around a street called "Ringstraße" where we passed by the house of Parliament, the City Hall, the Old Imperial Theatre and the Opera.

Posted Jun 26, 2007, 10:57 pm
But there is much more to see in Vienna. My hosts showed me St. Charles' Church, the Big Wheel, the Danube Tower, the Building of the UNO here in Vienna, Belvedere Castle and the Hofburg, which was the former residence of the Habsburg family.

Posted Jul 9, 2007, 12:17 pm
The previous weekend the other toyvoyagers and I went to lake Attersee (in Upper Austria, between Linz and Salzburg) with our hosts. Their grandparents own a flat at the lake there so we spent a wonderful time there swimming and hiking. One day we also went by boat which was very exciting for us! The scenery is so beautiful there with all the lakes, mountains (Alps) and forrests, so we reallya had a nice time there.

One day when it wasn't warm enough for swimming we made a little trip to Gmunden at lake Traunsee, not far from there but even a bit closer to the mountains. Imagine, they have a castle there IN the lake on a little island. Interesting, hm? And they have another nice thing: On the City Hall there are many bells and every hour they play a little melody! It was so nice!

Posted Jul 9, 2007, 1:05 pm
A while ago we spent a nice day in the park of Schönbrunn Palace. It is such a LARGE park with many fountains, ruins a maze,... there is even a zoo there! So we were really busy to visit everything! Schönbrunn Palace was the summer residence of the Habsburg family and is nowadays an UNESCO site and Austria's # 1 tourist attraction I was told. I really believed it because there were soooo many people there! We even managed to go up a hill where we had a wonderful view from the "Gloriette" over the city.

Posted Jul 11, 2007, 9:07 am
Next year in June the European Soccer Championship will take place in Vienna. Already now the people are very excited about that and count the days until this event starts...

Yesterday my host also showed me the big soccer stadion. There is a big construction site next to it because they build a new subway station for the Games there.

We also went to see the house created by Friedensreich Hundertwasser yesterday. It is soooo colourful - I really liked it. I was told that there is nothing special inside, just normal flats. Wouldn't it be nice to live there? All the people there have the right to creat the wallls around their windows as they like - but only as far as they can reach with their arms. So the building changes a bit from time to time.

And then we went up a hill from where we had a wonderful view over the city. Vienna is really beautiful and I regret that I'll have to leave it soon...

Posted Jul 13, 2007, 11:36 am
Well, before leaving Austria (which will be tomorrow) I still had to complete some of my life missions (or at least post the photos, some of the missions I already fullfilled a few days ago...)

So my host took me to the park the family spends MANY afternoons at just hanging around on the playground. I had alot of fun trying all the different things there - thank you for that!

I also had the opportunity of riding in an Austrian train. We went to a village about 20 min away from Vienna where we visited some friends. Fortunately nobody came to check our tickets (because I didn't have one, ooopsss!). I also went by tramway several times here in Vienna and even took the subway, but we forgot to take some photos. Only a tramway picture exists (we quickly took one today ;)

I met many of the other toyvoyagers here in Vienna. Frida and Pooh you already saw on the picture where we picked the cherries, Taro and CK as well. Meanwhile also Paz, the little crab from Brazil, Florence, the beautiful flamingo from the USA and Cute Knut the polar bear baby from Germany arrived. And of course there were also the toys who live here to play with, so I really had a nice time here in Vienna. Good bye!!![usr]

Posted Jul 24, 2007, 8:35 am
Today I arrived in Germany and do you believe, who I met again? C.K.!!! And I met a koala bear from Australia too coming from Busselton, maybe you know it. He always talks about travelling to Australia one day and visiting his former family before he came to Germany as a gift to a penfriend.

I hope to see more from Germany soon, but my host is ill and can't go out today and tomorrow. Let's see, what I find in the house.

Posted Aug 10, 2007, 6:55 pm
Petra is so sad, because she forgot to take me with her on the trip to Heidelberg, but she promissed me to take me on some trips next week.

Today I had a lesson in how to bake Lorrainese Cheesecake for tomorrow evening, when we will have many guests. I think, that's a good meal for a football team!!


Posted Aug 10, 2007, 7:00 pm
I also helped to prepare the meal for lunch: spinach, mashed potatoes and fried eggs.

Later we baked a Zebracake and Petra took many step by step photos, but then we saw, that no photo was on the camera. So you only can see the cake without  icing.

Posted Aug 13, 2007, 9:23 pm
Finally I was allowed to travel to Heidelberg with the other toyvoyagers and our hosts to visit the zoo and the castle. The weather is fine, sunny and warm and so I believe, that we will come home dry today :) That was the only thing I found funny that other day, when they missed to take me with them: that I was dry at home, while all others got wet :)

Posted Aug 26, 2007, 4:54 pm
Sabrina and her friend Linda took me on a walk in the city. They liked to take photos with me.

Posted Aug 26, 2007, 4:56 pm
A new toyvoyager arrived: Tamalyn from Sydney, Australia. You can imagine, that we had a lot to talk about, especially because Tamalyn met C.K. again and Kari, who is from Busselton, Australia.

Later C.K. showed me, how to knit a pullover and Tamalyn came to us to take a look, but she was too tired and went back to the place for the toyvoyagers.

After we all had a rest, we played hide and seek in the garden behind the house. I found my place in the lavender. Mmmh, what an aroma.

Poor Bongo didn't feel fine, so when we came back on our place we all took care of him.

Posted Aug 26, 2007, 5:56 pm
The next day Martin showed me the Stadtkirche, which is next to the market place. My hosts took me with them on a trip to Mannheim, but they found no time to take photos with me :(

Posted Aug 26, 2007, 5:58 pm
Today a new toyvoyager friend joined us: Decker from England. Tamalyn was very nosy.

And two toyvoyagers will leave us next Monday: C.K. and Snape.

Posted Sep 21, 2007, 7:52 am
Hi Crizle, I know, you would like to go with us on this trip. We will stay in a hotel in the Bavarian Forest for two nights and I hope to see as much as possible.
Right now I'm playing with Sabrina and the other toyvoyagers, which are going with us on this trip.

Posted Sep 21, 2007, 10:00 am
After a long long while we left the freeway to have lunch at the Walhalla.

This is a Hall of Fame and Honour, modelled after the Parthenon in Athens and located 10km west of Regensburg on the Donube River.

It was an idea of Crown Prince Ludwig I. of Bavaria in 1807. It was meant as a place for the commemoration of great figures and events in ethnic German history, at a time covering 1800 years, beginning with the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest (9AD).

Some of the most recent additions were: Albert Einstein, Sister Gerhardinger, Konrad Adenauer, Johannes Brahms, Sophie Scholl.

Posted Sep 21, 2007, 10:11 am
Wow, we were so tired and happy to see these beds in our room. We jumped out of the bag and on the beds. I'm sure you see me.

Unhappily our hosts meant, that they would sleep in the beds and we should sit and sleep on the windowsills :(

While Petra and Sabrina went swimming, we cuddled together, because it wasn't that warm so close to the window.

Posted Sep 21, 2007, 10:27 am
After a very tasty breakfast we started off to visit the "Weinfurtner Glasdorf". I really didn't know, what we wanted there. There was glass everywhere, not really a thing for one, who loves to play soccer ;)

We also saw this water wheel, but I didn't exactly understand, what it had to do with all this glass around me.

One place wasn't that bad, although it was no football place. Although it was a shop, it seemed more like a church - a place for meditation.

But then I found something, that looked like a football and I was so so happy.

Unhappily at second sight I saw, that it only was a lantern of glass again :(

Posted Sep 21, 2007, 10:45 am
In the afternoon we visited the Great Arbersee (lake). I thought, we maybe would play a match there, but no. We only walked around the lake, but I'm sure, you would have liked it, Christine.

This lake is one of three lakes in the Bavarian Forest. On the Czech site of this big forest is the Bohemian Forest with five more lakes. The Great Arber is the highest peak of the Bavarian-Bohemian-mountain rigde, with an elevation of 1456 metres, while we were on 935 metres. We unhappily couldn't see the Arber, because the weather was too foggy.

Since 1939 the area around the Arbersee is nature reserve area. Each year 1/2 million of visitors come to see the lake.

Posted Sep 21, 2007, 11:21 am
On the way back to the hotel, my hosts and other members of their family visited a house, while we had to stay in the car. We didn't know, why we weren't allowed to go with them, but when they came back, they carried "big" boxes and seemed to have a lot of fun. We had to realize, that they were in a distillary shop and tried some of the bottles, before they bought some. (of course they only sipped, because they didn't want to have problems with their heads - whatever they wanted to tell us by saying this).

Posted Sep 21, 2007, 12:39 pm
We all are a little sad, that it is time to say good-bye and drive home again.
At last we want to visit Regensburg.
Regensburg is located at the confluence of the Danube and Regen rivers. To the east lies the Bavarian Forest. The old town of Regensburg is Unesco World Heritage.

The first settlements in Regensburg date to the Stone Age.

Posted Sep 30, 2007, 7:19 pm
Today we played soccer. It's not so easy to play "sit-soccer" (that's how my hosts call it).
At first everyone sat on the place, where he or she was supposed to be. You only had been allowed to move on the place by turning around, but without walking.
I was the referee and I was the only one with a real soccer shirt.
At once Tamalyn tried to score, but Elisabeth did a good work and
just jumped to the right place and caught the ball. But then her punt was bad and Bongo got the ball. He tried to score, but Decker was just at the right place to defend in front of Tux, who was the goalkeeper on the other side.
At the end of the first half they still played 0:0, but of course had some chances for the first goal on each side.

Start of the second half

Somehow Glory fell. I know, that nobody hit her or something.

Small Fry nearly shot a goal after that, but Tux was a good goalkeeper and caught the ball. Glory fell again, maybe she already was very tired, she is so tiny.

Here Tamalyn got the ball and tried to play to Glory.

Small Fry got the ball to play, but had no chance to score.

After a while I had to talk to Dottie Grace, who complained about something, I don't want to tell you here.

1:0 for the team of Elisabeth, Dottie Grace, Small Fry and Bongo Thanks to Dottie Grace!!

And then a silly thing happened, but this was a big luck for the other side. Bongo and Small Fry tried to catch the ball with their bodies, but they had no luck.

Elisabeth jumped to the right side of her goal, but the ball rolled into the goal on the left side.
So at the end the result was 1:1

After the match we danced around the ball, because we were happy that nobody had lost in this match.


Posted Sep 30, 2007, 7:33 pm
Good bye, Alfie Langer!

You became a very good friend and we will miss you.

Posted Oct 6, 2007, 7:55 pm
Finally my host Petra showed me the palace and the Belvedere.

Here you see a part of the rosegarden, which belongs to the palace.

Here you see the backfront of the palace. It was destroyed during the second world war and rebuilt during the 70th.

This is one of the statues in the palace garden. There are four statues showing the four seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter. And four other statues show the four elements: water, fire, air and earth.

Here is a pond with many ducks. Especially kids love this place.

Here is the beginning point for a guided tour through Bruchsal.

This building is called "Belvedere". It was a former hunting lodge and now it is a place for open air theatre.

In the park called " Stadtgarten" next to the Belvedere you find this fountain.

Posted Oct 6, 2007, 8:06 pm
Untergrombach is one of the suburbs of Bruchsal. Here we are on the "Michaelsberg" (hill) and have a wonderful view over the Rhine valley. On the first photo you see a part of Bruchsal in the background. Petra's parents live close to the wood.

As young girl she loved to swim in that quarry pond, but since she is married and has kids, she prefers to go to the swimming pool of Bruchsal. In the background you see the hills of the Palatinate.

This chapel stands on the top of the Michaelsberg and it is called Michaelsbergkapelle (chapel)

On this photo you see a part of the Kraichgau hill country. Bruchsal lies at the border to the Kraichgau and Rhine Valley.


Posted Oct 6, 2007, 8:13 pm
Here we are back in Bruchsal. The building you see here is the old slaughterhouse. Nowadays a part of it is a restaurant and a place for comedy shows. Ralf and Petra, my hosts, like to go there. Funny!
Also you see on the photo, that Bruchsal has parts belonging to the Kraichgau. The first photo with the view to Bruchsal (in Untergrombach) showed a part that belongs to the Rhine valley.
The Sparkle

Posted Oct 19, 2007, 2:37 pm
Today i found a little yellow package in front of my door when i came home.
I took the package inside and opend it as quick as posible so i can find out who is in the package.
When in opend the package a big friendly face cam out and tells me his name is Alfie Langer for friend Alfie.
When i was still talking to Alfie there was this big browm monster thats want to meet him also.
Her name is Luna and is my 3 year old Labrador X golden Retriever Girl.

She gives Alfie a sweet dog kiss to say his is welcome in our home.

The Sparkle

Posted Oct 19, 2007, 2:40 pm

Today Alfie was saying goodbye to his New friends: Knorretje Knor and Seamus.

Seamus is traveling again to his next host in the USA. Knorretje Knor is traveling for the first time. She is going to Moscow.

The Sparkle

Posted Oct 20, 2007, 11:30 am
It is a little bite chilly but the sun is shining so Muki, my new ToyVoyager friend, and i like to explore the garden of our host.
Outside enjoying the sun
Oeps, I'm almost falling
Saved by this beautiful colored flower. I love the color of this plant/bush. Its almost te same colour as my soccer outfit ;)
On a big old pink bicycle together with Muki. He is sitting in the basket in front.
I have picked a flower for you Mum. My host made a picture of me with the flower because she tells me that it is not allowed to take flowers with you in the envelope and that it will be dead when i arreive back to you.

I hope you like my picture Mum.
The Sparkle

Posted Nov 30, 2007, 8:20 pm


Today i put Alfie Langer in the little box again where he arreived in at my home.
He is going to travel again after a strange stay. (My father in law died some weeks ago.)

I hope he enjoys his next host and that he will visit me agin in better days.

The Sparkle


Posted Feb 2, 2008, 8:33 pm
Hi! I arrived in Scotland today, after staying in Ireland...but my Irish host didnt update my travel log, so my mum will just have to wait till my notebook arrives home to see what I got up to over there!

Here's me, having a nice stretch after all that time in a package! Meg, my host in Ireland, sent along a nice envelope of chocolates for us to share, so Theodor and I had a small picnic!

Then the camera ran out, so no more pictures for tonight! The batteries are charging right now though, so maybe tomorrow, if the weather isnt too bad, Theodor and I might get to see a bit of Cupar! He tells me they went on a trip to St Andrews yesterday that I missed...oh well, maybe next time!

Posted Feb 2, 2008, 9:11 pm
Meg sent my Mum some photo's and a listy of where I have been through December and January so this will be a little out of date sequence, but I did want you to see a couple of photo's of my stay in Ireland.

Posted Mar 1, 2008, 1:06 pm
hi mum! Sorry for not updating sooner, something was always going wrong when it came time to have some adventures! The weather has been awful recently, and the camera batteries were often mysteriously disappearing! Since the weather was bad - we had very strong winds and horrible heavy rain - the three of us decided to take a leaf out of the cat's book and stay snuggled up for most of the days! Out host was very jealous, as she wanted to be able to do that too, but she still had to go through to university in the cold and the rain!

Hopefully the weather will get better soon and we will get a chance to go outside!

Posted Mar 1, 2008, 1:13 pm
The weather is finally nice again! We woke up this morning to sun streaming through the window and we couldnt wait to go outside and play!

Unfortunately, we had to help with the housework before we could even think about going outside!

We found some pretty stones inside that our host told us came all the way from South Africa!

Finally we got to go outside!

We found some pretty spring crocuses popping through the soil, it must be difficult with all those fallen leaves piled up on top of them!

We decided to climb a tree next, but I got stuck halfway up!

So to redeem myself, I suggested we played some football to show them that I wasnt so clumsy after all!

But we couldn't decide which ball to play with!

After a hard game, we sat and relaxed in the sun with some apple juice.

I hope the weather is nice again tomorrow!

Posted Mar 18, 2008, 7:49 am
Alfie's host here Hi :) Alfie arrived safely and got a tour in our home right away (my girls were excited). After I've recharged my camera bateries we'll go outdoors to see the neighbourhood!

Posted Mar 19, 2008, 5:03 pm

Today I got to see the neighbourhood where my current hostfamily lives. They live by the Baltic Sea but it's not an open sea view like in some places where I've been as Finland has so much archipelago. I was told that the creator of Moomin spent her summers in this part of the archipelago. No wonder Moominpappa loves the sea!  :o

This winter has been the warmest ever in Finland. That's why there isn't much snow or ice. People are warned about thin ice every year (on tv and the papers) but this year it's quite obvious... at least here in southern Finland.

We walked thru the forest back home. That sign is interesting because it says "private area" - in the middle of the woods! Even my host thought it was weird  :stare:

Posted Mar 21, 2008, 9:12 am
This is the sauna! It works so that you throw water on the hot stones and the room gets even more heated (this is an electric sauna so you turn it on to get the basic heat) and humid. The temperature rises usually to 60-80C, less is too little and more starts to get too much to most of the people. Before and after is good to take a shower (or a bath). Sauna is really relaxing, my host said it would do good after a hard football/soccer game - it relaxes your muscles. And head, I'm told.

Finns have even this competition where people go to sauna and it's heated hotter and hotter and the last who comes out is the winner. In the summer Finns like to go to their summer houses (those who have one, or have rented one, or visit reletives who have one) which are mostly situated by a lake - and there they go swimming in the lake after the sauna.

In the winter some people might go play in the snow after sauna (and run back really fast) if the place is suitable for it (you don't do it in the city where anyone can see you). Nowadays there's not enough snow for it, at least not in the southern Finland. My host says she hasn't done it but she has pics of her husband do it with his friends!

In the pics the sauna is cool (normal room temperature) because it you take photos when it's hot the pictures get all foggy due to the heat.

Posted Mar 21, 2008, 5:29 pm
Easter Part 1:

I helped the girls decorate the willow twigs. They used colorful feathers, shiny paper, plastic eggs... etc. The twigs will be used tomorrow when the girls go to wish happy easter to their grandparents. It's their first time they decorate the twigs, I think they turned out great!

The tradition is that kids dress up as witches and go door-to-door, receiving candy in exchange for the decorated willow twigs (there's also a little riddle the kids say before giving the twigs, it's basically a good wish for Easter). I'm told that this is a result of the mixing of an old Orthodox tradition (blessing houses with willow branches) and the Scandinavian Easter witch tradition.

My  host says her kids are too small to go door-to-door so they go to the grandparents. The grandparents are waiting for them eagerly! My host didn't tell the kids yet as they're coming up with a little cold - that might ruin the plan but as they're not told, they won't be disappointed. We'll see tomorrow...

Their uncle & his wife brought them those "little" packs with goodies already. The kids should go to his place too with the twigs. And the other chocolate egg is bought by my host (there were several too).

Posted Mar 22, 2008, 8:09 pm
Easter part 2

Today the eldest girl dressed up as a witch as planned. The other kids stayed at home with daddy (the middle one didn't want to dress up after all) when the eldest, the mom and me drove to the grandparents. These pics are taken in Jakari, a small village about 20km from my host. It's also part of Porvoo municipality so we couldn't get the lat&long...

My host's parents still had snow on the ground as their property is in the shadow most of the day.

Someone had Easter decorations outside their house, on their bush-fence!


Posted Mar 22, 2008, 8:17 pm
After the grandparents-tour my host showed me the sights! We climbed on this "view tower" where I could see almost the whole town. There's the river, the downhill skiing center, the red old shore houses... It was literally a basic overview  :)

Porvoo is small(ish) town with about 47 000 inhabitants. It's the second oldest city in this country, it got town rights in 1380! Porvoo is close to the capitol Helsinki - only 50km and about 1 h drive from there.

Posted Mar 23, 2008, 7:34 pm
Easter part 3

Today I helped the girls paint eggs. It's another Easter tradition. You can do it the hard way and blow the inside of the egg out via a small opening and paint the shell or you can do it the easy way and boil the eggs first and then paint. There are different ways to paint/color the eggs but these girls used simply watercolors. See, one of them painted my name on the egg!

Posted Mar 26, 2008, 9:52 am
Today, when everybody woke up, there was a suprise outside: snow! Lots and lots of snow! "Now this is what I call a winter" said my host and continued "It's just like in the good old days when I was youn--- a kid". We all went outdoors to play in the snow, the girls tried skiing for the first time this winter and then we played with the sleigh. That's me with the new girl in the house, Chamki. When the mail came we got yet another tv, Roo! This will be interesting - and fun! Roo came from my home and told me how things were down there.

Posted Mar 29, 2008, 8:48 am
Today we did some sightseeing by the River Porvoo. The river runs thru the city to the Baltic Sea. By the riverside you can see the old red shorehouses (which I saw earlier on my trip to the "sight tower") which used to be warehouses - and some still are while some are renovated from the inside to be living quarters. The houses were painted red in the early 18th century to look more pretty when King Gustav III was visiting (Finland gained independence in 1917). The red paint also protected the houses from sun and weather. On the other side of the riverbank they've built new houses which remind people of the old houses. The old ones are the most welknown sight in this town.

Did you notice the cruch/cathedral? The roof is being renovated as it was burnt by arson in May 2006. As the church itself is made of stone it didn't get damaged that badly - and the fire department came quickly. And that cannon is from the 2nd World War, naturally it's not in function anymore.

The hill you see in the last picture is the "Castle Hill" where used to be a castle/fortress hundreds of years ago. My host says it's a great place to play Robin Hood too! And the view from there is nice as well, you can see all the 4 bridges crossing the river.

Posted Mar 31, 2008, 11:55 am
G'day people :) Today I visited the local post office - and had some photos taken. I filled a mission - score! My host also bought some stamps: Moomin and the newer moving ones (their theme is downhill skiing).

Posted Apr 3, 2008, 4:14 pm
On April's Fool we were nice to each other and didn't do any foolish tricks. Instead we walked around the city center. All the pics are taken around the market place/bus station or one block away. The fourth photo shows part of the Town Park. This town has many parks but this is the biggest. There's also a playground but we didn't visit it today. The last pic is from the main street, not very busy at that hour (the post office I visited is also on the main street). In the second last photo you can see older buildings on the old town side of the street. It was a nice sunny day in the city :)

Posted Apr 10, 2008, 8:33 pm
This is the capitol of Finland: Helsinki. It was a rainy day but we didn't let it bother us much. Helsinki has about 500 000 inhabitants and is located only 1h drive from Porvoo.

In the first picture is the Cathedral at the Senate Square. In the second pic is the Government Palace at the same square.

The next photos are taken one block away, at the Market Square. As you can see there are huge cruise liners but also smaller boats and ferries (not all in dock at that moment). The big cruisers go mainly to Tallinn (Estonia) and Stockholm (Sweden) frequently. There's also the Uspensky Orthodox Cathedral and in the next pic the building with the flag on top Presidential Palace. The president of Finland is Tarja Halonen, she's the first female president in this country.

The green phonebooth is not the regular Finnish phonebooth. You can hardly find the regular ones as everyone has a cellphone nowadays. My host guessed it's somekind of an attraction itself for the Finns - and not all tourists carry cellphones so... And it suits the small street it stands in! Next to it were that couple and their reindeer wishing people welcome to the souvenir shop.

After that is the Main Railway Station.

And in the second last pic a general view of the main street.

In the last photo there's the Parliament House, the white building is the Museum of Contemporary Art  Kiasma and the statue next to it is the riding Mannerheim (one of our former presidents) - and a corner of the main Post Office on the right.

Phew! This was one long entry to write, I feel like after a football game... Which reminded me, I've seen some of the fields but we (me & my host) are saving the pics for one entry, dedicaded to football  B)

Posted Apr 22, 2008, 6:44 am
G'day mates!
Today we had a barbeque at my hot's mother-in-law. It was a sunny and warm(ish) weather so we ate outdoors. We had sausages, meat and fries - very tasty I say  :)  As BBQ is done with family & friends we took the shots with my newest tv friends Chamki and Roo in them  B) We did have a good day although we were a bit sad as we knew Chamki would leave to Germany next week  :thinking: I will be staying until June at least as my host has some very fun plans for next month! Just wait and see...  ;)

Posted Apr 25, 2008, 2:05 pm
Football! Here's a tiny collection of the football fields I've visited here :) The first one is in Helsinki, the two others are from opposite sides of Porvoo. These are the small local ones, not the big "stadiums" but football is football ;)

Oh yes, in Finland "football" means "jalkapallo" which is considered "soccer" elsewhere. American football/rugby is called "amerikkalainen jalkapallo" (=american football) or (quite rarely) "rugby".

So actually football isn't football everywhere  :p

Posted May 3, 2008, 5:50 pm
We made our own vappu hats. Vappu is what they call 1st of May aka Labour Day. Then we got some balloons and streamer! They drink sima (mead) and eat doughnuts (and maybe \"tippaleipä\") on vappu. Some people attend marches and wear their graduation hats (especially undergraduate hats). I spent the vappu with my fellow toyvoyagers Ninni, Roo and Chokito  B)

Posted May 9, 2008, 5:52 pm
Outing was the word of today. It had rained so the air was fresh - and the ground a bit wet. I tried  to find 4-leaf-clovers with Chokito and the newest member of our group: Majed. Majed liked goofing around: he tried to make us believe he had found a 6-leaf-clover but Chokito & I saw that he held two regular clovers - and had this grin... It broke the ice and we started bonding :)

Posted May 11, 2008, 4:47 pm
Today they celebrated Mother's Day in Finland - and so did we! We had ice cream cake, saw the flag of Finland (as it's a national day, everyone puts the flag up) and picked these white flowers (traditional trademark of the day). The girls had made cards and bracelets for their mom. Our hostmom enjoyed the day too  :D

(eating the cake: Chokito, me Alfie, Ninni, Roo and Majed - and we did leave some for the hostfamily too!)

Posted May 13, 2008, 7:18 pm
Today my host took all of us toyvoyagers with her to Helsinki as she took the youngest kid to a doctor's appointment (nothing wrong with the kid). I have of course been to Helsinki before, but this time we stopped at the other side of the city center. I wanted to put this pic of the stadium first - that's where they held the Helsinki Olympics in 1952!

The rest of the pics show the Linnanmäki Amusement Park from a distance.

Helsinki from the lakeside. My host made a sign showing where the Cathedral is, just to get an idea where we were.


Posted May 14, 2008, 6:21 pm
Today we threw a suprise belated birthday party for Roo, who turned 4 years old two moths ago! The was cake, candies, juice, singing - and of course a present & card for Roo. And joy & good company for all of us!

Posted May 15, 2008, 7:15 pm
Wohoo! It's my birthday! Because of yesterday, I knew there was something coming... And I was right, the held me a birthday party too! First I blew the candle of my cake (rest assured, I did make a wish), then Roo gave me the card they had made for me - and a present! I was so excited to open it - and look what I got: a football fridge magnet! Way cool! Then we ate cake and cookies and had some juice. Oh yes, and they sanf Happy Birthday to me too. We did have a blast  :D

Posted May 17, 2008, 5:25 pm
Today we went to Helsinki again! There was a Postcrossing meeting in the Main Post Office (or more specific: the Wayne's Coffee cafe there). It was the first my host attended and she was both nervous and excited. I was just excited! And we did have a great time! We were all welcomed warmly. We got some chocolate tea and cafe latte - and we "stole" some Dutch Waffels (a Dutch postcrosser wanted to join with this contribution), see Ninni watching our backs while Chokito is stuffing his head in... B) We made new friends: the Official Meeting Pens and the Official Meeting Ducks  :D We helped the humans write "some" (101 as in one hundred and one) postcards and watched the Official Meeting Book being filled (we got our names there too!). The meeting took 3 hours after which my host went shopping for some more postcards  :rolleyes: Hey! Who put those fingers there!?

Posted May 19, 2008, 8:18 pm
I was walking on the street with my host and we passed by this football field. There were kids playing so we stopped for a while to watch them play.

Posted May 21, 2008, 7:56 pm
Today postcards came to life! I visited the Suomenlinna fortress in Helsinki! I have seen many postcards from this place but it's totally different to really be here. This is also a Unesco World Heritage Site (since 1991). There I am, leaving Helsinki City behind and getting closer to Suomenlinna (which is also a suburb of Helsinki, 850 people live there). In the 3rd pic is the ferry on which we arrived.

That long, pink building is The Jetty Barracks. The east wing of the Jetty Barracks houses a recording studio, work rooms and a kiosk which also does duty as the local post office. The west wing houses a brewery, a restaurant and a gallery run by the Helsinki Society of Artists with changing exhibitions all year round. Hey, Finland has its own West Wing  ;)

I loved the sights there! It was very impressive. As you can see, I saw quite a few cannons too. I'm glad they're not operational.

The photo after the small lighthouse shows the King’s Gate, It is a symbol of Suomenlinna. It was built in 1753-54 as a parade gate for the fortress. It is said that the gate was built in the place where the ship anchored when it brought the founder of the fortress, King Adolf Fredrik of Sweden, to see the work in progress in 1752. You can't see its full monumentalism as the photo was taken so close (we couldn't get further, there was the sea).

There's also the submarine called "Vesikko", a veteran of the Second World War. In the 3nd last photo there's a group of kids, lead by a man in an old costume - he plays the king apparently, and makes the kids do fun stuff and learn the history on the side of it  :D

In the 2nd last photo I pose in front of the inside of the walls  :) The last photo shows the tomb of Augustin Ehrensvärd (1710-1772), founder of the fortress.

Phew, that was quite a walk, even though we didn't step on all the islands (Suomenlinna consists of 8 small islands).


Posted May 25, 2008, 11:45 am
Today we celebrated my host's daugter's 4th birthday. She's a dog-person so my host made up a dog cake. I helped with the whipped cream and decorating!

Posted Jun 2, 2008, 4:26 pm
Once more: Helsinki. This time only a brief stop as we took the train to Tampere!

Posted Jun 2, 2008, 4:29 pm
The train ran thru Hämeenlinna and we saw the Häme Castle!

Posted Jun 2, 2008, 4:33 pm
Finally, after a 2 hour train trip we were in our destination: Tampere. Tampere is a Unicef city this year! In the photo you can see our destination for tommorow: the Näsinneula Tower. And a football (soccer) field  :D

Posted Jun 2, 2008, 4:39 pm
We spent the whole sunny day in the Särkänniemi Adventure Park! I could see some of the rides but we didn't go on many as we were there with kids. My host chose to take a pic of me in front of her favorite ride, the Troika  :D

I also saw the dolphin show in the most northern dolphinarium of the world! The dolphins were very skillfull! After the show we were allowed to go close to the "pool" and take a closer look on the dolphins. One of them went quite close by! My host said that later in the summer when the dolphins have performed several times, they come very close to the glass and some even stay there for photos! Now they weren't that interested yet, they had just come back from their vacation  ;)

Later I got to go on Näsinneula Tower which is the tallest observation tower in the Nordic countries. The top of the tower stands at a height of 168 metres but we were at 124 metres, which is like half way to Eiffel Tower  ;) . The lifts travel at a speed of 6 metres per second. The views were quite amazing from up there!


Posted Jun 2, 2008, 4:53 pm
On Sunday we had to return home. But before that we visited the Moominvalley of the Tampere Art Museum. On the way there we saw Alexander's Church that was built in 1881. The museum is in the same building as the main library (2nd photo). We weren't allowed to take photos of the exhibition but my host managed to take some in the first hallway and in the room where that game was. There you can see som eof the original works of Tove Jansson, the creator of Moomin.

Next to the exhibitions is the Moomin Shop. The window shows only a small part of the stuff they sell there. It's really a place for a wealthy Moomin fan  ;)

After the shop we walked towards the railway station and took some pics. That big stone ball rolled on the thing it was on! But what really made us feel lucky was that we saw Moomin! The real furry one  :cyclops: He was there to hug kids - and dance with my host  :rolleyes: I think my host looked funny, but don't tell her...  ;)

And finally a Mole train back home. I really need to rest for like a week after this! zzzzzzz

Posted Jun 7, 2008, 3:51 pm
Week of rest: done! Today we visited the Market of Possibilities in Porvoo. It's an event where different organizations present their activities, distribute information. The event is held in many cities during the summer. Here's only a small view of our brief visit to the event.

Posted Jun 7, 2008, 3:56 pm
After the Market we were suposed to take the buss home but there was a bicycle event in the city center and the buss station was empty. My host got so annoyed and frustrated she didn't want to take any pics of the event. Instead we started walking further away to catch the buss. Here I am over Porvoo River. I've been to the other side before, sightseeing when it was still snowy!

Posted Jun 7, 2008, 4:16 pm
Before we caught the buss we stopped by at a playground, to cheer up our host's little one (she had been crying for some reason, I guess she was either tired, hungry or bored). We toyvoyagers played too! This is me playing with the little one and Chokito and Roo. We're one awesome bunch you know  B)

Posted Jun 13, 2008, 4:47 pm
Friday 13th. To us it was a lucky day :) Our host took us with her to her "job" (training period) in the local activity center for the mentally disabled. My host is an instructor-trainee. She works at the handicrafts room with the people there. See how skilled they are!  :stare: They've been doing felt-making mostly recently. Here is some of the stuff they've created. That sunset with dolphins is made by my host, she still has to work on it so we helped her a bit with the needle. She's also quite talented don't you think?

In the first picture is, according to my host, a "knitter from hell"  :p My host has worked on it (and guided the others with it when she learned it) and says it's really annoying as the machine makes all sorts of knots and messes up in general. They're supposed to do scarfs with it and add felt leaves on them.

In the last pic is me - multiple times  ;) One of the mentally disabled has designed and made it. My host says she'll probably buy it when it's ready. On the other hand she'd like to buy half of the stuff they make there. Lucky for her basically everything they make is supposed to get sold. Unlucky for her many of the items are pre-ordered.

Very interesting day at work!

Posted Jun 21, 2008, 5:42 pm
It's Midsummer Eve here. It's raining heavily. Very, very heavily. Usually people have a barbeque, go to their summerhouses, watch a bonfire, drink heavily, go swimming... The downside is that every year at least one (usually several) person drowns or is killed in a road accident during these days off - due to the heavy drinking mentioned earlier. Due to the rain less accidents will happen. Unluckily it also means we didn't get to see any traditional Midsummer events  :( We could only see a bonfire on the calendar...

Posted Jun 21, 2008, 5:47 pm
Midsummer Day brought us better weather. We took a roadtrip during which we stopped at this little river.  It ran suprisingly fast for such a little river. Me, Roo and Chokito decided to try the winch with which they lift boats up from the river! It was a fun "rescue-game"! We would've wanted to try white water rafting but our host had this  :o look on her face so we skipped it...

Posted Jul 1, 2008, 5:09 pm
Cheers folks! Longish time no see  :rolleyes:

My host has been busy with her final week at the job training, she has to show all her skills this week! I'm sure she'll do fine. You should see the winter hat she designed and made! Although that's not the thing she needs to be showing this week...

Anyway! We noticed this yesterday! I'm in the top 10! With most photos in the travelog! I'm so proud  :D I want to thank all my hosts so far for contributing to this, without you it wouldn't be possible  :D Thank you! Delenna says we should celebrate this  :cyclops: I wonder what she has in mind...

Posted Jul 5, 2008, 7:37 pm
It was a nice weather today so my host decided to go on a bicycle ride with the girls. The eldest one had just got a new bike with a basket so we toyvoyagers got to join the ride in it  :D We drove a longer way to the playground and had goodies and juice there. I climbed a tree - and tried hopscotch, but Roo was way more skillfull in that  ;)

Posted Jul 9, 2008, 5:14 pm
My hostmom organized the teddies she will send to South Africa, to the Teddy Bear Clinic (see Threadbear)! My hos has 7 teddies to send. We hope they all fit to the Moomin-box that you see behind them... I'm the one far right and I'm not going to the Clinic but I wish all these teddies a safe journey!

Posted Jul 15, 2008, 9:16 pm
This's what my host was thinking when she talked about celebrating... We made a trip to the Korkeasaari Zoo in Helsinki! "We" means us toyvoyagers, my host, her kids and her dad. It was quite appropriate to have a "family outing" and us tvs meeting reletives  :D First I met my wooden cousins who were situated right on the other side of a football field! Not stupid, my reletives  ;)

Before entering the actual Zoo, which is on an island, we had to go over a bridre. You could see the Cathedral and the Orthodox Church from there! Those places I saw closer in May.

The first zoo animals I met were my actual reletives, with fluffy fur and all: the brown bear. They had quite a nice place to live in - it's divided into 2 equally big sides, which means that if the misses starts nagging too much the sir can move on the other side...  :cyclops:

As much as I would've wanted to stay and chat... well, the reletives went for lunch so we continued our tour. I saw the European bison, a nice view to other parts of Helsinki, a reindeer, a lion (this was my host's favorite, for the obvious reason that she's a leo in zodiac)!

After that we played Noah's Arc  B) And I rode on a zebra (a wooden one though) with the kids! Then it was time to get homesick... I saw the red wallaby  :stare: Sigh...

There's nothing that good food couldn't fix! I felt better after having a feast with my tv friends Chokito, Ninni and Roo.

Our tummies full we went to check out the baboons (someone said the "EU should make a law that makes them wear pants"! LOL) and the mongolian wild horses. Continuing to the tropical side of the zoo (and that waterfall) after which we saw Miami Vice! The flamingos, you know...

And last but not least our group photo on the car we drove! After a nice and sunny day we all fell assleep while driving home... zzzz


Posted Jul 21, 2008, 7:31 am
We spent Sunday evening playing Moomin Memory/Pairs  :) The girls in the house had just got it and were eager to play. We took a round with just us tv's - and one local  :p The dog in the house (called Lurppa) won, Ninni & Roo came in second and I was the third. A gentleman let's the women win...  ;) And I'm sure Lurppa won because he has "home field advantage"!  B)

Posted Jul 27, 2008, 5:36 pm
It's been so very very hot here in Finland that we decided to drive to a beach. This beach is further away than any of the others, in the middle of nowhere - and totally worth it! The water doesn't get deeper untill far away (you can almost walk to the island you see in the photo) so it's ideal for the kids. So we played in the sand and water, enjoyed the sun, ate... Oh, and the view was quite nice too!

Posted Jul 27, 2008, 5:46 pm
Ever wonder what happens to retired toys... Today I got one reply to that as I visited the Porvoo Doll and Toy museum. It's a small place with thousands of old toys (the eldest date back to the early 1800!).  All toys have been played with and loved. Some teddy bears have been cuddled so much their fur fell off. The toys are a private collection and their owner started the museum with her own money. It's a very popular tourist attraction.

Posted Aug 2, 2008, 9:40 am
Chokito is leaving to South Africa in mid-August but we held his goodbye-party already. With Batman-theme ofcourse! There was Batman candies, Batman cola - and a Batman Movie from 1966!
After the movie we talked about past and future adventures. Chokito is fun & energetic and I wish him all the best inthe future!

Posted Aug 9, 2008, 6:19 pm
Today we went to check out the steamtrain! We were early so we took a look at the other things nearby the station. The station area is a well kept historical entity comprising of two lokomotive stables built in 1875 and in 1905, the station house from 1899, and an old warehouse with a long loading dock and a small railway yard. There was also this miniature railroad! We weren't allowed to touch it which was boring, but otherwise it looked fun. I really want one  :cyclops: Think how cool it would be to ride on it! There were other things to see too, including the old add.

Posted Aug 9, 2008, 6:26 pm
Here it is: the steamtrain! It's big, it's black - and I loved it  :D These type locomotives built during years 1928-1953. The blue train in the last pic is called Lättähattu and it was fully operational in the 50's/60's. The Porvoo railway is an original part of what used to be the next oldest private wide gauge railway, completed in 1874, linking Porvoo town with the first railway of Finland, the Helsinki-Hämeenlinna line build in 1862. The only trains that run on this rail are these old ones that run only a few times per summer. They're a tourist attraction - or a chance to take "a walk on the memory lane"  ;)

Posted Aug 14, 2008, 7:41 am
Bonjour! Comment allez vous? (Hello, how are you?) My host said we'd go to Helsinki but this looks like Paris to me! Oh well, I can tell you they were wall paintings  :)

Pour moi, une café latte s'il vous plait! (For me a milk coffee please)

PS: Sorry for all possible spelling errors!

Posted Aug 14, 2008, 7:51 am
While waiting for the tram I saw these pretty buildings. They must be quite old. There was this statue of a girl throwing a spear too. I think it looked nice with the water pool and all the green around.

Posted Aug 14, 2008, 7:59 am
This must be the most beautiful church I've ever seen! It's The Church of St. John. It is designed in Neogothic style by the Swedish architect A. E. Molander and built in 1893. It is the biggest church in Helsinki and has excellent acoustics, making it a popular place for concerts of large choral works in particular.

My host said it's her favorite too because it's red!  :D

Posted Aug 14, 2008, 8:10 am
Ok, now we finally get to the main part of my latest Helsinki visit... A cafe that had vintage travel posters on display! They were old Finnish travel adds and there's a book full of them. We bought a few postcards instead. The cafe was in that white building that is also the Swedish Theatre - apparently there's a Moomin play running (see the huge poster outside the building).

The posters were fun - and it was so cool to get the cards as both my host and mentor are postcrossers  B)

Posted Aug 15, 2008, 5:54 pm
We (Roo and me) tried to catch some of the Olympics fever and watched the games. We couldn't see any (succesfull) aussies or britons so we decided to cheer for our host-country Finland  B) I'll try to catch a football (soccer) game too  ;)

Posted Aug 22, 2008, 5:56 pm
"Happy birthday to you, happy birthday toooo youuuuu, haaapppyyy biirthday dear Delenna, happy birthday tooooo youuuuuuuuu!!!"

My host turned __ and made this self-portrait-cake  :D

Posted Aug 27, 2008, 6:44 pm
I did get to see some football - or soccer to be exact.  :D

Posted Aug 27, 2008, 6:46 pm
We had a new guest in the house: Lemmy! We showed the little fox around the house and told him tales of this family...  :)

Posted Aug 27, 2008, 6:53 pm
I finally got to see this part of Porvoo. This is called the "Empire Porvoo" due to the houses. They're old, from the 1800 but they serve as living quarters and schools. Nicholas I, successor to Alexander I and emperor of Russia in the reactionary age, wanted to demolish the Swedish-rule appearance of the town, and build a Russian Empire-style town in its place. Architect Carl Ludvig Engel, designer of the buildings around the Helsinki Senate Square, was appointed town planner. The plan of the Empire-style Porvoo is a modern, regular and spacious rectangular street layout with straight roads and quarters.

Posted Sep 8, 2008, 6:14 am
You should've seen my host's face when she realized she hadn't taken me to Castle Hill! It was like  :o and then  :stare: when she searched my travelog once more. I do have seen this hill from further away but never been on it. So here I am now  :D In the 14th century here stood a wooden fortress. Now you can only see the hill and the castle moats. My host was right before when she said this's a good place to play Robin Hood! The last picture shows my host's favorite view in Porvoo. She has taken a photo here which she made into postcards! You can see al the bridges from here, and the Old Town. Very cool! I'm glad my host finally took me here  ;)

Posted Sep 8, 2008, 8:30 am
After the Castle Hill sightseeing we drove to a car sales place. They had this event for families and my host had decided to take the kids there. Lemmy, Roo and I got to draw with chalks, try the bouncy castle, eat risotto, meet my cousin Panda bear who gave us candy... That board with round thingies in different colors is there to show in which colors you can get your car. I like the first one on top, it's beary orange  :cyclops: Of course it had a less imaginative name  ;) There was also this guy who made tricks - with balloons too! He made those balloon animals in the last picture.  The blue one is a cat, yellow is a dog and red one is a bear (bears seem to be very much liked here). We spent 3 hours at the event but my host forgot to take pics of me with any cars...  :rolleyes: She did find her dreamcar there: a Chrysler Voyager - meant for 7 people or like my host said "for 5 people with fighting distance" (meaning she could palce her kids so that they couldn't fight)  :p

Posted Sep 9, 2008, 9:45 am
One of the kids got to ride a horse today! They didn't have any helmets small enough for me so I had to just sit and watch. Horses and ponies are sweet. I saw dinosaur eggs too! See, those huge white things...

Posted Sep 19, 2008, 8:26 pm
Today we hitched a ride with Lemmy and got a few new views on the Old Town! My host was especially inspired by the two last views. She meant to take pics good enough for postcards but then her camera batteries died  :rolleyes: Poor her, she was almost in tears... I told her she could come back with new batteries when there was more colorfull leaves on the scene - that would make an even better postcard! That last pic shows Castle Hill from a distance. Remember, the place that's good for playing Robin Hood...?

Posted Sep 23, 2008, 9:37 pm
Cheers! I attended another postcrossing meeting in Helsinki! This time I saw familiar faces from Australia! They got some welcome gifts which were totally awesome. I helped people sign all the 192 postcards, drank some hot chocolate and ate some not so hot chocolate :) Everyone welcomed me, Roo and Lemmy warmly and took good care of us. We did help organize the cards too as the people wanted a special cancellation on their stamps and taht required some organizing.

Posted Sep 24, 2008, 12:10 pm
After the postcrossing meeting we visited the Post Museum in the main post office. I saw tons of postcards and stamps! I also saw how mail was delivered thru the centuries; for example a horse and an old mail truck. They even had posters about Postcrossing!

Posted Sep 28, 2008, 6:38 pm
Today I got to join a trip again  :D We drove to Kerava to pick up my host's sister. Then we drove to celebrate their brother who turns 50!

Posted Sep 28, 2008, 6:47 pm
This is where the party was held! The area belongs to a psychiatric hospital in Nokia - but my host assured she nor her reletives were patients there  :p And yes, the city is really named Nokia. It was Nokia before there was a company named Nokia (the one that makes cellphones).

The building where we partied is very old, it was built before 1900! Look at the decor, very nice. And the lake was so pretty too. The wind started to blow harder towards the evening, the n I was happy to be indoors. Happy 50th Birthday My Hosts's Brother!

Posted Oct 10, 2008, 7:33 pm
I got to visit a Mickey Mouse exhibition while in Helsinki! It was held in Päivälehti museum which shows the history of journalism and printing techniques. The temporary exhibition Mickey Mouse on the Case shows Mickey throughout the times. In Finland Donald Duck is a bigger name. My host's favorite character is "Taikaviitta" which is probably translated as Duck Avenger. He is Donald Duck's alter ego  :D

We even got to make Wanted-posters of us! In the last pic I'm posing with mine. I got to choose my own reward! I'm wanted for example for stealing Flintheart Glomgold's cornering plans 2 and 6. My nicknames are Spotless-Toyvoyager and Manic-Traveller  :cyclops:

Posted Oct 10, 2008, 7:48 pm
While in Helsinki I got to see the Cathedral from the inside. I have seen it from the outside before. I climbed the 47 stairs up which was good exercise. It looked very small inside, compared to the outside!

Posted Oct 10, 2008, 7:52 pm
Yet another place my host wanted to show me was this "Hakaniemen halli". It's an indoor market place. There are loths of little "booths" where people sell stuff. Mostly handicrafts or otherwise Finnish products. My host was only interested in these ;)

Posted Oct 11, 2008, 1:38 pm
On our way to the bus station to get back home we saw this temporary funfair. There would've been that football/soccer game I would've been great at I bet. But my host said we didn't have the time or money to try the rides or games. It looked a bit deserted anyway, maybe it was too early for people to try the fun & games.

Posted Oct 11, 2008, 1:43 pm
When we got back to Porvoo after the adventures in Helsinki we saw this market fair at the market place - well, actually it spread to several streets and even the riverbank! My host got some more postcards there... I feel so at home with an active postcrosser  :p

My host wanted to buy all sorts of stuff; clothes candy, "just stuff"... but she said it luckily wasn't her payday  :rolleyes: The fair stays for two days and it's an annual event. The fair comes every spring and every autumn.

Posted Nov 8, 2008, 4:58 pm
We (me and the other voyagers) hopped in our travelbag and drove with our host and her kids to a pre-xmas party! These two pics are the only ones my host had time to take with us. The rest of the time she signed postcards and watched after her Powerpuff Girls...

Posted Nov 12, 2008, 8:24 am
The second Sunday in November is a special day here in Finland: Father's Day! There are different traditions in each family, but usually kids give presents and/or cards they have made for dad, dad gets to sleep late and families go out for lunch/dinner (and many restaurants have special offers for the day).

This is how my hostfamily celebrated it this year. The kids had made some gifts (a pillow in pre-school and oven mits at home - as dad likes to cook) and cards. Dadd did get to sleep late, which probably was his favorite gift  :p

We baked some apple pies which came from the freezer, so it wasn't a big deal. But they were tasty! We had juice and cola for drinks. The kids woke the dad up and gave the pressies&cards and then we ate (which was my favorite part)!

Posted Nov 17, 2008, 5:47 am
My host threw Roo and Bestik a party. For Roo to celebrate her place in the top10 of most photographs in a travelog and Bestik for the reason that he has now travelled the whole European trail! Good enough reasons to party! Our host and her kids had decorated the table and served us Harrod's tea, chocolate chip cookies and corn snacks. Bestik got a bit wild and played with food  :cyclops:

After the goodies we played with the balloons and did all sorts of tricks with them :) I was pretty good doing tricks as I've played with football so many times. And last but not least: group photo! That will be a fun memory to all of us :)

Posted Nov 24, 2008, 6:23 pm
It has started to snow! First time this winter! My host is begging for a white xmas... Although she has bought a can of artificial snow just in case  ;)

Posted Nov 24, 2008, 6:24 pm
My host made me a woollen scarf so that I wouldn't get so cold. So sweet of her  :)

Posted Nov 24, 2008, 6:32 pm
This is what we were up to today :) We made decorations of things from the woods, water and empty milk cartons!

This is how it's done:
1. gather all sorts of stuff from the woods
2. get empty milk cartridges
3. put stuff from point 1 to point 2
4. add glitter and/or juice if you wish for the effect/color
5. fill with water
6. close
7. put outside to freeze

In the last two photos you see the outcome without glitter/juice. I think they're bloody marvellous! My host plans to put several of these together and stick a candle inside. I bet that'll be pretty!

Posted Nov 24, 2008, 8:08 pm
Remember the other day when we were all excited about the first snow? Well, ahem... we got some more.

The new guy is Gary Boldie, my host's newest tv! He's been to outer space! Now how cool is that  :o

Posted Dec 3, 2008, 9:03 pm
Here I am, around 07 am in Helsinki, looking at the christmas lights. I was running around the city with my host in search of an open currency converting place. We didn't find any. Our buss to Sortavala (Russian Carelia) leaves at 08 am. I'm attending a 3-day trip with my host and "her" charity organization called Vaaka!

Posted Dec 3, 2008, 9:09 pm
Here we (me, Roo and Gary Boldie) are, having a stop-over in Lappeenranta. There was a shop that sold stuff made of wood! They were way cool! They did have smaller things too, like toys and jewellry - my host seemed to have a hard time not to buy anything...

Posted Dec 3, 2008, 9:15 pm
We made a final stop in Tohmajärvi which is next to the Russian border. We used the Värtsilä-Niirala crossing point which is said to be the third busiest crossing point to Russia in Finland.

Posted Dec 3, 2008, 9:26 pm
We made it! This is us in Hotel Seurahuone is Sortavala. We're pretty tired from the busdrive so we'll go to bed andzzzzzzzzzz

Posted Dec 3, 2008, 9:34 pm
I slept very well thank you :)

Now I'm having a nourishing breakfast before we start running around again ;) I'm having porridge, bread, egg and tea.

Posted Dec 3, 2008, 9:41 pm
First we drove to the local orphanage for bigger children. We dropped off some stuff we had agreed to bring for the kids that are leaving the orphanage (to study). Things they will need when they get a place of their own. The kids have made some amazing handicrafts that are for sale. We got to see the products although the "shop" wasn't open. My host bought a wooden dolphin painting because she loves dolphins. She did see many many other things she would've wanted as well but they hadn't put a pricetag on them yet. Well, next time my host will be prepared...

The buildings in the photos are around the orphanage. In the second picture, on your right hand side you can see the "lyseo" (college/highschool) which was designed by architect Ahrenberg in 1901. In the third pic is the town hall, designed by architect F.A. Sjöström in 1885.

The last picture is from the inside of the orphanage. They have this room with all these churchly images. I guess they'll prey in there, or just sit silently and think.

Posted Dec 4, 2008, 7:37 pm
This is the yard of a kindergarden where we dropped off some stuff too. It's very colorfull as you can see. The safety regulations might not be as strickt as they are in Finland but my host said she would love to see this much cheerfull colors in Finnish kindergarden too.

Posted Dec 4, 2008, 7:50 pm
After dropping off things we had time to go shopping and sightseeing on our own! In the first picture is actually a sort of a "mall". In those buildings were several different shops - although entering a shop looked like you would be entering a home. My host likes bookstores and here they sell toys too so my host "got 2 flies with one hit"  ;) She has not yet found any books to buy though. But that's not a problem as she doesn't speak russian!  :p

In the second picutre is a bookstore across the street. We wanted to take a pic because the sign was also in Finnish! Well, this used to be Finland before 2nd World War. There are still many buildings that date back to the Finnish times of the town. Here you can read about the history of Sortavala.

In the last photo is the Nicholas Church which was designed by architect Nikolay Grebenka in 1873 from revenues of the Yeliseyevs brothers - merchants from Saint-Petersburg.

Posted Dec 4, 2008, 7:59 pm
The shopping tour continues... In the first photo is part of the local buss station. On the other side was a market place (indoors and outdoors). The next to pics are taken on opposite directions and show more malls (this time they looked like it from the inside too).

The building with the huge painting on one side is an administrative-dwelling house which was built by architect Erkki Huttunen in the 1930s.

In the last photo you can see what my host bought with her roubles. As you can see, much of it is for her girls :)

Posted Dec 4, 2008, 8:38 pm
Here is the Hotel Seurahuone where we stayed. And it's surroundings. The street is the mainstreet of Sortavala, called Karjalankatu.

The bridge (220 m lenght, 11 m width) over Vakkolahti Bay was the longest bridge of Finland in its time. It was opened in 1932 on holidays when was celebrated three-hundredth anniversary of the town.

The taller building on the other side of the bridge is called The Popular School and it was build by Yrjö Vaskinen in 1929. Now why is it called popular, I don't know and neither does my host.

Posted Dec 4, 2008, 8:44 pm
In the evening we went to a nearby restaurant for dinner. As you can see we had soup, (cold) fries, meat and a sweet looking & tasting bun!  We also witnessed a local birthday celebration. They had hired this bunch of people in traditional dresses to sing & dance - and make the party group sing & dance too! It was loud and it was fun! Oh, and the wife (?) of the birthday hero did some belly dancing! It was something completely different from how birthdays are celebrated in Finland.  :stare:

We were so tired we could only watch some dubbed russian tv when we got back to the hotel - and fall asleep.

Posted Dec 4, 2008, 8:50 pm
Wakey wakey rise & shine! Early in the morning we packed to head back home. These pics are also taken by the hotel but in a different lighht. Plus theres a photo of the monument of a folk-tale narrator Petri Shemeikka (1825 - 1915) which was set up in 1935 to commemorate a centenary of Kalevala first issue. The author is Alpo Sailo sculptor, the lay-out of public gardenis made by Uno Verner Ullberg. This monument is raised from Berg judge's bequeathed means and from the revenue of the Singing Festival in 1926.

Posted Dec 4, 2008, 9:03 pm
My host took the first blurry photo in the bus when we drove to see if there was a church (there was a small argue whether the church already existed or was it still "under construction"). Crazy people turn the buss around and go check  :o Well, it wasn't that big a leap actually. But there it was, church called Herrankukkaro (a place where you're in clover). My host told me that 2 years ago when she was here the last time, they slept in the hotel that is in the first floor and then there was yet no church.

The second pictures show the local small shop that we visited on our way. It's a small shop full of basically everything. My host bought a few souvenirs - "to support the local business" she said  :rolleyes:

There was a christmas tree on the yard. I was told that russians don't celebrate christmas the way we do, to them New Year is the bigger celebration with gifts etc. Having seen the local birthday I bet their New Year is even more full of noise and fun!

Posted Dec 4, 2008, 9:14 pm
This was our last drop-off. A kindergarden in a small village near the border. The village is called Värtsilä. It was divided in two in the 2nd world war, half of the village is still Finland and this other half is in Russia. We had to wait a while so we had a chance to take some pics. It looks so peacefull and quiet, maybe because it was the russian Mother's Day. The first photo shows the kindergarden and everything else is around it. My host wanted to photograph the playground again because of the colors and statues.

Posted Dec 4, 2008, 9:17 pm
Just a few minutes from the border we had a chance to do some last minute shopping. Although no-one has ever seen anyone cashing the stuff in the "tents". In that cottage is a huge variety of not-so-authentic music and dvd's. Outside the photo is also a restaurant and another shop with drinks and goodies. My host got only some snacks for the drive.

Posted Dec 4, 2008, 9:20 pm
We're back in Finland! Only about a 5 hour drive home... Feeling a bit exhausted... Might take a nap with friends to digest all that I've seen.

Posted Dec 6, 2008, 4:17 pm
Finland turns 91 years today. Traditionally people burn blue&white candles (flag colours). My host doesn't have those so she put a candle made of paper on the window. The candle is made by her daughter.

Congratulations Finland!

Posted Dec 7, 2008, 3:39 pm
My host is in the top ten of most updates! She's gonna go crazy when she hears this... I bet we'll celebrate again somehow  :p Plus I keep climbing higher and higher on my top10  B)

Posted Dec 8, 2008, 4:52 pm
My host took her kids to an "Elf Workshop"! It's a place where kids can do gifts and decorations of recycled material (costs 4e/kid). It's open on the weekends in December before xmas. My host attended last year too and as the kids love crafts like their mom it's becoming a tradition.  This year they made
gift paper
firts you draw things on paper with a candle (you won't see much)
then you paint the whole paper with one color
and voilá the candle drawings show up!

take 3 equal lengths of yarn and tie them together from one end
then braid and tie the other end

window decorations
cut different shapes of coloured plastic film
glue them on uncoloured plastic film

get a cardboard tube
put nails within 10cm from each other in a spiral
fasten other end
pour seeds in
fasten other end

xmas decoration
cut paper in slim, about 15 cm lengths
glue one into a circle
put another piece of paper thru the first circle and glue it into a circle
continue this till you drop
You'll have a long decoration!

The girls loved it all! And it was very interesting to watch what all you can do from "scrap". I wonder what they'll do next weekend...

This is what the city homepage says about it:
"Elf workshop at Taidetehdas (Art Factory)
29.-30.11., 7.12., 13.-14.12. and 20-21.12. at 10am to 3pm (in Finnish and Swedish).
Christmas surprises are made at six different areas of a craft workshop that utilises recycled materials. Finally, the crafts are packaged and the secrets sealed until Christmas Eve. Offered on weekends leading up to Christmas. Children under school age must be accompanied by a parent. A small workshop fee, 4 €, is charged."

Posted Dec 8, 2008, 5:31 pm
After the workshop we went to the other side of the building to take a look at the Christmas Market! They had all sorts of handicrafts for sale there. And a play for kids! It was called "Aunt Monika's Christmas Past". The kids got to do more crafts and write to Santa - and sang traditional christmas songs with the "aunt".

Posted Dec 12, 2008, 7:03 pm

A former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari was rewarded today with Nobel Peace Prize! The whole nation is proud of this achievement! My host ordered a First Day Cover after a long pause - and some mint Ahtisaari stamps. She says this is a day to remember  :) I bet the banquet in Norway was astonishing! I would've loved to see the royals!

"for his important efforts, on several continents and over more than three decades, to resolve international conflicts" (from here)


Posted Dec 14, 2008, 5:15 pm
Today we attended the Elf Workshop again. This time my host had different kids with her and they made different things. My host was inspired by blackboard paint and she plans to buy the stuff and paint a few doors and a wall... And make some gifts by painting a piece of wood and framing it  :stare:
I'll show you if she really does all that...

The highlight of my day was when I met Mr. and Mrs. Claus! Santa asked me if I had been a good boy and traveller. I whispered yes... My host agrees so I hope the elves will too!

Posted Dec 17, 2008, 5:12 pm
What's that delicious smell? Gingerbread cookies!

We made them! First we chose the moulds; there were traditional figures (those that are red) and some Moomin but we decided to use only the special new ones! We used frog, hedgehog, unicorn, cat, puzzle piece, penguin, butterfly and falling star 

Then we took the dough out of the freezer and waited for it to melt. Then we started working! I rolled the dough with Gary.  It's really hard to roll when the dough is still a bit frozen...
We made tens of cookies! I got a bit "floury" so Roo and Gary tried to dust me abit.

Then we put them in the oven and waited. We didn't get to taste any ready ones as my host said we would decorate them tomorrow! I'm a good bear so I didn't even touch them  ;)

Posted Dec 17, 2008, 6:17 pm
This is us in a city park, celebrating christmas! They had the christmas tree there, a huge tent incase of rain (luckily there was none), rice porridge and gingerbread cookies. And the local Lucia maidens visited our party and sang. They sang like angles! And looked like ones too!

It was fun - and the kids obviously enjoyed themselves!

Posted Dec 17, 2008, 6:33 pm
We finally got to decorate the gingerbread cookies when we got back home. My host had bought some sweets for it and made different coloured sugar coatings for us to use! It was fun but messy - my host said she'd have to wash me before christmas  :o

Posted Dec 22, 2008, 8:27 pm
My host makes adifferent kind of gingerbread building every year. This time she made a - hmm... ahem... well. Umm... A lighthouse! That's it! I bet it tastes good. Like that pier and that - snail?!? Oh, it's aboat. Of course. I bet it tastes good too.

Posted Dec 22, 2008, 8:54 pm
It was time to decorate! We took the christmas tree indoors and put some decorations on it, both selfmade and storebought, glittery and non-glittery... etc. I got to climb on the tree with Roo and Gary  :D It was very much fun and lift our christmas spirit!

We also put some decorations on the walls and windows. The kids had made the window ones. The red gnomes are quite traditional here. Yay! Christmas is almost here!

Posted Dec 25, 2008, 3:31 pm
It's Christmas! Merry Christmas! Iloista joulua!

It's the last day of the christmas calendar too and me, Gary and Roo decided to suprise our host/mentor by hopping in the pouches in the morning  :p She has felted the tree herself! The pouches were a bit too small for us - and Gary kept falling off!  :p

When my host had "opened" her calendar (the kids had taken their stuff already) we went to cook christmas porridge! It's rice porridge but if you do it the traditional way you put an almond in it - the one who finds it while eating gets to make a wish! We didn't have any almonds. We didn't have cinnamon either, which is the other traditional part in serving christmas porridge. Luckily we did have sugar and milk at least  :p It did taste very delicious!

Posted Dec 25, 2008, 3:39 pm
After eating the porridge we sat and listened to Mamba, a finnish pop/rock band, and their xmas album. My mentor had just bought it as they didn't have any Finnish xmas songs on cd (or on anything else either) before.

Posted Dec 25, 2008, 3:43 pm
Here we're baking my host's favourites: christmas pastries! They come with plum sauce filling and are best served warm & fresh. They're the yummiest!

Posted Dec 25, 2008, 3:51 pm
After tasting the pastries we watched some tv, for example Shrel the Halls. Then we went outdoors to get some fresh air - and experience the whiteness of the christmas  :D

When we came back indoors it was time for lunch! Burritos! Yep, not the traditional Finnich Christmas lunch... But the humans all love them, unlike the traditional food. For dessert was sweets and the pastries  :D

Then we went to sauna...

Posted Dec 25, 2008, 3:53 pm
When we came back from the sauna we saw two huge bags on the balcony! Santa has been here! And look! He brought me something too! A magnetic photoframe with my pic on it! Cool!

Merry Christmas! Iloista joulua!

Posted Dec 31, 2008, 6:43 pm
Look what the New Year's magic predicted for me! At first I had to melt some tin and throw it into water, the I looked at the shadow it made. And it looks like one of the statues on Easter Island! Look for yourself! Can you see it too!? Wow! I really hope this prediction is accurat...

Posted Dec 31, 2008, 6:50 pm
Happy New Year Everyone!
Onnellista uutta vuotta!
Love, Alfie

Posted Jan 5, 2009, 5:51 pm
Wow! I'm walking on the Baltic Sea! It's so freezing cold (-15C means -5F) and not much snow - but the ice is thick! See, some crazy people were even driving on the ice!  :o

Posted Jan 9, 2009, 8:26 am
This was a spooky day! We were outdoors playing in the snow when suddenly we heard "BOO!". I jumped off the log I was standing on and nearly peed my pants! When I looked I saw this colorfull creature smiling at us. He said his name is Etwas and that he's a ghost-toyvoyager. He had just appeared from Hungary! Wow, that must've been cool! We chatted a bit and later made a snowman with a spooked up hair  :p

Posted Jan 17, 2009, 6:01 pm
Party time! My host's two daughters turn years about the same time (although different years). At first we blew some balloons, yep, also pirate balloons. Daddy had been shopping... Then we started making (all stuff was bought ready-to-use from the store) a cake for the younger one. It's supposed to look like building blocks but... well... It didi taste good!

Posted Jan 17, 2009, 6:06 pm
And then it was the elder girl's cake's turn, wich turned out a crown. That was my host's own design, just like the "snake" we made of the left-overs of the crown cake. All marzipan figures are made by my host's sister who is obviously the most talented on Earth!

We also served popcorn, cookies, snacks and "children's champagne". Everything was tasty and we had lots of fun!

Posted Jan 22, 2009, 3:28 pm
I just wanted to show these ferries to my mentor... ;) They're the ones that run between Stockholm (Sweden) and Helsinki or Tallinn (Estonia) and Helsinki :) Those big ones!

Posted Jan 22, 2009, 3:58 pm
Suprise! We met some friends in Helsinki too :) We attended a "Post-xmas-party-meetup" (we attended the "Pre-xmas-party-meetup" last year)  :p It's always a party when postcrossers meet  :D We had some coffee, cards and fun  ;) - again  :cyclops:

Posted Feb 14, 2009, 8:33 pm
Sweet Valentine's Day!

In Finland it's called Ystävänpäivä which means Friend's Day. So here you send  a card or give chocolate or a cute fluffy thing to your friends. Some couples remember each other too.

Posted Mar 9, 2009, 4:56 pm
Easter, the time of year when you eat chocolate eggs, send postcards and run from house to house dressed up as witches. That time of year is approaching. We want to prepare so we spent this Sunday planting ryegrass. We (me, Roo and Vladimir) put mould on the blue tray (no eating burritos on it anymore!), watered it, added the seeds, covered with more mould - and now we wait. Patiently.

Posted Mar 14, 2009, 3:01 pm
It's Friday the 13th but the Easter Grass has grown! It'll be a jungle soon!

Posted Mar 14, 2009, 3:47 pm
"And the winner for the Best Action Photo is.... "

I've been nominated so I hope it's my name who they call in the Oscars --- I mean Golden Bear Awards! Gary is nominated for the Most Promising Newcomer - he jumped up to pose when he saw his picture  ;) Little Vladimir is is the Best Ensemble Cast photo, or at least in one of them. We also saw Repa Räpylä, our host's tv. She's very proud of us all :) Roo and Ewan are happy for us too, although they weren't nominated this year. I did see some other familiar faces too, for example Chokito  :D

It'll be very exciting to see who wins! Oh boy, should I buy a tuxedo just in case...?!?

Posted Mar 18, 2009, 4:08 pm
HappyAnniversary & Birthday to me!

My hostfamily and the other tv's threw me a suprise party! I didn't have a clue! Suddenly everyone had disappeared and when I went downstairs everybody started singing "Happy Birthday"  :D I'm now 2 years old :) Or actually 2 months from now but I've been in Finland for a whole year! So it was a boudle party and double the suprise :D

We had cake (with sprinkles on it!) and Moomin cookies and tea :) I was so full my tummy ached! I won't tell you what I wished for when I blew out the candles  ;)

And it wasn't the end of it...

Posted Mar 18, 2009, 4:17 pm
... my birthday/anniversary party continued back upstairs where we played a boardgame. My host had finished the puzzle that was the board. Gary was the judge in case there was any grey areas in the game  :p We didn't use any game pieces - or we did, ourselves  :p It was so funny to hop, leap or walk to the next spot  :D I won! You think they let me win because I'm the birthdayboy...? Naah, I was just so lucky  :D

My host gave me a Moomin birthdaycard with everyone's signature :)  She said my present(s) was still in the shop - and that I could go and choose it myself! Wow! Can't wait!

In the last picture is The Gang: Ewan E. Ewok, me, Gary Boldie, Roo and Vladimir.

Oh, it's good to be me...

Posted Mar 21, 2009, 2:11 pm
Only a few days after me we celbrated Roo's 5th birthday. She also had cake but with marzipan decoration - and chocolate cookies with yummy filling. Yummy! Again! We also played Princess Memory/Pairs and Roo won. Next week It'll be a year since Roo arrived here - just like it was with me! Our host told Roo she could come shopping too and choose her own present.  :D

Posted Mar 21, 2009, 4:55 pm
As our host attended a seminar in Vantaa we got to go along. The seminar was held in a place called Flamingo. The Flamingo was a spa but in the building there were all sorts of stores, cafes, restaurants, movie theatre... We posed with some movie ads - and found posters in the toilet. My host wanted to go to the toilet which had Viggo Mortensen on the wall... The seminar was about elderly people and their services etc. My host works with elderly so she was very interested. I tried to be polite and stay awake (unlike a few other toyvoyagers) but the chairs were so comfy they made it really hard...

Posted Mar 21, 2009, 5:11 pm
After the seminar we went to check out Heureka which is a Finnish Science Center. We didn't have time to go inside to explore but we saw the Rock Park in front of the main building: Banded iron ore, quartzite, gold ore... and so on and so on! In the summer there's also all sorts of plants next to it. See the squares/block on the wall of the building? At first I thought it was a clever 3D-painting but it wasn't! It was more clever! Take a look at the pics  ;)

We visited the store here also. I found my birthdaygift! I'll show it to you later...  B)

Posted Mar 21, 2009, 5:16 pm
After learning about different Finnish rocks we did something more "casual": visited IKEA. The huge store with all sorts of fun stuff for home. It's a Swedish brand but known in many parts of the world. It's famous for huge variety, cheap prizes and not always good quality... Our host bought some small stuff so we didn't have to carry anything  :p

Posted Mar 21, 2009, 5:38 pm
Back home in Porvoo! Here's my birthday present which I chose myself in Heureka, Vantaa. It's a football (soccer ball) with different flags - even Australia! Not Finland though... We weren't tired at all although we had travelled the whole day so we played soccer (which is called football=jalkapallo here, the other kind of football is here called "American football"). Gary was the goal keeper and we others played more or less together. It was awesome fun!

Posted Mar 29, 2009, 12:37 pm
Easter is approaching and we aren't ready! We started making the "witch twigs" and looking for decorations. The twigs are used by kids who run from door to door dressed up as witches the weekend before Easter - asking for candy in exchange for the twigs. I told you this last year, didn't I?

My host found an article about Finnish Easter on the net. TAke a look :)

Posted Apr 4, 2009, 4:32 pm
We went to my host's parents to wish Happy Easter. It was also a visit to an Art Exhibition and my host's sister has made all these gorgeous paintings and dragons! She's really talented as you can see. I've shown you her work before but not these.

We also got some Easter sweets on our way...  :p

Posted Apr 4, 2009, 6:16 pm
Oooh the excitement!
They've announced the winners of the Golden Bears 2009!
And I didn't get that tuxedo!


Okay, Threadbear won the costume part... Tilda... Greedy... Nope that's not me either... Alizee... Nope... Na-a... "BEST COMEDY: Greedy beats Travel Ted to the fridge" LOL! Who's next... Ah, awesome landscape... Pingu... Oh, I want to go there too... Mr. Lemony...

Ah. I didn't win. Neither did anyone else in this house.  :(

But we do want to congratulate the winners! See last pic  :D

Posted Apr 17, 2009, 11:47 am
Oh boy! I'm so excited I can hardly contain myself! I'm going on a cruise to Sweden! We took the buss to Helsinki and there it waited - Silja Serenade of Silja Line - our ship! We went straight to the upper deck to see the views, which were amazing from so high up  :stare: We waited for the ship to depart so that we could see the Suomenlinna Sea Fortress and the Baltic Sea  :D

Posted Apr 17, 2009, 12:02 pm
This is our cabin on the 10th floor/deck. There's 2 beds (of which the other can be drawn down from the wall/push back) and a toilet + shower. It's called Promenade as you can see the promenade from the cabin window. I checked the safety regulations on the wall so that I'd know where to go in case of emergency. So this is our headquarters on this trip  :D

Posted Apr 17, 2009, 12:10 pm
We spent the evening at Silja Land which is a place for kids (and toyvoyagers) to play. There was a ball pit and a pirate ship and games and videos - we didn't get bored  :D

Posted Apr 17, 2009, 12:17 pm
We were too excited to sleep - we woke up around 05am Finnish time (04am Swedish time). We went on the deck to watch the sunrise - it was totally worth waking up already! The promenade was empty and we could look at the huge map in peace. The map shows our route and the lights show where we are at each moment. We went back to our cabin to count our money and plan our day with the Stockholm map. At 07 Swedish time we finally got some breakfast at the Buffet. There were all sorts of food - we couldn't take a pic of them all, nor could we eat everything (there was so much of everything!)  ;)

Posted Apr 17, 2009, 12:25 pm
After the breakfast we noticed the sun had risen and we were getting really close to Stockholm. We ran - or rolled as we were so full - on the deck to see the views. There were lots of small islands before we saw the harbour. I'm feeling the itch on my paws already - soon we'll go on shore!

Posted Apr 17, 2009, 12:32 pm
Wohoo! Here we are! In the capitol of Sweden, Stockholm! First we went to see the Royal Palace and its surroundings. It was huge! The first building on this site was a fortress with a core tower built in the 13th century by Birger Jarl to defend Lake Mälaren. The fortress grew to a palace, named Tre Kronor ("Three Crowns") after the core towers' spire. Nowadays it's the official residence of the Swedish monarch (their private quarters are elsewhere though). It neighbours the Riksdag, Sweden's parliament, which can be seen in pics 2 and 6. The crown princess Victoria will get married next year - that would be awesome to see live! She had to ask permission of his father and then the government to get married  :o That's the law for the royals in Sweden.

Posted Apr 17, 2009, 12:47 pm
Next we went to Junibacken which is a house full of fairytales! There are houses and forest that look exactly like in certain children's books by swedish authors likeAstrid Lindgren - whose statue is on the yard. In the house there was for example a Moomin house and the house of Pippi Longstocking. And a forest from Elsa Beskow's books. It was amazing!

Posted Apr 17, 2009, 12:55 pm
Next to Junibacken was the Vasa Museum and the Swedish Museum of Natural History. Unfortunately we didn't go  to either one. I would've liked to see the huge warship Vasa from 1600.

Posted Apr 17, 2009, 12:58 pm
We walked back to the city center and saw a lot of statues on the way. The building with a lot of gold is the Royal Dramatic Theatre. The red church in the second last pic is Saint James' Church. And before heading back to the ferry we sat next to the Opera and waited for the buss. This was a long day with long walks, I'm sure we all will sleep well tonight...

Posted Apr 17, 2009, 1:02 pm
Before we stepped on th eship we saw Moomin, like he had ran from Junibacken to wave us goodbye  :D On the ship we bought some candy from Tax Free and played a while in Silja Land. Then we went on deck to see the Baltic Sea again. Soon we were back in bed and all snoring  :rolleyes:

Posted Apr 17, 2009, 1:05 pm
We're back in Finland! What a trip! This will definitely be one of the stories I tell my grandchildren  :D

Posted Apr 19, 2009, 3:45 pm
WOHOO! I'm number one on the Top10 list of "Most Photos on a Travelog"! Yay for trip to Sweden! Ya-hoo! *doing a beary dance of victory*

Posted Apr 30, 2009, 9:24 pm
This's my second "vappu" (May Day, 1st of May, Labour Day...) here in Finland and it keeps getting better every year!  B) Me, Roo, Gary and Vladimir got balloons! We dressed up in disguises too: me and Gary were princesses, Roo was a prince and Vladimir was Triton (the king of seas) - all royals  B) Dressing up in disguises is a tradition during "vappu" in Finland.

Our host/mentor had got us traditional "vappu" delicaties (funnel cakes and doughnuts) and drink (mead). There was also a lot of streamers around!

We had so much fun! We couldn't help laughing at each others' dresses  :cyclops: Vladimir was funny with his trident as he used it as a fork! We also fooled around with the balloons - and ate ourselves full. I love "vappu"!

Posted May 1, 2009, 9:04 am
My host introduces us "Oldies" to a few "Newbies". The newbies are brand new tv's that will be released into the wild: Cordelia Cow, Jou Lu and Dr. Ykskorva. Dr. Ykskorva will be released with a helium balloon! It'll be interesting to see where he lands - I hope it's far far away!  :D

Posted May 1, 2009, 9:09 am
Yesterday's "vappu"-party was also a goodbye-party. My dear friend Roo will travel to Germany with Ewan. E. Ewok. Little Vladimir took it hard as he has been travelling in Roo's "tummy pocket" these past months. Roo arrived right after me in Finland so we have seen a lot together. I hope she has a great time in Germany! 

Posted May 4, 2009, 5:06 pm
Yet another goodbye. Vladimir is leaving to Germany too. Now it's just me and Gary. I wonder who arrives next and more importantly - when...?

Posted May 8, 2009, 6:28 pm
I attented yet another Postcrossing Meeting! We (me, Gary and my host) had missed the Pink Ribbon Meeting so we we're pink today. And we sent some pink cards  :cyclops:

That card with a rat/mouse says "I don't usually send postcards but you're an exception"  :stare:  :rolleyes: (I was at a _postcrossing_ meeting, 'post' as in poscard crossing...)

The yellow Moomin cards were brand new, issued yesterday with matching stamps.

At some point I and Gary had drank too much Wayne's coffee and we started a tournament! The Meeting Duck (named Manu) and another duck were our horses and we had pens as spears - as a pen is mightier than a sword  ;) The tiny duck was our starter. To cut the chase: I won!  :D

Posted May 8, 2009, 6:31 pm
This is me waiting for my turn to the dentist... Nice art on the walls to comfort people  :thinking:

Nah, it was really one of the kids having a yearly check-up *phew*

Posted May 8, 2009, 6:41 pm
After the appointment we headed to an "indoor amusement park" called HopLop. As it was daytime on a weekday we were the only ones there at first - we had all the space and the whole maze to ourselves!

My host took so many pics she'll divide this to two updates  :o

Posted May 8, 2009, 6:44 pm
This's the second part of my visit to HopLop  :D

Posted May 8, 2009, 6:47 pm
We got a bit hungry at HopLop so we bought some strawberries outside the nearby supermarket. Yummy, tasty, delicious starwberries... mmm...

Posted May 9, 2009, 11:28 am
Today we were sporty! We attended an event for kids - with the kids in the house. It was held in the city, next to the local skiing center. If we had had luck with the weather we would've climbed on top of the hill to see the views. Maybe later...

The event was organized by one of the local banks - or at least they sponsored it so much they got the attention. It was held to inspire kids to do sports. We tried football, crawling, throwing etc etc. We got stickers from each place.

At the end we met Henri Hippo which is the mascot of the bank. We got a prize too! A frisbee! Yay!

Then we went to see the horses - and there was an old american police car with appropriately dressed people  :D

Last but not least we got to eat warm sausage and drink juice - and a chocolate doughnut for dessert!  :D

The rain didn't bother us much although we did get soaking wet. We drove home and went to the sauna  ;)

Posted May 10, 2009, 12:01 pm
It's the second Sunday of May which means it's Mothers' Day here. We went for a walk as it was such a nice weather (especially compared to yesterdays!). I saw flags of Finland and wood anemones just like last year  ;) The trees are starting to look green again - something good about the rain... We walked to the beach too. The sea was unfrozen again - that's where we walked on in January!

Posted May 13, 2009, 3:57 pm
Today we got two new toyvoyagers: Leonard, the little birdie, will stay with us for a year! And Savannah (leopard) is my host's new toyvoyager who will travel heavens knows where  :D Me and Gary told them stories about our adventures. We didn't exaggerate much...  ;)

Posted May 15, 2009, 2:17 pm
Happy Birthday to you, dear alfie langer!

Roo & Ewan

Posted May 15, 2009, 8:40 pm
I know I celebrated my birthday earlier with my Anniversary of Arrival but as today is my actual birthday we had a movie night. Some nacho cheese balls and KungFu Panda! The cheese balls were hot and the movie was fun  B) With me celebrated Savannah, Gary and new travellers TobiHH (the seal) and Laeonard.

Posted May 17, 2009, 5:58 pm
Today my host took me to a Handicrafts & Heritage Event held in the Art Factory. There were many skillfull people showing their work which included jewelry, clothes, kitchenware, toys, food, ornaments... My host got that cross necklace for her goddaughter who will throw a confirmation party later this summer.

After the event we walked down the riverbank - to another equal event! This was in smaller scale and all outdoors without entrance fee. In both places we saw lots of unique quality stuff. I wish we had had more money with us...

Posted May 17, 2009, 6:09 pm
The whole year I've been here my host has wanted to show the view from the tallest bridge in Porvoo. Here we are finally! We drove to both ends to see the views. You can see the nearby (oil) industrial area from here, by car you have to go "around". There's a sign on both ends of the bridge to warn about possible wind. The bridge hasn't always been here; my host rememberes when you had to take a small ferryboat to get over the water. She says that less than 10 car fit onto that ferry.

I saw firedepartment's boats too (2nd pic)! And spooky old boats that aren't in use anymore.

Posted May 21, 2009, 4:02 pm
As you might remember it's the time of the year when we'll celebrate the birthday of my host's daughter. Naturally we wanted to help preparing everything! We baked "moccabites" which basically are chocolate pastries. First we made the dough and baked it and then we cut it into different shapes with cookie cutters. I made a Moomin first. Then we decorated them - and ate the leftovers :p

We also helped fill the pinjata - or actually a puljata as you had to pull it open instead of hitting it. We filled balloons too but only with air  ;) I think we were really helpful!

Last but not least we made a "snowball"-cake. We had tons of icecream and made tons of "snowballs" of it  :D We decorated the snowballs with marzipan figures made by my host's sister - they look awesome like always! Everything is ready - let the party begin!  :D

PS. See how Gary came in when everything was done already...  :rolleyes:

Posted May 24, 2009, 2:18 pm
Today we got to experience the World Village Festival which is held annually in Helsinki! This year, which is the 10th time this festival is held,  it starts from the Railway Square and continues as usual to a park further away (Kaisaniemi Park). There was many performers (music, dance, art etc) from Finland and abroad, food from Africa and Asia etc, charity/volunteer work organizations, craftsmen selling their stuff, UN, Greenpeace (the sign says "Hkl & Ytv: No rainforest in the buss petrol tanks!" Hkl and Ytv being companies that run local public transportations), politics, world books, animal protection organizations... etc etc! The main theme of the year was the climate. They even had a "wood spirit" sculpture - made of wood - there.

We took pics when we first arrived, before there was public - as you can see the pics that were taken after the public arrived it's very crowded. The weather was horrible! It rained so much we had a pond on our feet  most of the time (the roof didn't hold). I helped my host at "her stand" (a small organization that does charity for children). I sold some lottery tickets with TobiHH, Gary and Leonard. My host had made some of the prizes! Everyone won something  :D

We were there the whole day. Fortunately we didn't have to stand at one place the whole time, The stand was in one huge tent called the "market of possibilities tent" and there were exhibitors from child sponsorship, volunteer work, development cooperation plus a "general section". We also saw Signmark perform! He's a deaf (yes deaf!) rapper! He raps with a few other guys who do the same rap in Finnish and/or English and then there's the dj. Signmark himself raps in Finnish sign language. It was cool! They had so much fun on stage!

When we left we saw the same car inside a wall as when we came. Only this time it was painted along with the walls.  :stare:

they had also added streetsigns:
in the 3rd last photo it says "beware of the rising sea level"
in the 2nd last - we didn't quite get it... a heavy cloud above people and then what? Maybe it has something to do with pollution...

In the very last photo is a street add of coca cola - in pink! Designed by Ivana Helsinki apparently.

Posted May 25, 2009, 4:44 pm
When I saw that old T-Ford at the handicrafts event last weekend I wanted to see more old cars. So,  we went to the Art Factory again. There was an exhibition by local "mobilists" to raise money for good causes (children's sports, anti-drug work, kindergardens etc.). Unfortunately we didn't have enough money with us to look inside so we had to settle with the ones they had outdoors. We did go inside but that was the inside of a "Siipi-Wiima" buss from 1960 (the blue one in 3rd photo). There was also 2 old fire engines; Willys and Bedford. There were also newer cars like that police car (next to the blue american cruiser).

Posted May 26, 2009, 11:57 am
My host doesn't seem to get enough of walking... Today it was hot (+22C) and yet we walked down to the seaside to barbeque! Only sausages but it was fun  :) Thats me with Gary, Leonard and TobiHH.

Posted May 28, 2009, 10:02 am
Well well well - wontcha look at that...  B) My face is in a chinese magazine! Roo is famous too - in a photo that my current host took  :D Maybe I should start wearing sunglasses indoors from now on  :p

Here's the article:

Posted Jun 1, 2009, 5:53 pm
You won't believe this! My host made me work! She thought I should have something to do when she went driving around with TobiHH and Leonard. So she asked me to take the bushes from the front yard and move them to the back yard.  :stare:  :thinking:  :o

Her yards are small but I'm even smaller! It took me the whole day! At least she had gotten rid of the bushes that were on the back yard... I still had to dig like a dog to get the 4 (!) bushes up from the ground! And move them backyard - which meant some more digging... But I did it. Second photo shows fron yard before and the last photo shows back yard after.

But now the front yard is empty  :thinking: I hope she doesn't want me to dig anything there... I love my host dearly but a bear has his limits...

Posted Jun 11, 2009, 7:08 pm
Today I visited Vantaa briefly as my host went to a birthday. This is Myyrmäki area and the local huge mall. It's sadly known for a bombing that took place a few years ago. A young male had build a bomb and attached it to himself and it was set off at this mall. Many people got killed and hurt. It was never really figured out why he did it.

Posted Jun 11, 2009, 7:12 pm
Here I'm heading back home with TobiHH and Leonard on Kehä III which means circle road 3. There's also circle roads 2 and 1  :D This road goes thru four cities (Helsinki, Vantaa, Espoo and Kirkkonummi) which are considered the metropolitan area. There's a joke that "areas behind Kehä 3 are countryside" and that Kehä 3 is also the "wolf line" - those are usually said by people who live inside Kehä 3...

It might look boring as we're only sitting there and watching the views (and Moomin posters!) but I wanted to show you the views too! Tens of thousands (maybe hundreds of thousands) of people drive this road everyday to work, school, shopping... You can see that partially it's a business area (many stores around etc. - notice IKEA?) and partially just plain nature. Isn't that something!

Posted Jun 11, 2009, 7:16 pm
And getting off Kehä II to drive the highway which takes us back to Porvoo. See how green it is  :stare: No stores or much anything else around, just the road and the nature. We could drive all the way to St. Petersburg on this road! Only a few hudred kilometers and my host said no  :(

Posted Jun 11, 2009, 7:24 pm
As my host wouldn't drive to St. Petersburg we came back to Porvoo. My host thought of voting in the european parliament elections so we drove to the nearest store that had the candidate's adds on the yard. Unfortunately they didn't have the voting booths inside after all. My host was too tired after all the driving to look for a place to vote. Shame on her!

Edit: only less than 50% of the Finns voted in this election. My host hates to be in the majority...

Posted Jun 15, 2009, 5:14 pm
This is the school where my host spent the last 3 years - and never took any toyvoyagers with her. Today she graduated! She now (also) a Practical Nurse. She got a few flowers and gifts. We got a little cake and heard her class sing a song  B)

Posted Jun 15, 2009, 5:38 pm
This is a familiar place to me :) I showed the other tv's around  ;) This is the old town of Porvoo.

Actually we were having a Postcrossing meetup! My host was excited to get a meetup in her home town. Naturally we went postcard-shopping first! As I've showed you the views before I concentrated on the details this time.

Due to the 200 years anniversary of Porvoo Diet there are different posters and stuff around. Also those figures where people stick their heads are made in the name of the celebration. There are several kinds all around the old town.

The three last pics are from a small toy store (the one that has a Moomin house on their window). That Moomin tea set would be perfect size for me!

Posted Jun 15, 2009, 5:51 pm
Finally I got to go to Brunberg shop! They're a local chokolate (and other sweets) factory and have a store also in the Old Town. They're very famous for their sweets.

But can you imagine that sign! "No kisses allowed to the cabin of an airplane"!  :stare: Ok, they do mean the sweets in the red boxes, they're called Kisses, but still... The clerk explained that the national aviation ministery considers the inside of the Kisses to be liquid. And liquid (on an airplane) is considered dangerous in several countries.

The Kisses are sweet: thin chokolate covered, soft and airy "mousse" inside.

Posted Jun 15, 2009, 6:01 pm
After Brunberg we went to the riverside to see the views. And signs! See that street sign that says Elvis Presley Boulevard? It's put there by a local celebrity rocker who lives next door  B)

Posted Jun 16, 2009, 3:12 pm
Next we wanted some coffee and pie so we went to this cafe next to the main bridge. It's called in English Bar & Café Porvoo Coffee Roastery and it's in an old brick magazine. They also have a terrace and a barge where you can sit and eat/drink. We were indoors, which have solid brick walls, logs, and candles. It was really nice.

We helped write some postcards which we then sent  B)

Posted Jun 16, 2009, 3:21 pm
I've seen the Porvoo Cathedral from the outside but today we went in! This is what it looks like  :)

Posted Jun 16, 2009, 3:30 pm
Here are the rest of the pics we took on our meetup.

We saw a very cool car. Pink watering can, handmade elks...

At the Small Chocolate Factory, next to the cathedral, we found that little toy doggie. We had a long discussion and when we realized he had been hanging there for quite a while my host decided to rescue him. Do you think she'll make a tv of him...?  The Small Chocolate Factory was so small we couldn't even take pics! You can buy chocolates and pastries handmade by the master chocolate-maker. Some of our human company bough some.

It was a good trip!


Posted Jun 19, 2009, 10:41 am
These are "electricity boxes". They're all over the city but only these that are in the Old Town are painted. They were painted by kids & teens in the local art school some years ago. Each one has text "Sekatavarakauppa" on them - that means general store. The Ab & Oy are Swedish & Finnish for Ltd. If they weren't painted they would be dull grey'ish green'ish. I think it's a fun idea!

Posted Jun 21, 2009, 6:48 pm
As you might remember, last Midsummer it rained so hard that the only bonfire we could watch was the one on the calendar... This year we got lucky! Although our bonfire was a small one and in a barrel. You can see what a real one would look like in the last picture (me thinking). We had fun at my host's parents! It was cloudy but warm and it didn't rain  B)

We barbequed some sausages, had some veggies - and cake for dessert! As you can see, we (me, Gary, Leonard and TobiHH) were quite full when we were done  ;)

Later we played some petanque. Leonard and TobiHH both won once. But it was a tight game, we had to measure the distances several times!

Hauskaa juhannusta!
Happy Midsummer!

Posted Jun 25, 2009, 3:39 pm
My host had an appointment in Vantaa and as usual (when she has appointments here & there & everywhere) I went with her. This is how it looks like in Rekola, one part of city of Vantaa. The river part looks lovely! I wanted to jump in and have a swim  B) It was boiling hot, the weather, we had suddenly +25C! While waiting for the train back to Helsinki I studied the commuter trafic chart. Lots of letters and straight lines so I learnt it easily  ;)

Posted Jun 25, 2009, 4:17 pm
The trainride took us back to hot Helsinki. My host showed TobiHH and Leonard places I had seen already. Here are a few shots of me though. The first one shows also a Midsummer Pole! The Midsummer Pole is a traditional Midsummer decoration in Åland Islands and coastal Finland. People decorate it, then it's lift up and then people dance around it. My host claims she has seen the pole only once and without any of the action.

Next there's a statue that has something to do with the national sugar company. apparently the kid is giving a sugar to the dog.

Then there'a a park with people sunbathing and playing huge chess.

We have no idea what that huge chair was all about but we thought we'd take a pic  :rolleyes:

And last but not least... guess where we ended up... A postcrossing meetup!  :stare: My host had no idea there was one and she hadn't suggested one (like she tends to do when she goes to Helsinki). We went getting "some" stamps and stuff and look at the direction of Wayne's Coffee and there they were! They said it wasn't a Mini Meetup anymore when we arrived - to us it was a Suprise Meetup  :D

What a great way to end the day  ;)

Posted Jun 25, 2009, 4:26 pm

I'm the Voyager of the Week!


WOW! I'm speechless...

Posted Jun 26, 2009, 10:47 pm
These are the surroundings where my host works at the moment, on the other edge of Porvoo. Someone has been very creative doing that Squirrel! And the nature looks awesome! It's so green! It's very peaceful to listen to the water running down on the side of that dam. This would be a perfect place for celebrities to hide and get refreshed  ;)

Posted Jun 28, 2009, 6:29 am
Today we celebrated my position as the VOTW - Voyager of the Week! We went to restaurant Rosso for a meal. Although I'm getting quite fluent in Finnish language I'm glad they had menus in English too. While drinking my Pepsi I decided to have Reindeer Pasta Tortelloni al Forno. It was very delicious! The others (Gary, Leonard and TobiHH) shared a huge (from the tv point of view) pizza Alfie Capone ;) Ok, it was AL Capone for real. We were all so stuffed at the end that we didn't want any dessert...

I'm so happy  :D

Posted Jun 28, 2009, 1:41 pm
As my visit here and with Delenna is coming to an end my host has taken some sets of photos... for the fun of it and because these things rarely end up in a travelog by themselves. This first set shows some local fire-stations:

The firs one is the big main fire station in Porvoo. The next ones are smaller volunteer fire-brigades at the outskirts of Porvoo. And lastly one fire engine.

Posted Jun 28, 2009, 1:48 pm
This the second set of photos: local (street)signs! My host said that she would take photos of Australian streetsigns if she had the chance so why not take photos of Finnish streetsigns for me  ;) Can you figure out what they all mean?

Posted Jun 28, 2009, 1:53 pm
This is set number 3  B)
Advertisements tell something about the nation so here you have some. They're all outdoors except for the Moomin package (at the post office) and the rack of cards (old ads in postcards, at the post office). In the last picture is a sign that forbids posting ads on the fence  ;)

As you can see, Finns use English in their ads too  :stare:

Posted Jun 28, 2009, 2:02 pm
This is my favorite set! Mailboxes! All sorts of mailboxes all around the southers Finland. Red & green plastic ones are most common but as you can see, they do have some more imaginative ones as well  :D Numbers 6 and 7 show mail"boxes" of a block of flats: in Finnish apartment buildings the mail is slid thru a hole in the door. If you see a small note on the door/mailbox it usually says "no advertisements please". That slightly taller orange one is the box (4th last photo) where you leave your mail when you send it.

Posted Jul 3, 2009, 6:21 pm
This is my last full day with my current host. As sad as we all feel we managed to have some fun: my host took me to a local Moomin exhibition! It was called "Tove, outhouse and Sea" and it was held in the local art school of kids&teens. The kids and youngsters had made Moomin art but there was also some work of Tove Jansson, the creator of Moomin. Everything before the sneakers is made by Tove Jansson  ;) or by his brother, like the photos. The photos showed Tove and the island (nearby) where she spent her summers - and doodled on the outhouse wall. It was really worth seeing! Also the kids had made some very good and fun artwork. I decided to show you the garden too although all the art there wasn't Moomin related. This was a good "last memory" of my visit.


Posted Jul 4, 2009, 7:26 pm
I'm again in Helsinki on my way to meet my travel companions. But look what I saw when I stepped out from the busstation! A football field!  :stare:

I think I can now say that I have visited many football places (see previous entries) and cross that mission  ;)

Posted Jul 4, 2009, 7:42 pm
Next to the café where we were going to meet The Others was posters on display. The posters are made by a group of 6 graphic designers. They call themselves 6G. The group was started 10 years ago to promote the Finnish poster art and the level graphic design. They have made posters about protecting the Baltic Sea, doping, millenium, global warming, protecting animals etc. This year their topic was the power of money. These posters are of all of the topics. I found that bleeding football most interesting...

Posted Jul 4, 2009, 7:53 pm
Here I am at the Final Meetup. I met a few aussie animals - my host got a little lady echidna she named Ellie. I think she got her to soothe the pain of me leaving  B) I had a good chat with all the other fluffies (and Manu the Meetup Duck). We ate and drank well, helped write & mail "some" postcards... And then I had to say goodbye. I'll be heading home with a friend of my mentor's. It's actually really good to see her again!


Posted Aug 4, 2009, 5:17 am
Alfie has arrived home safely from his journey and will stay here for a while before adventuring off again.
He has had a wonderful time and can't wait to pack his bag again.

Posted Apr 16, 2010, 2:25 pm

I have arrived in Wales after a long journey. Luckily my flight arrived before the volcanic ash from Iceland drifted over the United Kingdom (no flights for at least two days over England & Wales).
My host has invited me to a picnic outside in the front garden on the daisy & dandelion lawn. Will write later with pictures.


Posted Apr 21, 2010, 4:41 pm
I have arrived in a package....
Rendolph, Citrus The Tall, Gaspode, and Twix welcomed me.
We all sat in the sunshine for a while on my host's front lawn.
... well, dandelion lawn....
....update - dandelion & daisy lawn.
Still, it was nice to be out in the fresh air relaxing from such a long journey.

Posted May 3, 2010, 8:29 pm
Today, we went to the Centre for Alternative Technology in mid-Wales. This innovative place is built in an old slate quarry in the foothills of Snowdonia. It opened in 1974, and is currently undergoing improvements. A new building to house postgraduate classes and conferences is nearly finished.
Anyway, there's still plenty to see and do here. The information displayed is bilingual.
Here, I am learning about flywheels.
This display is about solar power. The first bit on the left is a metal plate. The sunlight heated it up to 26.2 degrees C. The next step has the plate painted with a dark colour, and its temperature is 44.6 degrees C. Then, if this has some insulation behind it, the temperature of the plate is 57.4 degrees C. Then, if it is covered with glass, the temperature of the plate is 67.8 degrees C. Wow!
A windmill.
And the windmill powers this seat - up & down, up & down...
They grow a lot of vegetables and herbs for the restaurant. Look at these lovely leeks.
There was a display with a technological timeline. I had my photo taken at selected points.
I needed the dunny, so I used this compost toilet. Some lucky person has to turn the contents now and again!
They had an underground display of life under the surface
And then it was time to leave by the cliff railway.

Posted May 3, 2010, 11:23 pm
After the visit to the Centre for Alternative Technology, we took a detour home. This ruined castle is in the Dysynni Valley in Snowdonia near Llanfihangel-y-pennant. The castle was built for Llywelyn ap Iowerth (Llywelyn the Great).
The castle was besieged in 1282/1283 falling to King Edward I who had it fortified but then, it was the last of King Edward's castles to fall in a Welsh revolt. No wonder- it's perched atop a rocky outcrop.

Posted May 4, 2010, 10:29 am
Another beautiful sunny day, so we all went to a beach on the Isle of Anglesey.
The sea probably isn't as warm as the Pacific Ocean!
There was a little rocky bit just in the sea, so my host thought she would have a look at what sealife lived on it. She complained that the water was freeeeeeeeezing. Perhaps the volcanic ash cloud stopped the sun warming the sea (she kept saying that the water last week wasn't as cold).
There are mussels (new ones), some dogwhelks, limpets, and in the sea, there are sea anemones with their tentacles open. Brrr, it is cold.... What happened to the warm spring.

Posted May 4, 2010, 10:38 am
We are on our way to Rhyl, but stopped for lunch in the Conwy valley. Can you see Conwy Castle (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) in the background?

Posted May 4, 2010, 10:54 am
One of the attractions at Rhyl is Terror Tombs. I am brave, I will go in.
Can you see me with this scary face?

Posted May 4, 2010, 11:14 am
We are at a curry house to belatedly celebrate my host's birthday
Why have I got a napkin over my head?
The spices smell lovely.

Posted May 4, 2010, 11:42 am
We will be staying the night in a B&B in Llandudno.
My host has a ticket to see a play at the theatre. This is the first Columbo story, but instead of Peter Falk (who never played Columbo in that story), it'll be Dirk Benedict (The A-Team, Battlestar Galactica).
My host had a take-away for dinner on the promenade before the drama. There was also an RNLI lifeboat exercise.
My host couldn't take any pictures inside the theatre. The show was good... and another thing....

Posted May 4, 2010, 11:55 am
Slept well. Ate breakfast then sat for a few minutes on the promenade looking out to sea. Peaceful, though the sound of the waves on the pebbles was nice.
And then, it was time to go home.

Posted May 4, 2010, 12:08 pm
We welcomed Diddl-Maus
We are going to have such fun together.

Posted May 11, 2010, 11:04 am
Today, we went to Stone Science, a museum on the Isle of Anglesey. There were many exhibits of fossils, rocks & minerals, ancient implements (and large teddy bears sitting on chairs in front of the tele!)
Zinc minerals. The blue one is Herbertsmithite, and the light green on eI think is Smithsonite (named after the English chemist and mineralogist, James Smithson)
And now for ore minerals of copper, including Malachite, Dioptase, Azurite, Chalcopyrite, Aurichalcite....
Wavellite (swirly one) and Natrolite (white one)
I like that blue one, Chalcopyrite (peacock ore)
Gypsum variety Selenite Crystals from Australia. Green because of water draining from nearby copper mine.
This is pretty, bismuth crystals.
Sliced Rhodonite, moss opal...
See that glass - it is made from Volcanic Ash! 2 of the Rhyolite come from Mount Hay in Queensland.
Some fossils found on Anglesey.
More fossils, including vascular plants.
Fossil bivalves... and other fossils.
Time now to go out and enjoy the Welsh spring sunshine.

Posted May 12, 2010, 4:11 pm
After we went to Stone Science, we came to the historic town of Beaumaris, which is situated on the Menai Straits (separating Anglesey from mainland Wales).
There is an RNLI lifeboat station. The lifeboat had been out on an exercise and was coming back to the station.
The main attraction here is the UNESCO World Heritage Site - Beaumaris Castle. The castle was built for King Edward I. The castle has a moat surrounding it.
And off we go to cross the bridge over the moat.
We were allowed to go up to the top of the outer walls and walk around.
And then up the spiral staircase in the main building, and walk along the top of the one side.
There is a sprinkling of snow on a couple of the mountains in the distance.

Posted May 12, 2010, 5:48 pm
What a beautiful day it is here. My host is taking me to a beach, though I think she wants to potter around the rock pools, so I'd best keep in the bag (I don't want to get wet - the sea could be very cold).

Posted May 17, 2010, 8:44 pm
Today, we ventured again onto the Isle of Anglesey, this time visiting the Sea Zoo.
There is a lobster in the cage.
Do you like this sunstar starfish attached to the aquarium glass?
Some anemones
A fish.
A seahorse.
A happy fish.
Can you see this fish?
More fish.

Posted May 17, 2010, 8:55 pm
We are on an adventure. We are doing Geocaching. To get to this particular cache, we had to cross over the Afon (river) Braint by using Stepping Stones.
There were some quite big gaps between the stones, too big for me to jump.
But I made it safely across (twice) in my host's bag.
Here we are at the cache with the log book. This is fun. Can we do some more tomorrow?

Posted May 17, 2010, 9:18 pm
We went Geocaching today in Snowdonia.
This one is by the side of the lake Mymbyr.
We are going for lunch now.

Posted May 17, 2010, 9:54 pm
We are going to attempt another couple of geocaches. Mobile phone signal isn't good and my host didn't note others down.
This is a memorial for the Dolgarrog Dam Disaster. In 1925, floodwater swamped the village of Dolgarrog killing 16 people. 2 dams failed. A memorial walk was opened in 2004.
Just a little way along this walk, we find treasure...
Then, off we set for another cache. It is a long way (is this a path? is this the right way?). However, eventually, with the use of a compass & gps... we find the second cache we were aiming for.
Sneaky, hidden away in a camouflage bag.
At least the way back to the car was easier! There are more caches in the area, but it was now getting late (school tomorrow for my host's son...) and so we needed to get back.

Posted Jun 6, 2010, 5:48 pm
My host has brought me along to stay with her mother for a few days. My host doesn't have a television, so I and a couple of the other toyvoyagers settled down in front of the tv.
Tonight, we watched the Eurovision song Contest. I liked the French entry, "Allez Ola Olé", the song that will front the French television coverage of the World Cup.

Posted Jun 6, 2010, 6:13 pm
Today, we went to the seaside town of Skegness.
The day started with rain, but rain clouds came and went and came, with in between, beautiful blue sky.
There is a funfair here, though we didn't go on any rides.
A nice sandy beach, but there are wind turbines out at sea.
Funny money.
My host's son had a go at WaterWalkers.

Posted Jun 6, 2010, 6:23 pm
Back home after a good day out.
My host's son wanted a game of Settlers of Catan.

Posted Jun 6, 2010, 6:50 pm
Today, we went to the west-facing seaside resort on the east coast, Hunstanton.
There wasn't much sunshine around, so we went to the aquarium.
They have otters.
And seals.
A fish and anemones.
Are these skates or rays?
These jellyfish wouldn't sit still.
And a hermit crab.

Posted Jun 6, 2010, 7:17 pm
Today, we make our way back home to wales. On route, we had to stop at a level crossing and wait for a train to pass.
Was that it? Just one carriage!
And on we go.

Posted Jun 6, 2010, 9:05 pm
Today, we went to the allotment.
I have climbed a greengage tree. 
There are other fruit plants here too - raspberries, blackberry hybrids... 
I'm having a rest in this fennel hammock
Potato plants
Broad beans in flower 
Garlic plants to keep the vampires away. 
A cauliflower was here! 
And here is another cauliflower.
Currant bushes.
Hopefully, there'll be a good harvest this year.

Posted Jun 6, 2010, 11:34 pm
On our way back home to Wales, we all stopped off at the UNESCO World Heritage area of Ironbridge Gorge. 
This Ironbridge was the first bridge to be made out of iron. 
Map of the area. There are several museums here.
We went to the Coalbrookedale Museum of Iron.
Someone kept a diary. 
The IronBridge was started in 1779, 1803 was the year for the prototype steam locomotive for Richard Trevithick, 1851 was when The Great Exhibition was held... 
This is a big pot.
We took a rest on the bench before looking around the Great Exhibition section of the museum. 
Do you like my top hat? 
Rayburn cooker. Some Rayburn cookers are able to provide central heating.
And an Aga cooker. 
A cogwheel. 
The old furnace 
Near the Coalbrookedale Museum of Iron. 
A puzzle over at the hands-on science museum nearby. 
A pianola.
There are quite a few exhibits here. 
An old typewriter. And time to type my travelog!

Posted Jun 12, 2010, 10:04 pm
Today we went to Chester. If my host still lived in London, we might have gone to see the Epsom Derby. Instead, we went into a bookies and placed a bet.
After much umming and arring, I made my decision.
The horse lost! My host put money on another horse and that also lost, so we consoled ourselves by walking around Chester, and looking in the shops.
It was a nice day.
This clock stands on the Eastgate and is one of the recognisable sites of Chester. Chester is also known for Jacobean half-timbered style buildings.
Chester still has red telephone boxes
And this is an old style postbox outside the town hall
This is Chester's cathedral.
We walked along the town walls and over to Eastgate. Wikipedia says that the Eastgate clock is said to be the most photographed clock in England after Big Ben.
It is certainly impressive.
We better not stay too long especially inside the city walls and after midnight - a Welsh person could be legally shot with a bow and arrow....

Posted Jun 12, 2010, 10:08 pm
Well, we made it back to Caernarfon and my host thought we should check on the allotment.
Peas are coming along nicely - can you see the flat pea pod?
And then there are little broad beans. The leaves of peas & broad beans have been notched by the pea & bean weevil.
Ooo look, some yummy strawberries.
The red currants are starting to ripen too.
My host picked one of the garlic she had planted last winter. This should keep the vampires away.

Posted Jun 17, 2010, 9:20 pm
Wow, today, we are very lucky. Caernarfon is hosting the European Golden Oldies Rugby (EGOR) festival for players of the sport over the age of 35. There are teams from across Europe and from Argentina too. The first EGOR festival was held in Denbosch in The Netherlands in 1992, and has been to Germany, Italy (it'll be there again in 2012), Scotland, Russia, Croatia, Spain, Madeira, and Switzerland. But, 2010, it is the turn of Caernarfon in Wales.
One of the rules/commandments of Golden Oldies rugby is not to remember the score. A trophy is awarded to the team that reflects the spirit of the festival, sportsmanship... It is a shame that football doesn't show much sportsmanship with the number of yellow cards issued for top league matches.
Harlequinze (in blue) from France play the Leipzig Oldies.
This is the home side, Y Gogs (Geriatrics o Gymru) with the ball against the Italian side from Trieste.
These wonderfully dressed people are players for the German team, Rheinland Methusalems. They will be playing the Argentinian side Gimnasia y Esgrima
The Rheinland players with the Y Gogs mascot with a player from another team.
This game has finished, between Galicia (the ones with the >ages on the back) and I think the Swiss Gnomes.
This is game between Franfurter Bembelschwenker and the Aberdeen Strollers (in yellow) from Scotland.
The Alte Pruessen match against the Italian team, Santori.
Harlequinze against the Trieste team. Sadly, I think one of the Harlequinze team was injured and taken to hospital. Fingers crossed he'll be alright.
Y Gogs playing Rheinland Methusalems.
And then it was time to pick my host's son up from school.

Posted Jun 23, 2010, 8:38 pm
Today, we decided to do one of the circular walks on the Isle of Anglesey. The Elaeth walk starts at Bull Bay, near Amlwch, and comes back along some of the Anglesey Coastal Path.
We passed a few funnelweb spiderwebs. Can you see the web in the above picture?
This is a ruined windmill. There are quite a few ruined windmills on Anglesey.
This is the old brickworks at Porth Wen, which used quartzite from the nearby cliffs and made silica bricks for the steel industry. Materials could be transported in and out by boat at the quay.
This is an orchid, perhaps a common spotted orchid.
More orchids.
Atop a gate where a Geocache is. My host's husband found it while my host was photographing birds. She saw seals too but was unable to photograph them.
Back to Bull Bay. Over the other side of the bay is Amlwch.

Posted Jul 4, 2010, 2:09 pm
Today, my host decided to go for a walk all by herself (well, with us ToyVoyagers! - myself and Nippy).
She decided on doing a circular walk called Seiriol, around Llangoed and Penmon. So, off we went on the bus to Bangor, then another bus to Menai Bridge (where she grabbed food and drink for a picnic), and then another bus to take us to Llangoed.
Off we went following the map to Penmon Point.
This is the Penmon lighthouse, called Trwyn Du. This lighthouse was built in 1838 and stands out for miles.
The lighthouse again, with Puffin Island (Ynys Seiriol).
Down on the rocks.
There is a geocache somewhere nearby.
We found it but my host got stung by the nettles. She also retrieved some rubbish that had been left, taking it to the cafe's bin.
Walking back to Llangoed, we went to Penmon Priory. There is a dovecote.
Here we are.
And perched inside.
The church.
The priory, built in the 13th century.
The church associated with the priory dates from the early 12th century.
There is a geocache near the priory which we found quite easily.
On the way back to Llangoed, we took a slight detour to Castell Aberlleiniog, because my host thought we'd miss the bus and would have a bit of a wait. The motte & bailey castle was built by the invading Normans in the 11th century. The motte is a down-sharped, artificial earth mound.
There it is up there.
In the late 11th century, the Welsh, with the help of Viking allies, was able to reclaim the area, burning the castle (wooden) to the ground. The remains of the castle were refortified in the 17th century, and played a part in the Civil War.
We got back to Llangoed just in time to see the bus leave. With about an hour until the next bus, my host decided to find a third geocache in the area and off we trekked. Found the cache with ease, and made it back in time for the bus.
What a lovely day it has been.

Posted Jul 4, 2010, 2:27 pm
Another sunny summer day. My host and her family want to go to the beach. But first, my host goes in search of a geocache with me and Nippy.
She finds without getting stung by nettles this time! It is near an airfield so we can't take too many pictures here.
A caterpillar.
The beach
My host and her family even go for a swim in the warm sea!!
Back where they parked the car, there is a map.

Posted Jul 4, 2010, 2:54 pm
Today, post arrived. I wonder who is in the parcel.
Hello dotdog
Here we are, alfie langer the bear - that's me!, Nippy the penguin, Bubo the owl, Gaspode the original dog & Lintilla the sheep with dotdog

Posted Jul 4, 2010, 3:50 pm
Today was a bumper post day.
2 toyvoyagers arrived, Hypno-dog & Mira

Posted Jul 4, 2010, 3:52 pm
My host decided to go out geocaching. We had to catch the bus
2 bus journeys we had a walk to find a cache at the HMS Conway.
After a walk in the woods, we managed to find a geocache :)
Then, it was time to walk across the Menai Bridge, over the Menai Straits.
This is the Menai Suspension Bridge.
Looking over the Menai Straits.
Over the Menai Straits, somewhere in the woodland, is the ruins of the HMS Conway
Here we all are, from left to right, Hypno-Dog, Nippy, Mira,alfie langer - that's me!, and dotdog
This little island in the Straits has a church and graveyard.
There's the bridge we walked across. There's a geocache on the bridge, but with quite a few people walking across it, we didn't have the chance to have a look for it.
The Britannia Bridge.
Ok, we cheated a bit for this! There were lots of people walking along this section of the coastal path today so we didn't look for the geocache. We came back on Friday 25th when my host met her husband for lunch. He found the cache.
On journey home by bus on the top deck of a double decker.

Posted Jul 9, 2010, 9:20 pm
After meeting my host's husband for lunch to find the geocache, we came back to Caernarfon and relaxed at Y Maes, the town square.
The square had been recently redeveloped. Some people like it, others don't. One of the new features is this water thing in front of the war memorial. Children love to run through the water jets, either avoiding them, or through them. In the background, is the Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
We didn't have long to enjoy the square because my host wanted to meet her son from school.

Posted Jul 9, 2010, 10:27 pm
My host's son wanted to go to the Victorian coastal resort of Llandudno. He wanted to ride the toboggan.
There is a dry-ski slope as well.
After he had been on the toboggan, he wanted to play a round of golf. There is a nice little golf course nearby.
My host's husband lost his ball - it went over the fence and possibly into someone's garden....

Posted Jul 15, 2010, 11:18 am
Today, we went to the North Wales Agricultural Show held just outside Caernarfon.
First stop was the poultry tent.
This is a big chicken.
In the arts/crafts and home produce tent, this cabbage looks tasty.
Wow, look at the effort that went into these pictures.
A nice blue old tractor

Posted Jul 15, 2010, 11:27 am
Today after lunch, we went to the Anglesey Model Village.
This is Plas Newydd.
Beaumaris Castle.
Llynon Mill.
Here we are at Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwlllantysiliogogogoch
Llan Tysilio
A farm.
And a little train for me to ride.

Posted Jul 28, 2010, 10:35 pm
Today, we went to Llynon Mill, a working windmill on the Isle of Anglesey. They still make flour.
It was a windy day, and the sails went round and round, stopping a few times when the wind died.
An information board - the mill was built in 1776, costing £529.11s.0p and was "high tech" at that time.
We were allowed to go up a couple of levels.
This was the highest we were allowed to go.
Anglesey has some ancient settlements. We are inside a reconstructed roundhouse.

Posted Jul 30, 2010, 10:14 pm
Today, we went to find a tiny geocache down by the dock in Caernarfon. While my host's husband grabbed the cache, I had my photo taken at the various bits and pieces nearby.

Posted Aug 11, 2010, 4:47 pm
Today, after a brief trundle round Llandudno, we went geocaching to find a cache on a hill just outside Llandudno.
In the background, can you see Conwy Castle?

Posted Aug 11, 2010, 4:49 pm
Today, after my host bought the new issue of Royal Mail stamps with 2 years exactly to go before the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony, we went to Porthmadog where the world famous Ffestiniog Railway has a station.
2 engines will be pulling the train.

Posted Aug 11, 2010, 5:47 pm
Today. we are on our way to my host's mother's house for a holiday, but first, we stop off again in the Unesco World Heritage area of Ironbridge and Coalbrookdale.
My host's son likes to visit this particular museum - Enginuity because he can play with some of the exhibits.
Tangram time!
How about a bit of music...
while we do some puzzles.
A nice dress.
Water fun!
The train engine my host moved over a metre!
A flywheel.

Posted Aug 15, 2010, 12:04 pm
I am in a maze made of maize.
It wasn't too difficult.
And nor is this little maze.
Here we all are having survived the maize in maze.

Posted Aug 17, 2010, 6:38 pm
This summer's evening, I wanted to go for a walk around Moulton, a little village near to where my host's mother lives.
The village sign is just fabulous
The mill is very tall but doesn't have any sails at the moment.

Posted Aug 17, 2010, 6:40 pm
Today, we've come to a Butterfly and wildlife park in Long Sutton.
We went on a woodland walk. Look at all that fruit.
This is an emu
A couple of buffalo
Will someone scratch under its chin?
I was telling this bird about ToyVoyagers.
There is also an aviary - I think this is a finch.
A butterfly, blue inside.
Leaf cutter ants.
A glass/plastic butterfly!
A zebra butterfly?

Posted Aug 17, 2010, 6:41 pm
Today, a trip to the seaside and to the Sea-Life centre at Great Yarmouth on the North Sea coast.
A fishie resting on a duck.
A shark
Outside, it was time for 18 holes of crazy golf. Ahoy there matey. Don't lose your ball in the water (except my host's son did, but was able to retrieve).

Posted Aug 20, 2010, 12:32 am
Today, we have come to the town of Boston in Lincolnshire. This is a 5-sail working windmill, the Maud Foster (landowner of the land a few centuries before the mill was built in 1819).
The brick tower stands 64ft (19.5m) tall. The sails are 37ft (11.3m) long and are the longest working sail son a windmill in the UK. The owner of the mill was on a working holiday in Tasmania (building a Lincolnshire-style windmill).
We were allowed to walk around the platform outside. In the background is Boston Stump, visible for miles around (weather-permitting).
The wind was blowing.
Blowing quite fast at the moment.
The mill was grinding grain when we visited.
My host made the mistake of wearing a black full length raincoat and black skirt - she was covered in flour from going up and down the stairs. Oops!

Posted Aug 20, 2010, 12:38 am
We have come to the Abbey Pumping Station, a museum that collects and displays the industrial, technological and scientific heritage of Leicester.
First off, we took a little train journey.
The end of the line and the engine had to decouple and make its way to the other end of the train.
The Abbey Pumping Station pumped sewage to a treatment works.
We gave some p!
This is a handframe knitting machine.
Nice porcelain
Not sure about the Izal.
Meccano. My host's son has some somewhere.
This is a knitting machine, knitting away.
Part of a beam engine

Posted Aug 22, 2010, 9:54 pm
After visiting the Abbey Pumping Station, we popped next door to visit the National Space Centre.
My host can see the numbers in this colour vision test.
Mir Space Station toilet.
A picture of my host's face was altered to imagine what a life form would be like on a very wet planet..
X-rays, part of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Pinwheel Galaxy.
Two British rockets, Blue Streak and PGM-17 Thor.
Gamma 2 Engine.
Lunar Module.

Posted Aug 22, 2010, 11:46 pm
After our long journey back from my host's mum's via Leicester, we came home to some post, including this parcel.
I wonder what it could be?
It is a new visitor, Mandy Sheep

Posted Aug 26, 2010, 4:08 pm
Today, we have come to Anglesey's Sea Zoo.
The fish won't keep still for their portrait!
This tank has quite a few starfish.
Silly crab - it is having a fight with its reflection in the mirror
This is a sand starfish.
Here we all are in front of this big tank.

Posted Aug 26, 2010, 4:20 pm
After the trip to the Sea Zoo, we went to the allotment to collect some potatoes...
They grow runner beans too.
And they have at least a couple of pumpkins.
And some strange squash things.
There's that pumpkin again.
This perhaps is a cardoon or a globe artichoke.
Quite magnificent.

Posted Aug 26, 2010, 8:55 pm
Today is a nice day. We have come to the Victorian coastal resort of Llandudno.
My host fancied a boat trip on a fast boat. There's Llandudno's pier.
Back on dry land, we've caught the end of a Punch and Judy show.
We walked along the pier too.

Posted Aug 26, 2010, 9:54 pm
After Llandudno, we came to Sychnant Pass for a little stroll.
Isn't the heather amazing? The purple can be seen for miles.

Posted Sep 1, 2010, 9:58 pm
We, that is, mira, dotdog, Nippy, Mandy Sheep and myself said goodbye to Hypno-dog who was leaving the country (in a different envelope than was shown in the photo below).

Posted Sep 6, 2010, 11:34 am
Today, we visit the National Stone Centre near Matlock.
There is an exhibition on the story of stone (and rock...). I'm on a piece of granite.
The exhibition looks at the geology of the British Isles, and the way stone/rock has been used.
The British Isles have some lowland forests and heaths.
The Saxons built cathedrals and churches but most were destroyed by the Vikings.
There were over 5,000 quarries in 1900.
A display looking at the processing of rock/stone.
And different methods.
Outside, there were steps made from different stones. I am sat on top of granodiorite, an igneous rock similar to granite.
Outside, there was a rock trail to follow. There were some art made from stone on the trail.
These stones have fossils.
This is a dry stone wall, one of the types found in the Cotswolds.
This is a different dry stone wall, a type found in Scotland.
A Cumbrian slate wall.
Nearby up a hill, is Middleton Top. There were railways running around this area. This is an engine house with boilers. The trains were probably pulled up the hill on cable.
Some track, not a lot, still remain.
What a nice view.

Posted Sep 6, 2010, 1:16 pm
Today, we decided to look at the map because some of us toys are continuing the journey around the world.
Mandy Sheep is off to Germany today, and Lintilla is off to Russia. Tomorrow, Nippy will be leaving for The Netherlands.
Goodbye, safe journey.

Posted Sep 6, 2010, 1:24 pm
My host just returned home from walking her son to school to find two small packets in the porch.
I wonder who has arrived.
Hello Dusel and Squizzle

Posted Sep 19, 2010, 1:17 pm
Today, we have come to the Ffestiniog Railway in Porthmadog. We are going on a train to Blaenau Ffestiniog and then will come back to Porthmadog.
We are travelling first class, though I have to share a seat with Dusel, Mira, Charlie B., and dotdog
We arrived in Blaenau Ffestiniog, where it rains a lot. Blaenau Ffestiniog is host to a festival of rain! When it was my turn to have my picture taken with the engine, it started to rain heavily.
Look at the raindrops on the window.
It is a bit grey out there. Earlier, we saw some railway workers waiting for the train to pass so they could do some work on the track. At least they had waterproofs on.
We cross a level crossing.
Back in Porthmadog, the sun is shining!
There is a little island in the estuary.

Posted Sep 29, 2010, 9:38 pm
Today, we went to Caernarfon Castle. The Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Castle overlooks the Menai Straits. Over there, you can see the Isle of Anglesey.
Prince Charles received the title, Prince of Wales here.
Amazing castle.

Posted Oct 3, 2010, 10:04 pm
Today we jumped on some buses as we took my host's relative back to the station. We went on to the Isle of Anglesey to a well-known but not well-said village - Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.
We are 1098 miles from Rome, 855 miles from Madrid....
There is a station. The sign gives an approximate pronunciation of the name.
After lunch in nearby Menai Bridge, we walked across the Menai Bridge which spans the Menai Straits.
On Menai Bridge, someone has placed a GeoCache. My host had previously found it one lunchtime and was on the verge of giving up....
We then got to the "mainland" to wait for the bus to take us into Bangor and then for another bus on home.

Posted Oct 5, 2010, 4:15 pm
Today, we have come to see Bryn Celli Ddu. This started out as a henge but was covered to become a burial mound with a chamber - a communal grave. It dates back to the Neolithic period.
Below is the entrance.
Can we squeeze in?
Here we are in the chamber
In the photo below, just above Charlie B. is a letter from someone to a friend who died.

Posted Oct 5, 2010, 8:14 pm
Today was a happy and sad day. Orpheus arrived but dotdog was leaving.
Safe travels dotdog.

Posted Oct 19, 2010, 9:03 pm
Today, we have come to the historic town of Harlech where a castle stands atop a hill.
The view, had the weather and sky been nicer, would have been superb.
The information board informs us that the castle was built between 1283 and 1289.
The main section...
We walked along the wall.
We are high up.
The sea used to be closer to the castle than it is nowadays.
There is an exhibition in the main section.
Looks impressive on top of the hill. Can't have been easy to build.
What the main section would look like...

Posted Nov 14, 2010, 6:41 pm
We are going on a summer (OK, it isn't summer) holiday..
To get there, we are going through Scotland.

Posted Nov 14, 2010, 7:23 pm
We are staying in a caravan. After unpacking the car, we went for a spin. First off, towards Lindisfarne (Holy Island) but encountered a bit of difficulty. Lindisfarne is a tidal island and the tide had covered the causeway.
We'll just have to come back another day.

Posted Nov 14, 2010, 8:05 pm
Before going shopping for food, we went into Berwick Upon Tweed. You should be able to see 3 different bridges, The Royal Border Bridge, The Royal Tweed Bridge and The Old Bridge (or Berwick Bridge).
The nearest bridge is the oldest bridge of the three. This version of the bridge dates back to the early 17th century and is 355 metres long and 5 metres wide. It is made from sandstone locally sourced.
The middle bridge was built in the 1920s and once carried the A1 road.
The bridge in the distance is the Royal Border Bridge which carries the railway over the River Tweed. It was designed by the engineer, Robert Stephenson (son of George Stephenson).
Berwick is a walled town.
Here we all are relaxing on a bench.

Posted Nov 19, 2010, 2:27 pm
Today, we have time only for a brief visit to Lindisfarne before going further south along the coast. This time, the causeway was relatively clear of water but the weather was a bit wet and windy.
This is Lindisfarne Castle.

Posted Nov 19, 2010, 3:27 pm
After visiting Lindisfarne, we came to the little coastal village of Bamburgh. Atop a hill and overlooking the sea sits a mighty castle
We decided to go and visit inside this castle.
The castle has cannons. Can you see the Farne islands? My host visited there last year, maybe we can all go this year.
There has been some renovation and rebuilding.
The castle is home to a museum about one of its former owners, the Victorian industrialist and engineer, William George Armstrong (Lord Armstrong).
The museum had on display exhibits dedicated to local servicemen.
Armstrong built the hydraulic mechanism that operates Tower Bridge in London.
Next, we went into the State Rooms.
A bronze model of Bamburgh Castle.
It's a portrait of Henry VIII
A map of Northumbria.
A nice clock.
A nice cabinet.
A coat of arms.
There are just so many nice things here, too many to have my photograph taken with.

Posted Nov 23, 2010, 12:11 pm
After visiting the castle, we drove further down the coast to Seahouses. This was where my host caught a boat last year to take her out to the Farne Islands. This was not going to happen today!
There is a lighthouse on the nearest island. Can you see part of a rainbow?
Look at those waves.
I hope the lifeboat was not needed to go out in this weather. Grace Darling was a heroine of the 19th century - her father was a lighthouse keeper on one of the Farne Islands when disaster struck. She rowed out to rescue people from a sinking/wrecked boat in dreadful weather.

Posted Nov 23, 2010, 4:36 pm
My host took me to another castle today.
It is the largest in Northumbria, built in the 14th century but was damaged in the War of the Roses.
It fell into decay and wasn't restored.
Although we could climb one of the towers.

Posted Nov 23, 2010, 4:40 pm
Today, we spent a little time in Alnwick. There is a big gardens here and castle. However, time was short and we wouldn't have had enough time to fully appreciate the gardens or castle.
We did walk around the outside of the castle.
This is the Lion Bridge.
Another entrance to the castle. There are statues all around the walls and there were gargoyles too.
We did have time to visit a small museum. Boats.
This museum had historical exhibits too. The area being close to the border with Scotland saw action.
Fire service exhibit.
The museum was in an old church and still had stained glass windows.
Outside, there was a statue to Harry Hotspur. He was a fighter, and fought against the Scots and the French.
He led a rebellion against Henry IV and was forming an alliance with Owain Glyndwr but died on the battlefield in Shrewsbury.

Posted Nov 27, 2010, 9:17 pm
Today, we have come to yet another castle, this time it is a ruined one.
They have cannons and a portcullis gate.
Inside another castle entrance is a museum about the Battle of Flodden Field which happened a few miles away in 1513.
The castle was captured by King James IV of Scotland shortly before the Battle of Flodden Field.
This is one of the castle towers with the gatehouse in the background.
With the union of Scotland and England, the castle lost its military purpose and fell into decay.
We were on the other side of that portcullis earlier. The curtain wall linked all 4 towers of the castle, but only this section remains.
That's the tower with the portcullis.

Posted Dec 3, 2010, 9:14 pm
We've come to Flodden Field itself.
Here's the memorial.

Posted Dec 3, 2010, 9:16 pm
Today, we stayed in the caravan park. We were counting some of the money we had left! These are Scottish banknotes!

Posted Dec 10, 2010, 2:49 pm
Today, my host and her mother have taken us to Berwick-upon-Tweed. We walked around the walls. It'll be our last day before we head home.
The painter Lowry visited Berwick-upon-Tweed a lot and painted many scenes here. There is a trail we could follow visiting sites he painted. There is a GeoCache near this information board.
It started to rain so we headed to a cafe for lunch.

Posted Dec 10, 2010, 2:56 pm
We are going home. It is sad to leave the caravan but we must go home. However, we can go via Hadrian's Wall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The wall stretches across England.
This section we are visiting is called Heddon-on-the-Wall.

Posted Dec 10, 2010, 3:10 pm
We stop off at another spot along Hadrian's Wall.
This section is Blackcarts Turret.

Posted Dec 10, 2010, 3:58 pm
Next, we stop at a third section along Hadrian's Wall. This time it is Housesteads Roman fort built in about 124AD.
There it is, up the hill.
This was a granary.

Posted Dec 10, 2010, 4:00 pm
The fourth and final stop we did on Hadrian's Wall is Steel Rigg.
The sun was fading but these rocks look impressive.

Posted Dec 10, 2010, 5:12 pm
We have a new friend to play with
Hello Monkez

Posted Jan 6, 2011, 6:18 pm
We are spending Christmas with my host's mum. We have a tree.
Can you find me on the tree?

Posted Jan 6, 2011, 9:20 pm
We are playing a game of Carcassonne with my host.
It is fun!

Posted Jan 17, 2011, 11:11 am
We are on our way back from my host's mum's to Wales, but the journey is long so we stopped off at Matlock Bath. We were just in time to visit Temple Mine before it shut for the day.
Our guide had some rocks to show us from the mine. Temple Mine was opened to mine lead ore, and was re-opened to mine fluorspar.

Posted Jan 17, 2011, 11:11 am
We are having a party using the leftover Christmas cake my host made. Some of us are going away next week for pastures new.
Goodbye Gaspode, and Topple, Orpheus and monkez.

Posted Jan 18, 2011, 9:18 pm
Hello, is there anybody in there?
Come on, out you come, you do not need to be shy!
Hello Pippi.
We are alfie langer, Charlie B., mira and Squizzle

Posted Jan 24, 2011, 10:49 pm
Today, we welcomed home one of my host's toyvoyagers. Welcome back Captain Caramel

Posted Feb 6, 2011, 6:58 pm
Today, we welcomed a new guest, Regit Brown

Posted Feb 6, 2011, 7:05 pm
Today is a nice sunny winter's day. We've come to Llanberis. In the summer, my host tells me that it is busy here.
This little engine would pull a carriage up a mountain to the top of Mount Snowdon.
In winter time, the Snowdon Mountain Railway does a lot of maintenance.
This is a Pelton Wheel turbine thing. One mountain in Llanberis has a power station inside.
We had a walk by Lake Padarn before it was time to have lunch and go home.

Posted Mar 3, 2011, 4:35 pm
We said farewell to Charlie B. today.
We had some apple pies.
Have a safe journey little mouse.

Posted Mar 3, 2011, 4:59 pm
It's party time! It is Captain Caramel's birthday.
There's a candle on the cake.
After the cake, we played with these balloons!

Posted Mar 6, 2011, 7:32 pm
On our way home, we went via Magna, an industrial science museum set in an old steelworks near Rotherham/Sheffield.
There were 4 zones. The first zone we went to was Water.
A whirlpool exhibit.
There goes the water!
Next, we went to Fire.
Some crystals seen under a microscope.
A temperature line. Chips fry at 180 degrees Celsius, wood catches fire at 400 degrees C.
This is a fire tornado.
Lighting isn't that good for photographs with the fire tornado.
Next stop was Air. This is a musical exhibit with tubes and things.
The exhibit can be quite noisy.
We then went for a game of Air hockey.
The air blows through holes in the table and lifts up the puck ever so slightly.
This is a frequency exhibit with little polystyrene balls bouncing.
This is a different frequency.
Before going on to the final area, we caught some of the Big Melt show, a reconstruction of how they made steel. This is the arc furnace.
We went to the final area, Earth. The set up is quarrying "rocks" and these get picked up by the children and taken somewhere by wheelbarrow before going on conveyor belts and distributed either back to the "quarry" or to a chute.
Can you see the "rocks" on the conveyor belt?

Posted Mar 29, 2011, 9:21 pm
We've already said goodbye to Pippi, regit brown, Captain Caramel and Baconella.
But we have a new visitor
Let's open it up.
I hope he can squeeze through this hole.
Yes! he's free. Hello, my name is Alfie, nice to meet you Frankie_Blue

Posted Mar 30, 2011, 8:31 pm
Today, my host got two parcels in the post
I wonder who our new visitors will be!
The new visitors are Belka and my host's toy, Rendolph

Posted Mar 31, 2011, 9:30 pm
Some of the toys are going away on their travels tomorrow, so we thought we'd have a game of Cluedo playing in teams
However, we spent far too much time chatting instead of concentrating on the game and we all drew the 8th clock leaving the crime unsolved.

Posted Apr 6, 2011, 4:40 pm
Today, Royal Mail issued some nice stamps and my host went out and bought some.
Do you like them?

Posted Apr 6, 2011, 4:49 pm
Today is mira's birthday and my host's son gave us some donuts to celebrate it. He even took this photo.

Posted Apr 28, 2011, 3:38 pm
Today, we are going on the train.
This is first class.
Here, we are at Dinas station. When the Welsh Highland Railway was being rebuilt, Dinas was the HQ. There are work trains and carriages, and engines in need of repair.
The railway meets the River Gwyrfai several times along its route.
There's quite a bit of water in the river.
There are fields alongside the railway, this one has horses.
We are coming into Betws Garmon. Can you see the bell in the church tower?
It is a long train. Can you see the steam engine at the other end?
This is Cwellyn, a reservoir supplying water to parts of north Wales.
We had to wait for the train coming in the other direction to stop at Rhyd Ddu before we could continue. The train is also steam-hauled.
They've got a first class carriage, but the one we're in was unveiled by the Queen in 2010 after refurbishment.
The carriage is called Glaslyn, after another river this railway meets.
We are off for the second half of the journey. This section was opened last year, and then not all the way to Porthmadog.
There's the River Glaslyn.
Here we are coming into Porthmadog. The river is the Glaslyn here too, the estuary.
The river is the Glaslyn here too
The Glaslyn estuary. And now, we have arrived in Porthmadog. It is time to run for the bus to take us back home before school closes for the day.

Posted Apr 28, 2011, 4:28 pm
We are having a nice game of Settlers of Catan.

Posted Apr 28, 2011, 4:29 pm
Ooo, look at all these Easter Eggs and bunnies.

Posted Apr 28, 2011, 4:30 pm
We've come to Gullivers Kingdom in Matlock Bath.
My host took me on the lazy river ride.
This is relaxing.
I didn't fancy this rollercoaster.
But my host's son went on it.
My host went on this ship ride earlier.

Posted May 15, 2011, 12:25 pm
What is this I see before me?
A box and we shall open it.
A visitor, hello Sampson
Welcome to Wales.

Posted May 22, 2011, 8:04 pm
Greetings from the Centre for Alternative Technology.
I have been here before.
My host needed to make a contribution to make lovely manure!
Afterwards, we had a look round. This is the store.
It has a green roof and keeps the store nice and cool.
There were many growing beds, this is bugle.
This is a bed showing growth in different composts. The middle one doesn't look very good.
There's a new building. It is an education centre for graduate studies.
Next, I went into the polytunnel.
They are growing grapes.
Back outside, there's an exhibit showing different eco-building materials.
They have an exhibit about bees.
There are many different types of bee.
Their potatoes are growing nicely.
There is a sculpture.
In another section of the grounds, they have this garden with a pond (with newts in), and more art/sculptures re-using materials.
This one looks funny!
These are growing nicely.
They are going to have some raspberries.
In the greenhouse, seedlings growing in rootrainers and modules.
A currant bush.
There is a house with energy and water exhibits. A bath can use less water than a power shower.
This is a nice little garden, growing things out of containers orginally containing something else.
It was a nice day and good to see new things here.

Posted Jun 2, 2011, 11:35 am
We are going somewhere by bus. I wonder where we'll go.

Posted Jun 2, 2011, 11:37 am
We caught a couple of buses, we end up in Beaumaris on the Isle of Anglesey. Beaumaris lies on the Menai Strait.
There is a lifeboat station, but the boat isn't there. Perhaps it is out on a training exercise or a rescue.
This is Beaumaris Castle. It was built in the 13th Century for King Edward (I) in Gwynedd.
There is also a courthouse (now a museum). Charles Dickens visited and watched some trials in progress. There is also a gaol but we didn't have time to visit as the bus was coming.

Posted Jun 2, 2011, 11:43 am
We caught another couple of buses and came to Holyhead
The weather turned wet and it was raining.
We didn't see much here and my host bought some postcards.

Posted Jun 2, 2011, 11:52 am
It is time to go home.
Holyhead is on its own island, Holy Island. We are crossing the bridge.
On the bus home, we pass through Valley. About a mile away, is RAF Valley where Prince William is stationed.
If it wasn't raining or getting late, we could have caught a different bus to go via RAF Valley.

Posted Jun 10, 2011, 8:54 pm
Today, a package has arrived!
Hello Moony and welcome.

Posted Jun 20, 2011, 10:18 am
We went to my host's mum's place for part of the half-term holiday.
It was too hot to do much, not even to help my host and her family with the weeding!

Posted Jun 20, 2011, 11:07 am

Hello Mum,
It was time to head back to Wales but first, we stopped off at the Science Adventure Park, Magna.
We came here before! We started in water!
A whirlpool, and a water-raising complex.
This looks like fun!
This fish opens its mouth wide to reveal teeth, if you can see it through the jet of water.
Next stop was Fire!
A four-stroke engine. The middle bits are back.
My host turns the wheel and the middle bits come forward and the outer bits go back!
The fire tornado exhibit is hot!
Lighting isn't good in here.
Next stop was the main section where the steel was made. We allowed the newer visitors to have their photos taken with the big melt demonstration.
We went up to Air, but they removed the air-hockey :(
Final stop was Earth. There were wheelbarrows to move "rocks" to the sorters.
This is a hydraulic pump and cylinder.
Time flies.... The centre is closing so we'd better go now....

Posted Jun 20, 2011, 11:37 am
We got back to a pile of post, including a parcel. We welcomed a new visitor Gwennie

Posted Jul 4, 2011, 11:20 am
Today, a new visitor arrived.
Welcome Lupus-Tigger.

Posted Jul 18, 2011, 10:48 pm
Ooo a Parcel....
Whose voice can I hear calling?
Hello Bobi

Posted Aug 3, 2011, 1:34 pm
Hi Mum,
Today, my host and her husband decided to go for a walk along some of the Anglesey coastal path.
We are on the north side of the island. Continuing round from the section I did last year.
I saw this from the other side of the bay.
This is the old brickworks at Porth Wen, and made silica bricks for the steel industry.
We didn't go further down, but my host's husband did.
This is an old lookout at Dinas Gynfor.
Can you see the path on the hill over there? That's the route we'll be taking.
This is Porth Llanlleiana, another relic of Anglesey's industrial past. A long way down and then a long way up the other hill!
Taking a breather! A little mouse island.
Where we have been.
This is the church of Saint Badrig.
A panorama.
This is a nice beach, Porth Badrig. Nearly at the end of the walk. Pleasant day out, apart from my little legs aching!

Posted Aug 3, 2011, 2:12 pm
Hi Mum,
Last week, my host took us into town.
Look what we saw in the Castle...
It looks like a Tardis...
We didn't have time to go to the castle that day....
But today, we do have time. I have been here before!
Can you see it?
The Doctor Who television series is made (produced) in Wales. The Tardis is visiting some historic places in Wales.
Time for a look round the castle. Up to one of the towers we came.. The river is the Seiont and comes from Padarn Lake (that's in Llanberis).
That's the dais where Prince Charles was crowned the Prince of Wales in 1969.
Another tower climbed...
Back at ground level for a rest..
The Queen's Tower..
Spiral staircase at the bottom of one of the towers but our little leggies are tired .
Time for a rest!
And then back to the Tardis for one last look...

Posted Aug 3, 2011, 2:30 pm
We have come to my host's mum's house!
There are lots of ants in the garden. This book says that ants don't like crossing chalk!
There's an ant...
It still is in the same section...
Hmm, it has escaped. The ants we've watched seem quite happy to cross the chalk. Back to the drawing board.

Posted Aug 3, 2011, 3:00 pm
Hi Mum,
Do you know where I am?
I am lost in the maze in maize. There is a quiz sheet and questions but the answerboards are hidden throughout the maze.
On the board there is a letter. When all the answers have been found, these letters make up the answer to another question. My host has obscured the letters.
The theme of this maze is the rainforest.
With questions on the rainforest people,...
more creatures,..
There's another bridge so we can look across the ma(i)ze.
And a bench at the eye to rest...
Anaconda is the answer, I can't remember what the question was...

Posted Aug 10, 2011, 3:24 pm
Today there is a little country fayre at Whaplode Drove, a few miles from where we are staying.
There are vintage cars on show.
And other vintage things.
Not so vintage is this jelly! These will be thrown and hopefully caught.
Oh dear!
Unfortunately, not all those jellies were caught in the World Jelly-Throwing Championship.

Posted Aug 10, 2011, 5:18 pm
On our way back home to Wales, we stopped off in Nottingham. A shop my host wanted to go to was closed, and the caves her husband wanted to see were also closed.
Instead, we had a brief wander around. Could that be Robin Hood?
Back in the centre, there was something unexpected. A beach!
They also had a mini funfair, and a permanent water feature.

Posted Aug 25, 2011, 12:55 pm
My host has been "busy" with school holidays. The weather hasn't been all that wonderful. I'm just writing this to say Hello

Posted Sep 23, 2011, 9:32 pm
What have we here in this box?
Hello Jellybean

Posted Oct 11, 2011, 3:13 pm
Today, we've come to a castle built for King Edward I. This is Rhuddlan Castle.
It is tall!
We can have a look up on the walls later...
Metal staircases have been put in to allow us visitors to climb up...
Having a rest!
We are on top of the wall.
We were down there!
Another rest in the ditch!
The castle sits atop a hill!
One of the towers of the outer wall.

Posted Oct 11, 2011, 3:14 pm

I am going on another adventure. Farewell Wales....

Posted Oct 11, 2011, 3:24 pm
To celebrate Clyde's arrival and also to wish some of us who are travelling to pastures new
we shared a doughnut!