BellaKitten, Shanghai, China


Posted Jul 31, 2009, 6:35 pm

My name is Bella. My Mom just picked me out yesterday and told me that I am going to be going on an adventure around the world! But first, I need to spend a few days at home meeting the rest of my new family and getting ready for my journey.

Today I met one of my sisters, Star. She is a cat like me, but she is much bigger! I have three other cat sisters and even a dog brother, but Mom hasn't taken my picture with them yet.

I'm getting ready to head out on my very first adventure soon, so if you would like to host me please contact my owner!

My Travel Itinerary:
olgamaus - Germany

Delenna - Finland

Posted Aug 1, 2009, 12:39 am
Well, since I'm going to be leaving on Monday to go to Germany my mom decided she had better hurry up and get some pictures with all my furry sisters and brother at home.

Here I am meeting my (very) big sister Dakota. I'm sure glad she likes cats!

Haley and Me. She wasn't quite sure what to think of me.

Me and Marley. He is the only dog who is actually close to my size!

Relaxing with Meeko

This is me and Snow. She didn't really want to share the window seat with me.

This is me and Abby. Mom said she can be a little hyper, so I decided to have my photo taken from a distance.

I really love my new family especially the other cats. I'm a little sad to leave, but I am very excited to start on my new adventure and meets all kinds of brand new friends along the way!

Posted Aug 3, 2009, 4:18 pm
Well, I am all packed up and ready to begin my journey! I'm leaving to go meet olgamaus in Germany today. I'm really excited but a little nervous. Wish me lots of luck!

Posted Aug 8, 2009, 4:29 pm
Hi Mummy,
I arrived in  Germany today. That was a really short journey!

When I climbed out of my envelope I was welcomed by my first host Katja and a lot of ToyVoyagers.

And what a surprise - I met Prance here, she is looking like my twin. I'm sure we will become best friends.


Posted Aug 8, 2009, 5:02 pm
Hi Mummy,
Katja took me, Cutie and Mister_Right with her, when she brought UrsellHH and Misty Mouse to the post office.

Yesterday we had fantastic weather here and it was really hot. Today it is not warm any more and it started to drizzle. Nontheless we took two photos in the city centre.

We hope that the weather will be better next week.


Posted Aug 14, 2009, 1:49 pm
Hi Mummy,
we took a walk today in the outskirts of Remscheid. The city centre is situated on a hill. This hill is quite steep. The municipal area is large and the several districts are surrounded by woodland or also farmland.

The first photos were taken a few hundreds meter apart from my current home.

This is the district Hasten, one of the oldest districts in the municipal area. You can see lots of those typical old houses here. They are often timer-framed houses or covered with slate. The usually have green shutters.

We walked downhill for a while and reached the bottom of the valley. A creek is running through the valley. In ancient times industrialization began here. Remscheid is famous for its tool-producing industry. In the valley you can find many old factory buildings, in many of them work is still done.

On the following photo you can see the city centre in the distance. You can see the two towers of the city hall and the water tower. We are living only a few minutes by foot from there.

You can see that the weather is not good, it was even raining for a few minutes.

We walked through a rural district than.

A hotel for cats! That's great. If Katja should go on vacation we could spend this time here. She told us that she will visit a friend next week and she will stay away from home for three days. Do you think she would book a room here for Prance and me?

This is a special school, a "nature-school". You can learn a lot about plants and animals here, they have a school-garden for example with herbs and different flowers and trees, also fruit trees. Regular schools often go here for a week or two with the pupils. This nature-school is also offering lessons for adults.

We went back home than. Katja chose a path through the municipal park. Oh dear, it is steep again - have a look!

Katja is keeping interesting pets, they are small and smell like mice, at least a little bit. They are sleeping at daytime. I'll have a closer look at them tomorrow.

Bella Kitten

Posted Aug 17, 2009, 3:54 pm
Hi Mummy,
today I have to say good-bye to Prance. We went to the city centre together to take the last pictures.

Prance showed me the city hall. It was built in 1906, was nearly destroyed in World War II and rebuilt afterwards in a more modern style. It's tower is 48 m high.

The pillar on the place in front of the city hall is showing a lion, the heraldic animal of Remscheid.

Here you can see the entrance of the shopping mall.

This is the water tower, from here the inhabitants of the city centre are supplied with drinking water. It is pumped from a dam in a valley to the top of the city centre.

On our way home we always see a lot of pretty old houses.

Now it's time to say good-bye to my friend Prance. Maybe we will meet again one day.


Posted Aug 21, 2009, 6:43 pm
Hi Mummy,
we travelled to Stuttgart today. We got here by plane from Duesseldorf. We are visiting Katja's friend
fam-united. Her husband picked us up here at Stuttgart Airport and we drove to Bruchsal than.

Posted Aug 21, 2009, 7:21 pm
Hi Mummy,
we arrived at Bruchsal after an hour.

Bruchsal is a city at the western edge of the Kraichgau, about  20 km Northeast of Karlsruhe in the state of Baden-Württemberg.

We met Katja's friend here. Soon we took a walk.

Soon we reached he most significant church in Bruchsal, St. Peters Church, where the last of the Bishops of Speyer were laid to rest.

I had a good overview over this street with old houses from here.

We went to the city centre than and took a look at some pretty old houses.

River Saalbach is running through Bruchsal. This river is an Eastern feeding river to River Rhine.

We went home than for a while, because it was too hot outside.

In the evening we went out once more and went to Belvedere, which was originally designed as a Manor for fun and games, to which a shooting house was added for use in the shooting competitions often held by the Court.

Belvedere is situated high above the city centre. We had a great overview across the city from here.

Here you can see me with those ToyVoyagers hosted by olgamaus and those hosted by fam-united. Penny-Bo and Carlisle went with us to Bruchsal, but they are now hosted by Petra.

That's all for today.


Posted Aug 21, 2009, 9:16 pm
Hi Mummy,
in the morning we visited an Asian garden in Münzesheim. This garden belongs to a therapy center for alcohol and drug addicts. This garden is one of the most impressive Asian gardens in Europe. All buildings and works of art are made by patients of the therapy center based on antique models. The garden is about 5.000 m² large, it is open for patients and visitors.

First we saw a pond with water lilies. It was surrounded by a fence with pretty little sculputres sitting on the balustrade.

Almost everything is made of ceramics; the benches, figures, statues and more.

We entered the "Blue Grotto" than. It is a small round room, which is almost completely blue inside. The ceiling is made of blue glass bottles, which were put into the concrete with their bottoms to the outside, the walls are covered with blue tiles and the floor also. Have a look ...

Here you can see the bottles. Daylight is coming into the grotto through those bottles and creates a surreal atmosphere.

In a surrounding wall there are holes with special stones from all parts of the world. Volcanic rock, flintstone, a piece of Berlin Wall and more. Here we found a piece of rock from Grand Canyon.

On an island in a pond you can find a cafe.

Of course you can find a wooden red bridge here.

I really like this garden.

Posted Aug 21, 2009, 9:53 pm
We are on our way to Heidelsheim now. We stopped the car here to show you the beautiful landscape.

Posted Aug 22, 2009, 7:31 am
We went to Heidelsheim than. Here we saw an old standpost.

We saw pretty old houses here.

Here you can see the city gate.

The next photo is showing the Katzenturm "(cat tower). It was the home of the warder. It was built in 14th century at the highest point of the town. It was the warder's job to watch the town and warn the people if there was a fire or enemimes coming.

This is one of the churches here.


Posted Aug 22, 2009, 8:33 am

In the evening we went to Michaelsberg, which is a hill in the district Untergrombach, about 270 m high. A chapel was built there in 14th century, the one you can find there nowadays was built in the 1740 years. Michaelsberg is a pilgrimaga site.

This area is one of the first nature protection areas. It is a landmark at the Upper-Rhine.

We went here for having dinner in a nice prestaurant. After we ordered our meals, we took a look around.

Here you can see the restaurant and on the left side part of the chapel.

This is the chapel.

We had a fantastic overview from Michaelsberg.

Than we returned to the restaurant.

Dinner is coming - yummy!

What is looking like the left-over of a storm-flood are delicious Maultaschen (muzzle bags), a Swabian (Baden-Württemberg) specialty food, consisting of an outer layer of pasta dough with a filling traditionally made of minced meat, spinach, bread crumbs and onions and flavored with various spices. Because Katja is a veggie, she ordered Maultaschen with a spinach-an-leek-filling, with onions and topped with melted cheese. (Although ... a mouse-filling would have been even better :D )

It's wonderful, I can tell you :D

In this region they also make a lot of wonderful beer. We had a large beer in a stein.

As you can see it was already getting dark than, so we went to the edge of the hill once more to enjoy the sunset.

Bye for now

Posted Aug 22, 2009, 10:54 am

Hi Mummy,
it's our last day here  with Katja and fam-united. So we went into town to visit the baroque castle.

Close to our house we saw grapes growing along a house.

We went there through the city centre.

In this pretty buiding the local tax office is situated.

We reached the castle than. Sorry, it is called "Château", which really sounds better.

The Château of Bruchsal was built in the baroque style of the mid 18th century starting around 1720 and served as the official residence of the bishops of Speyer. Its center was a three-winged building. In World War II the Château was badly damaged as a result of the aerial bombings aimed at Bruchsal and burned out completely. The large central part of the building was reconstructed (well into the 1970s) as a museum.

In the park we saw fountains and statues.

There are four statues symbolizing the four seasons. This is the statue for summer.

Another four statues are symbols for the four elements. This is the one for fire.

FoxForce decided to come with us. We was staying with fam-united for some time. Now it's time for him to move to another place.

All ToyVoyagers which visited Bruchsal today were sitting on this tree.

We went back home than. It was so hot that it was hard to bear. On our way home we walked through another park. Here we saw the old keep of a medieval castle.

We also saw this statue here. Is is a symbol for international understanding.

We hurried home than. We had to pack our things and lunch was waiting for us. In the afternoon we have to get back to the airport.


Posted Aug 22, 2009, 11:10 am
When we came home Petra's kids had filled the pool. Katja made a paper boat for us, so we could take a boat ride in the pool.

I didn't fell very comfortable in the boat. So much water around me, that's nothing what a cat likes.


Posted Aug 22, 2009, 8:07 pm
In the afternoon we went to Stuttgart airport to fly home again.

From the roof of the car park we could see the famous Bosch-Parkhaus (Bosch-car park). It spans across the motorway A8.
The car park has space for 4200 vehicles on five stories. The logo is the second largest illuminated sign in the world and the biggest logo in the world after the unlit Hollywood Sign.

We went to the airport than, checked in and went to the visitors terrace. From here we could see some planes landing and starting.

On the visitors platform they have an exibition of old planes and helicopters. We had a look at them.

At 17:15 it was time to go to our gate than. From Duesseldorf we went home by train.



Posted Aug 24, 2009, 1:55 pm
Hi Mummy,
we took a walk today in the neighbour city Solingen. We walked along the River Wupper for about 6 km and than back.

First we went buying some things in a nearby wholefood-shop. We parked the car and had a look across the valley, where our trip will start.

I saw lamas on a meadow, but they did not come closer. Katja has to cuddle every animal in sight :D

This is River Wupper.

You can find many old houses in the valley, they are called "Bergische Häuser" (Bergisch houses) because this reason is called "Bergisches Land".

This house (house?!) is completely overgrown with Virginia creeper. It was a factory building once.

This is a really pretty landscape.

This hamlet is called "Unten-Rüden". This seems funny because "Rüde" is the German word for a male dog.

It is a rural area here, so much green around.

Behind those flowers River Wupper is flowing. Do you also know impatients in Pennsylvania? They are also called "Touch-me-not".

After a 10-km-walk we finally rested on a thick branch for a while (Oops - River Wupper is flowing underneath our feet).


Posted Sep 3, 2009, 2:39 pm
Hi Mummy,
we visited Düsseldorf today.

Düsseldorf is the capital city of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The city is situated on the River Rhine, and is renowned for its many events and also for its fashion and trade fairs. We went here by train and started our trip at MediaHafen (Media Harbour), a former harbour which is now a modern business quarter.

First we saw an interesting building called "Stadttor" (city gate).

This is the old harbour, now a modern business quarter with a lot of interesting buildings.

We walked towards River Rhine than.

There is a bridge overspanning the inner harbour. From here you have a great overview.

From here you can also take a good photo of Rheinturm (Rhine Tower), a telecommunication tower with a rotating restaurant behind the windows.

Katja showed us the Landtag of North Rhine-Westphalia, the parliament.

Finally we walked towards the old town of Düsseldorf, along River Rhine Promenade.

Close to the city the promenade is full of bars.

We saw that one of the excursion boats was just coming home. It should start its tour about 10 minutes later, so we decided to make a boat trip. The trip was supposed to last for about 90 minutes.

From here I had a look at the Altstadt (old town). The Düsseldorfer Altstadt is known as the longest bar in the world (»längste Theke der Welt«), because the small old town has more than 300 bars and discotheques.

We were off than, downstream first.

In the meantime the boat made a turn and was going upstream.

It was extremely windy. My travel tag was flying around :D

We went into town than.

This is part of the Altstadt with its many bars and pubs.

We enjoyed an Altbier here, a special beer which is only brewn in this region.

Next I will show you the old city hall, situated in the old town.

We bought some postcards and a funny fridge magnet.

This is the famous Königsallee, a shopping street where you can find exclusive clothings, jewelry,shoes and other accessoires.

The shops were closing than, it was almost 8:00 p.m. We went home by train. I was really tired, but not too tired to write a postcard to you.


Posted Sep 9, 2009, 1:29 pm
Hi Mummy,
I'm on my way to Finland now.


Posted Sep 18, 2009, 1:59 pm
Meow! I arrived safely in Finland! I was very warmly welcomed by several toyvoyagers and some people. They even had drawn kittens on them!  :o  :D

Posted Sep 23, 2009, 1:38 pm
Meow! My host finally took me for some sightseeing. We went to the riverbank on the otherside of Porvoo Old Town. In the first photo there's Castle Hill which we'll visit later. The cannon is from World War II and obviously not usable anymore. Those red shorehouses are the most wellknown attraction of this little town. They're used as storage and private living quarters. As you can see from the flower arrangement, Porvoo was established 1346. It started from around Castle Hill and started spreading along the river. That small bridge was the only bridge crossing the River Porvoo in the old days. Nowadays there are 4 more! My host promised me she'll show more in the near future!

Posted Sep 27, 2009, 7:26 am
I went to the local sightseeing tower with my host.  I got a relly good view over the city of Porvoo! Porvoo is the 2nd oldest city in Finland. It has almost 50 000 inhabitants of which 33% is native Swedish speakers (finnishswedish). Porvoo is only 50km east from Helsinki, the capitol of Finland. It takes less than an hour to drive there.

The story tells that the sightseeing tower was made by a giant: he heard that they were building a church in Porvoo and got angry (apparently giants don't like churches) and threw a stone all the way from Sipoo (where he lived, a place not too far from Porvoo). He didn't either aim it too well or his arm wasn't in good enough condition as he missed the church.

The stone has been a place to gather for festives a hundred years ago. Kids were told that babies were picked up from under the stone. Around 1880 they made the stairs and it became a sightseeing tower. Nowadays kids are told that a stork brings the babies - which is weird because you very rarely see storks in Finland...

Posted Sep 30, 2009, 12:24 am
Look how pretty and colorfull the nature is! Unfortunately there's also a cool breeze in the air... It's autumn here.

Posted Oct 1, 2009, 10:51 am
Meow! I'm visiting the Porvoo Cathedral! Just like my host promised :) The Cathedral was built in the 15th century, although the oldest parts date from the 13th century. The Cathedral was the site of opening of first Diet of Finland March 28, 1809 where Finland was declared an autonomous Grand Duchy, with the Emperor of Russia as the Grand Duke of Finland.

The church has been destroyed by fire numerous times; in 1508 by Danish and in 1571, 1590, and 1708 by Russian forces. In May 2006, the outer roof collapsed after arson, however with the inner ceiling undamaged and the cathedral interiors intact. An 18 years old male was found guilty and convicted to three years and two months imprisonment in August 2006. The Court of Appeals later increased the sentence to six years and six months on May 2007. A further appeal is pending. The Cathedral was reopened in July 2008.

The red wooden building next to the Cathedral is the Small Church. The small church was dedicated in 1740.  The church was restored in 1973-1974. It has two altarpieces of which one dates from 1892, and the other was painted in 1833. The pulpit is from the 19th century, and the organ dates from 1887.

Posted Oct 1, 2009, 10:53 am
This is how it looks around the Cathedral I just visited! This is also Old Town. How appropriate that there was also that fancy old car  :D The pink house in the second photo is called "Poet's House". The town rents it for free to artists for a certain amount of time (a few years) so that they can do their art in peace. It doesn't have to be poetry, right now there lives a couple who paints (at least the other one does).


Posted Oct 6, 2009, 9:38 am
Meow! This is the Baltic Sea - or the Gulf of Finland in the Baltic sea. Anyway, did you know that the creator of Moomins spent her summers on a small island nearby? No wonder Moominpappa loves the sea!

Posted Oct 8, 2009, 9:40 am
Meow! Or 'Miau' as the cats in Finland say. I visited the Korkeasaari Zoo today! And I met real tigers and lions and red wallabys and emus and wapitis and... The lion couple had had cubs - awww!

What made it "interesting" was the rain. It wasn't any small scale, lovely raindrops rain - nope, it rained like we had been swimming vertically! Honestly! See the drops in the sightseeing photos! And it was very windy too! Like a hair-drier blowing on max speed - just less warm. Actually, that's not windy enough either. Even the animals stayed under roofs - except for the tiger, she was quite restless...

We managed to be indoors during the heaviest rain; looking at dwarf moongooses being fed, Hoffman's sloth, monkeys, frogs, snakes, turtles, birds...

After seeing the bears we were "beary" hungry  ;) So we had lunch - just sausages and fries, nothing fancy.

It was mostly fun, despite the rain and wind. My host had promised her kids to take them to the zoo so she had to do it, despite the rain. And I did complete one life mission  :D

Posted Oct 9, 2009, 10:25 am
Meow! Friday is sauna-day in my hostfamily. They have their own sauna like the majority of Finns have. We took some pics before they'd heat the sauna up as the steam wouldn't allow us take good photos. That's also why the thermometr shows normal indoor temperature. My host says a good sauna heat would be +60...+80 degrees Celcius. But that's  her opinion. There are even competitions during summer - who lasts longest in sauna when the heat rises. The Finns have even a Sauna Society!

Basically it works so that people get naked, take a shower to get wet - go sit in sauna (throw some water on hot stones if want it hotter) - wash themselves afterwards. It's really relaxing and cleanes you from the inside (as the sweating pushes all dirt out).

In public saunas (like in the  swimming halls and hotels) women and men go in separate saunas. In private saunas you can do as you like.

Hmmm... I'm gald I don't have to go as I'm a cat.

Posted Oct 13, 2009, 8:21 am
Miau! Today we went to the main library in Porvoo. We went to the children's department first. They had all sorts of fun decorations to amuse the kids; a small house, a huge ant on the roof, live fish...

I read a few Moomin and cat books.
Did you know that the first Moomins were meant to adults more than kids? For example because in the early, original Moomins Moominpappa drinks whisky and smokes! Did you also know that Tove Jansson didn't draw much Moomins after 1958? Yep, I read that ina book! Her brother took over as she was too busy with Moomins - she wanted to continue write and draw other stuff finally.

I also read Viiru & Pesonen (Viiru being the cat) which is a popular character from Sweden. Their names in the original language are Findus & Pettson. Then I found a new book on Katti Matikainen which is a popular character in Finland - she acts in children's tv every week.

Upstairs was a music department and an "archive" (a study room). There was also those miniature displays of a harbour near my host's home - displaying how there used to look.

We spent about 2 hours in the library and you know what happened during that time too? It started snowing! It was the first snow  this "winter"! :D

Posted Oct 16, 2009, 6:20 pm
Meowwr! Catzilla here!  :D Just kidding - but that's how I felt today, visiting a Miniature World on the other side of this municipality, in a small village. It's situated in a former carpentry workshop. It's owned by a christian organization that helps people with alcohol problems. They have this social company where people then make these miniature models and other small projects.

The miniture dioramas were very good! And they make more all the time - so it's a constantly growing exhibition! I saw the Titanic, Pisa Cathedral, the leaning tower of Pisa, Vyborg Castle, shots from Finnish wars, lighthouses, Kolumbus' ships... That was in the first room. They have this other room where they had a whole city! They had put Golden Gate Bridge, Eiffel Tower and a Finnish castle in one place  :D There was also the Colosseum, several Cathedrals (see, there's even a wedding going on in one!), the Rocky Mountains - and a railroad driving round the whole thing!

It was really interesting! I would've wanted to walk along the streets but my host didn't let me...

Posted Oct 17, 2009, 5:32 pm
Today we went to the Castle Hill like my host had promised earlier. On this hill used to be a wooden castle/fortress in the 14th century. Nothing more is left than the hill and castle moats. They had done some archeological diggings in 1886 and 1971 on the hill and found tools, weapons and foundations. Also the flora on the hill reveals something as the plants can't be found in many places in Finland. The water level of the river was much higher those days, when vikings and others sailed the seas and rivers. Oh, and the name Porvoo is Borgå in Swedish - and that means "castle river"! borg=castle, å=river

Nowadays it's a tourist attraction and a good place to play Robin Hood! And to take photos :)

Posted Oct 17, 2009, 5:38 pm
We felt very energetic and decided to continue from Castle Hill to another hill! This one's the local downhill skiing center. We climbed all the way up to see the views. It would've been nicer if it hadn't rained...

Posted Oct 17, 2009, 5:40 pm
At the end of the day we played in the leaves  :D You can imagine how tired we were when we finally headed back home...

Posted Oct 19, 2009, 7:52 pm
Eww, the snow is so wet! Everyone was so excited when they noticed it was snowing for the second time this "winter" and that the snow was staying for a while. I think it was just wet. And cold. I did help them (Leonard, Banyo and Twix) make a snowman - that was fun! It turned out quite well too  :D

Posted Oct 25, 2009, 12:06 pm
Meow! This Friday we spent mostly in an "indoor playground" called HopLop and it was fun  :D They have this huge "maze" and slides and bouncy castles and games and  places to climb and... We were all sweaty when we finished  :p

Posted Oct 25, 2009, 12:21 pm
Today we went to a Stamp Fair in Helsinki. It was a small one, but then again stamps aren't big either. There were tons of stamps for sale and on display. My host spent most of the time next to that huge box full of stamps: she was able to choose as many as she could fit in a small envelope for just 1 euro.And believe me, she made many fit  :p

Posted Oct 25, 2009, 12:51 pm
After the Stamp Fair we went on the other side of Messukeskus to see the Book Fair. Books take more space so this fair was much bigger! Other than books we also saw Mauri Kunnas being interviewed. He's a famous Finnish author & illustrator who mainly makes children's books, but those books are loved by adults too. His works have been translated into several languages.

Later we saw the Moomins and a musical show with Pekka Töpöhäntä (a cat without tail) and his friends. Both are very well known children's book characters. Pekka Töpöhäntä originates from Sweden and his original name is Pelle Svanslös.

We bought only a few children's books and comics but the visit was still worth it - although my paws might disagree...

Posted Nov 5, 2009, 10:00 am
Hisssszzz! Halloween! Scary! Meowrr! My host went to organize a "Fear Factor" in the local school's Halloween disco with some others. My host was responsible for scary music (wolves howling, Dracula soundtrack and aliens soundtrack - yikes!), "poison spider box" (just yarn!) and "teeth&bones" box (pasta!). The kids were meant to put their hands in the boxes if they'd dare. My host also dressed up - and she said someone was going to dress up as a catwoman! I would've wanted to see that! But my host said we were to small to attend...  :(

Posted Nov 5, 2009, 10:29 am
We were passing thru the Old Town again and my host decided to take a few photos. In the first one is a poster of a famous painting and the next one is the view in the painting :) Ok, my host should've taken a few steps backwards... The white house in the painting is the now pink house in the real photo - plus there's a new yellow building in front now so one can't really see the clocktower.

Then there are electricity boxes! They've been painted by the local art school kids - much nicer this way than in the origibal greyish-greenish color. And lastly a mailbox that had been decorated with flower stickers!

Posted Nov 9, 2009, 8:17 am
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.

The next photos are taken near the Cathedral, next to some souvenir shops. 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.

One block away is 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. The building with the flag on top is the Presidential Palace. The president of Finland is Tarja Halonen, she's the first female president in this country. There's also the Uspensky Orthodox Cathedral

Next to the Market Square is the fountain statue Havis Amanda. It was sculpted by Ville Vallgren in Paris. It's naked so it made quite a fuss in the days it was revieled (1908).

After that is the parkway Esplanad and later the Main Railway Station and its surroundings.

Close to the railway station (on the mainstreet)  is Parliament House the white building which is the Museum of Contemporary Art  Kiasma and the statue next to it is the riding Mannerheim (one of our former presidents).

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

Posted Nov 9, 2009, 8:34 am
After the tour in rainy capitol we went to the Main Post Office (next to the Kiasma) and the Postmuseum there. They show the history of Finnish Post and mail - from the early days to present day. They also have a wide collection of postcards on display - even from the war time, when soldiers sent notes to their loved ones from "somewhere". It was abit tricky to take photos as it was so dark and mysterious there...

Today there was also a special stamps display. New christmas stamps were issued today! My host was very excited to get first day cancellation to her postcards.

Posted Nov 9, 2009, 8:41 am
The day ended with postcards, chat and hot chocolate :) My host attended the Red Nose Day Meetup of Postcrossers (well, she organized it so she'd better be there). I enjoyed my hot chocolate after all the cold rain... Red Nose Day is a charity event that raises money "by having fun". The Postcrossers didn't raise money but they used charity postcards as much as possible. My host sent for example Fair Mail cards. And they had red noses! 

We met other ToyVoyagers too as one of the other postcrossers is a host too - thanks to my host  :p

Posted Nov 20, 2009, 7:23 am
Meoww! I'm on board M/S Mariella (a Viking Line ship)! Going to Stockholm, Sweden. As you can see it was rerally dark when we left so you can basically see only the lights of helsinki - and the lights of Silja Line boat which left before us. On the dock we also found a place for doggies to pee  :D A sandbox for dogs! I couldn't stop laughing  :cyclops:

Later we ent for a welcoming drink. It was just juice but the glowing ring was fancy!

A while later we had dinner: a delicious vegetarian burger! And ice cream for dessert  :p

In our cabin we checked out the Swedish money and the map of Stockholm. Nothing (= places to visit) was open on Mondays from now on so we would just walk around and maybe do some shopping.

Posted Nov 20, 2009, 7:35 am
Meow! Good morning! Or "god morgon" as they say in Swedish  :D
We had a buffet breakfast (frukost in Swedish) on the ship and went on the deck to see the surroundings. When we docked we saw the front part of the ship open and cards come out.

We're in Stockholm, the capitol of Sweden!

Posted Nov 20, 2009, 8:29 am
We walked towards the city center. The first photos are views to the old town (Gamla Stan) which we didn't visit. Byt you can see the narrow streets with a hint of "Italy-style". At least that how it looked to us  ;)

The statue is King Gustav III a former ruler of Sweden. He points to the Royal Palace on the other side of the street. That's where we went next. Well, not inside as it wasn't open today. The Royal Palace is the official resident of the royal family and it has over 600 rooms - that must've been one helluva place for the princesses & prince to play hide&seek! The Palace was largely built during the eighteenth century in the Italian Baroque style, on the spot where the “Tre Kronor” castle burned down in 1697.

In the last photo you see the Palace from further away. It really is big isn't it...

Posted Nov 20, 2009, 8:47 am
We were supposed to go play on a lion statue but they had made an icerink around it  :stare: And we didn't have our ice skates with us... So, we continued to the malls to do some shopping. It was warm and cozy inside. As opposed to wet and chilly outside  ;) NK mall was too glamorous and expensive for us but Gallerian was more affordable. We didn't buy much though. I still let my host tick the Life Mission box as we were shopping in another country. Another to my home and another to my host's home  :D

We met lego Santa! I told him you had been a good mom, mom  ;) My host told him I had been a good kitty too  B) We'll see how that helps... After all, he's just lego Santa.

Posted Nov 20, 2009, 11:42 am
After shopping in the mall(s) we went to look for a place to eat. My host decided McDonald's would do, at least she could be sure the kids ate what she ordered  :p My host had bought some postcards and wrote those at the McD. She was suprised how hard it had been to get stamps. In Finland you get them in any store that sells postcards (basically everywhere) but here you get them only at a place called Pressbyrån. She felt lucky when she finally found one next to the McD. She felt relieved to find mailboxed between these two spots too  :D I could hear her mumble "No wonder there aren't many postcrossers in Sweden, it's darn hard to send mail here!"  :rolleyes:

After our meal we started walking back to the boat. We had been on our feet for hours so it was about time!

Posted Nov 20, 2009, 11:50 am
We rested in our cabin and had a snack before going on a tour in the boat again. I checked the safety information on our door - that probably should've done yesterday when we first came in... Well, better late than never! The lamp in the last photo was fascinating, the mirrors made it look like it went on and on! My host took the photo so that it looks "upside down".

In the second last photo you can see our route on a map. The boat has to stop in Mariehamn (Åland aka Ahvenanmaa, an autonomous part of Finland) to be able to sell tax free products. It's a law or something. Just like they could sell snuff only while on Swedish sea! Not that any of us bought it, just thought it was funny.

Posted Nov 20, 2009, 12:08 pm
Meowrning! Here we are, arriving back in Helsinki. The Baltic Sea was calm on our way back too. The island we pass by is Suomenlinna Sea Fortress. It's a really narrow place we went through!

Now it's also lighter so we saw the city and not just the lights.

I'm tired but happy that I had this opportunity to see the capitol of Sweden!

Posted Nov 29, 2009, 4:17 pm
Today I met Santa Claus! It was the Grand Opening of Old Porvoo's Christmas (follows the Grand Opening of Porvoo's Christmas which we missed) and Santa was scheduled to pay a visit. We heard that he would arrive on an old train (or actually it's a Rail Car) called Lättähattu ("Flat Hat"). The last trains to/from Porvoo operated before the 70's. After that, only during the summers for touristical reasons.

Here I am at the old railway station among old trains. There's also a steam locomotive operating during the summers. And there was this tiny railway model inside one goods magazine (sort of a shop). But back to Santa! He was very nice and said hello to every kid that didn't look too scared  :D I meowed to him that I've been good - and that I saw a lego Santa in Stockholm! He laughed like Santa's do and said I had been a good kitty - hear that mom!  B)

Posted Nov 29, 2009, 4:43 pm
Merry Christmas! This is the Grand Opening of Old Porvoo's Christmas. Well, it's not that grand... The Opening of Porvoo Christmas is usually Grander  :p But Santa came to say "hi" and sing with us - and give candy to kids (in that "teepee"). Some people held speeches wishing merry Christmas. There were also Tsar Alexander I and his love  :o They even spoke russian! There was a torch parade but they walked so fast we didn't get photos  :rolleyes:

We also did some window shopping  ;) Old Porvoo is full of small shops selling lovely handicrafts.


Posted Dec 3, 2009, 6:07 am
Meow! I'm now packed and ready to continue my travels  B) I'll be heading to China!  :cyclops: It's a long way there but I hope I arrive soon. Thank you Finland, it was great!

Posted Jan 11, 2010, 4:37 am
Oh!It's a funny experience. :p
I stay in Shanghai for two weeks.And then,I am here in Liaoning province together with Connie.I love the snow here!I will make a snowman then!

I wanna talk something about my campus-visiting. The library is beautiful.Connie and Suki took me to play in the small square near the lake.What a sunny day! B)