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Travelog for: Josie

Nuuksio, Finland - 22nd August 2012

By: Eohippus

Hullo, mom!  :D

This is just a short, first notice to tell you that I´ve arrived safely to Nuuksio in Finland and met my new host and my new toyvoyager mates.  :)

There I was sitting in my envelope and trying to guess by the sounds I heard what was happening outside.
My envelope was put into cars and trains and into an airplane, and sometimes I landed upside down and tried to shout for people to be a bit more carefull, but they didn´t hear me.  :thinking:

Only one time when I was pretty angry because there was a heavy newspaper over me the person outside heard me and answered "All right, all right, I take it off, but listen, whoever you are inside that envelope, you should wash your mouth with soap.  :rolleyes:

But then he spotted the wonderful stamp in my envelope. "Oi! Toyvoyager inside!" he said, "in that case it´s ok!"  ;)

After some days I fell asleep, and only woke up next time when my envelope was ripped open and filled with light, and there was a bunch of voyagers putting their heads inside.  :D

I roamed out from the envelope and the whole gang was giving me a wellcome hug and introducing themselves.  :)
Here I´m just standing our noses together with Krystal, and the other voyagers are form left to right Zoe , Tuli, Napoleon and Brownbeard:)

My new friends were then leading me to see a bit of the surroundings.
Guess what, mom! We are living in middle of forest!  :D

There is mushrooms and all!  :D

Tuli and Krystal were showing me the Toyvoyager Gazebo Hennas father made her for christmas present when she was a brat.
I think it looks like a nice place to sit in the evenings, drinking tea or coffee.  :)

Tuli poured me some coffee right away, because she guessed I was feeling a bit exhausted after the long trip.  :)

This is the little cottage where I´m going to live here in Finland.  :D
It is about hundred years old, and there is not even running water. Instead there is a good well on the yard.

We went inside, and there I met also my new host Henna, who was hugging me too and then lifted me into this swing.  :D

Then I was showing the postcard to everyone, and they were all admiring it a lot. "Wow! A special toyvoyager postcard!" "Hey! I´ve never seen anything like this" they were shouting.  B)

I´ll soon write my first update from here, mom!
My new friends all seem to be very nice, and I think I´m going to have a good time here.
A warm hug to you from Josie!  :)

* Posted Aug 22, 2012, 7:54 pm Last edited Aug 22, 2012, 8:06 pm by Eohippus [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Porkkala, Finland - 27th August 2012

By: Eohippus

Hello, dear mother!  :D

How are you doing?
I´ve settled in the life here and become a member of the gang. ;)

On saturday we went into Porkkala, which is an area in the seashore with nature trails, places to make fire and places to tent.  :)

There we walked along a small bridge onto an island.  :)

And then we headed trough a forest into a toyvoyager-tribe meeting place surrounded with secrecy!  B)

I, as a novice, was told to collect swan feathers.

And then I was given a pole with a squirrel skull to hold!  :thinking:
The tribe initiation ritual started.

I cannot tell you much about it -  as a tribe member my lips are now sealed with powerfull oaths!  B)

I can just tell you I was repeating the words of power after our tribe leader Zoe, and then I was tought the passwords and given the code for the secret language and the coordinates to the secret meeting places.  ;)

Then we were dancing wild, fierce dances around the skull pole.. it was all very thrilling!  :)

All the toyvoyagers who come to spend time here become members of the Nuuksio tribe, and will stay members rest of their life, whereever their travels take them, and they recognice each other by the secret signs.  B)

After the ritualistic part of the day was over, we were all hungry as wolves!  :p
So we were devouring the cookies and the juice Henna has packed for us. (She cannot take part to the tribe rituals, although she has managed to find out some things, says Zoe !)  :rolleyes:

Then we were busying round the island, picking mushrooms and watching everything.  :)
I found a chantarelli!

And there was raspberries growing wild everywhere!  :p

We were running along the fallen trees.  :)

And admiring the brave island flowers.  :)

I stood listening to the rustling of the reeds. 

And uttered my opinion about the toilet manners of some elk!  :thinking:

Later in the evening we made up a fire and sat around it telling stories about our travels.  :)

See you soon again, mom!
It´s my turn to do the dishes now!  :rolleyes:

A hug from Josie!

* Posted Aug 27, 2012, 10:52 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Karkali, Lohja, Finland - 8th September 2012

By: Eohippus

Hei, rakas äiti! (Hi, dear mom!)  :D

How are you?  :)
I´ve been busying here, doing small everyday things.
One day I was for example putting flower bulbs into the flower beds.

I was digging suitable holes for the bulbs, while Napoleon and Krystal were running back and forth, carrying the heavy bulbs and water to the spot.  :)

It was hard work, because the earth here is mixed with clay, because we are here standing on ancient sea bottom.  :thinking:
It is a bit odd to think that about 9000 years ago there was fish swimming where the cottage now stands (or sits, who knows!), but also fun! :D We were discussing about that, and the work went fast!

Soon the hole was deep enough.  :)

We lifted the maggot politely aside (and hid it from Zoe) and rolled the bulb on its place.  :)

Then we covered the bulb with earth and hopped over the earth to make it hard. There was lots of gigling and we we were all more or less stained with earth! How fun! :D

Then I poured water over the place.
The will be beautifull narcissuses next spring!  :)

Then we run to the forest! Partly because we didn´t want Henna to see us in that stained state (she has odd thoughts about baths and such), and partly because we all love the forest!  :)/size]

[size=2]There is so much interesting things to see and do!  :)

I´m learning to recognice some mushrooms.  :)

And I bet some mushrooms are learning to recognise us - they have been seeing us so often lately!  :D

We walked towards the forest towards the lake Lohjanjärvi we knew to be near.

The forest bottom was covered with wonderful manycolored moss, and I found out it is just as comfortable place to rest a bit as it looks like.  ;)

Then we reached a spot from which we could see the lake glimmering behind the trees.  :)
It is a big lake, and in earlier times it was considered to be holy.

We went down to the lake shore, where we were sitting in the sun and, of course, playing a bit in the water.  :D

The roots pushed into the lakeshore formed an exciting cave for us to play in. We were all suddenly pirates or shipwrecked sailors in an isolated island, tring to survive in middle of furious predators!  ;)


Then we visited a real cave called Torholan luola. It is the biggest cave in Finland, and has many natural passage ways. One of them is partly under the lake and is filled with lake water.  :)

Then we climbed the steep hillside up again. Or well, the others were climbing and I was taking a lift in Brownbeards mushroom basket, and he didn´t even notice!  :D

Then we sat for sometime, watching over the horizon and feeling the autumn coming nearer.


I found still more different mushrooms, and Zoe, who is becoming a mushroom expert was telling me what they were and if they were edible or not.

Then we were picking some lingonberries.  :)

And those we put over a blueberrypie we were having with coffee in the forest.  :p

See you soon again, mom!
A warm hug from Josie!
I wish you are having a beautiful early autumn too!  :)

* Posted Sep 8, 2012, 6:12 pm Last edited Sep 8, 2012, 6:36 pm by Eohippus [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Kopparnäs, Finland - 19th September 2012

By: Eohippus

Hei, rakas äiti! (hi, dear mom!)  :D

How are you?
I wish the weather there is better than here - it is raining most days, but there has been some sunny days too.  :)

Last weekend we visited Kopparnäs nature conservation area.
It is on the sea shore near a small town called Inkoo, about 35 kilometers from Nuuksio where we live here.  :)

Here I´m observing the map of the area before diving into the wildernes.  ;)

Then we did dive into it, and the wildernes around us infected us too, and soon we found ourselves singing and hopping, mushroom caps as hats on..  :rolleyes:

We found a great block of flats, and played to be cuckoos of a cuckoo clock at noon, singing "Ku ku! Ku ku!" twelve times in queue, so that the whole forest was ringing.  :D

A small toad came to investigate what was happening in her home forest. We told her we were tvoyagers, and she answered "Oh, that explains it, I thought you had escaped from some asylum."  :rolleyes:

The forest is infatuating, and that´s a fact, not just our imagination.
The scientists have noticed that there is lots of ozone released from the bottom of forest, especially humid spruce forest, and that is causing infatuation and even addiction.  ;)

No wonder all finns are a bit kuckoo, they live practically in midst of spruce forest, even when they live in town.  ;)

We stopped to have a small snack.  :)

And then we went on with our loony expedition, making somersaults on the soft moss and teasing the ants, asking "Aren´t you feeling like lazying around a bit today?"  :rolleyes:
We saw many mushrooms and took with us those we recognised to be edible (and tasty!).
These are funnel chanterelles (Cantharellus tubaeformis), and they are really delicious.  :p

This is a red amanita, and we left it where it was, because those are poisonous.
But I wonder, in many illustrations we can see elves or gnomes dancing round them..  :thinking:

Aren´t these mushrooms funny looking?  :D
They are mcrotyphula fistulosa, although it is not common to see black ones.. hey are not poisonous, but not very tasty either, so we left them alone too.

Then I found some sheathed woodtuft (Kuehneromyces mutabilis) and they are very good mushrooms too to make food of.  :)

Just to think all the wonderful mushroom dishes in the near future made us feel fungry, and so we decided it was high time to have something.  ;)

In the conservation area we couldn´t make an open fire, but we happened to have a camp gascooker in our pockets as well as potatoes and some frozen cheese sticks.. and  soon we had an inviting -smelling mix frying on a pan.  ;)

The food was good and we devoured it.  :p
And then we were remembering how we all had been reading books by Enid Blyton in which the kids were always eating huge picnic dinners in some interesting places, like castle ruins or caves behind waterfalls, and how we all had envied those brats.  :D

A punk looking caterpillar came to tell his opinion about Enid Blyton ( he talked sharply about the sexist and racist and patriarchal attitudes in the books), and we gave him a cheesestick.  :)

We reached the seashore, and for our surprise there was a sandy beach.  :)

The warm sand felt wonderful under our paws, and there was a pleasant smell of salt water and algae.  :)

The last warm days of this year are at hand here in Finland.
After the autumn rains the shore and the sea will soon freeze and be covered with ice and snow. But we were enjoing the sun.

We were playing in the shallow water, which was still warm, and climbing over the stones.  :)

I found a tall feather on the beach.  :)

And we put it on the top of a small sand castle we build.  :)

I was playing with the foam and algae and lost a ribbon from my left ear!  :thinking:
Don´t worry though, mom, Henna promised me a new one soon.  :D

I really enjoyed our day on the beach!  :)
But of course we had to leave back to home, and we walked along more rocky shores.

Here we are all posing for camera and saying "cheeeeeese!"  :D

On our way back we stopped in a place called Koski, where we saw this building, which is full of russian graffitis form the time Soviet Union was occupying this part of Finland.


"Koski" mean rapid in finnish, and there really was a small rapid.
I went as near to the running water as I dared.  B)

There was old mill- and generator buildings which had been using the power of the rapid.  :)

The others went to see the buildings, but I was just sitting and listening to the wonderful, wild sound of the water.  :)

It is running to the sea, and I think it was happy.  :D

On the other side of the bridge thewater was much calmer.  :)

We came back to home, but i was hearing the sound of the water still for a long time in my head.

See you soon again, mom! I´m going to sleep now, and in my dreams I´ll go back to the little beach..  :)

Your Josie.  :)

* Posted Sep 20, 2012, 1:36 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Helsinki, Finland - 27th September 2012

By: Eohippus

Hei taas, äiti! (Hi again, mother!)  :D
How are you? How is the early autumn going on at home?

Here the nights are already cool, and today it has been raining sleet and snow in Northern Finland.  :thinking:

Here you can see what kind of weather we´ve been having these last weeks with some exceptions, luckily.  :rolleyes:

Do you see how yellow and red the trees have already turned? :)

The lights there far away are the lights of one of the runways of the Helsinki airport.
We climbed over the hill on our search for mushrooms, and were surprised to see the airport.

Zoe, who knows the places best and is usually leading our expeditions, never admits she doesn´t know exactly where we are.
"That airport wasn´t there last time I climbed over this hill!", she said. "They have been moving it!"  :rolleyes:

This is what we found, huge Pestle Puffballs (Lycoperdon excipuliforme), but they were already a bit too old to be eaten.  :rolleyes:

We get so damp with the amount of fog in the air, that we needed to get somewhere to dry ourselves.
In some way or other we ended into a café. How odd.  :rolleyes:

We were having coffee..

.. and buns.  :p
And discussing how the world would be if the airports, buildings and even whole cities were really moving from one place into another. We would go to sleep here near the polar circle and wake up somewhere near equator in the morning without moving a muscle..  :rolleyes:

Last weekend we had one of those exceptions, a sunny day, I mean, and I made my first visit to Helsinki, the capitol city of Finland.
Here I´m in the bus on my way there.  :)

After I bus I took a train, and stepped out in the Helsinki Central railway station.

Here it is.  :)
The building was designed by Eliel Saarinen and opened 1919.
All the voyagers who have been visiting here have come to the same conclusion than I did, when I saw it: Saarinen has propably been listening a lot to radio.  ;)


These statues are lightbearers, whose roots are in the finnish mythology. They stand on boths sides of the main entrance.

I walked a small round in the centrum to get an impression of the city.
In this pic I´m walking on "Esplanadi". It is a very popular place to spend time in the summer evenings - to sit on the benches drinking and then pass out on the lawn.  :thinking:

Now there was just tourists strolling around, just like me.  :D And these beautiful flowerpots.
And a young couple glued to each other, kissing just in the spot wherefrom I would have had the best view for a interesting fountain. I waited and waited them to move, in vain.  :mad:
So I sneaked to bind their shoelaces together, ha ha ha.

Here is the fountain. It is called Havis Amanda.
Four sealions spitting over a naked girl in the middle.  :thinking:

Every year 29.4 the Esplanadi is filled with students finishing their upper secondary school with a big exam called "ylioppilastutkinto". They get a white cap for the sign of getting trough the exam, and they put a similar cap onto the head of Havis Amanda.  :)
Swimming in the fountain is part of the celebration too, needles to say they are drunk as skunks.  :rolleyes:

After the fountain there was the sea and the famous Kauppatori - Market Square.  :)

Originally Kauppatori was a place where fishermen were selling their catch to the town inhabitants - their piers were here too.
Later on it became the market place for whatever products - the farmers from countryside came here to sell their farm products and handicrafts.

I saw there lots of vegetables, berries, fish and mushrooms, some souveniers and handicrafts and many food stands.  :)

Wow!  :thinking: Mom, if we had sold all the mushrooms we´ve been picking on these prices we would be rich!  :p
But it´s even better to eat them ourselves. Cannot eat richnes.  ;)

All the vextables and mushrooms there made me hungry, so I sit down to strengthen myself on the table of one of the many foodstands.  ;)

Then I walked one block towards east to see the Helsinki Lutheran Cathedral.
It is designed by Carl Ludvig Engel, and it was first opened for public in 1840.
Nowadays it´s stairs are one of the favorite place for uni students to hang, the uni being just next to it, and also the most popular spot to start demonstration processions.  ;)

Now there was going on a happening by some historical horse association.
There was horses and charts and equipment used in field works.  :)


What is that thing, mom?
I asked Henna, but she was rather uncertain and said it might be a harrow or might not. "Anyway it is a thing with which they turn the earth in the field kinda upside down, you know" she said..
That much of her expertism.  ;)

We were admiring the horses for some time and then we went back to our cottage in Nuuksio, because we were all feeling a certain emptines in our stomachs already..  :rolleyes:

See you soon, mom!
A hug from Josie.  :stare:

* Posted Sep 27, 2012, 8:54 pm Last edited Sep 27, 2012, 8:55 pm by Eohippus [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Taking a bath in Nuuksio, Finland - 28th September 2012

By: Eohippus

Hi again, dear mom!  :D

It has been raining here so much that our yard here in Nuuksio has turned partly a mud pool.
You know, mom, that kinda brownish, thick mud, which makes funny noises when you hop in it.  ;) Well, we have been hopping a lot, and it shows..
yesterday I noticed my fur was stained. :mad:

It is not fair, mom!  :thinking: Zoe and Brownbeardare both more or less brown and they can be allover in mud without the stains showing! They need to take a bath only when they start to smell funny!  :mad:
And Tuli is a frog.. well, she baths and swims in about every pool we encounter on our expeditions.  :rolleyes:

Anyway, fair or not, I needed to have a bath, and the others were ready to help me.
You see, it´s not so easy to take a bath here. I´m not sure if I´ve told you that we live here without running water.. so the first task was to get water from the well.  :)

The well is a natural spring, only there is this concrete frame put around it so that the water would keep pure. It is always icy cold and tastes wonderful.  :)

We get the water from the well with a bucket which we drop there and then hoist back up from a rope bound to its handle.  :)

Zoe told me in the wintertime when the temperature goes very down, to -20 degrees Celsius or so, it can be difficult to get water from the well, because there is an ice cover which has to be broken first.  Sounds exiting!  B)

Next we had to build up a fire to heat the water, because I certainly wouldn´t have bathed in it otherwise!  :thinking:
So we gathered all sorts of dry twigs and branches..

Soon we had the fire going and the water over it in a big kettle, and we just needed to keep an eye on the fire and feed it with more wood until the water was warm enough.  :)

Henna loaned an old saucer for me to bath in.  :D
The water was wonderfully warm, and Zoe was helping by pouring it over me.

Brownbear brought me soap, and Tuli started to wash my fur with a little sponge.  :D

Of course there was lots of giggling and teasing.  ;) "How come you have a strawberry stain in your tail?!" and "Hey, when have you been eating jam and I´ve not got any?!"
I didn´t know bathing can be this fun. I think in the end Tuli and Brownbeard and Zoe were about as wet as me!  :D

Zoe attacked the last stubborn stain with a brush (I have my doubts if there really was any stain left  ;) ) and then Henna helped to por the heavy tubful of water over me to get rid of the soap. :)


Then Henna wrapped me into a warm towel and I was sitting on a garden chair, enjoying the clean feeling.  ;)

After a while one of Orkku Oravas cousins came and put a magazin into my paws and announced the Salon Fluffy was opening it services, at started to dry my fur with a hairdryer.  :D

And then he poured nicely smelling fur conditioner over me and patted it in, and said "Senhora be ready now!" B)

And so I was.  :D Clean and fresh and smelling good and feeling well! I wish you are too!
Your Josie!  :)

* Posted Sep 28, 2012, 8:21 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Kärkölä, ski jump hill, Finland - 8th October 2012

By: Eohippus

Hyvää iltaa, äiti! (Good evening, mother!)  :D

How is your autumn going?
Ours is going wetly and deliciously and colorfully, meaning it is raining like hell, there is wonderful apples and beautiful autumn foliage.  :)

Here we are in the yard of our little cottage, enjoying the wonderful blessing of the trees.  :)

After eating a month only berries and mushrooms in the forest the apples are a very wellcome variation.

..Ok ok  ;), we have also been eating lots of buns and omelettes, salads and soups, liquorice and icecream. It was Henna who demanded me to add those things, otherwise you would think she´s  starving me.  :rolleyes:

Our method of picking the apples is to climb to jump over them until they fall.
Of course, the more we eat apples, the less we need to jump to make them fall.  ;)

When the sun shines (rarely) there is a wonderful sweet smell under the apple trees.  :)

We always leave the fallen apples for wild animals, and there is lots of thrushes, hares, squirrels and deers coming to eat them.
Sometimes the apples have already started to ferment, and then they are even more popular. It seems some of the animals like to be drunk.  :thinking:

Yesterday it was a more bright day, and we went for a driwe with Hennas friend.
We were reading the map and choosing the route, favouring as small and less-used roads as possible.  :)
Of course on those roads it is not possible to driwe very fast, but that´s just the idea - we have time to see so much more, and many interesting, remote nooks.

Every now and then we stopped on a promising spot, and Henna and her friend run around searching signs of possible stone age dwelling sites.
Meanwhile we were just enjoying the new landscapes and searching for beautiful stones and such.  :)

We found many!  ;)

What odd landscape we encountered after walking trough a small forest area!

We were standing on an esker, formed by a stream which flowed within the huge glacier during ice age.  After the retaining ice walls melted away, stream deposits remained as a long winding ridge ( huh? What do you mean I copied this from Wikipedia?)  ;)
Now there was a huge sandpit and heaps which were formed of stones of certain sizes - small stones on one heap, bigger stones on the next one, even bigger on the third and so on.Here is the machine which is separating the stones according to the size.

On the other side of the sandpit we found an old wooden skijump hill.  :D
Of course we had to climb up there!

There was lots of stairs to climb, but we had even more will to see the views from the top of the tower.  :D

And the view was certainly worth of climbing!  :)

Would you like to jumps from here with skis, mom?  :stare:
I would! Or maybe with a sleigh..  ;)

After admiring the views enough we came back down.
We met a local guy who told us that the topmost part of the tower was burn two years ago because some young people had been there having a barbeque party.  :rolleyes:

The little red building is where the jury of the skijumping competitions is sitting and announcing their marks for the jumpers.  :)

The jumphill is still in use. Many young jumpers start their practise here, before moving to the bigger hills in Lahti.

We continued our trip, and stopped to walk along the shores of this beautiful small lake.
Tuli hopped into the water again, what else. Frogs..  :rolleyes:

But she carried me too on her back across the water, and I was sitting, just like a frog, on a waterlily leaf. Tuli said I would make a good frog.  ;)

And she shared a karjalanpiirakka with me, nom nom!  :p

Then we just sat there, watching the sun going down, silenced by the beauty of it.  :)

I wish you see some beautiful sunsets too!
A warm embrace from your little Josie  :)

* Posted Oct 8, 2012, 8:21 pm Last edited Oct 9, 2012, 7:47 pm by Eohippus [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Helsinki herring fair, Finland - 13th October 2012

By: Eohippus

Hello again, mom!  :)

Greetings from Herring Fair!  ;)

Helsingin Silakkamarkkinat (Herring Fair of Helsinki) is a tradition, which started latest at 1743, from which year are the oldest known documents about it.  :)

The Fair lasts a week and takes part on the Kauppatori market square.
Both the square and the see in front of it is full of booths selling different fish products, because tens of boats are also turned into booths.  :)

The boats come from everywhere along the finnish coast and the islands, and besides herring the are selling products from many other fish species too - salmon, sprat, northern pike and vendace.  :)

They are selling traditional products, like smoked, salted and dried fish, but also more moders things - fishpickles and even herring pizza.  :D

In bygone times fish was very important source of nutrition for the people living in Helsinki, but troughout wintertime the sea was on ice, which prevented the fishermen from coming to sell their fish into the town - so the townfolk was buing fish for the whole winter in the Herring Fair - mainly salted or dryed.  :)


It was the opening day of the fair when we were there, and there was huge amount of people, lured out from their nests by the sunny weather.  ;)

In the opening they there was also a "herring jury" choosing the best products of the year.  :D

How would you like to be in the herring jury, mom? Tasting about hundred herring products in few hours?  :stare:
Thinking about that possibility there is one very good news for you: There is NO swedish sour herring sold here! Phew!  :p

We were just walking amongst it all - watching people and the boats and the booths, and enjoying the sun and the smell of fish.  :rolleyes:


This boat is selling "leipää" - bread. Traditional "island bread", which is very dark and has triacle in it.
There was also another traditional bread called "kalakukko". Have you ever eaten that, mom? It is a rye bread, inside which is baked a whole bunch of vendaces.  :thinking:

We were listening for some time a hurdy-gurdy played by a blind man.  :)

Some of the bigger boats were working as reastaurants. This old lighthouse ship named "Helsinki" is one of them.  :)

The ship was also to be sold, can you imagine, mom?  :thinking:
Would I win a lottery I would turn it into a toyvoyager cruiser offering seats for plushy passangers! Ooo how that would be great!  B) But sadly I don´t think I´ve that kind of luck. Although, being a toyvoyager is such an interesting life anyway, that it is all in vain to think about such things!  :)

But even so.. can you imagine "Capten Josie I Great" navigating her lightship trough the seven seas?
I can!  :)

Here is another restaurant ship.  :D
Watching people to eat made us feel an emptines in our tummies..  :thinking:

So we sauntered to the restaurant area and bought a platefull of fried vendaces.
Here they are frying them.  ;)

Then we were devouring them.  :p

Our stomachs full, we were still walking and burping and watching everything.  ;)
Then we came back home and ate some more.

I hope you´ve had good meals too! :p
See you soon! Hug from Josie!  :stare:

* Posted Oct 13, 2012, 9:58 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Porvoo, Finland - 20th October 2012

By: Eohippus

Hello again, dear mom!  :)

We have all been rather upset here, because of Zoes moms passing away.  :(
We have been comforting Zoe, keeping her in a warm and fluffy voyager -embrace, and it was really a big relief to hear her to say the first witty remark after some uncharacteristically solemn days.  :)

We all send a warm embrace to you and to Zoes little sister Crawfish:)

But the show must go on, and I have many updates to write!
This time I´m showing you pics from our trip to Porvoo. Have you been there, mom?  :)

Here I´m watching the town of Porvoo from the top of an ironage castlehill, after which the whole town has got its name (in swedish Borgå = castle river).  :)

Here I´m standing on one of the bridges leading over the river Porvoo.
The water in the river was very brown at this time of year, when the huge rains have brought lots of earth from the fields, and I certainly didn´t feel like swimming in it, but the fish didn´t seem to mind.  :D

Porvoo is one of the oldest finnish towns, and it is about fifty kilometers to east from Helsinki.
We drowe there in the car of Hennas neighbour, who was more than happy to loan it to get rid of us for some hours.  :stare:

After admiring the riverview enough, we headed for the narrow, cobblestone -paved alleys of the old town.  :)
Here most of the buildings are made of wood and some of the buildings are rather old, although the town had suffered many fires in history.  The biggest fire in the year 1760 was caused by a woman cooking fish soup.  :rolleyes:

This is the old town hall of Porvoo. Nowadays it serves as the Museum of Porvoo town.  :)

It was very funny to walk along the cobblestones.  :D Henna was walking like a giraffe, but we toyvoyagers, we really had to hop from cobble to cobble.
Phew! I´ll be in a super condition after the time in Finland! Can you see my big muscles, mom?  ;)

The old town was very  adorable - the narrow passageways and some of the houses were almost toyvoyager sized, and many people had decorated their windows in charming ways to be nice to watch at for the passers by. We also saw many fat cats. What a nice place!  :)


Here is the mediaeval church of Porvoo. Some young stupidos burned it down some years ago, but now it is restaured again.  :)


We continued our walk trough the cute town, and can you imagine, we met there three nice women who came to ask from what part of world we are from, and told they have a colleague who is also in toyvoyaging.  ;)
It´s great to meet people who have heard of us! We are famous!  B)

We saw some glorious trees in the autumn colours.  :)

And a beautiful small square, where there was a sundial. We went to investigate it.

How do I read time from this, mom?  :thinking:
I have no idea, but I thinks it´s cool! Could I have one on my bedside table?  :stare:

It was already getting dark.. we are not very early risers here, unless we really HAVE to.  :rolleyes:

We were still walking trough the town center and doing some windowshopping. There was some very inviting little shops.

Then we walked onto the next bridge and saw the river Porvoo and the little red warehouses from opposite direction.  :D

We drowe back home, and sang the whole way a finnish song Tuli was teaching to us. It tells about a frog living under a rhubarb leaf in mothers kitchen garden. :)
She promised to teach a finnish song for each one of us according to our species. Maybe it´s my turn soon.  :)

Kisses from your little Josie!  :)
See you soon!

* Posted Oct 20, 2012, 10:01 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Castle of Turku, Finland - 26th October 2012

By: Eohippus

Hello, mother!
How are you?  :)

Guess what? Today it snowed for the first time!  :D

Of course there is only a very thin layer of snow, but anyway, it was great to wake up in the morning and see the earth white!  :D

Vi were visiting the Castle of Turku one day when they had free entrance for students, and Henna managed to coax her neighbor to loan the car to us.  :rolleyes:

So we drowe towards west about an hour and half, and then we were in Turku, and here I´m standing in front of the castle.  :)

This photo is from the castle yard.

There was a guide telling us about the history of the castle.
It´s building started on 1280. The Swedish conquerors of Finland intended it originally as a military fortress.
Later on the castle served as a bastion and administrative centre in of Finland under swedish rule. It was built larger and larger when the centuries passed by.  :rolleyes:

It was very dark inside the castle, and I found it somewhat gloomy too. Most photos we took are so dark you can see hardly anything in them, so I´m just putting here the ones where you can see it is your little Josie in the pic, and not a ghost.
The guide told us there is at least four different ghosts ghosting in the corridores!  :thinking:  :rolleyes:

The castle was really huge, and somewhat maze-like. I felt great to stop to watch the light and greennes outside the castlewalls everytime there was a suitable window.

This is the first one of the two rooms with lightning - the kings dining room. Can you imagine the king eating with only one visitor, lets say, another king - both of them of course sitting in the different table-ends and shouting to each other as a polite small-talk over the dishes?  ;)

We saw many interesting things, and I´m really sorry I cannot show them to you - for example the kings toilet was pretty interesting, and so was the prisoners pit - but both of them were too dark to take any photos.  :thinking:

This is the other room which had lights on - the castle chapel. There was an organist playing while we were there, and it was nice to sit and listen for awhile.  :)

The castle was in very bad condition in the beginning of the 20´th century, but it was renovated troughout many decades, and for example this chapel is painted according to old mediaeval manuscripts describing the original works.  :)

Here we are resting a bit between the many storeys and staircases.  :rolleyes:


Then we climbed the last stairs to the uppermost storey where the is a museum representing many of the items found in the castle and its surroundings during the archaeological excavations  and the reconstruction.  :)

There was lots of gold- and silverware, and other luxury items, which certainly were rare in mediaeval Finland, but even so I think I would rather have lived in a cottage even in mediaeval times than in a castle this gloomy.
The cottage certainly was warmer, and maybe there even was less lice.  ;)

When we had seen everything there was to be seen (except the ghosts - those only move in nighttime, they say) we came out from the castle and spent still some time on the yard.


It was only half an hour to the sunset when we get out, and so it was too late to go and see other parts of the town of Turku, which was a bit of a shame..  but maybe some other time, who knows!  :)

Goodbuy, gloomy Turku castle!  ;)

And a hug to you, mom! See you soon again!  :D
Your Josie

* Posted Oct 26, 2012, 4:06 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Botanical garden, Helsinki, Finland - 29th October 2012

By: Eohippus

Hip hei, äiti!  :D

I wish you are having a blessed autumn!

We took a train to Helsinki - Henna had to go to the uni library, and we followed her - it´s a bit difficult for us toyvoyagers to use the public transport alone -  the busdriwers don´t often see us when we try to stop a bus and people tend to step over us. Tuli told that one time a kid had even tried to kidnap her!  :thinking:
So, usually we just go with Henna and get into the vehicles without troubles inside her pockets.  ;)

In Helsinki I decided to go for a walk, mainly just to watch the autumn foliage.  :)

I walked trough a part of the town called Linnunlaulu, which means "birdsong", where there is many old wooden houses.  :)

I love dry leaf piles!  :D They smell wonderfully and make a delicious sound when I hop and jump in and on them!

So I walked from pile to pile and diwed into them like a badger, ha ha haa!  B)

I walked trough Kaisaniemi park, where people like to sit in summertime, and where there is many conserts and other happenings.

I came to the Botanical garden and went inside, because there seemed to be many autumn flowers in bloom.  :)

I was running from flower to flower, smelling everything and buzzing back to the last bees.  :D

I cannot tell you what flowers I saw, because I didn´t write their names down, but maybe you know their names - I didn´t care, I was just enjoying their glorious beauty.  :)

"Sleep well over winter!" I said to the flowers, "and wake joyfully up again in the spring!"  :)
"Thank you, little toyvoyager!" they answered "Go and bloom the whole year round!"

I climbed to look a tree full of delicious looking apples, although I saw there a little plake saying "Keep off!"
The apples were delicious too.  ;)

But the next moment I was stuck into a sticky web and screaming like hell, because there was an angry looking, hairy giant spider running towards me!  :o

Luckily she had just became a vegetarian, so she didn´t want to eat me, but she enquired in a rather spicy tone if I thought it was nice to eat other peoples apples.. she was now knitting webs just to "keep such devious little applesnatchers away", said she and then she took the web off and let me go.  :thinking:
I don´t think there is many times I´ve been running that fast!

Just in case she would suddenly forgot all about her new culinaristic ideology I was hiding inside a hollow treetrunk for some minutes.  :rolleyes:

Then I went to take a look inside the hothouses, where there was more wonderfull flowers.  :)

There was also a pond with giant waterlily leaves.  :D

And even some huge waterlilies!  :D

I was admiring the palm trees and end enjoying the tropical atmosphere in middle of finnish October.  ;)


I left the gardens and landed again into the autumn.

I met Brownbeard in one leaf pile, into which he was digging tunnels.  :D We walked then together  towards the place where we had agreed to gettogether with the gang.


We walked past the orthodox Uspenski cathedral. Do you remember it, mom?  :)


And over a bridge, where people put "lovelocks".  :)


We saw some nice buildings.

And more beautiful flowers.  :)

And then we met the rest of the gang and we all went to play Atari -games from the 1980´s.  :D

In my imagination the game characters came out from the computer.  ;)

And then we went to have some buns. I ate five - there never can be too many!  :stare:

See you soon again, dear mom!  :)
Your Josie

* Posted Oct 29, 2012, 7:34 pm Last edited Oct 29, 2012, 8:02 pm by Eohippus [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Nuuksio, at home, Finland - 31st October 2012

By: Eohippus

Hyvää kekriä, äiti! (Happy halloween, mom!)  :)

Here in Finland Halloween with ghosts and bats is a rather young phenomenon, mainly noticed at kindergartens. There is no tradition of kids going to trick- and treating in funny costumes.

Here is an older tradition, called Kekri or Köyri, although it of course has the same roots with halloween/samhain.
In Finland the whole month of November was the month of death.  :thinking: The finnish name Marraskuu means that, "Month of death", and that was time when the dead family members came back home, and they were served trough whole month - given food, took to sauna and told news.  :D

Kekri was a celebration with lots of drinking and ritualized loose sexuality.  ;) We were skipping the latest mentioned one.

We wanted to carve lanterns too, but the pumpkins here are so expensive, that we were using oranges and tangerins instead!  :D

I think they came up quite ok, and besides, when the candles were lit, they spread wonderful citric smell around.  :D

Our kekri celebration consisted mainly of eating good food in the light of our grinning lanterns.  :)

And of drinking and singing an old finnish kekri song again and again.  :)


"Yksi kaksi kolme neljä,          "One two three four, 
anna iloinen olla!                  let be happy!
Jos suru tulee                        If the sorrow comes
niin anna hänen mennä.        let him/her go.
Paarmat ne laulaa                  Horseflies are singing
neljä hiirtä hyppelee              four mice are jumping
kissi lyöpi trummun päälle      the cat is banging the drum
koko maailma pauhaa!"        the whole world is roaring!"

Kippis!  :D

Then we were dancing.  B)

And having a somersault competition. Many somersault competitions, actually. :D

And then I don´t quite remember..  :stare:

I just remember Tuli  telling us of the finnish "trick or treat" custom at Kekri - it was the adults and adolescents going round in traditional costumes, aping animals such as billygoats or cranes and behaving in obscene ways towards everyone, asking boost from neighbours, threatening otherwise to "break down the owen".

We were going to do that, but I don´t remember if we did.  ;)


Hugs from your little wild dog,
Josie.  B)

* Posted Nov 1, 2012, 12:49 am Last edited Nov 1, 2012, 1:15 am by Eohippus [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Lisbon, Portugal - 18th November 2012

By: Eohippus

Hello, dear mom!  :D

Your little doggie is in Portugal and has been here allready for two weeks.
I´m sorry I´ve had no possibility to make uploads before, we have been so awfully busy - eating and seeing new places and eating more, you know..  :rolleyes:

So we flew here in the beginning of November. We all had a slight headache for some unknown reason..  :rolleyes:

Here we are on the Helsinki airport watching the planes to be washed.

Our first plane, the plane to Frankfurt was late, and Henna was a bit nervous if we would have enough time to catch our second flight to Lisbon. But we toyvoyagers were just enjoying ourselves - we are so experienced travellers that we don´t care much about were we are - we are always "here" - the "here" just travels from one place to another.  ;)

There is christmas trees all year round in Helsinki airport to stress the fact that Finland is the country where Santa Claus (Joulupukki in finnish) lives, although some unenlightened people imagine him to live in North Pole or who knows where.  :rolleyes:

At last we get into our plane, but sadly we didn´t get a window seat, so we couldn´t take photos trough the window.  :(

So we were just running and climbing over peoples feet and heads and making everyone go crazy by singing a finnish song Tuli taught to us, which has hundred verses, until the airhostesses brought us coffee, and I doubt they had mixed sleeping pills into it because we slept rest of the flight and only woke up for few moments in Frankfurt airport where we took our second flight.  :rolleyes:


So it was already late night when we arrived to Lisbon and saw the river Tejo for first time. Beautiful, isn´t it?  :)

We get into our Portuguese home in Almada, which is in the opposite shore of river Tejo, just opposite Lisbon, and there we ate the wonderful dinner our portuguese friends had prepared just for us - wonderful soup.  :p

And delicious sardine.  :p

Then we were introduced to Sibila, an eighteen year old siamese cat, who has got enough personality and temperament to share with five other cats.  :rolleyes:

Next day we made our first seightseeing round in Lisbon. Zoe, who has already been here many times, was working as our turist guide, with a red sign to follow and all.  :rolleyes:

Here we are watching the "Cais das Colunas", which was the place many centuries ago where portuguese ships returned from their trips to Africa and other faraway areas, loaded with robbed treasures.

It was great to feel the warm sand under our paws.  :)
For local people it is of course winter, but for us, coming from Finland, it is a summer. 

We walked to see the Praça do Comercio, which is one of the main squares of Lisbon. In mediaeval times it worked as a place for public hangings, and later as a place where the most important shipping companies were placed.

These pompous buildings are where their headquarters were situated. Nowadays they work mainly as restaurants. There is also a museum telling about the history of the city.  :)

We saw some nice azulejos (tiles) with which the buildings were here  paved in older times.  :) Portuguese people learned the style from the moors during the moorish occupation.

Then we went to see another important square called Rossio.  :)

And the statue of king Dom Pedro V. (And a guy who tried to sell us some interesting looking pills).  :rolleyes:

We climbed into a viewpoint called Portas do Sol (Doors of the sun) to admire the beautiful view over the city of Lisbon.  :)

There was very cute trams passing by every now and then, and Henna told us that part of them had been in traffic since 1930´s. We wanted to make a driwe !  :D

It was very interesting! The driwere was pulling all sort of wheels and handles and the old tram was making huge noises, shaking and rocking along the streets.

The tram took us to Belem, where we saw the monastery of Belem, but it was closed since it was a monday, and we are still going to make a proper visit.  :)

The portuguese royalty was bowing their heads to us, which is quite natural, of course, krhm!  :stare:

We were hanging for awhile in a small, beautiful park.

There is a nice roof, where the colorfull leaves form the pavement. The local old guys sit under in summer evenings playing dominoes or cards, but now it is too cold for them.Not for us, though! But we are a tough gang.  :stare:

Then we came back home and ate some bread from the Alentejo area, which has a head.  ;)

See you again, mom! I try  to write soon!
Your Josie  :)

* Posted Nov 18, 2012, 6:37 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Quinta da Regaleira, Sintra, Portugal - 27th November 2012

By: Eohippus

Bom dia, mãe amada! (Good day, dear mom!)  :D

We have had a great time here in Portugal!  :) We have been seeing many many interesting things and places.
This time I´m going to see you pics from Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra, which is a small town about 30 kilometers from Lisbon.

The tickets to the quinta were over our limited budget, so we climbed there over a wall..  :rolleyes:

"Quinta Regaleira is an amazing estate, built by Carvalho Monteiro, who wished to build a place where he could gather symbols that would reflect his interests and ideologies - alchemy, Masonry, the Knights Templary, and the Rosicrucianism. The construction of the current estate commenced in 1904 and most of it was concluded by 1910" says Wikipedia.  :rolleyes:

So, besides the palace itself which you could see behind our backs in the first photo, there is a chapel, many pools, grottoes, towers and underground tunnels and labyrinths.  B)

The park of the quinta is rather big and grows many interesting species of trees, like these giant sequoias. :)

Doesn´t it sound just the place for little  toyvoyager brats to go investigating around, huh?  :stare:


That is exactly what we did, anyway.  :rolleyes:
There was lots of entertaining statues to climb on.  :)

..some of them friendly.  ;)

We investigated every possible little path..


..and climbed every tower there was to climb..

.. and admired the marvellous view over the landscape from up there.  :)

We sat in the sun and listened Henna reading from a book how the mysterious, spiritual cult used the quinta as their meeting point, and how it caused lots of rumours of horrible happenings (like cannibalism) going on in the quinta amongst the deeply catholic inhabitants of the nearby villages.  :rolleyes:

Then we went in search for the underground passages.  :)

We found one hidden gate to the underground world behind this statue of Diana.  :D

The passages themselves were so dark we couldn´t take pics inside them. We had a small flashlight with which it was possible to find our way.

The underground passages and grottos were created for some rituals which took place in the quinta in the beginning of the 20th century.

One of the passages led us to the bottom of this initiative well, where the new members of the cult had to spend a night and go trough a spritual trip.

There was winding stairs out from the well, and here you can see it from a different perspective.  :)

Here we are sitting on the mouth of the well.  :)

All the invetigating and running strated to make us feel a bit hungry..  :rolleyes:

So it was really great we found some chestnuts.  :D

And a nice bench where we sat eating them.  :p

Then we went to see the rest there was to be seen.  ;)

That was all this time, mom.
I try to write again as soon as possible.
Kisses from Josie!  :stare:

* Posted Nov 27, 2012, 5:03 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Monsaraz, Portugal - 5th December 2012

By: Eohippus

Boa tarde, mamã querida! (Good evening, beloved mom!)  :D

There is so much to tell and show to you, mom!
It´s hard to decide what to show you this time.  ;)

.. mm, ok, I´ll tell about our trip to Monsaraz, a small town near spanish border in a province called Alentejo.  :)

We took a train, a bus and an another bus to get to Monsaraz.
Here we are sitting in the train, eating our provicions.  :p

It was very early in the morning, and still pretty dark outside, but we enjoyed the views on villages passing by, anyway. (Yes, yes, all right..  Zoe is shouting that it wasn´t the villages passing by, but us..  :rolleyes:)

Here we ar in Évora, waiting for the first bus to take us to Reguengos de Monsaraz.  :)

The road was running trough huge olive groves and wineyards.  :)

Here we are waiting for the second bus to take us to Monsaraz, enjoying "bicas" in the bus station café.
"Bica" is how they call these small cupfulls of strong coffee.

Travelling is so much nicer when there is cafés and provisions..  ;)

There was lots of little brats going back to their homes in the surrounding countryside from their schools in Reguengos de Monsaraz, and the busdriwer knew them all bu their names and knew where each of the lived..  :)

We arrived at last to Monsaraz.  :)
It is a small mediaeval town, situated on a high point  from where there is a good view over the surrounding countryside.

Most houses and the street pavement are made of chist, as you can easily see in this streetview.  :)

Here we are sitting on the citywall, from where our gaze could reach also the spanish area - not that there was any notable difference.  :D

Round the town was many farms, and we could see flocks of sheep and hear their bells ringing and their "baa"ing - both very pleasant sounds!  :)

We walked around the small town, following the citywalls, peeping into yards (oh what oranges and lemons!) and admiring the landscape.
Here you can see one of the eight gates on the wall.  :)

The streets were totally empty of people, the only person we saw was a young cat.  :)
While walking, we discussed about how it would be to live in a place as small as this.  :rolleyes:
Could be a bit stressing..

But beautiful it certainly was, and maybe that could somehow balance the fact that your every neighbour would know how many panties you have in the closet (or if you don´t have any).  :rolleyes:

Here are part of the fortifications of the town.

Next day we went for a walk in the countryside.
It is hard to believe it is December, mom!  :thinking:
There was flowers and insects buzzing busily everywhere under the olive trees.

Here is some ripe olives to you, mom!  :)
The olive harvesting was going on - we saw many full loads been driwen to the markets.

Here, mom!  :)

We saw also many wineyards, but the wineharvest is already over, and the wine plants have turned yellow and red for the winter.

There is many megalith monuments in the region, and we went to see one of them - Penedo dos casamentos (the stone of marriages) - which is an ancient fertility cult site.
Originally the marriage ritual consisted of the couple climbing over the stone and, umm, spending there the night together, so to say..  :rolleyes:
Later on yong couples were throwing small stones over it, and if they stayed on top of it, the planned marriage was promising.  :)

Here is some more olive trees. Beautiful, isn´t it?
But honestly saying, there wasn´t much else to see..  :rolleyes:
Most of the megalith monuments were in someones private property, and they were all surrounded by fences and had very efficient dogs guarding them..

Here we are climbing a cork oak.  :)

Next day we came back to Laranjeiro, but we had some hours time in Évora to wait for the train, and so we went to see a bit of that town too.  :)
It is much bigger than Monsaraz.

We saw a roman temple, dedicated to goddes Diana. Although, there was an older temple already when the romans came..

Then we did some windowshopping.  ;)

Then we visited a spooky place, Capela dos ossos, where the walls are decorated with bones.  :thinking:
I´m sorry the quality of the photos is rather lousy - it was very dark in there.


I wouldn´t choose this ornamental style into my bedroom.  :rolleyes:

That was all from this time, mom - see you soon again!
Kisses from Josie.  :stare:

* Posted Dec 5, 2012, 9:58 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

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