Roo, Porvoo, Finland


Posted Oct 7, 2006, 6:33 pm
Roo just received her traveltags today, so i will be posting on the forum to see if any kind people would like roo to stay with them for a while for her first adventure !!!!

Posted May 1, 2007, 5:55 pm
Roo has now been officially released, she is on her way to texas as we speak.

Posted May 14, 2007, 8:47 pm
Roo arived today. She was quite glad to get out of her "traveling compartment".

Here she is wearing a cowboy hat and holding a Texas flag.

Posted May 14, 2007, 8:51 pm
After her official "Here I am in Texas" picture, Roo got to complete one of her goals!

She arrived here just in time to meet Orked. (Who is leaving soon.)

Here they are being a bit silly.

Posted May 21, 2007, 7:12 pm
Orked left today, but here are some pictures of her and Roo that I took at the church library last week.

In this one, they are playing leapfrog. This was, of course, Roo's idea.

I would have posted these sooner, but the internet was down.

Some more toyvoyagers have come to stay with us:

Here are Froddo, Roo, Henry, and Budd all together.

Posted Nov 18, 2007, 9:03 pm
Roo is going to be leaving soon, so she has asked me to post a few pictures.

The lake next to the house is full, so Roo and her good friend Iggy-Korn went on a walk to see the cranes that are migrating through.

While they were walking down the dirt road, Roo spotted some tracks.

After discovering that they were the tracks of a sandhill crane, they continued walking down the road. (There were cranes in the lake, but the sight of us coming down the road scared them and they all flew to the other side of the lake where we couldn't get any pictures.  :()

When the cranes flew away, one of them dropped something.

It was a huge feather! The two of them decided that if a feather from a crane was bigger than both of them, they didn't really want to meet one in person.

Posted Nov 18, 2007, 9:07 pm
On the way home from their walk, Roo and Iggy-Korn decided that they wanted to take some pictures with the beautiful West Texas sunset.

Posted Nov 24, 2007, 1:39 pm
Today Roo and Iggy-Korn went on an adventure! It was very cold outside, so they decided to explore the house.

It all started when Iggy-Korn noticed that one of the doors was different.

Roo and Iggy-Korn stood at the door and wondered why it looked that way and what could possibly be inside.

Then Roo noticed that the door was open just enough for two toyvoyagers to slip inside. So......of course they had to go in!

What they saw inside was almost unbelieveable!

Posted Nov 24, 2007, 2:38 pm
When Roo and Iggy-Korn looked inside the room, they found that it was decorated to look like it belonged in Aincent Egypt.

There were columns painted on the walls, along with a giant mural of a cat!

The rug had heiroglyphics and pictures on it. (this one is of an aincent boat)

Roo really liked this picture of an Egyptian woman.

Then Roo and Iggy-Korn climbed up on a big piece of furniture to see what was up there.

They found a small statue of a bird and a papyrus painting. (I'd like to add that the bird's name is Horus, and that the picture is from the aincent Egyptian "book of the dead".)

There were other statues there too. Roo posed for a picture with this one of a pharaoh. (An aincent egyptian king)

When they came down, Roo and Iggy-Korn had a bit of a scare. Remember the cat mural? Well, it turns out that that wasn't the only cat in the room.

I came in just in time to "rescue" them from the cat. He is, in fact, a good friend of mine and very friendly. His name is Leo, or "The Grand Ceaser Leo the Magnificent" if you want to be more formal.

(It seems that they had been exploring my bedroom! It's decorated with an Aincent Egyptian theme, as I'm planning to be an archaeologist.)

Posted Nov 24, 2007, 3:01 pm
Today Roo and Iggy-Korn joined me while I was practicing my harp. (It's a celtic-style harp, so it's much smaller than the ones you see in an orchestra.)

Roo and Iggy-Korn got to try playing the harp together.

My harp is much bigger than the two of them, so it took both toyvoyagers to play! Roo played the lower notes, and Iggy-Korn did the high ones.

Roo is actually quite good at the harp, although she had a slight problem reaching some of the strings...

Posted Nov 30, 2007, 1:48 pm
This morning, I woke Roo and Iggy-Korn up really, really early.

So Roo and Iggy-Korn got to ride in the car with the whole family and see the sun rise through the rear window.

We had breakfast in Plainview. They enjoied it very much, but we didn't stop for long because we hadn't arrived at our destination yet.

We drove and we drove and we drove until we arrived in Amarillo. Then Roo and Iggy-Korn finally found out the suprise: We were going to the Farm Show!

What is a farm show, you ask? Basicly, it's where a whole bunch of farmers get together and look at all of the new equipment and such that's avalible to them. (Or a comunity center full of giant machienes and farmers.)

They got to see a pair of tractors that are made to spray chemicals onto the feild.

This is the newer version:

And this is the old, old one:

Everyone we met was happy to let us take pictures!

Later on, Roo and Iggy-Korn got to learn about the "Ogallala Aquifer", where most of the water in west Texas comes from. There was a big display showing what it looks like:

It was very interesting for them to learn that the playa lake they explored a while back is actually a collection station for the aquifer.

Unfortunatly, we didn't get to take any more pictures at the farm show, but it was really a lot of fun!

Posted Dec 4, 2007, 7:36 pm
Well, Roo is on her way to Australia now! (She was very excited to find out her destination.)

This morning I accompanied Roo to the Post Office in Dougherty.

Everyone was excited to meet Roo and help her get on her way. They even custom-fitted her with a "Personal Traveling Compartment".

I hope that she has a short and uneventfull journey to her next host!

Posted Jan 18, 2008, 3:15 am
Roo arrived safely just before Christmas and was delighted to meet three other Toy Voyagers staying here.
She wasn't lonely at all and was very busy helping them get ready for Christmas.

She went for a ride in the car to look for other kangaroo's but they were all too far in the distance for her to have a photo with them.
She looked and looked in the Australian bush for the others.
She saw the signs which slow us down so we don't hit them with our cars.

No kangaroo's today so a trip to the beach instead.

Posted Jan 18, 2008, 3:23 am
What fun I had, a day out in Brisbane all by myself.
The other toys stayed home so I felt very important.
I went to a place called Kangaroo Point and later, at the park in Southbank there was a childrens water map where I had my photo taken.
I saw the Casino, the Brisbane River, the statue of the Aussie farmer and his Blue Healer dog and went to Amici's Italian Restaurant for pizza. Yes of course we kangaroo's like pizza!

Posted Jan 18, 2008, 3:27 am
Happy 2008 to all.
I celebrated it with the other toys and we had alot of fun.

Next day I visited Queens Park Nature Reserve here in Ipswich and met some kangaroo's.
They are actually rather rude to toys.

Posted Feb 18, 2008, 8:24 pm
We had an Australia day party with lots of people and I had a great time.

Posted Feb 18, 2008, 8:27 pm
It was very sad to have to say goodbye to two dear friends, but Cool Jules flew off to a new home and we took FredAbear for a stroll to the other end of our street to Michele's house.

Posted Feb 18, 2008, 8:30 pm
How exciting it was today.
I had another trip to Brisbane and I met a group of Postcrossers.
The girl from Finland even had a Toy Voyager with her called
Mini Meow.
We sure had alot of fun.

Posted Mar 5, 2008, 3:20 am
I have had an exciting time in Queensland and my hosts have loved having me.
I am ready to move on as soon as I know where to.
A couple of photo's first.

I had a good time at Crizle's birthday with her new bear Lavender.
We had lots to talk about. She smells so nice, and she listened while I told her about my travels.

We have a new Toy Voyager staying here too.
His name is Hedgie and we have been great mates.

Posted Mar 26, 2008, 9:43 am
Good afternoon! I arrived in Finland today and what I saw right away was snow! Lots and lots of snow! My host was as suprised as I was - they haven't had almost any snow so far, and the winter should be over soon. The main newspaper said this has been the warmest winter ever. This is why my host took some pics of me in snow asap, it may well be melted away tomorrow.

I also met Alfie Langer and Chamki who recently arrived. I bet we'll be having lots of fun together! This seems like a small world: I came from Alfie's mentor and I've met Ms Mini Meow who is owned by this host! I feel like home already  :D

Posted Mar 29, 2008, 8:41 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 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 has been independent since 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.

Porvoo is the second oldest city in Finland and has about 47000 inhabitants. Porvoo is situated quite close to Helsinki, the capitol, it takes only about 1h to drive there (50km).

The cannon is from the 2nd World War! Naturally it's not functional anymore.

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.

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 Apr 2, 2008, 6:21 pm
This is the sauna which is very important to all Finns. This sauna is electric so you turn it on. Then you throw water on the hot stones to get it even more hot&humid. You take a shower before and after - and sometimes in the middle too. It's really relaxing and good to your skin (opens the pores)! We took the photos while the sauna was turned off as it would've been hard to get other than foggy pics if it was on. My host says the temperature is usually 60-80 degrees Celcius, less is cold and more is too hot. I'm in the pic with Chamki because usually the women go to sauna together and the men in their turn - that in the public saunas, naturally the family goes together.

Posted Apr 3, 2008, 1:01 pm
Today we visited the city center. These pics are taken around the market place/bus station, which is considered the very center of the city. There is also the main street (second last pic) and older buildings on the old town side of the street. It was a nice sunny weather and not too busy as it was barely lunchtime.

Posted Apr 6, 2008, 10:14 am
Today my host showed me the Baltic Sea! My host lives in the part of this town where the sea is very close. And yes, this is the Baltic although it's not an open sea view as they have so much archipelago here. The creator of Moomin spent her summers in this part of the coast in the old days. No wonder Moominpappa loves the sea! People have started to take their boats out of covers - and we even saw some birds, although we didn't recognice then... My host guessed Canadian Geese but she said she woudn't bet her money on it. Now I have "double done" two of my missions: met other tv's and visited the seaside!

Posted Apr 6, 2008, 10:27 am
We visited my host's parents in a smaller village on the other side of Porvoo municipality. The first photo shows a not-so-much-used road next to the local football field. That yellow building with red roof in the second pic is the local school which had altogether 20 pupils in grades 1 thru 6 when my host attended it. My host calls it "the good old days"  :rolleyes: The third photo shows a view to the houses which used to be a gas station (the red one) and a shop (the white'ish) - small but with variety ("except for what came to birthday presents" my host added).


Posted Apr 10, 2008, 8:18 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. 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 pic before the green phonebooth the Presidential Palace.

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.

In the second 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.

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


Posted Apr 22, 2008, 6:38 am
This sunny Sunday we went to my host's mother-in-law for a barbeque! As BBQ is usually done with family & friends we took the pics so that both my newest tv friends were in the same shots :) We had sausages, meat and fries which were quite tasty! This was also kind of a goodbye dinner for Chamki as she will continue her travels next week. Me and Alfie may stay longer, my host has planned quite interesting visits for next month... 

Posted Apr 29, 2008, 7:53 am
Today I got to hop on a sightseeing tower! I got an overall picture of Porvoo - as you can see  B) There's the church, there the red shorehouses, there the rest of the river that runs to the Baltic Sea. When we took pics by the riverside I saw these from the ground, now I see them from the "air"! A new perspective can be gained this easily  :D

In the fourth pic is the forest under the tower and in the last pic the tower from a distance.

Posted May 3, 2008, 6:00 pm
This is vappu (which is what they call 1st of May = Labour Day). I made my own vappu hat and then I played with the other toyvoyagers (Ninni, Alfie Langer and Chokito). We had balloons and streamer! People eat doughnuts and maybe \"tippaleipä\" and drink sima (mead) on vappu. Some people attend marches and wear their graduation hats (esp. undergraduates).

Posted May 9, 2008, 5:47 pm
After the rain we went outdoors. I collected flowers with Ninni, who then made me that "crown" of flowers! It was so very nice of her. The boys (Alfie Langer, Chokito and Majed) tried to find 4-leaf clovers and Majed did some climbing on trees.

Posted May 11, 2008, 4:53 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, splendid my dear!  :D

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

Posted May 13, 2008, 7:36 pm
This was a jolly good day! I got to ride to Helsinki with all the other tv's. It was my second time in the capitol, but from a different angle. There's the Linnanmäki Amusement Park from a distance. In the second pic there's Helsinki from the other side of a lake - my host pointed at the Cathedral to give a hint where we were this time. And in the last pic the bunch of us are at the hospital, waiting for the appointment for the youngest girl (the little lass is ok). There was this huge kitty cat too! All of us tv's were too scared of her to go and take a pic with it...

Posted May 14, 2008, 6:18 pm
"What is this? Why am I blindfolded?"

Tadaa! They held me a suprise belated birthday party! Awwww, you guys *blush* While planning on Alfie's birthday (shhh, don't tell him!) my host noticed that I hadn't had a birthday yet and thought it would be cool to suprise me. I'm so excited!  :cyclops: I didn't know what was coming at all! My host had even made me a gift - that lovely necklace with my name on it! And a card with everyone's name on it!

I had a cake with candles! I did remember to make a wish when I blew them out  ;) I can't tell you or it will not come true. There was also juice and candies served. Majed and Alfie held a banner wishing me a happy birthday. They all sang too!

Ah, this really is a day to remember!

Posted May 15, 2008, 7:23 pm
Today was Alfie's turn to hear the Happy Birthday -song :) I gave him the card&gift that were from all of us. He got a football fridge magnet. We all got cake and other goodies - again  :D

Posted May 17, 2008, 5:38 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 as I had done this before, in Australia! And we did have a great time! We were all welcomed warmly. We got some chocolate tea - 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:

Posted May 17, 2008, 5:42 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 as I had done this before, in Australia! And I did have a great time here too! We were all welcomed warmly. We got some chocolate tea - 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:

Posted May 21, 2008, 7:13 pm
I love Wednesdays! Especially when I get to visit a Unesco World Heritage Site with my host on a sunny day  B) In other words I visited Suomenlinna Seafortress in Helsinki (yes, it's a part of Helsinki). In the first picture we've departed from the pier in Helsinki City and pic by pic we get closer to Suomenlinna. In the fourth photo is the ferry we took. Later there's the subranine called Vesikko, a veteran of the Second World War. In the last pic is the tomb of Augustin Ehrensvärd (1710-1772), founder of the fortress. The most I enjoyed the general views! We're only 50km away from Porvoo and we could take a boat to get there (but we didn't, we took the buss)!

Posted May 25, 2008, 11:21 am
Now there's another 4-year-old in the house ;) My host's daughter turned 4 and we held her a party of course. I got to help with the doggie cake! I whipped the cream  :D It was a nice & sunny day and the girl got many nice presents (I might introduce one later).

Posted Jun 2, 2008, 5:04 pm
Here I am at.... Wait! Wait! I have been here before! It's Helsinki. Again. Doesn't my host have any imagination... Holy macaroni, it's a train - now that I think of it, she did say something about a trip to... what was it... Oh yes, a place called Tampere!

Posted Jun 2, 2008, 5:07 pm
I've had more comfortable trips... But the train was so fully booked we had to sit tight behind our host's daughter. That's me and my travelling tv-companions Alfie, Chokito, Ninni, Elle, Stuart and Majed. We did try to entertain each other by telling jokes and stories. Some of the jokes were quite bad though...  :)

Posted Jun 2, 2008, 5:10 pm
We did get to see the sights too, from the train window I mean. We passed a city called Hämeenlinna and saw the Häme Castle.

Posted Jun 2, 2008, 5:32 pm
Now I'm in Tampere the city about 2h drive away from Porvoo. The train from Helsinki also took about 2h. 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. I did go on a car ride with the 4 year old (the 2nd and 3rd photo)!

I also saw the dolphin show in the most northern dolphinarium of the world! The dolphins were very skillfull! 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 (by the way: the lifts travel at a speed of 6 metres per second). It's like half way to Eiffel Tower  ;) The views were quite amazing from up there! The tower itself you can see in the first photo.


Posted Jun 2, 2008, 5:37 pm
Before heading back home the next day we visited the Moominvalley of the Tampere Art Museum. On the way there we saw this nice church called the Alexander's Church.

Anyway, the Moominvalley Museum is situated in the same building as the main library (see 2nd photo). We weren't allowed to take photos in the Moominvalley exhibitions but we could take a few in the first hallway and in the "event room" where that game was (I'm on the game with Elle and Alfie Langer). There you can see some of the original works of Tove Jansson, the creator of Moomin.

Later we saw some of the city center and biking event - and the Moomin! I really met a real Moomin here! This trip gave me so much to digest that I need to stay put for a week at least  :D

Posted Jun 7, 2008, 3:59 pm
I've stayed put for a week. Time to do some more exploring! 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. We couldn't stay long as the little one we had with us got scared of the noise/tired/hungry and we had to leave.

Posted Jun 7, 2008, 4:06 pm
After the Market we walked towards a playground as there was time before the buss and our host thought the little one would cheer up in a playground. here I'm over the Porvoo River, looking at the sights. I've been there, on the other side before but then there was snow!

Posted Jun 7, 2008, 4:10 pm
...and here we are at the playground. We toyvoyagers did our share cheering the little one - we played too!  :D That's me with Chokito and Alfie Langer, also known as The Awesome Three  :D

Posted Jun 13, 2008, 5:34 pm
A lucky Friday 13th :) 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?

My host says 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.

I tried to chat with that horse but he wasn't very talkative. Maybe he didn't  understand English.

Anyway, it was an interesting day at work!

Posted Jun 21, 2008, 5:59 pm
"It's raining men, hallelujah, it's raining men..." Well, not exactly. It's water. Lots and lots of water. And it's Midsummer Eve. The day you're supposed to go out and barbeque, watch a bonfire, have fun. Not very likely in this weather I say! There's something good in the rain too though; less people will drink their arses off and get killed (traditionally several people drown or get killed in a car accident during there days off). But we nice little tv's and our well-behaving host family are bored to tears! The only bonfire we could see was on the calendar!

Posted Jun 21, 2008, 6:03 pm
Wohoo! Sunshine! We drove to our host's parents and stopped by this river on the way. The boys (Alfie & Chokito)  would've wanted to go white water rafting  :thinking: I would've rather stayed on the shore - and I was relieved when our host yelled "Noooooooo!". Instead we tried the winch with which people lift their boats up from the river. Chokito might look exhausted but really I'm quite slim  :D Oyh, it was fun  :D

Posted Jul 5, 2008, 7:52 pm
The weather was so nice today, after all the heavy rain, that 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  We drove a longer way to the playground and had goodies and juice there.  I tried to teach hopscotch to the boys (Alfie and Chokito)  but they just didn't get it right... But we had fun  :D The boys climbed trees so my host helped me up to a tree too - I loved the views! My host has completed her training so she's going to be more active in hosting again now  :cyclops: Not that we had a bad time while she was training  ;)

Posted Jul 9, 2008, 5:19 pm
Hello family & friends! My hostmom loves to help children in need and The Teddy Bear Clinic (see Threadbear) hit her heart hard - in a  good way! Now she organized the teddies she will send to South Africa. Here you see the 7 teddies to be sent. We hope they all fit to the Moomin-box that you see behind them...

Posted Jul 16, 2008, 7:50 am
Here we are, at Korkeasaari Zoo! This special family outing was arranged by my host due to the following reasons: her training period is over, Stuart the Lion was the Voyager of the Week last week 1/3 thanks to my host and Alfie is in top10! Plenty of reasons to celebrate  :D And there we are, on the roof of the car we drove: Ninni, Chokito, Alfie and me :)

We had to walk over a bridge to get to the island which is the zoo. You can see the Cathedral and the Orthodox Church in the distance, I saw them closer in May. The first animal I saw was the swan, Finland's national bird. The the national animal: brown bear. They did  look like Alfie! Then I saw the european Bison which was quite big comapred to me.

On the way to the Valley of The Cats I saw Helsinki from yet another point of view  :) The Cat Valley showed me a snow leopard and a lion for example. The lion was just posing and looking after his ladies. He was quite handsome and my host wanted to go and cuddle him  :p

Then it was time to play Noah's Arc and ride a camel  :D


Posted Jul 16, 2008, 8:43 am
Zoo trip, part 2  :)

After we finished playing we took a look at the red panda, which was super cute! I also met my reletives, the red wallabies! I greeted them of course but it wasn't easy to chat as there was this distance and gap between us.

Soon it was lunchtime! Chokito, Ninni, Alfie and me shared this bowl which was just the right size for us. Unfortunately we had to wait for it like 45min before we got it after ordering. But it was nice to sit, rest and chat  :D

After the well-earned rest and our stomachs full we continued the tour. We saw the baboons (one human said that "the Eu should make a directive about this and make them wear pants" - lol! Then there was the mongolian wild horse, vapiti and tropical waterfall (there were tropical snakes, lizards etc but the light wasn't good for photos). When my host saw the flamingos she yelled "Miami Vice" without second thought  :p

On the way back to the car there were wooden animals, I posed with bambi here. It was a lovely day out, but tiring because we walked/hopped so much and we all fell assleep in the car.

Posted Jul 21, 2008, 7:20 am
The girls in the house got a Moomin Memory/Pairs game from their grandma. They were eager to play it with us. Here's the round with only us tv's and one dog called Lurppa (he lives here). I was pretty good but Lurppa won! I'm sure it's because he had "home field advantage"  :p It was a fun game though and as Moomin are something very Finnish it was a cultural experience too  :D

Posted Jul 27, 2008, 5:24 pm
It was so hot we just had to go to a beach! We drove to a beach about 15km away from the city center, in the middle of nowhere - but it was totally worth it! The water gets deep quite far away so it was great for the kids too. We spent half the day there, swimming, playing in the sand, eating... I loved the view  :)

Posted Jul 27, 2008, 5:29 pm
I have now 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 some look like it too... 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, 9:43 am
We held Chokito's goodbye-party already although he won't be leaving to South Africa untill mid-August. Batman-theme was a natural choise  :D There was Batman candies, Batman cola - and a Batman Movie from 1966!
After the movie we talked about our past and future adventures. I wish Chokito all the best in the future!

Posted Aug 9, 2008, 6:51 pm
It was raining, but we ain't made of sugar so we went to take a look at the steam train! We had plenty of time so we checked the station area which 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. We also saw this miniature railroad which looked like fun but we weren't allowed to touch it. There were also other things to see, like the old add.

The main reason arrived finally: the steamtrain. It was black and it was huge! These type locomotives built during years 1928-1953. The blue one in the last pic is called Lättähattu  and it operated 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. There hasn't been any "real" trains on the rail for years. The only trains that operate are these old tourist attractions and they run only a few times per summer. Not only foreign tourists enjoy them, also Finns like to take a "walk on the memory lane" with the trains. My host has done so too, although she wasn't even born when these trains were new  ;)

Posted Aug 14, 2008, 8:28 am
My host had some errands to run in Helsinki and I got to go with her - again  ;) This time I thought we had landed (as much as you can land with a bus) in Paris instead!  Sadly they were "only" wall paintings... But I could imagine myself in France, buying "fleur" (flowers) and "fromage et vin" (Cheese and wine)  :)

While waiting for the tram I saw these lovely old buildings. And a little later this gorgeous red church! It's The Church of St. John which 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.

Posted Aug 14, 2008, 8:33 am
Our main goal (excluding the errands) was this cafe that had vintage travel posters on display! The old Finnish travel adds look funny  :D And there's a book full of them! We bough a few postcards of them. Some of the photos we took were made look old too  :p

Posted Aug 15, 2008, 1:02 pm
Olympic Games 2008! I watched some of the competitions with Alfie. As we are guests here we concentrated on the Finnish competitors :) I also liked the gymnastics, the girls are so good at it! And I saw one of the girls taking her photo next to the competition area - she posed smiling widely  :) I think it was so sweet! It showed that being at the Olympics was a big deal for her and she wasn't full of herself  :D

Posted Aug 22, 2008, 6:01 pm
My host made this delicious self-portrait for her own birthday - which is today! Me and Alfie sang her the song of course  :D

Posted Aug 27, 2008, 7:00 pm
This is our new friend: Lemmy, a tiny fox. He was very interested in hearing about this family and country. Ninni (the bunny) was interested in hearing about the newest things in the world as she was to start her own voyage tommorow!

Posted Aug 27, 2008, 7:04 pm
My host showed me a part of Porvoo we hadn't yet visited: the so called "Empire Porvoo". These wooden houses date back to the late 1800. They're of course modern on the inside and people live there - and part of them are schools. It is said that 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 (who also designed 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, 7:52 am
My host was very upset when she noticed hadn't taken me to Castle Hill! It was like  :o and and :stare:  She's so funny when she's suprised  :p I do have seen this hill from further away but never been on it. But 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! I wouls love to be Maid Marion  :) 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 almost all bridges crossing the River Porvoo from here, and the Old Town. Very cool! I'm glad my host showed me this place  ;) 

Posted Sep 8, 2008, 8:41 am
The Castle Hill sightseeing wasn't our only destination today: from there we drove to a car sales place. They had this event for families and my host had decided to take the kids there. Lemmy, Alfie and I got to draw with chalks, try the bouncy castle, eat risotto, meet 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. My favorite was the one in the bottom, almost at my nose, the yellowish one. I thought it was "kangaroo yellow" but apparently I'm Persian Yellow!  :stare: 

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. We spent 3 hours at the event but guess what... My host didn't photograph me with any of the cool new cars  :rolleyes:

Posted Sep 9, 2008, 6:58 pm
Today we visited a stable as one of the girls got to ride a horse. I didn't as they didn't have a helmet small enough  :( Safety first! I did get to meet other horses and ponies - and see dinosaur eggs! See, those huge white things!

Posted Sep 19, 2008, 8:32 pm
On this cool but dry autumn day we took a tour to show Lemmy around. I got to be in places that I hadn't been photographed in yet! There I am at the edge of the Old Town. The last one is my favorite, we're so high up (and not even close to the other place I posed in)! My host wants to come back and take a postcard photo there. Maybe when the leaves are even more colorfull (and her camera batteries are recharged *grin*).

Posted Sep 24, 2008, 8:43 am
On Saturday I attended a postcrossing meeting in Helsinki! It was held to welcome some people and they got gifts. I also helped signing the 192 cards people wrote :) That pen is made by my host. Some have special "meeting pens" (and a meeting duck which you see in the first pic) and my host thought she could make a personal one. And yet she signed the cards with her username stickers...

Posted Sep 24, 2008, 12:17 pm
This is the Post Museum we visited after the postcrossing meeting. It's in the main post office. I saw postcards, stamps, mail delivery etc. thru the centuries. See me on the post horse and on the old mail truck? They also had posters about postcrossing in the last hallway.

Posted Sep 28, 2008, 6:50 pm
This is me in Kerava :) We picked up my host's sister there. We were all about to drive to celebrate their brother who turns 50!

Posted Sep 28, 2008, 6:57 pm
This is where the party was held; in the area of a psychiatric hospital in Nokia. My host assured me none of the guests were mental patients ;) And yes, Nokia really is a city in Finland. The company that shares the name comes from Nokia. You know, the one that makes cellphones (they used to make rubber boots).

The house where the party was held is built before 1900! And the decor suits the age. I loved the lake! We had a fun day - and we all fell asleep while driving back. Except for our host of course as she drove.

Posted Oct 10, 2008, 7:42 pm
I got to visit a Mickey Mouse exhibition 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! My nickname is Picklock-Toyvoyager  B) I'm wanted for stealing Daisy Duck's notes or something. I'm innocent I tell you!  ;)

Posted Oct 10, 2008, 7:55 pm
While in Helsinki I also got to see the Cathedral from the inside. I have seen it from the outside before. I hopped the 47 stairs up which was tiring. It looked very small inside, compared to the outside!

Posted Oct 11, 2008, 1:29 pm
Before we took the buss back to Porvoo I saw this funfair. We didn't take any rides or try our luck in games. Neither did anyone else either it seems. Maybe it was too early for fun & games.

Posted Oct 11, 2008, 1:33 pm
When we got back to Porvoo we realized there was a marketfair there! They're here for two days and sell all sorts of stuff. It took the whole market place and several streets. My host wanted to buy some clothes and sweets and... but she only bought postcards. She said she was lucky it wasn't her pay day  :rolleyes: I stayed in the bag with Alfie, my host said it was more secure in a crowd like this (you really can't see it from the pics, the crowd there was).

Posted Nov 8, 2008, 5:04 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, 8:29 am
This is how my hostfamily celebrated Father's Day 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 got to sleep late, which probably was his favorite gift...

We baked some apple pies which came from the freezer, so we didn't have to do much about it. 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!

The second Sunday in November is always Father's Day here in Finland. 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).

Posted Nov 12, 2008, 8:50 am
Look! Look! Look! I'm in the top10! I'm in spot 10 in "Most Photos on a Travelog"! Yay! I dedicate this place to my host who has been kind to me and active in photography, and her dad who made her active in photography and... This calls for a party!

PS: with today's updates I definitely beat number 9 on the list  :D

Posted Nov 17, 2008, 5:51 am
My host threw me a party! She's so excited about my place in the top10 of most photographs in a travelog - and so am I! We did also celebrate Bestik for the reason that he has now travelled the whole European trail! Yay! 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  :rolleyes:

After the goodies we played with the balloons and did all sorts of tricks with them. Alfie was pretty good doing tricks as he has played with football so many times. And last but not least: group photo! That will be a fun memory to all of us  :D Bestik and Dottie will leave tomorrow so it was kind of a goodbye party too.

Posted Nov 23, 2008, 4:41 pm
Look! It has been snowing! Yay!

Posted Nov 23, 2008, 4:43 pm
Awww! My host made me a scarf as it has become so cold for me. Now I can keep warm in the snow blizzards  B)

Posted Nov 24, 2008, 6:13 pm
Today we made some ice sculptures! At least that's what I call them although we didn't do anything to the ice itself. Our host had gathered more stuff from the woods with her kids, then they had collected empty milk cartridges and such. Then we got to put the stuff from the woods into the milk cartridges, add some glitter if we wanted, then add some juice if we wanted color and finally fill it with water. Then we closed it and put out on the balcony to freeze. It is finally cold enough to do so!

In the two last pictures you get to see the outcome :) Without glitter or juice. They are awesome! My host said we'll put them together so that we can keep a candle in the middle. But that's a job to do when the rest of the cartridges are done.

Posted Nov 24, 2008, 8:05 pm
The other day when we were all excited about the first snow... Well, we got some more... Like half a meter. My host needed 3 men to push the card so that she could leave to work this morning!

Oh yes, the new guy is Gary Boldie, my host's new tv!

Posted Dec 4, 2008, 9:27 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 4, 2008, 9:30 pm
Here we (me, Alfie 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 4, 2008, 9:32 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 4, 2008, 9:36 pm
We have entered Russia! First impression: dark. And I do only mean the light. Oh boy I start sounding really weird after a day in a buss... This is a small shopping point near Värtsilä, near the border. We bought some bottled water to brush our teeth with. And some snacks.

Posted Dec 4, 2008, 9:37 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 5, 2008, 11:37 am
I slept very well thank you  B)

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

Posted Dec 5, 2008, 11:39 am
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 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 5, 2008, 11:43 am
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 5, 2008, 11:45 am
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 5, 2008, 11:47 am
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 5, 2008, 11:50 am
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), on which I stand in the boat photo, 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.

Posted Dec 5, 2008, 11:53 am
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 5, 2008, 11:55 am
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 light. 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 5, 2008, 11:58 am
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  :cyclops: 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 

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 5, 2008, 12:01 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 5, 2008, 12:03 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 5, 2008, 12:04 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, 4:22 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, 3:42 pm
Oh boy! My host is in the top10 too! I couldn't believe it when Alfie whispered it to me. We need to stay away from our host when she hears about this... She'll go absolutely nuts  :rolleyes:

And hey, I'm climbing higher on my top10 list!

Posted Dec 8, 2008, 4:55 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...


Posted Dec 8, 2008, 5:33 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, 7:01 pm
"for his important efforts, on several continents and over more than three decades, to resolve international conflicts" (from here)

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 all the dresses and the royals!


Posted Dec 14, 2008, 5:11 pm
Today we went to the Elf Workshop again, with a slightly different assembly. The kids made different sorts of stuff and my host got all excited about blackboard paint  :rolleyes:
She wants to buy the stuff and paint several doors in the house - or even a wall!  :stare:

I got excited about meeting Santa Claus! And Mrs. Claus! He asked if I had been a good kangaroo and I said yes... I hope the elves don't tell him different!

Posted Dec 17, 2008, 5:04 pm
Today we baked gingerbread cookies! 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  B)

Then we took the dough out of the freezer and waited for it to melt. Then we started working! I rolled the dough and the guys (Alfie and Gary) rolled the dough. It's really hard when the dough is still a bit frozen...

I'm not hugging Gary! He's just giving me a little support with the mould. We made tens of cookies! Alfie got a bit "floury" so we tried to dust him 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!

Posted Dec 17, 2008, 5:36 pm
Here we are in a park in the city center, attending a christmas party! They had that huge tent just in case it would start raining. Luckily it didn't. The local Lucia maidens visited the park and sang. Oh boyh they sang like angles!

Then we had some rice porridge and gingerbread cookies. I'm sure ours taste as good  ;) They had a christmas tree in the middle of the park too. But no snow, sadly...

Posted Dec 17, 2008, 6:30 pm
When we got back home from the christmas party we finally started decorating the gingerbread cookies! My host had made sugar coatings in different colors and bought some sweets. It was fun but messy!  :D

Posted Dec 22, 2008, 8:24 pm
This is me with this year's gingerbread building. My host makes a different kind every year. She says this is a lighthouse and that she should do better. I tried to tell her that it's the taste that counts! Oh yeah, and don't make the mistake of thinking that the little part with yellow dot and bigger orange half-ball is a snail... It's a boat really. Trust me on this one  ;)

Posted Dec 22, 2008, 8:49 pm
Today we finally got to deacorate the tree and the house. There were so many pretty decorations to be put on the christmas tree! There were storebought glittery snowballs, selfmade glittery "gingerbread cookies", secondhand-bought  glossy balls that were exactly like the ones my host had when she was a kid... We got to climb on the tree too; me, Alfie and Gary. I think we made a pretty good job!

We also decorated the rest of the house. The kids had made some window decorations and there were also traditional red gnomes. Christmas is almoist here!

Posted Dec 25, 2008, 3:26 pm
It's Christmas! Merry Christmas! Iloista joulua!

It's the last day of the christmas calendar too and me, Alfie and Gary 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 fell all the time  :rolleyes:

When our 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  :D It was yummy!

Posted Dec 25, 2008, 3:38 pm
After the porridge we sat and listened to Mamba, a finnish band, and their xmas album. My mentor had just bought it as they didn't have any Finnish xmas songs on cd before.

Posted Dec 25, 2008, 5:48 pm
Next we made traditional christmas pastries with plum filling, yummy!

Posted Dec 25, 2008, 5:52 pm
After eating the pastries we sat down to watch some tv. There was Shrek the Halls on telly! Puss in Boots is so funny  :D

After the show we went outdoors to get some fresh air - and experience the whiteness of the christmas! When we came in we had lunch: a non-traditional christmas lunch with burritos  :stare: For dessert we had the pastries and sweets.

Then we headed for sauna...

Posted Dec 25, 2008, 5:55 pm
..when we got back from sauna we saw two huge bags on the balcony: Santa had visited us! He brought me something too! A cool magnet of Helsinki, the capitol that I have visited many times! Thank you Santa!

Merry Christmas! Iloista joulua!

Posted Dec 31, 2008, 6:36 pm
This is New Year's Eve and me doing some magic  :D I melted the tin (horse shoe) and threw it into water. Then we look at the shadow that the blob makes... Mine looks like a sea horse! What does this mean... Do I get to go scubadiving? Or go sailing? Or on a vacation by the sea? Or do I meet a toyvoyager sea horse? I guess I just have to wait and see...

Posted Dec 31, 2008, 6:40 pm
Happy New Year Everyone!
Love, Roo

Posted Jan 5, 2009, 5:47 pm
It's so very cold here right now. -15C means -5F. My host and her girls put some warm clothes on and we walked to the beach. And then we kept walking on the Baltic sea! Now this is cool  :D The ice was very very thick believe me. Some crazy Finns even drove on it!  :o

Posted Jan 9, 2009, 8:29 am
Would you believe it; it's not Halloween and it was daylight but yet we met a ghost! This colorful ghost named Etwas appeared suddenly in the woodswhere we were playing in the snow. He scared the crap out of me! Soon I came to know that he's a friendly ghost and we even made a snowman all together. See the hair, it's "spooked up"  :p

Posted Jan 17, 2009, 5:49 pm
Two of my host's girls turn years about the same time - and now was party time  :D We made a cake for both of them. Here we're making (not baking as we bought everything from the store ready-to-use) a "playing blocks" cake for the younger one. I was very helpfull as always  :D Ok, they don't look exactly like blocks but hey, it's the taste that counts!

Posted Jan 17, 2009, 5:53 pm
Here we're making the crown cake for the elder girl. That is my host's own design! Just like the "snake" we made of the left-overs of the crown. All the marzipan figures are made by my host's sister who is very very talented as you can see  :o

We also had popcorn, cookies, snacks and "champagne" for the kids - and balloons! But those we didn't eat, of course. Ha  :p

Posted Jan 23, 2009, 8:52 am
We vivited Helsinki again :) We showed Etwas and Vladimir some places we already have been to. At the end we attended a "Post-xmas-party-meetup" with other postcrossers :) They did have a "Pre-xmas-party-meetup" last year :p My host said it's always a party when postcrossers meet  ;) They talk alot you know! And write even more postcards! The coffee was good as usual :) I took care of Vladimir as he was afraid he's get lost under the piles of postcards  :D

Posted Feb 14, 2009, 8:34 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, 4:52 pm
Easter is approaching so we started planting ryegrass. We (me, Vladimir and Alfie) 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...

Posted Mar 14, 2009, 3:06 pm
This is how pretty the ryegrass has grown. And it's even Friday 13th!

Posted Mar 14, 2009, 3:20 pm
Golden Bear Awards! It's the Oscars of ToyVoyagers  B)
We (me, Vladimir, Gary, Alfie and Ewan) were looking at the nominees - and found a few suprises too!

Alfie, Vladimir and Gary got very excited when they saw themselves nominated  :rolleyes: Best Action Photo, Best Ensemble Cast, Most Promising Newcomer... I'm happy for them and hope they all win!

We also saw Repa Räpylä, a toyvoyager owned by our host. I think he was everywhere!

Posted Mar 18, 2009, 5:04 pm
Today was Alfie Langer's 2nd birthday - and pre-party for his anniversary: on Tuesday he's been a year in Finland! We suprised him with a party, of course. We had prepared him a cake and Moomin cookies and tea. It was all very delicious and nearly everyone had their stomach overloaded  :p

After the eating we went upstairs to play a boardgame. It was fun to be your own game piece  :p Alfie won, he's the birthdayboy after all  ;)

Lastly we took a group photo: Ewan E. Ewok, Alfie Langer, Gary Boldie, me and Vladimir. It was a fun day!

Posted Mar 21, 2009, 1:52 pm
Today's my birthday! I turn 5. Unlike Alfie, I knew I'd get a party  :D I found a crown and a magic wand to wear. Then I checked a Princess book how real princesses behave on their birthday: greet everyone, smile, say please & thank you... Ok, I can do this!

Everyone was waiting for me downstairs where they sang a birthday song to me. I had cake with marzipan decorations! And delicious chocolate cookies with "queen filling" (here blueberry+raspberry = queen)! It was all very very delicious, yummy.

Then we went back upstairs...

Posted Mar 21, 2009, 1:59 pm
...upstairs we played Princess Memory/Pairs. I won! In the last photo we pose: Gary Boldie, Ewan E. Ewok, Alfie Langer, Vladimir and me. I did get a card but it disappeared somewhere before the photoshoot. Oh well, I'll find it soon. Like Alfie, I get to go shopping too and choose my own birthday gift! Yippee!

This was also an Anniversary Party as next week it'll be a year since I arrived here! Wow!

Posted Mar 21, 2009, 3:04 pm
Our host attended a seminar in Vantaa, at a building called Flamingo. The Flamingo was a spa but there were also shops and stores and a movie theatre and... We took a few shots before the seminar which for us meant sitting on red, soft, comfy chairzzzzzzz...

We posed at a few movie advertisements and - they had these posters in the toilet! My host chose Viggo Mortensen's toilet... Somehow this feels a bit disturbing...  :thinking:

Posted Mar 21, 2009, 3:42 pm
After the seminar *yawn* 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  ;)

Posted Mar 21, 2009, 4:23 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...

Posted Mar 21, 2009, 5:20 pm
Oopsie, almost forgot to show you the present I chose for my birthday! Here it is: a Moomin necklace! Isn't it sweet?

Posted Mar 21, 2009, 5:50 pm
Although it was late when we got back home we weren't tired at all. Therefore we decided to play soccer with Alfie's birthdaygift  :D Gary was the goalkeeper and we others played more or less together. It was so much fun! Ps: see me wearing my new necklace!

Posted Mar 29, 2009, 12:41 pm
We made "witch twigs" and looked 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, 4:44 pm
I went to an Art Exhibition  :D

Actually we went to my host's parents to wish Happy Easter. These are all my host's younger sister's work of art! She's really talented as you can see. I've probably shown you some of her other work earlier but not these (I hope).

The parent's gave us Easter sweets!

Posted Apr 4, 2009, 6:22 pm
At home we noticed they have announced the winners! Of the Golden Bears 2009! Everyone was very excited to see if their name was on the list.... But no winners in this house. Oh well, maybe next time!

Congatulations to the winners!

Posted Apr 17, 2009, 8:31 am
Oh boy oh boy oh boy! We're going on a cruise to Sweden! We'll take the cruiser/ferry calledSilja Seranade of Silja Line. We went to the highest deck possible to take a look at Helsinki. Wow! Everything looks so small!

Posted Apr 17, 2009, 8:45 am
This is our cabin!It's called Promenade class because you can see to the promenade from the window. It has 2 beds and toilet + shower. The other bed is drawn down from the wall  :o We're on the 10th floor/ deck 10. There are safety regulations on the wall. I checked with Vladimir where we have to hop in case of emergency.

Posted Apr 17, 2009, 8:52 am
We got to play in Silja Land for the whole evening! There was a ball pit and a pirate ship and games and toys and videos and crafts and... We didn't get bored!

Posted Apr 17, 2009, 9:05 am
We're now in Stockholm, the capitol of Sweden! These pics are taken around the Royal Palace. I tried to look if I could see a real princess but I had no luck in that.

Posted Apr 17, 2009, 9:15 am
Then 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 Astrid 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, 9:30 am
After Junibacken 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 thje last pics 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 tight tonight...

Posted Apr 17, 2009, 9:35 am
Before heading to bed we bought some candy from Tax Free and went to the deck to look at the sea. That huge map shows where the boat is. It's long way from home... Good night travellers!

Posted Apr 17, 2009, 9:39 am
We're back in Helsinki! It was one exciting trip  :D

Posted Apr 30, 2009, 9:30 pm
This's my second May Day/ 1st of May/ Labour Day aka "vappu" here in Finland. Dressing up in disguises is a tradition during "vappu" in Finland so we dressed up in disguises too: I was a prince, Alfie and Gary were princesses and Vladimir was Triton (the king of seas).

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

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.

Posted Apr 30, 2009, 9:32 pm
I'm heading to Germany with Ewan E. Ewok. This is our travel compartment. Goodbyes are hard especially when you have befriended with someone... I'll be missing my tv-friends and my mentor and her family. This has been a good year!

Posted May 7, 2009, 7:32 pm
I arrived today in Remscheid at my new host's house. Ewan E. Ewok was travelling with me, so the journey wasn't boring at all.

My new host Katja came home from work in her lunch break. Because she had to buy some things she took Ewan, lion Desmond and me with her.

First she showed us the city hall. This building was originally built in 1906 but was almost completely destroyed in World War II, later rebuilt in a more modern style. The tower is 48 m high.

We went along the shopping street than. This is the main entrance of the shopping mall.

We saw an interesting fountain.

We went to the central train station which is built completely new at the moment. Last week they opened a new shopping mall here. This is the view from the train station to the city centre.

When we've boght everything we went back to the city centre. This is a ring road.

It is leading to the bus terminal.

On our way to Katja's workplace we came along the city hall once more.

This is the market place in front of the city hall with the shopping mall.

We had to go to work than :D


Posted May 7, 2009, 8:03 pm
Hi Mom,
after work we took a walk to the municipal park. We had to walk only a few minutes to get there.

It's a pretty sight in the city.

Ducks and turtles are living in this pond.

Here you can see the outskirts of Remscheid and the neighbour city Wuppertal. Ewan is already looking foreward to walk through the forrests.

Bye for today

Posted May 8, 2009, 8:09 pm
Hi Mummy,
today we helped Katja to write a lot of postcards, mostly to postcrossing members. It was hard work!


Posted May 9, 2009, 9:46 pm
Hi Mummy,

a new ToyVoyager arrived today, it's Nijntje from the Netherlands, a cute white bunny.

Today we took a walk in the forrest. First we had to walk to a district called "Hasten", one of the oldest dictricts of the city.

Here you can already see that the city is surrounded by valleys and forrests.

Can you see what's growing here? It's hazel.

Here we picked up Katja's friend Erika. While Gui played with cat Lizzy I had a look at the flowers on the balcony.

We left than. Gui stayed at Erika's home, cuddling the cat.

We walked through a rural district. Lots of pretty old houses and beautiful flowers everywhere.

The city centre of Remscheid is situated on a hill. You can see it in the background, with the two towers, one of them is the one of the city hall, the other one is a water tower, close to the city hall.

We are living on that hill, we walked the whole way.

Dandelion clocks!

We walked through a pretty forrest.

I picked some flowers.

We saw a large cut tree.

Katja and Erika decided to have a drink in a restaurant, it's called "Sunshine Ranch".

First they ordered a beer.

Suddenly they realized that they were hungry, too. Of course we also were hungry. So they ordered some snacks.

I was a little bit tired than, I'm not used to walk so long.



Posted May 11, 2009, 4:44 pm
today we visited Wuppertal.

Wuppertal is the neighbour city of Remscheid, well known for the worldwide one and only Monorail Suspension Railway (Schwebebahn). The suspension railway travels along a route about 13 kilometres long, about 12 metres above the surface of the river Wupper and approximately 8 m above the city streets. At one point the railway even crosses the A46 motorway. The entire trip takes about 30 minutes. One of the stations is "Zoo/Stadion". Here we entered the Schwebebahn.

This is the station where we left it, can you see the incoming train?

We wanted to visit the botanical garden, situated high on the steep slope of the valley. For pedestrians you can find many long stairs leading uphill, like this one:

In this part of the town which is called "Hardt" you can find many pretty old villas.

We reached the botanical garden than. In the background you can see Elisenturm, an outlook tower which is 21 m high. The botanical garden was founded in 1890 as a school garden.

On the left side you can see a greenhouse, than the Elisenturm and the entrance area of the garden.

First we climbed onto the tower to have an overview. From here you can see the city lying in the valley.

We walked through the garden and saw lots of pretty and interesting plants.

:D Forget-me-not :D

Here we are sitting under a date palm.

The botanical garden is running together with the park "Hardtanlage". Here you can see many people relaxing in the grass.

Again an overview across the city, this time from the edge of the park.

We walked back to the city centre.

This is the popular quarter "Luisenviertel", where they have many pubs and restaurants.

In this pub we enjoyed  a cool drink.

We climbed some steep stairs once more to see more beautiful old houses. Of course we had a great overview across the city again.

This was a really nice day, although a little bit exhausting.


Posted May 14, 2009, 8:34 pm
Hi Mummy,

we have two new companions now, Chance the monkey and karlheinz, a cute teddy bear. We took a walk in the afternoon. Katja wanted to show us a bit of the vicinity of our current home. I'm living in this strett now.

This church seems to hide between the trees. We can see it from the windows of the living room.

We went to the Trasse des Werkzeugs  (Route of Tools) than. The Trasse des Werkzeugs is a lane for pedestrians and cyclists which was built on a closed railway track. It was sponsored by local tool producing companies. This lane is about 5 km long and is leading from the central station to the district Hasten. Along the route you can find signs which are showing the logos of the sponsors, also artwork.

The first one of those signs is showing the city arms of Remscheid.

Here you can see that this lane really was a railway track once.

This is a bench made of a gigantic screw clamp.

We reached Hasten than.

You can see this district is situated close to woodland.

This beautiful Patrician villa contains a museum.

I'll close for today.

Posted May 15, 2009, 8:07 pm
Hi Mummy,
it's raining today, so we did not go out. Instead we helped Katja to make ice cream.

To make ice cream you need milk, cream, 4 egg yolk, sugar, vanilla sugar, a chocolate bar, chopped walnuts, butter, sugar and a bit of honey to caramelize them.

First you have to heat the milk and melt the chocolate in it. In the meantime you beat egg yolk, sugar and vanilla sugar until it is a thick, almost white foam. Than add the egg foam to the milk and heat it for another two minutes, without cooking. Cool this mixture down and put it into the fridge for about 20 minutes.

Ideally the caramelized walnuts are ready now.

Than you take the ice cream maker out of the fridge, fill in the prepared mixture and switch it on.

After 15 minutes stirring you can add the walnuts.

When the machine finishes its work, put the ice cream into the fridge for about half an hour. Than you can enjoy it.


Posted May 17, 2009, 12:24 pm
Hi Mummy,
we visited Katja's sister today. We had a lot of fun playing in the garden while the humans enjoyed cake and coffee.

Rhubarb is growing here.


Posted May 20, 2009, 9:06 pm
Hi Mummy,
today Katja showed me more of tht Trasse des Werkzeugs (Route of Tools). This time we started at the same point as last week, but we walked to the opposite direction today.

This is the rear side of a supermarket. Someone tried to paint the Berliner Bär (the heraldic animal of Berlin), but the result is looking more like a wolf.

Along the route you can also find delapidated factory buildings.

This complex of buildings is the former slaughterhouse. The buildings are listed buildings.

More old factory buildings ...

Here you can see signs and pictures painted on the ground.

These houses are built really close to the former track.

Here  the route is shaped like a landscape, with seatings and plants.

This is a discarded carriage which was used  to transport alcohol which was extracted from agricultural products by ethanol fermentation.

The Trasse des Werkzeugs is ending here at the moment. It will be built all the way to the central station which is also renewed at the moment.

We walked to the city centre than.

Good bye for today

Posted May 21, 2009, 6:46 pm
today we took a walk to the neighbour city Solingen, to visit Schloss Burg, a medieval castle. Katja's friend Birgit went with us.

We took the first photos in Solingen-Unterburg, which is one of the oldest districts of Solingen, the closest to Remscheid. You can walk there through the forrest, it takes about 75 minutes to get there. Unterburg is a picturesque part of the town with lots of "Bergische Häuser" (houses in the style of the region Bergisches Land), mostly covered with slate and also timber-framed houses.

River Wupper is running through Unterburg, but on the next photo you can see the Eschbach (a creek), which is opening here into the river Wupper.

To get to the castle, we had to walk uphill through the forrest. Here we are still at ground level, you can see the chairlift, which is going steep uphill, directly to the castle. Of course Katja wanted to walk.

We reached a pretty outlook pavilion. From here you have a fantastic overview across the valley and also to the castle.

Almost there ...

We reached the castle, this is the front gate.

Schloss Burg was built in 1133 by Count Adolf I von Berg on a hill above the river Wupper.That's why this region is called "Bergisches Land". Many people believe that it's name refers to the landscape with hills and valleys. (For those who do not speak German: The German word for mountain or hill is "Berg", so many people think that the name "Bergisches Land" means "land with many hills" )

About a hundred years later it was enlarged by Count Engelberg II von Berg. This is the guy on the horse in the courtyard.

In Thirty Years War (17th century) many parts of the castle were destroyed. It was rebuilt then, but it was used for industrial purposes for many years. In the end of the 19th century they began to rebuild it as it appears today.

In the castle courtyard you can find souvenir shops and shops whose owners are doing an "old" handcraft. For example someone makes soap, another makes brushes, then you can buy things that were used by knights for the kids, like swords and helmets.

This monument is showing Count Engelberg II von Berg.

You can see that the castle really is situated high above the valley.

Today it's Father's Day, many people are taking a walk today, so the courtyard is full of booths. You can eat here (Katja had a piece of smoked salmon and a beer, her friend Birgit a currywurst (curry sausage).

We are leaving the castle complex now to walk downhill to Unterburg. This time we took the faster, but much steeper path.

Here you can see the chairlift again.

Under the chairlift, where it's going downhill sooo steep, goats are living. It's hard to believe, but they are running up and down this steep hill.

We walked a bit through Unterburg, waiting for our bus.

They have really pretty houses and narrow alleys here.

I need a rest now, later we will watch TV. Katja already told me that we will return to Solingen tomorrow, to walk the "Korkenziehertrasse", also a former railway track, about 10 km long.

You'll read more of me tomorrow.


Posted May 24, 2009, 6:34 pm
today we walked along the Korkenziehertrasse (corkscrew route), which is also a former railway track.

We started at the former central station of Solingen, only the depots remained there.

This route is called "Korkenzieher" because its course, meandering through the city, reminds of a corkscrew.

We started at "Standort Bahnhofstraße" and walked to Gräfrath.

Here you can also find some artwork, these scissors for example. In Solingen cutlery, utility knifes, scissors and swords are produced for centuries. So this sculpture is a great mixture of a local symbol and the one for the Korkenziehertrasse.

You can also find graffity along the route. Some are good, some are not. I liked this one.

Some chicken escaped from a nearby estate.

One of some tunnels ...

The botanical garden of Solingen is situated close-by the route. Of course we made a short detour to visit the botanical garden.

Here is a sun dial.

Here we found fantastic animal sculptures, made of metal, for example ants, a giant butterfly, a reading raven and more.

This butterfly is so big that you almost cannot find us sitting by its leg.

Here is the reading raven :D

Do you know that there are existing public bookcases? Here is the only one that Katja has ever seen. You can take any book out of it to take it home, bring it back or keep it.  Katja even found a novel written by Michael Crighton here, which she took with her. Next time when she will come here she will put another book into this bookcase.

We learned a lot about insects here. They have "hotels" for many kinds of bees and other insects here.

Back on the Korkenziehertrasse ...

This tunnel does not look inspiring confidence, it looks like an entrance to the sewage system.

Suddenly the city disappeared and there was this rural area.

... back into civilisation ...

We left the route here. This is Museum Baden, a museum of art.

We than took a walk in the district Gräfrath.

Posted May 24, 2009, 6:40 pm
They have trolleybusses in Solingen. In the district Unterburg you can find a reverser platform, one of worldwide only three reverser platforms.

The district Gräfrath has a historial city centre with lots of well preserved houses. Katja and her friend had a coffee here.

This is the market place. We saw a funny fountain here.

We really enjoyed our trip.



Posted May 26, 2009, 4:24 pm
Hi Mummy,

we visited Cologne today. Katja and two friends had planned to visit a photo exhibition in Cologne. We went there by train.

Here you can see me waiting for our tram, at Neumarkt.

First the ladies visited a graveyard. I was really scared. I stayed hidden in Katja's bag.

From there we walked to MediaPark. On our way we saw Colonius, the Cologne telecommunications tower, which was finished in 1981. It's height is 266 meters.

We enjoyed lunch in a pretty beer garden.

Let me show you some street views of Cologne.

This is MediaPark, a project of the city of Cologne to settle companies of the communication and media branch here, intermingled with dwellings and cultural institutions. You can find the EMI Music Germany headquarter here, also a multiplex cinema. The skyscraper is KölnTurm (Cologne Tower), with 148 m the Cologne's hightes office  tower.

Katja and her two friends visited this exhibition today.

Inside the building ...

This is the staircase, with illuminated glass steps.

It was not allowed to take photos in the exhibition rooms.

When we went outside again we were surprised where the nice weather had gone.

We walked back to the central station than. Before it startet to rain we took some photos.

Cologne Cathedral!

We took a last photo at the central station.


Posted May 28, 2009, 4:53 pm
Hi Mummy,
we took a walk today in one of the valleys, which are marking the border to the neighbour city Wuppertal. This is the area, where toolmaking industry started.

Can you see the goats playing, in the meadow in the background?


Posted May 31, 2009, 6:48 pm
Hi Mummy,
today we wanted to visit a flea market in the city, but we were a little bit late, the sellers were already clearing their stalls. We did not buy anything but two cute .... guess what? Yes, we rescued two prospective ToyVoyagers.

We took a walk through the city instead because the sun was shining to nice. This time we walked through residental areas, all of them close to the city centre.

From here you have a fantastic overview to the outskirts of Remscheid and to those of the neighbour city Wuppertal.

We are now standing in an allotment garden area. Are there allotment gardens in the UK also? From here you have an even better overview.

So much green around!

Even this garden is here in the city, not in the outskirts.

This is the new built rear side of the shopping mall and the tower of the city hall in the background.

Tomorrow we will visit the flea market in the late morning.


Posted Jun 1, 2009, 12:21 pm
Hi Mummy,
we visited a flea market today. It is held every year on Pentecost in a street close to my current home.

We bought a SpongeBob helium balloon for Katja's son Philipp. Although he is already 19 years old, he loves SpongeBob  :rolleyes:


Posted Jul 21, 2009, 4:51 pm
Hi Mummy,
Katja bought a new camera yesterday. Today we took a photo from the roof light. We saw the water tower and the tower of the city hall.


Posted Jul 26, 2009, 10:10 am
Hi Mummy,
we have baked bread today. It was really easy. All you need is

750 g wheat flour
about 400 ml warm water
1 1/2 tablespoons of salt
1 1/2 packages dry yeast
1 tablespoons of olive oil

Baking: 35 - 40 minutes, 220°C

First we mixed flour and yeast, than we added the other ingredients and kneaded the dough for about 5 minutes.

The dough was covered than with a cloth. It had to rise for about 30 minutes.

We shaped two loafs of bread.

The loafs of bread had to rise once more for half an hour under a cloth. Than we brushed them with a mixture of water and olive oil. We put rosemary onto one loaf of bread.

They were ready for the oven than. The breads had to bake for 35 minutes.

Our selfmade bread was really delicious! (Where is the rosemary? It fell off the bread when we took it out of the oven.)


Posted Jul 26, 2009, 10:52 am
Hi Mummy,
tomorrow we will send something knitted to my friend Delenna.


Posted Aug 3, 2009, 6:46 pm
Hi Mummy,
we took a walk today, Katja, her friend Karin, Carlisle and me. The weather was not good, we took an umbrella with in case we should need. Outside it looked like we would need it. And indeed ....

We walked along a valley between Remscheid and Wuppertal, along the creek Gelpe. First we saw a really old house, close to an old mill.

The house is decorated with mill stones and carriage wheels.

Here the creek is dammed to a fishing pond.

This restaurant is more than 100 years old, it is situated in the valley.

We went deeper into the forrest than and .... needed our umbrella soon! Such a pity. We were rather wet when we returned to the car.


Posted Aug 15, 2009, 9:08 pm
Katja took a walk today to meet her friend Kerstin. Roo and I went with her.  We wanted to meet Kerstin in a valley halfway between the city centre and Kerstin's  home.

We crossed a creek  here.

We walked for more than two hours, mostly in the forrest and through grazing land like here.

I saw those pretty flowers.


Posted Aug 26, 2009, 8:33 pm
Hi Mummy,
today we made a long walk again. Katja showed us Schloss Burg, a medieval castle in the neighbour city Solingen. We walked there through the environment of Remscheid.

We walked through one of the valleys, several creeks are running here.

You can find steep rocks along the path.

We reached Solingen-Unterburg than, a really old district.

We had to walk uphill to reach the castle, which is situated high upon a hill above the River Wupper.

Behind the trees you can see the castle, still some time to walk.

We went to this outlook pavilion.

Wow! What a wonderful view! In the valley you can see Solingen-Unterburg.

The ceiling of the pavilion is painted with the crests of the surrounding cities. The one with the lion and the sickle is the one of Remscheid.

Finally we reached the castle.

Schloss Burg was built in 1133 by Count Adolf I von Berg on a hill above the river Wupper.That's why this region is called "Bergisches Land". Many people believe that it's name refers to the landscape with hills and valleys. (For those who do not speak German: The German word for mountain or hill is "Berg", so many people think that the name "Bergisches Land" means "land with many hills" )

About a hundred years later it was enlarged by Count Engelberg II von Berg. This is the guy on the horse in the courtyard.

In Thirty Years War (17th century) many parts of the castle were destroyed. It was rebuilt then, but it was used for industrial purposes for many years. In the end of the 19th century they began to rebuild it as it appears today.

In the castle courtyard you can find souvenir shops and shops whose owners are doing an "old" handcraft. For example someone makes soap, another makes brushes, then you can buy things that were used by knights for the kids, like swords and helmets. 

The following photos were taken in the courtyard.

This monument is showing Count Engelberg II von Berg.

Here all sorts of wine are sold, especially wine made of fruits like apples, red currants, blackberries and more.

Katja bought beads with the letters of my name here.

We also visited a shop where wool is sold. The shopkeeper was working at her spinning-wheel.

Katja bought double pointed knitting needles here, made of rosewood.

If you don't want to walk to the castle, you can use the ropeway. Here you can see how steep this slope is.

We walked home than.

We had to cross River Wupper, which is flowing through Solingen-Unterburg.

We also walked underneath Germany's highest railway bridge, Muengsten Bridge. It is 107 m high.

My feet are aching and I am sooo tired ...


Posted Sep 6, 2009, 10:16 am
Hi Mummy,
we took a walk today with Katja's parents. We went to Hueckeswagen, a small town in the "Oberbergisches Land". A lot of woodland and rural area belongs to the municipal area of Hueckeswagen.

Almost nothing but green around :D

We continued our walk to Wupper dam.

This is not an Easter Bunny, it is me :D :D :D

Here you can see the river in the valley.

The touch-me-not is a pretty flower, but it does not smell good.

This is a really pretty place.

We reached the dam than.

The next photo is a zoomed one, showing a nice part of the dam.

We walked for about an hour. Here I saw an elder bush.

Dark clouds were coming.

Suddenly it started to rain, but only for a few minutes. Can you imagine what I saw next?

A wonderful rainbow!


Posted Oct 18, 2009, 5:33 pm
Hi Mummy,

we took a long walk today along the so called "Obstweg Leichlingen" (translated it must be something like "Route of Fruit"  :D ). Leichlingen is a small town, halfway between Remscheid and Cologne.. This path is following a route through traditional orchard meadows, along homesteads and through rural hamlets. It is about 9 km long.

What a nice overlook!

We rested next to those pretty toadstools for a while. Katja warned us not to taste them - it's fly agaric, it's extremely poisonous.

We walked along picturesque farms and houses.

Do you know sea-buckthorn? I tasted those berries - Ugh! They are extremely sour.

Here are apple trees.

I saw horses on a meadow.

Corn was harvested here.

I am enjoying those walks through the green.


Posted Nov 6, 2009, 2:26 pm
Katja told me that is a FosterCareHome now, for TVs like me. My Mummy hasn't been here for a longer periode, I hope she is fine.

Chief of the FosterCareHome is my former host Delenna. I am already looking foreward to see her again.

I am glad that Delenna and olgamaus hosted me for such a long time.

I will go with FoxForce. Hueso joined us today, he will come with us. He was some time with BlackCat.

We said good-bye to the other TVs and Katja.


Posted Nov 11, 2009, 2:48 pm
Hey I know this place!

I've been here before  :D The girls were excited to see me again  B)

I'm glad they have snow allready. In the photo are us "Foster Toys": Alfonz, Hueso and FoxForce. I'll be staying here untill my mentor calls me back home. Untill then this is my home - can't complain  ;)

Posted Dec 8, 2009, 9:18 am
Bye bye Finland! My mom called me and now I'm heading back home  :D I can't wait to get there for Christmas!  :D I'll sing Jingle Bells on my way  ;)