From 24.7.2007 to 23.8.2007 Rita & Tony were in Europe!

All of you that are, or have been, likely victims of our invasion can relax now! We are back in Australia and, simply due to financial limits, very unlikely to show up on your doorstep any time soon:-)
Many thanks to all of you who provided shelter, transport, meals and drinks to us de-rooted travellers, and made us feel welcome!
We are putting some of the 1000 pictures we've taken on this website. They will generally be reduced in size, please ask for full size ones in case you want to print them.
Let's start at the beginning. Here we are looking out of the window of the plane on our approach to Tokyo's Narita airport:

The Japanese are organising things differently, 'nuff said:-) But here some more of Narita:

Then it took only another 12 hours until we touched down in Frankfurt. The two weeks in Germany, Austria and Italy are described on a separate page. Anyway, from Frankfurt to Helsinki it was only a short 2 1/2 hour jump. To our surprise Helga and Peter were there to welcome us! Thanks for that, it made a big difference to us!

The Bus # 615 dropped us off almost at the door of the Gasthaus Omapohja, Helsinki

We checked in the Hotel and got picked up straight away by Risto, who took us all home for a wonderful dinner Raija had prepared for us. It doesn't get better than this!

Cheers Risto! Or better kippis!

The  next 2 days we spent exploring Helsinki:

The land of the compulsive gamblers. Here the pokies in a kiosk, but there are no limits, they are even at service stations:-)

A swap market we found, got Rita onto cloud #9:

The Omapohja hotel room: Humble but expensive:-)

Bye bye Helsinki, hello Jyväskylä! The Pendolino Train S87 got us there, taking 3 hours for the about 300km, not bad:

And here we are at Erja and Lasse's House in Muurame, near Jyväskylä:

From here it is about an hour's drive to the picturesque cottage by the lake, near Rautalampi:

There is a cottage, a summer cottage,  a sauna, a storage shed and a dunny. Everything is in perfect shape and as clean as!

These pictures do reflect the reality, it is that wonderful!

Always have (Finnish) beer after the sauna:

On the Road again, not bitumised.

After 2 days at Rautalampi, back in Muurame, we were taken for a drive to Jyväskylä and for a walk, but have a look at the new house first:

Need to wash and dry a rug? No compromises in Finland.

Fish that are too weak to swim up the rapids can use the "steps"!

Looking out over Jyväskylä

And then still in Jyväskylä, near the summer hotel Rentukka where we stayed for 2 more days, there was Aune Maria:

She must have been planning on catering for us for the next week or so:-) Shame that we had lunch at the ABC service restaurant 1 hour before.

Jyväskylä Aviation Museum of Central Finland, surprisingly well stocked. Note that the swastika is not connected to the Nazis:

Jyväskylä Mall:

Also in a brand new house: Marko and Tuula in Nokia, near Tampere.
Yes that's the Nokia where the mobile phones are from. They make car tyres and other stuff too:


Marko and Tuula, and the Mercedes C200 they lent us, which made it much easier to see this corner of Finland:

Helvi(2) and Matti in Tampere:

Kauko with Rita and sons Ahti and Petri; 90 but in good spirits:

Yes, Kauko is as old as Finland:

Going to Vilppula with Petri and Ahti. There, built to last, is still the house of Rita's parents:

The church in the grave yard of Vilppula

The beach of Yyteri, near Pori, and old Rauma:

Not far from Rauma is Maire's farm. Maire, Helvi's sister, is as fit and healthy as we would like to be, should we be lucky enough to get to the age of 83:

Which one is Helvi/Maire?

The mother of all saunas:

The sauna house and a birds eye view of the farm:

It wouldn't be Finland if there was no lake on the property:

Turku, with the old castle. Many ships are berthed at the banks of the Aura river:

On a boat trip out in the Archipelago Sea. Most passengers were only there to eat, we were only looking....

Tampere, located at the river Tammerkoski, with two power plants, driven by the energy of the 18m level difference of the two lakes near the city.
A great city with excellent bars and restaurants:

The Omenahotelli, where there is no receptionist. Booking only over the web. Works great and we saved money. Small rooms but with everything you need:

Back to Helsinki, here Helsinki Cathedral:

The Temppeliaukio Church. There was an orchestra performing for a Radio recording while we were there. Lucky!

Back at Risto's not far but far enough from Helsinki:

Wendy's friends

Our Finland route was of course worked out in a way to see as many aunts, uncles and cousins as possible:-)
And of course, Rita's parents house and the family grave in Vilppula.

For any comments and to ask for full sized image files please ask me