Sunday, 20 March 2016

Ähtäri Zoo & Kangasala - Finland in the Autumn

When your partner is from a different country, you tend to start travelling a lot more in your own country than before. All of my most recent updates have been about Hungary and now this one is about Finland. In October 2013, we first decided to go on a day trip to Ähtäri Zoo. We had planned this trip together with Marta from Italy , who was in Finland as a Comenius/Erasmus + assistant language teacher at the time.

Ähtäri is approximately 150 km from Tampere, and since it's located pretty much in the middle of nowhere, we went there with the car. The zoo itself has 65 animal species at the moment, mostly those typical for the Nordic countries. It's really nice - you practically wander around in a forest and meet the animals as you go along. It was my first time in Ähtäri, too, and I really liked it. You're outside all the time so if the weather is chilly, make sure you wear enough clothes or carry an umbrella.

Julcsi and Marta, excited about going in :D!

A wolverine.

A snow leopard - not one of our most typical animals :D.



A reindeer.

Awwwww!!!


A lynx in the middle of his/her meal.

Elk.

Bears are probably the main attraction of Ähtäri Zoo.

I'm more used to seeing these ones in Hungary!

An arctic fox <3.
Afterwards, we went to Virrat to have pizza before taking Marta home and driving back to Tampere ourselves. It was a lovely day!

Another mini roadtrip we went on in October 2013 was to Vehoniemi in Kangasala, Finland. Kangasala is right next to Tampere and it's a really pretty place with beautiful nature everywhere. Though let's face it, beautiful nature is practically the only thing Finland has to offer :D. Still, Kangasala is somehow especially pretty with its lakes and forests. Vehoniemi is a cool place to visit if you have a car because there a) you can go up a lookout tower to see pretty views FOR FREE, b) you can visit a museum of old cars FOR FREE, and c) you can have a delicious munkki, or donut there.


The lookout tower - Kangasala has several other ones, too, by the way.




SUNSHINE!




Another really lovely day! After Vehoniemi, we went to the "city centre" of Kangasala to see Kangasala church and the famous Verikivi, or Blood Stone, which is in the wall of the church. The stone leaks something red that resembles blood, and they say it's because it was used in the execution of a girl called Kaarina. Kaarina was involved with someone too noble for her and because of this, their love wasn't acceptable. To this date, the stone bleeds the blood of poor Kaarina, executed as a witch (read more about the story here).



Saturday, 19 March 2016

Ópusztaszer, Kecskemét & Debrecen, Hungary

Another update on my first summer in Hungary back in 2013. This one will be about the excursions we did.

Ópusztaszeri Nemzeti Történeti Emlékpark

 
Ópusztaszer is a National Heritage Park in the village of Ópusztaszer, not far from Szeged. It's an open-air museum where you can experience a lot of different, traditionally Hungarian things. I guess most people go there to see a famous panorama painting by Árpád Feszty - it is about the arrival of Hungarians to the Carpathian Basin. The painting takes up a whole room and it is worth seeing - and I'm not even particularly interested in art! Unfortunately, you're not allowed to take any pictures of it, though. Some other things that you can see at Ópusztaszer are horse shows, traditional yurts, Hungarian handicraft, old things like a classroom, a post carriage, a shop...stuff like this. On a typically Hungarian, hot summer's day, you also have the chance to burn yourself completely...

















Kecskemét

Kecskemét is a town between Budapest and Szeged, and we decided to spend one day there to be able to visit the Zwack Pálinka Distillery. Pálinka, of course, is a traditional drink in Hungary, and this was to be my first distillery visit ever. Julcsi booked a guided tour for us in English and it turned out we were the only ones on the tour, too :D. Nevermind, it was a brilliant visit, highly recommended! We were shown a video of the distillery's history and then got to see pretty much everything there is to see about the making of pálinka. The tour ended in some free samples and let's just say that pálinka is pretty strong...:D










After saying bye to our tour guide and finding our way back into town, we wandered around the city centre of Kecskemét and took pictures of the many different churches. We also visited Cifrapalota, which is the topic of a well-known Hungarian kiddie song :). It's a really beautiful, art nouveau style building, though not as interesting from the inside as from the outside.





Cifrapalota.


The view from Cifrapalota.


Say bye to Kecskemét!

Debrecen

Our trip to Debrecen is pretty legendary as it's the trip when I broke my toe :D. We were supposed to go to Hortobágy, which is another national park, but unfortunately it didn't happen as with my toe broken, I couldn't do anything anymore besides watch TV, read and eat, heh. Oh well, we did Hortobágy the following year so no harm done, but we were pretty annoyed back then. Anyway, before the very unfortunate accident (I bumped into a bed in the darkness without my contact lenses/glasses), we managed to do some things, like wander around the city, taking pictures :D. I feel like my toe breaking was some sort of karma as I had just been complaining how it was way too hot to walk (it was well above 40 C!!!) and I was seriously suffering in the heat...you get what you ask for, right? I've learned my lesson!



The main square.
The protestant church of Debrecen, Református nagytemplom.





The park surrounding the university buildings, Nagyerdö

The University of Debrecen.


Déri Múzeum.

I guess that's finally it about my first summer in Hungary! I don't believe it! So, next up are a visit to Ähtäri Zoo in Finland and our 2013 autumn break trip to Estonia :). Stay with me!