Tallinn in 2009

Dreaming Of: Finland & Tallinn

I like to call this trip my FINLAND FLING or “HELLOsinki”

In May 2022, our daughter, Sarah will receive her master’s degree from Johns Hopkins in International Economics and Strategic Studies, and before she jets off to save the world, she wants to go on a trip with me – how can I turn that down?

I know, I know, Russia’s on the march, and most sane people would have misgivings about going so close to a war zone, but I have faith in the Finns. We also want to hop over to see Estonia for a couple of days – (I know, even closer to putrid Putin). Unless the State Department warns us off, we’re going – and here’s a quick look at our plans.

Us in Hellsinki 2009. After seeing this photo, no wonder my daughter wants a re-do!

We’ve been to both places before, but Sarah was a young girl now and wants to return to learn more about its history and explore these beautiful areas as a young adult. I’m just glad she wants to hang out with me so yeah, I’ll go to the ends of the earth for/with her.

We’re not working with a tour or agency, Sarah and I came up with the itinerary. If you’ve been, please share your experiences and advice with me.

Our 2-week itinerary looks like this:

  • Day 1 -> Arrive in Helsinki
  • Day 2 – Helsinki -> Rovaniemi – > We’re off to the Arctic
  • Day 3 – Lapland Adventure -> Return Helsinki
  • Day 4 – Helsinki – Walking tour & hitting up the markets and museums
  • Day 5 – Helsinki & Suomenlinna & Spa – fortin’, fightin’, and spaaaaaaing
  • Day 6 – Porvoo -> Sailing to the quaint village – we’ve been promised picturesque elegance
  • Day 7 – Turku -> Winter Wars – How the Finns fought off the Russians
  • Day 8 – At Nature in Helsinki – Finding peace and nature in a day’s hike
  • Day 9 – Helsinki ->Ferry to Tallinn: It’s been 13 years since our first visit, has anything changed?
  • Day 10 – Tallinn – Old town, old memories, new memories w/ a food and booze tour
  • Day 11 – Tallinn – to Mikkeli (a full day of traveling by ferry, trains)
  • Day 12 – Mikkeli (full day of chilling by the lake)
  • Day 13 – Mikkeli to Helsinki (rooftop spa and bar)
  • Day 14 – Helsinki – DC

Big Splurges:
When I travel, I rarely think about the hotels or places to stay. To me, it’s all about location, not linens. YES, I demand “US luxury,” but I’m not a Ritz girl, I’m more of a high-end chain girl. That may sound boorish maybe not even adventurous, but I’m retired, and I know what I like – and I like my creature comforts; big bathrooms, fluffy robes, fluffy towels, king-size beds, hairdryers, and on-site bars.

I always choose to spend my money on making memories, not lodging… it’s a personal preference.

For Finland, we’re staying at chain hotels in Helsinki, and a small inn in the heart of Tallinn.

We’ll be spending our money on excursions – We’re hoping to fly up to the Arctic, sail around Helsinki’s archipelago, take train rides out to Finland’s frontiers, and spa’ing like locals. I hope we can discover some of their hot restaurants and shop at their fabulous design center.

My budget (without air) for the two of us: $10,000. I’ll let you know how we do.

We’ll be heading to Finland in early June, I’ll be packing layers. I’m not buying anything special for this trip, my Colorado closet is full of 4-season favorites. I won’t need to buy any special “gear.”

Pre-Trip Bookings:
So far, I’ve been able to book intra-country air flights, ferries, trains, many of our tours, and some restaurants with no problems.

I’ve booked some “special” tours with Viator and GuruWalks. I don’t like to leave everything to the last minute. What you may gain in “spontaneity” I lose in worrying that popular spots will be overbooked. It’s a toss-up, again personal preference.

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