Year 2016 has nearly come to an end so let’s stop and look back at the highlights of the past year. This year has been extremely hectic as I have been doing extremely long hours at work, studying a part-time MBA on the side but fortunately I have also managed to do some travelling and quite a bit of blogging, too.Unfortunately I did not have as much time to travel around the globe as I would have wanted to, however, I did travel to Estonia, Thailand, Greece and Denmark. No new countries to add on my list this year, but I did get to explore lots of new places in the Thai and Greek archipelagos as well as in my home town Helsinki, so all in all this has been a very good and productive year when it comes to blogging. Still so many untold stories to come! Let’s continue with the highlights of my adventures in 2016 both near and far.
The year started with extremely cold weather in my hometown Helsinki. First I got to explore the city’s most imposing monuments during the Lux Helsinki Light Festival that brought plenty of colourful and creative light installations into the city and brightened up our winter darkness. Despite the cold I also discovered the white winter wonderland along Helsinki’s frozen seaside and enjoyed bright and sunny winter days.
February was a bad month for me. I had planned to publish several blog posts in February but while working on them I accidentally dropped my external hard drive on the floor. I had used this hard drive to store all my photos from the past ten years. This meant that all of my photos and memories were lost in just a blink of an eye. I even sent the hard drive all the way to Stockholm to have it recovered but nothing could be done. What a bummer.
In March I decided to dig deeper into the masculine side of Helsinki and I had so much fun exploring intriguing man caves in Helsinki Design District with sports pubs, coffee shops, burger joints, DIY stores etc.
In April I travelled to Thailand for two weeks. Having already explored the best of Bangkok many times before I decided to do some island hopping in Trat archipelago: Koh Chang – Koh Wai – Koh Mak – Koh Rayang Nai – Koh Kham. It was 2 weeks extremely well spent enjoying quiet beach life and exploring paradise islands. Many posts still to come!
In May spring finally arrived in Helsinki too and I was totally enchanted by the first rays of spring sunshine. Sunsets were pretty stunning too so I even wrote a post about Helsinki’s sunset splendour. In May I also travelled to Tallinn for a weekend and found lots of interesting places in the hipster district of Kalamaja outside the touristy old town.
Summer is always the best time of the year in Helsinki with so many things to see and do. First I explored the darker side of Helsinki, Kruunuvuori Ghost Town with plenty of abandoned villas. I also discovered the vibrant street art scene of Helsinki. In mid June we celebrated Helsinki Day, the birthday of the city of Helsinki with plenty of fun-filled events. At the end of the month I enjoyed traditional Midsummer festivities in Helsinki catching rays of the Midnight Sun.
Before the summer holidays in July I found lots of new interesting places in Helsinki and was excited to explore the former military islands of Vallisaari and Kuninkaansaari that were opened to the public only a couple of months earlier. I also took the opportunity to visit the small recreational island of Lonna just a few minutes boat ride from Helsinki city centre.
During my summer holidays in July and August I headed to the Greek island of Rhodes where I spent two weeks exploring the island and soaking up the sun. After the holidays I found some secret getaways in Helsinki’s hidden gardens and got acquainted with the art and cultural scene of Helsinki during the Night of the Arts.
Autumn started with some local adventures in Helsinki as I paid a sunset visit to Oil Silo 468, a retired oil silo that a couple of years ago was transformed into a permanent urban light installation.
My hometown explorations continued in October with the Carnival of Light and Colour at Helsinki’s famous amusement park Linnanmäki. As autumn leaves started to turn all colourful it was time to head outdoors to enjoy the autumnal colour explosion and discover the best places for this in Helsinki.
As the days and nights got dark in November I found plenty of inspiration at some of the best museums in Helsinki. The craziest experience by far was the colourful polka dot exhibition by Yayoi Kusama at HAM Helsinki Art Museum.
At the end of the month I travelled to Copenhagen for a long weekend to enjoy some Danish hygge at Copenhagen Christmas markets under stunning festive lights. A visit to Tivoli Gardens’s magical Christmas wonderland was definitely the highlight of the weekend.
In December I enjoyed Christmas time in Helsinki admiring stunning festive lights in the city centre and soaking up Christmas spirit at Helsinki Christmas markets. I also went on a weekend break to Tallinn to relax in a spa and to see what Tallinn Old Town was like at Christmas time.
Year 2016 has been quite a year full of great adventures near and far, don’t you think! Not as many travels abroad as I would have loved to, but next year it will be different, pinky swear!