31 August 2013

28.8.2013 / Royal Oak Golf Club

On Wednesday, I could really feel all the golfing and not-so-effective stretching plus sitting in the car trough the three days. We barely made it to the breakfast and from there on, off to our final golf destination.

Our last stop was in Rodding, a small town right next to the highway, a little golf club called Royal Oak. The club house was the cutest building ever, literally 300 meters from the highway. The atmosphere was very relaxed and casual. As we arrived, the restaurant keeper was at the terrace enjoying his morning coffee with his wife. The two brothers running the business were missing and no-one seemed to know where they were. It turned out, that one was keeping a golf course at the driving range and the other one was picking up his car from the city. Ok, so how do we check in and pay for our round? Good question, nobody really knows the answer. Good thing we came early, and there was not much people yet playing. Somehow everything sorted out, we got our carts, our tee-off at ”whenever you are ready” and could start warming up. 

That morning, everything on my body felt tense and my left elbow was even more sore. Gladly, the weather had been best as it can be for to be the end of September. Everyday we got to enjoy +20 degrees and a sunny, partly cloudy weather. I sure am not complaining. 

Even though we didn’t get the best impression on the club at first, the course was very nice. The highways were in very good shape and to my surprise the greens were even better. So all in all, the round was very enjoyable.I even made the first birdie of our trip! Better late than never :-D

The pro and con of the course was definitely the surrounding nature. It was placed by the lake, right next to a small village and the views were amazing. We even saw horses and I once hit my ball on their fencing… :-D The nature was also a con at the same time.. So many bees and other annoying bugs. All the time, everywhere. Thank god we didn’t see any snakes or bigger animals. But when you are trying to concentrate on your swing and a bee comes up to your ear, it does bother a bit.

Guess how many times I hit the ball?

In the end, I would recommend this course as a final stop for some not-so-serious golfers. Very enjoyable course with not so high quality facilities(restaurant and shop). In my opinion it was the perfect last pitstop for our golfing - relaxed holiday golf without any hurry or pressure. And very affordable - 300 dkr per person, including cart and at least for us the range balls were free of charge also. 

Cold Coke to cool me up before heading over

27.-28.8.2013 / Hotel Koldingfjord, Denmark

I feel like everything on our trip so far has been at least great, if not amazing, awesome or just so cute. Well, from tuesday evening to Wednesday evening was no exception to that as we stayed at one of the most gorgeous hotels I have yet visited. 

On our little holiday we, or I at least, wanted to visit and stay in places, that one wouldn’t maybe normally choose when visiting a new city. As we only stayed a short period of time in one place, being uncomfortable or disappointed wouldn’t last for long, as we would soon already be on our way to the next place.

After a round of golf in Svedala, we drove trough Malmö, over the big bridge of Oresund to Denmark continuing our way over the second bridge all the way to Kolding. 

We stayed in Kolding, at a hotel called Koldingfjord. Before arriving, I had only seen picture, and was already quite  impressed. Usually though, all hotel pictures online are better than reality, and because of that I didn’t have that high expectation from this place either. 

When we arrived, I couldn’t have been happier we chose this place to stay at. From outside, the place was soo gorgeous. At the end of a little road trough the woods, there was this huge, beautiful castle-like building surrounded with some pretty impressive cars and businessmen walking around. And the inside of the hotel was no worse either. The atmosphere inside was as its outside, old heritage yet still kept up to date with the little details. The best part, though was the view from our room; gorgeous! In the evening, there was an old boat parked at the end of the pear, sun setting behind the hills and the sea pearling from sunlight. It was magical. 

After showering and enjoying the massage bed by the pool, I was all ready to crawl under a  soft blanket and fall asleep, but we deiced to have dinner in the restaurant downstairs. 

Our waitress was the cutest danish guy, who though we would understand his danske as we spoke swedish to him. Not exactly. But he was so nice to offer us food of our desire, off the menu as there was not much to choose from, especially vegetarian food. He recommended us a white wine called Karate Girl, which to my surprise was actually good. After a nice dinner at the terrace (surrounded by tons of conference business men… ;-) we decided to make it a day and head back to sleep. For the first time, there was a good WiFi offered and I couldn’t resist.. Ended up facebooking until 12 pm until I just couldn't keep my eyes open. 

The breakfast was more than enough, containing for example some rye-beer-porrige with whipped cream for the brave ones. I just settled for the pancakes and tea ;-) 

The hotel was just as i hoped it would be; a princess castle, a bit of pampering before entering the student world(and housing) of Groningen. Would not be upset if that ought to be my wedding venue... ;-)

27.8.2013 / Bokskogen Golfklubb

4 hours of sun, some success even and mainly enjoying. 

After leaving Halmstadt on Tuesday morning at sunrise, our next destination was at Svedala near Malmö. There, in the end of a forest road hiding under the branhces of old trees, was a place called Bokskogen Golfklubb. From the parking lot you could already see the impressive, old clubhouse with a feeling of an old barn.

The surrounding nature of the course was so beautiful, filled with huge oak trees, surrounded by lakes and old woods. Even though the fairways didn’t offer that much of a variation, I enjoyed it. The greens were in very good shape, yet some of the fore greens had just been covered in sand.. But in the big picture even that didn’t matter. 

Also, the master caddie was this old lady with big glasses on, how cute!

Only con was that the driving range was absolutely awful. I don’t think anyone who has been there disagrees with me.. I mean; old carpets, maybe 10 places altogether and very narrow scale, with only 150 meters of length. All this located at the end of an iffy path.  

However, all in all would ecommend this course to be played. It was a bit pricier than Söderköping for example, but in much better shape and more enjoyable. One round was 600 kr and cart payment 50 kr each. 


26-27.8.2013 / Hotel Hovgård

On Monday evening we arrived to the cutest little hotel ever. Mom had booked us a room from a town called Halmstadt, in a super adorable hotel right on the edge of town, located in the middle of suburban middle-classed houses, but it felt like we had been somewhere far from civilization. Yet it was about 3 kilometers from the city center.

After 4 hours of very sleepy driving, it was perfect to arrive there, to a total relaxation and getting the mood of holiday. We were nackered from the drive, even our navigator was in lack of sleep and talked some very strange instructions. It had been a long day, but also very enjoyable as the nature we drove by was all very beautiful. Woods, farms, cities and all this while sun is shining and good music on the background.

On the driveway there was a man greeting us with warm welcomes. He was the owner of our accommodation for the night, Hotel Hovgård. Soon after that, his wife also came greeting and showed us our room. As we spoke, it turned out that our room would be called ”Pig”-room :-D There were some quite funny pig decorations up in the walls, but nothing too insulting though, thank god!

The hotel consisted of three different houses - main house, where the owners Tore Kjellgren and Eva Snygg lived, the barn and the newest part, where we had our room. Each room had a theme. The room was very spacious, nicely decorated and just so cute. Also, they had the softest pillow and blanket ever! Slept like a baby that night. 

We mentioned that we wanted to go out to the town to get something to eat and just wonder around as it was a beautiful summer evening. Before we even knew it, the owner had fixed us two bikes and not much later we were already biking to the city. We got some great advice on restaurants and ended up in one of them, called Fridolf’s Krog. I can tell you, expectations exceeded! The food was so delicious, atmosphere very welcoming and all the swedish around us was just so homely.

Filled with awesome flavors and delicious strawberry pannacotta, we drove back to the hotel. There is no better way to get the feeling of summer holiday than biking around in your sweater feeling absolutely sweating, and later in the evening coming back home freezing.

In the morning I felt so relaxed, even though a little sore at the same time, after the night before's golf round and two glasses of wine. But fortunately there was some very good breakfast for us to star our day a little better than compared to the over priced yucky bread. The breakfast was very basic, all you needed like yoghurt, muesli, coffee, toast, boiled eggs etc. 

I highly recommend this adorable hotel in Halmstad for a total relaxation and stress release!

26.8.2013 / Good morning Stockholm: Söderköpings Golfklubb

On monday morning we arrived to Stockholm at 6:30 local time. It was already the rush hour, and people were wondering to work by bikes and cars. At sunrise we greeted Stockholm and headed to our next destination, Söderköping.

Morning rush - a few cars trying to get to Stockholm

We drove trough Södra länken and already got stuck in the traffic. Fortunately the ship was on time and we did have some spare time. The time went by fast as we listened to Biffy Clyro, ate our take away breakfast(over priced bread and bad coffee) and travel snacks, finnish Marianne candies.

At last we arrived to Söderköpings Golf klubb, perfectly on time while the temperature was getting up and higher and the morning dew fading away for a nice round of golf. Our tee-off was at 10:00 so by then the sun had warmed the air quite nicely to be able to play without your sweater. It wasn't too cold yet still not hot.

The course it self was gorgeous, some of the tee boxes were decorated with an amazing view. But my playing, on the other hand, wasn’t so gorgeous then. A little bit before the half way point, my energy level just dropped to its bottom and I felt so tired, lacking of energy. Now when I think about it, until then it had been maybe 5 hours since that over priced sandwich I ate for breakfast.. So no wonder i felt a bit down.

At the ”Kiosk” there was not many items to choose from, and I ended up eating a bun.. Not a good idea. After that there was energy for the two next fairways, but after that my blood sugar-level dropped again. My mood was not the best, and as I get hungry and tired, I turn up to a total Tina Turner-diva. Thank god I have a patient father :) I ended the round to three pars, so not that bad at all. It was a good 4,5 hours of tanning, for sure! 

Overview of the course was nice. Not too fancy, yet they had everything you needed. Green fee was very affordable, 380 kr, as it was already low-season. What amazed me was that the cart payment was 80 kr. Too expensive to me, as usually(in Finland) they are free of charge. The food was good, yet amazingly cheap I think. Two huge pastas with salad and soup was altogether about 190 kr.

Could recommend this for a short visit if you are planning on visiting more than one or two other courses.

25.8.2013 / Goodbyes

The first day of our five-day journey went by really fast. It was a real hustle of emotions during the whole day. Anxiety, happiness, excitement and some tears too.

I hate saying goodbyes. I promised myself that i wouldn’t cry, but i couldn’t help it.. So far i am counting at three times, haha:-) Hugging mum for the last time was the one what triggered my tears. In the other hand, I am so freaking excited to get this study year going in Groningen, but I am also so sad to leave all my loved ones behind. Knowing that we won’t be seeing each other in probably over 4 months. But thats not that long of a time, I keep telling myself. And I am not that far away either.

Regarding my exchange, I think and hope that everything is sorted. I am super nervous about the first day. I am so sure that the first thing I will do is get lost. What if nobody likes me, what if I mumble with my words and what if speaking english 24/7 takes its toll and that leads to panic and distress, I think to myself. I suppose I just have to live one day at a time and try to appreciate every single moment during my stay. Hoping all will sort out, I will make some great new friends, maybe even for life.

In the morning it was shine and bright early again. Packed the car( totally packed - full!!) and did some shopping, too. We went to see this  event called Design Tori, finnish designers selling their stuff at a market place, and we also picked up some essentials for my exchange such as some school supplies and basic tops.

Since I didn’t have any holiday after working trough the whole summer, the drive to Turku harbor went by pretty much asleep and taking in the last bits of finnish nature, one thing I will sure be missing. Everything sure looked a lot different looking at those like for the last time. I also received some farewell text from grandma and some friends, and just couldn't read them without crying. Unexpected, emotions really got to me. 

At last, when we made it to the ship we had some nice dinner, avec champs of course, and some tax free shopping. I bought a new day cream from Korres and souvenirs for my new friends; chocolate and liquorice. After all that, we found out that Matti ja Teppo would be performing not before than 12 o’clock in the evening. Disappointed we decided to head back to our cabin for a good night sleep of 7 hours. 

We sailed over to Stockholm with a new ship by Viking Line called Grace. Everyone had praised this new ship, and there had been a lot of positive marketing towards it so I kind of had my hopes up. Unfortunately the reality didn't live up to my expectations, but it was just fine. Not that different to the other boats to me. An upgrade for sure, as it still is quite new and clean etc but nothing that amazing.

First day of school: Welcoming day

Today was my first day of school at Hanze University of applied sciences in Groningen. I was so super nervous last night and this morning too, if I would find the place and the right people. Gladly we had agreed on Facebook with other students living in the same house as I do that we would walk together. So nobody got lost and we had a nice group of people to go with. Because today was also my first day seeing the campus, apart from Google Street view, I was anxious if I would find my way to the right place.

While walking to the school we had some time to get to know each other, even though I suppose everyone was as nervous as I was or just really tired from waking up early as the walk was quite quiet.

As we made it to the right building, there was some kind of a music machine "welcoming" us with creepy music. Later on we found out that it is one of Dutch culture elements.

At the campus I noticed that probably more than half of the students speak spanish/portuguese. Lots and lots of dark haired latino people. I did meet one fellow finnish student, though.

Before even going to the campus I was excited to sign up for the ESN introduction week, which would have started today but as we made it to the information market to sign up, it turned out that they had sold all the tickets. As the university had its welcoming day on wednesday or thursday, most of the tickets were sold before we even knew about the event.

Either way, I'm excited to start "real" school on monday and get to see my classmates and finally learn me some dutch!! I think I will get the opportunity to participate in a few parties throughout the year even if i missed the official introduction week parties.. ;-)

29 August 2013

Greetings from Groningen!

-Written on Wednesday 28.8. evening-

What a journey it has been! Finally we have arrived to Groningen and can almost be eased. Tomorrow it's going to be a hectic day too, and on Friday is the first day of school already.

Today we drove straight from Denmark to the Netherlands and arrived just before 9 pm. First time during this trip, we also got lost as the navigator got overheated and was out of order.. But finally, we nicely made it to our destination, Groningen.

First impression of the city is very nice. The surroundings seem to be very clean, but the map is very confusing to me. Unlike in Finland, the streets are in kind of a circle form surrounding the city center. I suppose it takes a while to learn the map. For now, I will be very lost for a while :-)

Welcome to the Netherlands

As we checked in to the hotel, we got a directions with a map to where we should park our car. We dropped our bags to the room and headed out. Of course, I forgot the map to the room but we figure it would be a piece of cake to find the right street "Just turn right, right, left and you are there." Yeah right.. First thing, we forgot to turn from the correct cross-road. Second of all, we noticed that all the main roads we wanted to go were closed. No big deal, there's a celebration of independence of Groningen right here, right now. All the roads are closed and will not be open until 12 pm. We figured it wouldn't be a big deal if we just quietly drove pass one of the gates to our street.. Until the POLICE stopped us; "Can I see your driver's license, sir!?" Oh, what else could still happen. The Police was a bit confused but finally let us go trough. We made it to our destination, to the parking lot. Oh yes, finally! Oh wait, why doesn't this gate open? The gate didn't work properly, but this time it was our fault as dad didn't drive far enough for the gate to recognize the car. But the receptionist was so kind to drive with her bike to come fix the problem. 

As we parked the car, we headed back to the main street to get something to eat before heading back to the hotel. This either wasn't an easy challenge. Not until the fourth place was kind enough to offer us food. All other were closed. But this place, it was so great!! The service was so kind and it made me feel good, here is where I will be living for the next 5 months for the least and that feels ok.

"I'm sorry, our kitchen is closed already but maybe I can make something for you.." Yum!

On our way back to the hotel, there were a few others also wondering trough the city.. Bikes, people walking and drinking(just not like in Finland; super drunk and noisy. Just noisy). We heard there was a firework for the celebration, but though it was over already as everyone was walking away. As I brushed my teeth, suddenly a big bang went on and continued for the next 15 minutes. I think there was fireworks worth like 2000 euros shot to the sky during that intense 15 minutes. We did see some of them, as a reflection from the windows next to our hotel, haha!

Tomorrow I will sleep in, eat a nice breakfast and then it's time to move and find be mea proper bike!

27 August 2013

Beginning of a new chapter

Hi guys!

I have been keeping a "diary" from the couple of past days, as we started our journey from Finland to the Netherlands. By us I mean me and my father. So I decided it would be fun to share some of my moments from this journey of mine.

I will be studying International Business in Groningen for at least one semester, and at this moment we are on our way there. Current location Kolding, Denmark. This blog will be a journal regarding my study year abroad, so studying, having fun and experiencing new things. Hope You enjoy!