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Bert gets his Viking on with the TPR 2023 Scandi Tour (no Pillaging, but some Humping occured)

Day 22, now updated: Full morning at Särkänniemi

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^ thanks!

this reminds me I need to get back to this and finish off!   (three parks left).

 

work dumped so much stuff on me (and life as well). . that just haven't had the time to sit and work on this.  

but will get back to it and finish this off soon!

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Day 20: Thursday, June 22nd - FULL (and I mean FULL) day at the Northernmost Theme Park in the world:  Power Park in Finland

I had turned in early from the exhausting travel day / TPR Grand Prix. .. but many folks hung out at the "bar" that was near the Park's hotel.

these pics are from Andy - and based on the time stamps, the 1st pic was around 11pm, the 2nd was around Midnight, and the 3rd was just about 1am.

 

 

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here's me, just after Hans came in, and raved about it being light after 1am. .and how I should get up and look.

he was very insistent. . so here's my sleepy ass out on the balcony snapping a quick selfie, so I could go back to sleep (thanks Hans!) 😛

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better pic (camera takes much better pics when it's not a selfie). .

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fast forward a few hours, and I believe was up just before 8am, and snapped this pic then.   Sun now coming up and blue skies.

we'd have some foretasted rain later in the day, but nothing really terrible, and tho was overcast (and colder) much of the day?  ended up being a great day to visit the park.

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here's a look at what I got from the Breakfast Buffet served in the hotel.

most of it was very good, and I loved the mustard Herring at the bottom center.

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and some fruit - gotta be "healthy"

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and then we headed across the street as a group to start the day at Power Park. 

I believe we were about an hour before Park Open and we were gonna get some ERT on Junker - the Park's Gerstlauer launched Infinity Coaster.  With some ERT later in the day on Pitt's Special - the Park's Gerstlauer vertical chain lift Infinity Coaster, and Thunderbird - the Park's big woodie.


making our way thru the gates, we passed a carousel (so of course got pics)

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and this thing, which was scary as hell... but I DID ride it.

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Nice, large, Ferris Wheel

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a swinging carnival ride. . but this one has an amazing setting - you swing THRU the house while spinning.  It really feels like you're going to hit it every time.

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the Park also has a Boomerang - Cobra
This was the first Boomerang to use Vekoma's "new" MK1211 open sided trains  (spoiler, it didn't help, the ride STILL sucked, and I regretted getting talked into trying it out)

tho I did love the theming on the Octopus ride there - and the tower behind it, which seemed to have some animatronics on it, so the balcony collapsed as if there was an earthquake going on, and then re-set.

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this crazy thing - for some reason called "Pegasus" (yeah, a lot of the ride names were a bit odd to me) - was AMAZING.

this one did all the flipping and spinning that several similar rides we had been on earlier in the trip didn't do.    Fantastic and a do not miss ride if visiting the park.

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the park's Spinning Wild Mouse coaster - called "Neo's Twister"  (Based on a Finnish Cartoon mouse). 
If I'm recalling correctly, we got stuck on the brake run here facing the wrong direction, and they had to call someone to turn the car around so we could exit after the ride

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and there it is. . . Junker. 

or is it Pitt's Special?

hard to tell - as they are bother Gerstlauer Infinity Coasters, and the park painted them the same color - so it looks like one massive coaster, but is actually two separate ones side by side.

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the park's flume ride. . which is really more like a Chute the Shoots boat in a river with some flume elements.
Called Kwai River.   and the big woodie back there is Thunderbird.

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I believe this one is actually Junker.    I THINK that's the one that wrapped around the walkway.

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Lion King ?   what the heck is this? 

and why is Johnny Depp in front of it?

I LOVED the WTF-ness of this park. . it just comes out of nowhere sometimes.   LOL

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such as this Enterprise.  (I LOVE this ride, and they are disappearing).

but this one?  they took it literally, and named it after the USS Enterprise - with Star Trek theming and characters inside the base, that one could only see when the ride went vertical.

it was down in the morning, but they had maintenance (the same guy who rescued us from the Wild Mouse) working on it most of the morning, and he DID get it working, so I could get a ride on it :)

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here's the TPR Group picture in front of Junker - with our Park guide.

Thanks Robb for the pic

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headed into the station.. wow. .loved the Art Deco design on these trains.
I *believe* they told us that Junker is a type of classic Plane (so is Pitts Special). .so that would explain the cool engines on the back of the train.

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wonderfully comfortable restraints.

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a look at the magnetic brake run, as it does come into the station really fast.

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looking out from the exit ramp from the station. . it's lovely here!
(that's some of the owner's housing, I was told, tho he rents it out to park staff to stay in mostly)

I dunno how much I'd love living right behind a rollercoaster.. but would be cool at first, I'd think.

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Wheeeeee!    LIM launch.

guessing this pic is from Elissa ?

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yeah.. I liked it and rode it a lot during the morning ERT

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theming!

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morning ERT over, and park now open to the public, we spread out to meet up again later for more ERT.

crossing the "bridge" that Junker circles - you can look over and see the vertical lift for Pitts Special (that's the one that goes over the road and in the center of the race track).
We had Evening ERT on that one, so we decided to move to other things as we'd ride that later if weather held out.

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LOL. . they called the water ride Kwai River, so that this would be the "bridge over River Kwai"

BWAAAA-HAAAA-HAAAA

 

oh and a cactus theming for the Mexican place (didn't eat at it, but I think that Erik said it was ok)

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the loop on Junker going around the bridge that I just mentioned:

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across the bridge is Thunderbird - a GCI coaster with Millennium Flyer trains . ..  looks like it's got some steep turns. . .

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one of the drops on the Kwai River ride. . you can see the wide flume and why I said it's more of a Shoot the Chutes with some flume elements.

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it even comes alongside the "bridge" before dropping under it - in the major drop that will soak everyone in the boat.

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as noted, Park is now open, and Thunderbird is testing.

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a peek towards the front of the park. .

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random Alligator.
sure, why not?

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but I did love the attempt at theming with the sign. . it was lovely over here.

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more.."theming".. this one didn't really make any sense to me.. .but OK

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oh yes. . HOT PINK trains.   LOL  (the other one, as you may have noticed was neon yellow)

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and it's themed like you're taking a train between cities.

well.. the station is themed like that. . not so much the rest of the ride.

best thing about it?  the brake run coming into the station.  they brake the hell out of this thing.   We made it a game later during ERT counting the brake stops, as we inched along, slowly thru the brake run and into the station. . . I swear it was no less than 23 "stops" before the station every time.  

LOL

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and you exit the ride thru the "Flipper Saloon"

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er.. or, maybe I should say, you USED to?

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I mean. . I GUESS you could play this one - if you're really, really skinny.

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wasn't very busy today - not sure if it's just the time of year, the weather forecast for today, or just that it's not a weekend.
but most everything was open.

and some of the themed sections were great. . . even if just facades that contained basically convenience stores.

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ah.. just noticed, the neon yellow train has green sides.

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I did ask what this was - it wasn't open today - and I believe was told it's a "storybook" area for kids, where the characters in the window tell stories for the kids.

I was getting "Flowers in the Attic" vibes tho. .LOL

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and across from it. . seemingly appearing out of nowhere?    A construction themed Fun House.

It looked like nothing, but was SO much stupid fun, I think I went thru it twice.

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and yes, full of the kind of stuff you'd see in a traveling carnival fun house . . but also full of freaky mannequins - doing "butt" humor.

of course I loved it!

they did make you check all bags and loose articles - but it was ok to carry a phone to take pictures.  (I didn't question why a phone is not a "Loose article". . you can see, Andrew didn't question it either.

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D'oh!

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ooo. .this is cool!

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and this is rather . . "snug"

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funhouse done. . there seemed to be an outdoor walk-thru area.

I THINK this says: "Teruetuloa". . . and when I asked what it was all about, they said this area was built to film a TV series, and they just left the sets after so the Park could use it as a walk thru experience.

the woods were pretty, so figured, ok, let's check it out.

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having never seen the show, I had NO idea what was going on. . are they trolls?  hermits living in the woods?   Nymphs? 

i dunno, but there was a Photo Op, so I was happy.

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lots of buildings and sets to check out. .

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even a little band-stand.    Wonder if there's actually music here sometimes?

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and lookie who came out while we were walking thru!   Mascots.

i think?  didn't see them anywhere else in the park.

one looks like a hermit, and one looks like a Nymph. . so I'm still confused.

but no matter. .let's pose!

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NIGHTMARE FUEL!!!

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even a sauna out here. . .

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and a place to sacrifice puppies????  

hell if I know. .

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we had to pass back by Thunderbird again on the way out from the walk thru, so sMisty and i hopped on for a front row ride.

whee!

thanks Erik for the pic!

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the Wild Mouse was having some issues, and wasn't quite open yet. . tho not sure why it says "Steam Power" on the sign, or why there are animals about to get ground into meat byproduct from gears.

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but just across from it, Pegasus was running. . . so we looked at each other and headed there.

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I had to look up what "HUOMIOITHAN" means, since I saw it on lots of rides, and surely they can't ALL be called that:

it means:  "Please Note"

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Erik said "hell no" to the spinny ride, but told us to have fun.

so thank you to him for these great pics!

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This was one of the many kiddie rides sprinkled thruout the park. 

all of them looked like a hoot, but all of them were for little kids only.  (most of them were paired up next to each other, with one operator for both rides)

I REALLY wanted in on this:  a  bouncy house fill of balls, that actually moves!

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was told "little children" only.. but with some nice asking, was allowed to take a picture almost on it - even if I didnt' get to actually "ride" in it.

I had to ASSURE him I wasn't going to go inside, I just wanted a picture.

still.. good enough!  I was happy :)

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Neo's Twister had opened while we were on the other ride, so we headed back over there and got in queue.

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the line stacked up while we were waiting for Maintenance guy to come spin our car around so we could exit. (making it the longest line we saw all day). LOL

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Having ridden most of the stuff in this section, before heading back towards the main promenade of the park, we decided to ride the Kwai River ride.

the ops decided that all six of us should ride together in one boat - despite us asking if it was ok to split up between boats.

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yup.. they made sure we were heavy enough, and this was the result.

does it get you wet?  

umm. . . yup:

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walking by Lion King again, it was running now, soi got a better look at what it actually is.

seems to be a "flying carpet" type ride . with arms crossed neon colored lions sitting at the back of each car.     No, that doesn't explain why there's a pirate there. 

but I mean. .flying neon Lions, and you're worried about why there's a Pirate?  

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I didn't even ask about riding this one (tho did see some adults on it). . was worried it wouldn't support my weight.

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the Enterprise was up and running - which made me SO happy.    we got a ride on it with a long ass cycle, and I was happy that I hadn't eaten lunch yet.

It was nice of them to give us such a long cycle tho, as i had mentioned to the maintenance guy earlier how much I loved these rides.   tho it did concern me that he hung around during our ride to make sure it kept operating ok - it had been closed due to getting stuck in the upright position the prior day.

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still. . . .whee!!!

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remember I noted some of the rides have strange names?

here is "Fiesta Mexicana". . .

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which is the park's Starflyer.  

yeah.

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what I found rather cool tho, is that there were two separate lines - one for "thrill" (meaning that the Starflyer operated as normal) and a line for "Observe" (meaning it spun very slowly so you could use it as an observation tower.

i thought that was rather a neat option, and have never seen a Starflyer operate that way.   

(there were only two people in the "observe" line, so the operator loaded up the Thrill side first to get us on.

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not the main entrance gate, but an entrance gate to the Park.. I think the one closest to the main parking area, for those who are not staying on property.

were some clouds rolling in, but was still a lovely day.

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Finnish butt.

I mean, I COULD claim I took the pic because I wanted to show someone standing in the "observe" line. . but no. . I took it for the butt :)

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who doesn't want to buy something from "Mr. FUNSLUSH" ????
(I had one later in the day. . super sweet. . like a slurpee with added sugar)

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here's that Cobra I got talked into riding.

yeah. . still terrible, even with different trains, and some theming (a puff of smoke over the train when you leave the station from the 1st drop)

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the parks one remaining "big" coaster - which is a family coaster, called Joyride.

it's pretty much a traveling carnival coaster, that is pleasant enough, and does have some steeply angled turns.

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and artsy shot of a crappy coaster, taken thru an ok coaster.

Power Park really does like to paint coasters that are close to each other in the same colors. . .if you just glance at it, these two look connected.

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and closing out this part of the report with a park map:

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by now was starting to get hungry for lunch. . . so we took a look at the offerings, and I believe myself, Big Mike, and Andrew decided that the Pizza Buffet near the front entrance sounded promising.. so we headed there.

to be continued. . .

 

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The "wooden village" you saw behind Thunderbird, I loved it. So many photo ops! And during the 2014 TPR visit, I actually met the owner of the Power Park, and the previous owner of the park....his father! That's when I asked about that 'village' was told about the TV series, like you were.

And - I 😍 that Booster ride! It was smaller than what we used to have at Playland (now removed for the new coaster opening this May). I must have ridden it several times, with different TPR tourers on board. And I remember really, REALLY wanting this brought to Playland.

Have to add. I believe your room is in the same part of the hotel ours was, back then. Good view of that grandstand, I remember.

Great tour of the park, Bert!

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Day 20: Thursday, June 22nd - Power Park Part II

 

the Pizza Buffet was decorated just as "eclectically" as the rest of the park.   it was over a grill (on the 1st floor) that only seemed to sell cheeseburgers & Pepsi - shades of Classic SNL), but upon going up the stairs, greeted by this funky Roman guard.

why?  hell if I know.

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sticking with the Owner's plane theme tho. .there are lots of planes in here hanging from the ceiling.

how that ties with the Roman guy?  yeah.. again, I dunno.

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the buffet had a few things more than just pizza (which was so so - tho they again had the pizza with corn on it).

the Chicken nuggets and happy face hashbrowns were good, I recall.

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oh. there was also an Indian. .and a witch mirror (which I liked, especially the bat under it)

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and can't forget the Conquistador - that was guarding the staircase down to the burgerjoint below.

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pleasantly full, we headed out to the section of the park near the front that we hadn't explored yet.   The sky was turning a bit darker, and it was getting a little chillier. . . luckily the hotel was right across the street, so made a quick stop while over here at the gates, to grab a hoodie.

the Pizza place is on the 2nd floor of this building.

the green tower is the park's Asian themed drop tower.

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the mentioned "main entrance" for the Hotel guests. . that building back on the left is the giant events center and the Movie theater.

they were setting up for a big concert coming the next day. . didn't recognize the band names, but they apparently are popular in Finland.

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Time Square is another Kiddie flying carpet type ride.  back behind it you can see a few other kiddie rides.  

back there is also the parks smallest coaster, and a shooting dark ride.

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the cars are a bit "steampunk". . so maybe that's the "Time" in the name of the ride?

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on the left was a weird little "station" that definitely gave me the impression that at one point it was a loading platform for a small train.

the park doesn't have a train, and it's an odd "oversight".. so I've got to wonder if they used to have a trackless train type ride that at one point used this as it's station?

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no ride here. .but hey, a Rabbit riding a carrot.  

sure, why not?

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Mine Train is the parks final coaster, it's a Zamperla family coaster, with a fun little layout.

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tho they certainly made it less "family" and more "kiddie" with the train design

which had VERY tight seats - especially after gorging on pizza buffet.

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but we squeezed our butts in!

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Next door was a car ride which was part Jurassic Park, part Antique Taxi, and part " we got this ride via multiple Garage Sales"

here's Kristen and Brayden, looking excited to ride!

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ooo.. nice theming. . very Blair Witch.

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rather than squeeze into the front seat, we chose to ride front and back.

look how excited we are!   (and got yelled at by the operator for having my phone out.   I was confused. this is a slow moving car ride that you aren't steering, but was told that I MUST put my phone away - and note, several extreme rides I had been on today, was told it was ok to have phone out for pics - so I went ahead and put my phone away and we "enjoyed" the ride.   but it was weird, that THIS is the ride they won't let you take pics on.   

you can take pics OF it. . . so they aren't concerned about the content of the ride, or the design.  it was just weird.

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hmm. . the drop tower hadn't gone in a while.. was it down? 

answer was yes, it was down. . but the same maintenance guy was there working on it, and he did get it back up.  so Kudos to this amazing Mr. Fixit, who was able to get every down ride back up and running.    we went on it a little while later.

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Kiddie Ferris Wheel, and behind it looks like a Himalaya, that I don't even remember seeing, so I didn't ride it!   whoops.

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walking around the Dino Safari ride, to go to the park's dark ride. . here's a pic of the kind of Dinos you'll see on the safari.

yup. . a plastic Zebra.

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this area suddenly got very well themed, to kind of a western Boom Town.    Really well done.

don't recall if the Steakhouse was open, but as we had recently eaten, didn't check anyways.

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here's the Dark Ride. . the Devil's Mine hotel (I think it's called that?)

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this one had working animatronics, even on the outside.   with the cowboy up top talking to people in the queue, and various characters emitting "bodily noises"

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and it's a SHOOTING dark ride.  I hoped it was good.

and it was. . it was VERY good, I recall.   I rode this thing at least 4-5 times.

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speaking of motion activated animatronics in this area:

(yes, he yells at you for watching him while he's pooping. . .complete with fart sounds).

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As the sky threatened to open up, I headed back over towards Pitts Special to get a ride on it, just in case the Evening ERT had to be cancelled.

passing back thru the "main street area" I again was impressed with the facades here.

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a photo-op to sit on a Cowboy's knee?

why sure!

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I rode Pitts Special - I didn't care for it (not a fan of vertical lifts. . but this one doesn't even have inversions, so it seemed "not worth it".   the fact I didn't get any pics of it when I went over to ride it?  kinda says it all.

heading back up to the rides in the front I hadnt' gotten on yet, I eyed this as I passed it.   I was GONNA ride it, just had to get my nerve up.

you can really see how threatening the sky was looking in this picture tho.

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an adorable kiddie flume, that really wasn't operating today as there just weren't a lot of tiny kids in the park.

but look how cute!

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I will say that Pitts Special LOOKS pretty neat. .that ampersand feature. . .I mean, it looks like it SHOULD have inversions.

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taking a spin on Typhoon - going thru the house really adds so much to this ride - as does going completely upside-down.

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oh. .I actually DO have some pics from when I went over to ride Pitts Special. . just had them filed wrong.

here ya go, a few pics of the Gerstlauer coaster with the Vertical Lift

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and looking the other direction, this is Junker. . with the loops.

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I AM "Kapteeni Koukku"

I think this is a stage for a show, that they probably run on busy weekend days.  from the backdrop, guessing it's a comedy pirate show.

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I've grown to appreciate these rides. . they are way more fun than they look, even tho really you're just going in a circle and controlling the "swing out"

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the Enterprise ran the whole rest of the day once it got fixed, but I can't recall if I went and got another ride on it.

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at first couldn't remember why i took this pic, then realized it was to catch the collapsing balcony on the tower there on the 2nd floor.  I'm not sure WHY it does that, but it was pretty cool to watch :)

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steeling up my courage, headed towards the big ride I was gonna force myself to ride.  *and I think this is when I grabbed my Mr. Slushie.

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taken from in line for this thing.

I DID ride it, and we didn't' flip much. . so it really wasn't near as terrifying as I was afraid it was gonna be.

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in fact, this was running a crazier cycle than the one I was worried was gonna flip.

luckily it stopped before I got too sick to my stomach.  LOVE the angry fish faces on the cars tho :)

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a few more pics of Thunderbird, while over here. . .

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and then a treat for me.   it was time to ride the Carousel!

and Mike and Jon rode with me too. .so wasn't the only on riding.

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yup. . my happy place.

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while we were on the carousel, the drop tower started working again, so we went right next door to ride it.

as with the starflyer, there are two separate lines:  one for thrilling drop, and one side where it cycles as an observation tower.

we chose fast, of course :)

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pretty neat that the top of the loading station is clear, so you can look up and see the prior riders.

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and the queue line has windows too. . so was able to get this shot of Collin, Barry, and Andy as they also had come right over when it started running again.

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after that ride, it was back to the dark ride (again) :)

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with yet another shot of the Dino Safari... that seems to have no dinosaurs, just zebras and military trucks.

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oh, I found this other carousel too :)

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this park lets you bring your doggie if you want to, and you can put them in the stocks while you enjoy the park.

so of course I had to!

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I saved one of the best for last. . . I sat and watched this for a while, tho didn't ride it.

it's the gayest, straight ride I've ever seen.

you climb on top of the "bull" and wrap your arms and legs tightly around the "bull weiner". . and then it bucks like crazy to try and throw you off, while LOUD music blasts from those speakers.

no. . really.

I was worried about breaking my neck - even with all that padding underneath it.. so I just enjoyed watching.

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it has different settings too. and the operator controlled how extreme it was gonna be.

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i tell you. . just TONS of enjoyment watching this crap. . LOL

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it was time for our evening ERT over on Pitts Special, so we headed that way.

now, I might be mis-remembering this, as it's been 10 months, but I *believe* Robb asked us if we wanted to do ERT on Pitts Special, or just do Junker again, and it was unanimously decided that Junker was the better coaster, so did that instead.

while waiting for them to clear the short queueline, snapped some pics of the back end of Junker.
(while getting eaten to death by mosquitos who came out in forces as it got overcast)

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some wonderful woodcarvings on the sides of the buildings back behind Junker.

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including the hawk (Eagle?) with it's catch

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the garages where the owner of the park keeps some of his classic cars (per the operator I was chatting with)

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whee!!!

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and now back on for more ERT.. this seems to be my pic, since I'm not on this train. .

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but I think the rest of them are from Elissa  (and yes, I was so glad I had grabbed my hoodie)

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the Ride building, with a weird restroom/storage area for park food carts beneath it.

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and then a pleasant surprise.  .  . more ERT.  on Thunderbird.

I really liked the coaster, so was a happy "yes" for this too.

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i think I rode every cycle on this ERT, so these pics must be courtesy of Elissa (I see Robb, Andy, and Brad on the train)

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rider cam. . WHOOOOOOO!!!!

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just look at that smile on me. . such a good coaster.

even if it DID 'put put put' thru the brake run every time, sloooooowly inching into the station.

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Steve looks thrilled. . HA!

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and then it was over, and time to go back to the hotel.

Robb sent to the group chat a couple of spectacular pics he got from the top of Dragon Tower - when it was in "observation mode"

look how amazing the setting for this place is!

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Pitts Special from the Dragon Tower, thanks to Robb.

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and back to the hotel to refresh for dinner.

this was the welcome mat at the hotel:

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and before dinner, wandered a bit to snap pics of the oddball theming.

the 2nd floor over the dining room - called the Lido Deck - looked like it was a bar area for use when they were really crowded.

but there were planes hanging in the hotel too.. so not JUST boat themed.   Eclectic!

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taken thru a closed glass door. . hence the reflection.

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very Nautical. . .

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the lobby on our side of the hotel, and Main Deck is the dining room.

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I believe the appetizer and Desert were the same as the prior night and that's why have no pics.

but I do have a pic of my main course this evening. . . and I'm STILL confused by "why a cup of ketchup with my fish?"
and the watermelon seems a bit out of place as well.

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one last look out the window towards Power Park. .

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and with that, I went to the room, packed stuff up, and was ready to head out in the morning.

had been such a fun day, and I really enjoyed the wackiness of this place.

tomorrow. . onwards to Sarkamniemi

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  • 3 weeks later...

Day 21: Friday, June 23rd - travel day to Tampere, Finland (where we'd be going to Särkänniemi the next day)

 

it was a decently long bus ride, so at just under the 1/2 way point, we had a pit stop at a Roadside Traveler Center.

it was lovely here - I remain so struck as to how "clean" everything was!

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this wasn't just ANY traveler center tho. . . this place seemed to be fairly famous, or at least really well known.

as it's also a cheese factory!  

yes, get gas, go potty, get snacks, and watch them make cheese  (explains the cow on the roof)

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not sure what this was next door, but seemed to be getting used as overflow parking.

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and not only on the roof. . but Cows in side!

photo op :)

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one can even "milk" them.

this one, sadly, didn't "groan" like the one in Japan did when I "milked" it. . but if recalling, this one had plastic udders that stretched as you pulled on them.

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photo op out of the way, I wandered to the back of the traveler center and peeked down at the "Cheese-making" floor. 

Seriously, they have large windows, so travelers can watch. .it really is a destination.

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there's also a pretty large store, that not only sells the cheese (in giant wheels, blocks, cuts) but also all kinds of snacks and hot food.

here was my attempt to get something for the bus that was not Licorice flavored.
(the Mountain Dew was super sweet and disgusting. . the cookies were good. . .but the coated dried bananas were a bit bland, as was the chocolate bites  - they were like larger, flatter, mellower M&Ms, with a thicker shell).

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arriving in Tampere, we checked into the hotel - where the front desk clerk mentioned it was "Midsommer" - which explained why it seemed so "empty" for a Friday in the city.
there were people about, but no where near as busy as I'd expected.  And many shops were closed for the day, as it was explained that most go out to the Country to sauna and to celebrate on this day.

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the hotel was lovely:

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tho had a weird shower stall, that opened on both sides from the corner. . resulting in more difficulty for this American Idiot to keep the water out of the rest of the bathroom when showering :)

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Nice view from the room.

it's not a small city, but it was pretty quiet this day.

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I was gonna meet up with Jon (and I think Jason?) and we were gonna meet up with Andrew, Erik & sMisty to roam around the city. . but on my way down I popped into the Men's Sauna that was offered at the hotel.

very lovely, even if empty (again, was told folks leave the area for the holiday).

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NOTED. . . no naked ass on the benches!

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I'd never done a Sauna. . but I figured if ever was the time?   In Finland on Midsommer?  

yeah.. I'd break my sauna cherry here later tonight (you're welcome that I won't share that pic) :)

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down on the street in front of the hotel, we met up, and I marveled at how gorgeous the day was.

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a few folks out and about. . but pretty empty for a "not small" city today.

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we found a few places open in our wandering. . including this fun "novelty" store, that some bought some stuffies at.

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some random "street" art. . was pretty need to just come across it!

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really loved the look of this city.

and the lack of people around made it even cooler, and allowed for some great pics.

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this seemed to be a "cultural center" with the water treatment plant (I think that's what it was) as the anchor for the park/restaurants/trails around it.

just lovely.

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it's not a Tum-ahhhhhhhh

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even here in Finland, the "locks on bridges" movement is going strong. .

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Disney influenced?

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got to wonder if there are sometimes paddleboats in this water area. . . otherwise, this statue seems oddly out of place.

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hey. .a map (I'm assuming a transit map, but also really helpful for tourists)

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we are at the noted red dot.

we started our walk from over by where the comedy/tragedy masks are.  and Särkänniemi is up there on the left.

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but we found a Finnish Grocery Store open. . so of course had to check it out.

I was haunted this trip by Olives.    (I know who kept putting them on my plate when I wasn't looking), but as we were getting to the end of the trip, I was traumatized by Olives.

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I wasn't hungry at the moment. . but honestly?  this didn't even tempt me.

I *think* it was a sweet, even tho it looks like a Hot Dog.

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back out walking, and enjoying the beautiful weather, and the random statues around the City.

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we saw a pathway along the waterfront, that seemed to be headed towards an area that would give a nice view of Särkänniemi, so we headed down that way.

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spooky swimming area.

I'm sure on a normal day, this section would be packed with swimmers.

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the path cuts up thru a park and some more greenery.

hi Jon. . .

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this amused me. . I liked how they tried to camouflage the tunnel with "natural" rock formations.

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ooo. .I spot the observation tower/restaurant at Särkänniemi up ahead.

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ok..this i found to be among the coolest stuff I saw while in Finland.

Finlandian Graffiti.

and it was mostly really well done!

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it really was so beautiful here. . I know I keep saying that, but it's true!

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and coming around the curve in the path?

across the way - on a peninsula reaching out into the water:   Särkänniemi

along the waterfront is that horrid torture device known as "Trombi" ( a Zamperla Volare - flying coaster)

also behind it in this pic is "Hype" (a Premier skyrocket II), and off to the left is part of "Tornado" (an Intamin suspended coaster - one of only 2 in the world)


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they were open, as the rides were running - just not really busy today.

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see? the skyrocket II is running. .the train is about to invert at the top.

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and the disco over the water, is a great placement.

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better view of this side of the park - with Tornado (that's hard to miss with it's Neon orange & yellow trains)

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the park really does look wonderful, and I was very excited about coming back in the morning for our visit.

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a boat engine of some kind on display at the Marina across from the park.

there was a sign on it, but it must not have been in English (or not interesting) as I have no pic of it.

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view more from the front. . with a better idea of the Skyrocket II layout.

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and Tornado's neon orange train.

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turning away from the park to start the trek back, sMisty had found an area called "fairy park" - or something like that. . it sounded interesting, so we detoured that way to check it out.

not sure if this was a playscape or a sculpture.  (I THINK a playscape tho)

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thruout the park, there were multiple "hidden" / small sculptures of pixies/faeries playing.,

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this one is definitely a playscape.  it had Trampolines.

and big red balls.. LOL

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and a throne?

don't mind if I do!

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tons of fun detail everywhere - like these iron "Spiderwebs" under the roof of this shade structure.

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whimisical .. and lovely area

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found another pixie

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and a handful of folks enjoying the day.

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from an overlook at the top of the park, you get a lovely view of Särkänniemi across the water

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Hype doing it's thing

notice Trombi hasn't run in any of my pics.   I think it's because only fools like us would attempt to ride the horrible thing.

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I would have checked out the museum. . but it was closed today

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after a long walk/sight seeing, it was time to head back.   Stomachs were rumbling and there was chat in the thread about places for dinner.

there were a few options, and I know Erik/sMisty ended up checking out a pub.

but some of us decided to check out the pizza place that was spoken very highly of. . with some unique pizzas.   so we headed over that way.

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hmm. .not sure what they are selling :)

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Space Bowling!!!    (in the dark with neon lights).. but no one was really interested.

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oh my. . . quite the wait.  (and the most people we'd seen all day!).

we joined the line, and saw a number of other TPR Trip folks as well. . .

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a snapshot of the menu.

some very interesting options.

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before too long, we were seated, and our order taken.  (notice the line never got shorter!  it stayed about that long the whole time.    we took an outside seat, so didn't have to wait as long as those waiting to sit inside).

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a closeup of the unique pizzas.

i ended up getting the Struzzo BBQ - ostrich peppers and bbq sauce.  (it was SO good)

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all food comes with a trip to the salad bar first:

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and my Pizza.   which I ate all of - other than the parts I shared with others who wanted a taste.

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and then it was back to the hotel where i decided I was gonna sauna - and did it the traditional (nekkid) way . . you're welcome again for no pictures.
 

then a shower, and crashed.

tomorrow was gonna be a full day, and the truth is?  the sauna really was refreshing and knocked me right out.

 

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Day 22: Saturday, June 24th - busy morning at Särkänniemi (before a drive to Helsinki).  Part 1 of 2

 

Starting off bright and early (well. . overcast a little and early, but it never rained).

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a peek at the outskirts of the park, and the bus we'd been riding in since landing in Finland on that flight.

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they really did cram quite a bit of stuff in here . . tho honestly, the vast majority of it I didn't care for.

but what I loved?  I REALLY loved.

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the main gates:

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and the park's landmark tower - it houses a fancy restaurant at the top (can't recall if it spun or not), and in the base, a small, but decent, aquarium/reptile house, as well as gift shop, and I THINK a planetarium?

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even in Finland, those *freaking* scooters are just left everywhere.

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headed into the main park - via a back walkway. . .

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Similar to the exhibited motor I had seen yesterday, inside the park - albeit in a "backyard" area - was a preserved train.  

I didn't want to leave the group to go take a look at it, so not sure why they have it preserved here.

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VERY cool. . our path in, walks along side and under the park's flume ride, and the Intamin coaster.

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here's a good look at Tornado - the Intamin suspended coaster, that I believe is the last of it's kind in the world.

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weirdly, Tornado's station is underground, in a very "industrial" setting.

we went in thru the exit, I think, so didn't see the main queue that goes down steps from the top of the hill.

but got a pic of the ride sign, as we went into the exit queue.

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as noted yesterday, bright neon Orange & Yellow trains.

why?   I dunno. . but they sure are noticeable.

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we greatly enjoyed our morning ERT on this ride.   rode it at least 8 times. . and since they were running both trains?  got some pretty zen rides.

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Steve and I (I believe courtesy of Elissa)

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Matthew looks like he's enjoying it!

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quick peek into the operators booth, while taking a break between rides.

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Wheeeee!   very Zen in the front row.
(pic courtesy of Elissa)

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I'm flying, Jack!!!

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after a bunch of rides, I needed to take a break and stepped into the main park (still before open to public) to snap some pics in the area:

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the setting of this coaster, really is just perfect for pictures.

not sure why it's the last of it's kind, the ride is great!  more parks should have them.

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perusing the park ahead of us. .it really is quite lovely.

tho has a bit of an identity crisis. . . like it's not sure what exactly it wants to be.

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lovely, but small, carousel.

that adults were not allowed to ride.    But I got a pic, so I'm happy.

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and an interesting game. . where one sits on a toilet.

and "pees" into the bathtubs.  

I guess?

to win Minecraft inspired stuffies.

told ya..this park is weird.

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I did really like how so many kiddie rides are scattered about among the big rides.

for example, that Convoy ride, right next to Tornado.

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"Boom" (what a name, LOL) is actually the drop tower!

the Skyrocket II behind it is called "Hype"

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yeah.

I dunno, as I said, "Identity Crisis"

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the park also has this piece of crap pure torture machine:  Trombi - a flying Zamperla Volare.

which, by the way, is Finnish for . . . "Tornado"

so yeah, they have two coasters named Tornado - one brilliant, and one shitty.

oh. . wait. . I should say HAD - RCDB notes it was removed as of late 2023!

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wasn't quite ready for us tho, so looked around the area while they got it ready to open for us.

going for the Gen X crowd?

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this area has lots of carnival flats - all running pretty decent programs, and all with unique names.

other than this Troika. . which was just called "Troika"

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Turning our attention back to Trombi. .they were getting it ready for us.

Even tho it LOOKED like it had been abandoned and was rotting away.

but it still wasn't open just yet, so we headed over to the Skyrocket II (Hype)

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I mean. . I don't MIND the theming, but I don't really "get" it either.

I guess as noted, they are going for Gen X?  I reminded me very much of Plopsaland and their "youtube" section of the park.

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apparently the restaurant (that wasn't open yet as we were still before park open) is called "Play"

perhaps it blasts music during the day?

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I rode this, I think, exactly once.

i'm just not really a fan of this type of coaster (and didn't ride the one the next day at the final park).

but others really love them.

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death glare from Hans :p

and Jon without glasses. . I wonder if they made everyone take off glasses, even with straps?

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when it was my turn to ride?

I actually let out a guffaw when I sat down in the seat and saw this.  And then quickly pulled out my camera to snap a pic (with permission).

 

I don't think this warning label looks like what they THINK it looks like.  

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Rode my one time (maybe I rode twice, but I think only once) and then stepped out front to snap pics

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Proof I rode it.

I even look like I'm having fun?

(yeah, no glasses. .they must have made folks take them off)

Pics courtesy of Elissa

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I gathered my wits about me, while others in the group rode Hype a few more times.

is this a kids area?  there seemed to be more than one. . .but it was nicely detailed over here.

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. . . if a bit "freaky"

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and the pavement a bit psychedelic. .

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or "Q-bert-y" if you prefer (and are of a certain age to understand that)

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we got the note that Trombi was ready for us, if anyone wanted to ride.

I felt we were basically DARED to ride, as I'd heard so many horrible things about Volares
(pst. . all were TRUE!!!!)

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Pic courtesy of Elissa.

OMG. . just look at these faces!!!   HATED it.   hell, I think my back spasm-ed just looking at this pic.

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I *did* it. . but I don't think I'd do one ever again. . .LOL

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watching some of the carnival flats cycling. . the park had just opened to the public, and so it were starting to see the first batches of school kids.

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I don't think I rode the first batch of folks on Take Off (hence getting this pic), but it did end up with it being almost a full TPR cycle.

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then over to High Voltage..which was no where near as insane as it looked  - tho it DOES do some weird things to one's body.

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see?

that's me on the upper left

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I found the park's mascot!!  (well, one of them. .they seemed to have several). and chocolate!

yay.

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and then discovered (thanks to Erik, I believe) my favorite thing in the park:

the lake Carousel.

it lifts up, tilts, and gives a gentle spinning ride.

and is made by Schwarzkopf

no.. really!

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and it's right on the lake, offering some lovely views

(hence being called the "Lake Carousel")

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see???   Schwarzkopf !

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Jon and I

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Smisty, Goldballs, and Erik

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Me and Big Mike

i think we ALL loved this thing.

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and it offered nice views of the park's theming/landscaping as it turns as well.

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to be continued .   with lunch up in the tower and a quick pop into the Aquarium!

 

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Day 22: Saturday, June 24th - busy morning at Särkänniemi (before a drive to Helsinki).  Part 2 of 2

from the Lake Carousel, I had spotted that giant tire, which seemed to lead to another "themed" area

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going thru there, and we found a section themed to Motocross (complete with people just sitting on the photo op, as always happens). . over here is the park's final "big" coaster
(no, I didn't ride the kiddie coaster, despite it's nice location just off the lake).

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MotoGee - a fun Zamperla moto-coaster

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complete with the kinda awkward seating. . .LOL. . but with some nice theming (including starting lights and sound effects)

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it was a fun coaster, and being so compact, it felt much faster than it was.

I liked it.

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whee!!! 

not sure who took this. . possibly Andy?

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we were getting hungry and after looking at options, several of us decided that Smisty and Erik had a good idea to try out the restaurant at the top of the tower.

so we headed in that general direction, me stopping to snap pics as we made our way up towards the front of the park / tower entrance.

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Tornado and the flume, really do almost interact with each other.   Not on the level of Grona Lund interaction, but close enough it's impressive.

I can't remember if I rode the flume here?  I THINK I did (tho I know I didn't ride the rapids ride).

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ah. . here's the main entrance to Tornado, that we skipped earlier by going in thru the exit.

Down the steps into the underground launch.

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not quite sure what this open space was by Tornado's entrance.

was it overflow queue?   was it an abandoned Ride Pad?  It did kinda look like a small flat ride was here at one point.

maybe it's a performance space?  there IS seating over there.

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Great view of Tornado's big loop, from the Flume turn around area

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taking a peek at the menu, it was a bit. . . fancy.

but I like trying fru-fru food, and they had several set menu choices - and were not busy at ALL.. so a bunch of us decided to join and have a fancy dinner.

To get there tho? you have to ride in the disco elevator!

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with kinky 70's mirrored ceiling. . .

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oooo. .the view from up here is lovely!

looking down, this was a whole section of the park I had not been to yet (and wouldn't get much time in, as the meal -as most FANCY places are - was slow and took a while, so it ate up more than an hour of our park time.   I'm not complaining, it was SO worth it.  and I'd do it again, choose sit down fancy restaurant over area of park.

tho this area appeared to be themed to "farm" society (tho I DO believe it's based on a children's show, going by the characters that were around in there).  The only "big" ride over here is the rapids ride, you can see just below.

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ohhh. . the observation level is still one level below the restaurant - which now that I think about it?  did rotate.

so up the stairs.

felt a bit under-dressed, but the hostess (once she got over the surprise of a group showing up on what I suspect is a typically slow-ish day for them, as this seemed to be more of an evening/dinner place) was pleasant and led us to a table.

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before ordering anything tho, I took a quick walk around (needed restroom) and snapped pics of the views

the hostess came up behind me while taking this and explained the area below used to be Christmas Town, and before that ?  it was themed to Moomin.

she also pointed out the wedge shaped building below and said that used to be the Dolphin theatre, but that the park had filled it in with concrete and were planning some kind of new show/attraction there, but she wasnt' sure what.

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I took the "long way" around back to our table, so I could snap pics from all angles.

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they really DO cram quite a bit onto this peninsula.

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back at our table, the waitress snapped a pic of all of us who were about to enjoy the meal.

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I think a couple of us went with the set "Finlandia" menu.. hey, when in Rome, right?

it was unique, and all of it was very good.

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the deer was SO good.  I think it was the apricot sauce that cinched it for me.

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you can see, they weren't very busy.  I think just one other couple was up there with us.

I VERY much enjoyed the experience tho.

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Celery Gelato. . .with hazlenut

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and I believe this was a moist strawberry vanilla cake.

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after our meal (which I think took almost 2 hours?  maybe slightly less), we had only an hour or so until it was time to meet the bus and head out.

since the elevator is in the tower, and the base holds the Aquarium/reptile house, I went to check that out:

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after a quick stop in the gift shop to pick up a few things, I headed over to the "farm" area for the last 20 minutes I had, to check it out.

the rapids ride is very pretty, and it certainly is a showstopper to come across the name of the ride in the middle of a waterfall.


but as i was worried about time - and REALLY didn't want to get on the bus for a drive while wet, I skipped it and checked out the area instead.

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lots and lots of characters, and folks IN character here.    I think this *might* be an upcharge area?   not 100% sure, but I do remember these two checking to make sure I had an armband on.

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yeah. . GOTTA be based on a kids show.

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there were some people over here, who appeared to be waiting for whatever show this was gonna be.  

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and live Pony rides!!

haven't seen that in a park in a long time (Six Flags Over Texas used to have pony rides).

they were small ponies, so I watched, and didn't even ask.   I mean, if adults can't ride the carousel?  no point in even asking about the live ponies 😛

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some live pigs, and sheep over here too.

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and then some "not so live" cows.

making weird faces.

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ummm. . . ok ?

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hey, Elissa!  at least I didn't Hump it!
(and it looks pretty happy. . LOL)

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there's one you can "milk" too. .and a very nice Finnish Gentleman asked me if I'd like him to take a picture.

so in two days, I'd "milked" two cows in Finland!

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there's a little mini-obstacle course over here too, that was pretty popular with families.  (it had a line)

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and before heading back to the bus, I checked out the gift shop over here, that was full of plushies, and kiddie toys.

i honestly *almost* bought this guy. . but as I had some Särkänniemi swag already?  I didn't want to overdo it.

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and then it was time to head back to the bus. . we had a drive to Helsinki ahead of us still today.

hope you've enjoyed following along!

one evening, and one full day left in the trip!

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Särkänniemi swag:

3 magnets -

 

the park's main mascot (I assume, since he's on a magnet wearing park overalls)

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the park in the evening . just lovely

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and way discounted, in the back corner of the tower gift shop - a Moomin "ghost" magnet, (that looks like haunted condoms).

so yeah, that farm area used to be Moomin Valley.

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Checking into the hotel, and some sightseeing around Helsinki after we arrived. .

as we got closer to Helsinki - the last city on the trip (that had the last park on the trip, Linnanmäki), some "industrial" architecture started to appear.

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and stopping at a light, up on top of a hill, was Linnanmäki. . . pics taken from the bus.

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we were staying at a hotel near the center of the city, if I'm not mistaken. . that was close to the landmark Helsinki Cathedral, the College, and the waterfront.

as it was a Saturday evening, there weren't a lot of folks around this part of town right now.

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but the city is lovely, as most of the places we'd been were.

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the hotel was modern. . I think maybe it was a Marriott? 

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with a view of the Courtyard / garden from our room.

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Jon reached out - or maybe I reached out to him? - and we decided to go roam the city, as we had the evening free.

So we met in the lobby, and headed out towards the Helsinki Cathedral, passing thru the College Campus area

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coming up on the backside of the Cathedral - it truly is lovely from all angles.  Tho from the Front is the best.

here's from the side :)

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we ALL float down here . . . . bwaaa-haaaa-haaaaa. . .

(creepy, right next to the Cathedral too)

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This cracked me up. . . so I was taking a picture of the Helsinki City Pride Museum (which sadly was closed as it was later in the day now. .maybe 8pm?) and as I finished snapping the picture, I said to Jon - "hey. . that guy over there is pissing!"

I mean there are public toilets, but he just went right across the street from the Cathedral (it's literally to our right in this pic) and whipped it out to piss on a building.

when I uploaded the pics?   yup. . I got him in my pic.

LOL !!!

(I made sure nothing naughty is showing tho. . .blur feature!!!).

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Turning to the Cathedral, they have this lovely sign out in front for pics. . . so of course!

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consulting google maps, it looked like we were close by the waterfront. .and the Helsinki Skywheel (and flying theater) was there.

so we decided to head over that way.

WAY more people over here, as there were multiple pop up restaurants, and a few bars over here.

that was my goal tho - to ride the Ferris Wheel (and get Jon on another one).

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Turtles!

I think maybe these are supposed to have giant umbrellas on them?

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some of the pop up restaurants, behind the seagull I decided I wanted a picture of.

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really loved the archetecture down here in the area

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oooo. . a couple of special cabins were avail.  This one on the right is the VIP cabin (that gives you alcohol as you go around), and on the upper left is the Sauna cabin.
(I had sauna-d the day before for the first time, and wasn't ready to steam myself during our ride).

so we went for "regular" tickets.

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for some reason, the cabins are all tinted very blue.

some great views, but all blue-y :)

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at the open air bar next door, there was a concert going on. .and the crowd got much bigger (almost double the size) while we were riding.

the operator told me they were a Finnish band that were very popular.    tho the music wasn't quite to my taste, so we didn't hang around after our ride.

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oooo. . nice view of Linnanmäki from the Skywheel!

will see ya tomorrow!

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after our ride, we hung around for a little bit just so I could get a better picture of the Sauna cabin.

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and then we headed back towards the hotel, but taking an alternate route that would bring us along the college bar/restaurant area in the bay.

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very pretty. . almost Tokyo DisneySea level pretty 😛

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the restaurants weren't very full, which was surprising to me for a Saturday night.  But maybe they just fill up really late, since the sun is up so late.

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we were starting to get a little bit hungry, and spotted the McDonald's across the way.

i had managed to avoid most fast food the whole trip, and wasn't thrilled. . but was willing.   So we crossed over.

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and found an open supermarket - that was JUST about to close - next door.

so Jon and I went in there and bought stuff to bring back to the hotel to snack on, instead of McDonalds.

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some interesting art in the Supermarket lobby.

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and Coi.

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and with that, we said our goodbyes in the lobby and headed to our rooms.

tomorrow was the last day of the trip, and our final park, Linnanmäki

 

I was really looking forwards to it, as I had heard this park was kinda F-ed up, and I expected I'd love it (I did).

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  • 2 weeks later...

Aren't all the Scandinavian cities just so immaculate and orderly? I think when you were at the Skywheel you were right down by the fish market and where you can catch the ferries out to some of the islands in the bay. Suemolinna island is absolutely lovely if you are ever in Helsinki again. The market has huge amazing produce, particularly strawberries the size of small tomatoes and a wide variety of handmade/local crafts. I still have some amber earrings I bought there about 12 years ago when we were there. The wheel wasn't built until after we were there but it looks like the same area.

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