We went to airport lounge in Frankfurt airport while waiting for the train. We love the sausages!

We took a train from Frankfurt airport to Nuremberg, loving the weather at 3deg.

The taxi is interesting too, they have the price tag at the rear view mirror. Their boot also closed automatically so that driver don’t have to exert force just to close the boot, it also reduces incidence of finger injury

Christmas market in Nuremberg is interesting!

I bought the ginger bread to try, it’s quite cute!

The man on the train told us that even the local come to Nuremberg Christmas market as it is larger scale. The stalls are also forbidden to sell modernise stuff, most of it are traditional nutcracker, ginger bread, chocolate, mulled wine etc. Most of the stalls tends to be repetitive after a while.

We slept at local time 6pm as we have been traveling and still adjusting to local time and weather

We walked around the city, it’s a small town. Our main aim to come Nuremberg is to see their Christmas market. The stalls are spread along a few places. I felt that the international stalls selling Christmas related items are not worth seeing. Kinderweihnacht will be nice to go to if you have kids

Trying out their sausage bun and it’s delicious

Try out the mulled wine. This stall’s wine is average, the alcohol didn’t blend well. It’s still a nice hot drink to have on a cold weather

I didn’t know that I need to give money so that the statue will move!

The accessories are so pretty! I bought a nutcracker, incents and Christmas wind chime. We asked for tax free and got it shipped back to Singapore ($ from tax free go to shipping and insurance included)

Check out transport museum and SMRT should come in and learn.

Also check out the toy museum €6 per pax for entrance ticket.

This toy is definitely for adult. We always talked about age appropriate toy, and their toys are so much higher level! No wonder they have good engineer from Germany. The toy’s concept is also very mechanic and hands on so that these boys grow up doing mechanic stuff

More photos from Nuremberg Christmas market

Had our dinner at Louis restaurant, the service is very good and the crayfish pasta is yummy too

The pasta has quite a bit of filling too!

Uber and Grab doesn’t work in Germany so we had to call a cab back

Had our breakfast in five diner, Nuremberg.. We saw quite a few Singapore family

The bread is fairly good

Pan cake is refreshing too

The bacon is fragrant too

Saw this on the street! My first time seeing a live one!

Seen this shop in Finland too, good idea to use this design logo. \240

Thereafter we took a train to Frankfurt.

At Frankfurt Christmas market. Much smaller scale

Many stalls along the shopping district

The rest of the night is shopping at Primark and looking for ski pants to wear in Rovaniemi

Today we went exploring Frankfurt city and shopping

Chance upon this shop - Meyer for our breakfast. I think it’s our best breakfast throughout the trip

We bought some sausage to bring to Helsinki

The crosont is really very good

Gary is so satisfied!

LArt Sucre cake is fantastic too!

The chocolate is very pure too!

The layering and presentation is fantastic too

City view and Gary enjoying the cold

Chance upon this Japanese restaurant, saw tripsdvisor. It’s average but very expensive!

Following that, I got two bags from Prada and one of it with 40% off. Got Rinowa luggages as well!

Went to the Christmas market in Romerberg with traditional building in Germany

The cheese wasn’t as fragrance as the one from

London borough market

More decoration on the stalls as compare to those in Nuremberg. Much smaller scale

The flavoured nuts. Gary says it’s very sweet

Huge Christmas tree!

Interesting cookies

More German sausages

The best mulled wine, smooth and just nice! Look for the one with traditional cup. Owner explained that sugar is heated over the pot, added chivas, some lime and lemon to enhance the flavour

View from Marriott hotel

Met a very helpful Finnish lady on the plane and she was telling us about Finland. She told us that Finnish will deliver what they promise- good to hear.

I received email at Helsinki airport stating that our baggage will be delay as it is on another Luthan plan. We had to make a report and I started to worry if we will ever get our luggage back, I am also concern that we have no clothes to wear for the cold in Rovaniemi!! That night we went ahead as plan to go Helsinki Christmas market, it’s even smaller and quieter as compare to Frankfurt Christmas market

Can even spot the Santa Claus on the street, indeed the homeland of Santa

Street view in Helsinki

Christmas market behind Helsinki Cathedral.

Mainly selling prickled items

Marinated fish. In winter, most of the lake are frozen, so very little seafood

Reindeer pie, a little salty

Helsinki Cathedral

So much colder in Helsinki as it’s near the seaside, I have to buy extra glove to be worn over my current glove

With the Christmas tree

Saw this man making nails!

It’s a little quiet at Helsinki Christmas markert, we got some Switzerland cheese and cold smoked salmon. Thereafter went to air bnb to collect the keys for the night. We showered and I wore innerwear to sleep. Luckily we didn’t wait in the airport for the luggages. Moreover, finnair couldn’t locate our luggages and that’s very frustrating albeit calling in several times.


We have decided to go to Stockmann to get all our winter wear before heading to Rovaniemi. The lady was very helpful and we got what we want within 1hr together with our luggage.

I guess life have to go on even without our luggages. The driver was shocked that we have only one carry on for the two of us and we have to share that finnair can’t track our luggage

Wow, finally seeing snow!

Christmas feel at the Rovaniemi airport

Guess what, we just breeze through the arrival because there is no check in luggage, maybe blessing in disguise.

View from balcony of Airbnb

We have nice sauna in our toilet!

Enjoying the cold ☃️❄️

We went to s-market to buy some groceries. Look at the amount of snow pile at road side. Sometime we will slipped due to the difference between the snowy and icy surface.

Santa’s mailbox in the mall

Guess what is this?

This is for you to brush off snow on your shoes!

We had our dinner in Snowman world

Welcome drink will be served in ice glass when you enter

Waiting for our dinner to be served. I booked this meal online and they have just started a more secure payment

Main course: salmon €89 for a set

Main course: Reindeer tenderloin

It tasted quite soft and chewy, not too bad!

Our dessert

Trying on the slide before leaving

Santa Claus Office

We went Santa Claus Village today! This is the street view outside our apartment. We waited for 45mins for the bus and it’s freezing. Plus the heel of my boots is not the best one, so we slipped a few times.

This is the reindeer ride, we didn’t take the ride as it is only around the park.

We went snomobile to hunt for aurora today as according to the app, there is higher chance of seeing one due to clear sky and lower temperature (-20deg)

I was amazed by the starry night in the forest and I saw shooting star! 💫

They stopped to grill sausage and get some drink as it is very cold. I almost couldn’t feel my fingers and toes after driving. Max speed is 40km/h as they set it for safety

Finally met the Santa Claus!

We went to their post office and it’s flooded with Chinese tourist

Posted post cards to Kai Li and Yi Chin. The stamps are beautiful but expensive €2 to post it. I think maybe because of the extra stamps they wil.

Santa’s salmon place is our best find!

They only have one main course

Gary enjoying his salmon fish with hot chocolste

The fish is BBQ with birch wood so that the fish doesn’t taste bitter.

With the chef and we actually went back the second time!

It’s -9deg at Santa Claus Village. Luckily we have the down jacket recommended by the lady in Helsinki, otherwise we will be frozen to death before collecting our luggages.

Went to snow mobile museum

Older version of snowmobile

It’s very small museum

Thereafter we went back to collect all 4 of our luggages!

Luckily all in except for some spoilt sausages and broken chocolate, thank god!

I had to drive the snow mobile cuz traffic police might check the driving license

Photo courtesy from our guide Micheal Mead. He loves photography too!

Check out the big Christmas tree in city of Rovaniemi!

Ranua Zoo

Ranua zoo is amazing! Though most of the animals are sleeping, we managed to see ox, polar bear, wolf, reindeers and deer! It’s the most natural zoo I have ever been to


We went sight seeing around where we stay. Went to Martinni, shops which sells Finland made knife which can be use for hunting, camping and fishing. We didn’t get their knife cuz we won’t use it so often, got their spatular and butter spread instead. Next we try to go to Artikum museum but it’s closed as it’s Christmas Eve.

Therefore we head to s-market to do some marketing and cook our lunch/dinner. At the same time pack our luggage so we can post it before traveling to Kemi. However we forgot that they have 3 days public holidays, and they don’t update their website, so it doesn’t help. Gary and I have to drag our luggage their a few times. Luckily our luggage can slide on snow and that save a lot of our energy


We went husky ride today! We were late looking at the wrong timing and had to cab there for €36. However we managed to reach there on time!

The younger husky were place nearer to the public so that they are use to interacting with the people. Usually husky from \2401yo onwards will be train for the run. Owners are looking for dogs that eats well, run well and strong! Usually the first two dogs lead the sledge, the one at the back control the direction. Our dog at the bottom right kept disturbing the bottom left dog when the sledge have to stop for photo taking or aligning the team. It’s definitely a bumpy, cold and smelly ride. Sometime the dogs behind us overshoot and the dogs are right beside me, I think they can lick me if they want... 🐶

It was snowing but the view is beautiful! -17 deg. It was so cold that I am glad the ride is only 1-2 hours. After which we can have some ginger bread and hot drink.

Lunch: Gary cooked salmon and it’s delicious!

We went Artikum museum today. It’s the most boring museum I have ever went to! I fall asleep when they screen the Aurora. There is nothing much and not interactive at all :(

It’s Christmas and we had dinner at Amillo. The burger is huge and the Mojito is great!

That night we went for aurora hunting at 11pm cuz there is 50% chance of seeing it. So we brought trekking pole, head light and walk towards the river. We are not the only one! However we didn’t really see much


Check out from Airbnb in Rovaniemi with 6 luggages and one inside the huge Rinoma luggage. Gary has to throw the luggage out of the train while I quickly grab it and the other pessangers waited to board the train from Kemi. Then he had to stack the luggages on top and drag it along as we have insufficient hand to carry it.

Lesson to self: avoid excessive shopping or post it immediately after shopping.

We called to book the taxi without extra charges. The man told us that taxi will be here in 15-20mins. At 15mins, I called in again to check the status, he asked me to wait as the taxi will be there. According to Annika ( the Finnish lady we met on plane), Finnish will deliver what they promise. [I agree they deliver the luggages, just that it is 58hrs later 😓).

Indeed, the taxi arrive and we had the privilege to take a 18 seater mini bus to the train station. Taxi in Finland is charge per pax rather than the size of the car! Taxi driver from Kemi and is very helpful, helped us carry the luggage for a short distance to the train station.

26 Dec is still a public holiday in Finland and most of the shops are closed.

So we had our dinner in hotel Marihovi.

The burger is not too bad!

This hotel is a 60 year old hotel with a sauna inside! We usually use it to warm up the toilet before showering and after showering. Kemi is -20deg!

Gary was creative to use trekking pole to hang his clothes due to insufficient hangers


We went for ice breaking cruise today! It’s an amazing experience.

We floated on the ice as well. Made 2 new friends who came from Malaysia.

Our guide told us that we can stay alive in the suit for up to 6hrs while in the cold and sea.

Following that we had our lunch. The pizza crust in Pizzarie Roma is good! The soup was average.

I like that they have play area for the children so that parents can watch their kids play while they enjoy the dinner.

Following that, we had to go Posti to post our 2 luggages back to Singapore. It cost €68 for 5-10kg and €150 for 14kg. It took us one hour to pack and unpack in order to maximise the weight. What a chore :(


Today was free and easy.

We were exploring the seaside and the view is beautiful! Note that sunrise at about 10am and sunset at about 2pm. This was taken around 1pm.

We had our lunch in Pizzeria San Milano, the pizza is yummy but generally the food is slightly salty to my liking.

The pasta and dessert we order is average but the pizza is good! Lots of filling with thin crust.

His workplace is very organised and thus very efficient when he make the pizza!

Next, we explored the Santa office and met the elf who suggested that we can take a bus to Tornio (35mins) which is between the border of Sweden and Finland. The time difference is 1hr and it is borderless so ppl staying there get to celebrate new year twice!

We tried the pirate themed restaurant. We tried mushroom soup with mocha, tasted foam.

The white fish with mushroom sauce is not too bad, a little salty to my liking.

The best is the desert! They crust tasted like ginger bread and berries was lay in between the apple pie. Vanilla ice cream with caramal wasn’t too sweet. It’s just perfect!

Last, we took the return bus to Kemi and back to our hotel Marihovi.

It is -18deg and look at the amount of snow!!!


We had our breakfast in hotel Marihovi, the range is quite good! Thereafter we head to the train station. It was delayed for 20mins but we managed to get on the train.

Gary playing with games on iPad Pro happily.

The train is quite empty.

View outside is still beautiful! By right we should fly off from Kemi airport, cuz we didn’t realise there is airport in Kemi, so took a train back to Rovaniemi and fly to Helsinki.

We took bus 8 to the airport at €3.90 per pax

It took a long time for the check in because the lady weight every single luggage. There is a long queue to get through the security check as only one is open. We were told that because it’s a small airport and they are not prepared for the increased commuters.

Bye bye snow

In my opinion: finnair is inefficient with their work process and management.

We had our dinner at Olo restaurant and it’s our best decision.

Check out the restaurant at: http://olo-ravintola.fi/en/

Cheers to a great 2018 ahead!

1st course: Beetroot with rose (Marinated herring and nuts); Sunchoke with Matjes herring

2nd course: Scallop with pak choy(black rice)

3rd course: Salmon with potato

We had the chance to see the kitchen preparing the food!

4th course: Chicken liver, crispy chicken skin and chicken stock

5th course: Sunchoke with apple

6th course: Emmer semolina with reindeer heart

2nd glass: red wine

7th course:White fish roe with leek

Complimentary Finnish beer

Before raising

8th course: Olo’s bread with deer

9th course: Pike perch with fennel

10th course: Arctic char with cabbage

11th course: Reindeer with celeriac

12th course: Sea buckthorn berries

13th course: Black currant with beetroot

14th course: Buckwheat with caramel

15th course: Salted liquorice and raspberry; rose kiss

I really like the toilet in the Airbnb. New and clean with heated towel rack

Fabriksgatan 18, 00140 Helsingfors, Finland

Went shopping at Stockhomn at departmental store.

Had our lunch, it was average

We have decided to cook our own dinner

Pasta with mushroom, carrot and beef with mushroom soup!


We went to Helsinki zoo today, it’s one of the oldest zoo in the world.

We managed to catch the feeding time for leopard!

Zoo keeper told us they try to mimic real life situation by making the food difficult to get and feed at irregular timing

Caught the camel eating

Managed to catch the lion roar

Went back to Stockman to buy merino wool inner wear and mine was the last set. The lady was nice enough to give us 10% off from our last purchase.

The highlight of the day was to go Loyly Sauna!http://www.loylyhelsinki.fi/en/contact/

For €19, you will get a locker, towel to sit on in Sauna and a towel for shower. Somebody took my towel during shower, luckily I prepare my own towel.

Locker cover made of birch wood. They have smoked sauna and wood sauna. I love the wood sauna as it smells good with birch wood. I will definitely get a bath rope if I stay in Finland!

Chilling out with apple cider in the lounge

Cold water to cool down after the sauna

Or dip into the sea water

The route to the sea, the firework is ongoing since we are in the sauna, can also see firework when we want to dip in the sea

We tried salmon soup in Loyly restaurant (open since early 2016)

Reindeer steak

Chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream

Not forgetting to chill out with champagne

Gary got a very good view seat in the restaurant

Happy 2018!

View outside the sauna

Entrance of Loyly. Finnish actually visited the sauna once a week! I would too if I stay here.

Saint Petersburg

We took a train from Helsinki to St Petersburg, Russia.

We are the only two in this cart

Didn’t know meal is included on the train.

Basically you will have 6 group of people looking for you on the train.

1st: Global blue tax free for tax return. Will need to show the goods and make sure you dont open and use them before leaving europe; not applicable for Spain ( or use and put it back into the box for those higher value item). Min €40 in a single receipt.

2nd: Premier tax free for tax return. Seems easier for tax free as he didn’t check for our goods

3rd: Finland custom officer (recognise by Finland flag on their uniform)

4th: Allegro train officer

5th: Russia custom officer and prepare your arrival and departure card. Keep it till you leave Russia.

6th: Custom control officer approached us and wanted us to pay 30% of the good we bought which is more than €1500. It took us 4hrs for their paper work to be done!!!! I even fall asleep in the room. Even though the officer is nice, but I really think this is too much

Street view in st Petersburg with dirty and wet snow

Mushroom soup with bread

Dumpling - tasted like combination of pasta and 饺子🥟

Chicken shashlik, yummy

Apple pie was a meh :(

Mariinsky Theatre

We were so tired that we slept till 11am. Managed to arrange tour guide from St Petersburg4u and they are super efficient with driver!

The temperature is 4deg in Saint Petersburg with minimal snow. Very humid with wet snow :(

We had our lunch next door before meeting Olga, coordinator

Bbq chicken is good!

This is average

Alex our tour guide make our time with him very value for money. He brought us to many places!

St Issac cathedral. Similar to Vertican museum

Next we watch The Nutcracker at Mariinsky Theatre. People there wasn’t friendly and I have to run around looking for toilet. Their command of English are poor and they don’t seems to care about you

Gary wasn’t happy because he was stopped at the door to place his bag and jacket

Our seat is 14 and 15, pretty front. But seats are not staggered so we have to strain our neck watching the ballet

The band and instructor was good!

We took uber back for SGD6

We had breakfast and head towards church of the spill blood.

It’s the place that’s on my bucket list and I have made it here! This building is actually much smaller scale than St Issac Cathedral.

The interior of church of the spill blood with mosaics wall

Next we head towards Hermitage art museum. We saw long queues of Russian and was curious why didn’t they buy online tickets. Alex explained that the Russian felt that’s it’s not worth it to spend the extra and rather queue up. A lot of them won’t even make it into the museum

Following that we head toward general staff building where Alex took the rest of the afternoon to explain Impressionism! I am learning how to appreciate art so having him to guide us is very helpful. Alex is so passionate that he went on explaining from 1pm till 6.30pm without resting for lunch/ drink break. Salute!

Dinner, we went to Stroganoff steak house

This is our starter

Rib eye $60 and it’s worth it. This shop is on trip advisor. Just that the staff’s command of English is very poor, most of them didn’t understand my questions and said wait but didn’t return after that. Only good thing is they serve us a glass of champagne to celebrate new year

My steak is not as delicious

They have life performance of playing guitar and singing.

We head back to hotel via uber. It’s fairly cheap $6 to uber back to the hotel.

Sadovaya ulitsa, 3, Sankt-Peterburg, Russia, 191186

Temperature today is 2 deg. No snow, cloud or rain, just gloomy. According to the local, they only have 1hr of sunlight a month during winter.

Today our guide is Olga (due to regulation) There is a local guide while she translates for us. I thought quite a bit of stuff was lost in translation while we visit the Russian museum.

We went Russian museum of Ethnigraphy! It’s much more interesting than the Artikum museum.There are more collections of items and clothing. I finally understand why Christmas star, it is a symbolism of light leading to Jesus Christ, similar concept of having a star on the Christmas tree.

Next we have a short break in this cafe.

Lots of cake to choose from

Local cafe, don’t see any tourist

Cherry, chicken, rabbit and mushroom.

Top crust is nice but generally sweet. Won’t recommend.

BlackBerry current

Next we proceed to Yusupov Palace by car. I have noticed that all our car are either BMW, Audi or Mercedes

We need to wear this before having a tour in the palace

Choir singing in the palace

The Palace have their own theatre.

I don’t really like our tour guide today because she works without passion. She left us while queuing to get the tickets, left us to collect our own coat, explain very briefly, give us the impression of being more intereted to be elsewhere and giving us the bare minimum. Alex is so much better.

Took a quick bite before going for the choir

Food was lousy and Gary barely touched the spaghetti

Luckily we came early to queue. We got the Christmas choir concert ticket online and discover it by chance.

Church of the spill blood at night

The interior

My view from the seat

Finally had some time to enjoy the mosaic

The choir was fantastic!!! Even though they are not the best choir I have seen, but I thought Gary and I really enjoy it! The instructor plans the 12 songs really nicely and most of the ppl have the chance to sing solo

Choir instructor

The echo from the cathedral was fantastic!

Silent night

Flight of bumblebee, I laughed till my tummy was aching. Check out the choir instructor trying to hit the bee

Yesterday. What can be better than enjoying this beautiful song in this beautiful cathedral!! 🎫❤️

Love this Finnish folk song

Another short skit of fixing the choir instructor

The very hilarious/creative choir instructor

We end the day with yummy meal from Jamie’s Italian 👍🏻👍🏻

Mushroom pizza, elevated with cane tomato so that the food is closer and appear more appetising

The bill size is quite value for money ~$34.50

Interesting sculpture - women holding up the building

Street view of St Petersburg

Its’s Gary 35th birthday today and crown plaza hotel is nice to give Gary a piece of cake and a hand written card.

We went to Peterhof with Alex, our tour guide and Su together with our luggage. Our stomach hasn’t been well these few days probably due to bad oil and not eating on time.

Next we went to Catherine Palace, it’s worth coming as this is considered a real palace. Yusopuff palace is like some rich ppl want to have the fantasy of owning a palace, therefore the palace.

Lastly Alex brought us to a nearby building of 8th storey, we had nice view of the whole city as fireman uses the building to check the location of fire. Gary managed to use the rest of the coins to pay for the entrance 100rubles per pax.

They send us off to the airport after that and we bid farewell.

Airport lounge in St Petersburg is poorly maintained. Food was not replenish, toilet has urine smell and cleaner kept knocking on the toilet door while we attempted to shower ( drainage wasn’t good and whole toilet will be wet during showering)

We didn’t know that we are being upgraded to business class till the staff printed a new boarding pass for us

Gary said next time we shall travel on our birthday to get upgrade

We were served champagne upon seated, a bottle of water already place at the seat

Tired after a whole day of tour

Can adjust the seat to bed position

Bigger screen and a lot more leg room

A lot more beverage variety

However I am unable to enjoy the food because of tummy issue

Sanitary pouch with lotion, toothbrush, mirror and tissue was distributed to lady. One specify one for man too

Gary enjoying the entertainment throughout

Our breakfast

Before landing in Dubai Airport