Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Trip to Istanbul and Finland

Given below is an account of Mangala tai's trip to Istanbul and Finland in 2009. She is a great traveller and has been to some pretty exotic places in the world. This piece is something she wrote at my behest - just to give an idea of how she went about it all. Thanks Mangala tai.

My trip to Finland and Istanbul
Mangala tai a.k.a. Bhavana Apte
Some bare facts
The Mumbai Helsinki ticket via Istanbul by Turkish airlines cost Rs. 29, 836/-
Visa for Finland ------Rs. 4, 800/ -
Visa for Turkey Rs. 2200/ -
Traveling time to Helsinki 10.30hours

Stay as Helsinki
At Helsinki we stayed in a youth hostel—ladies dorm 20 euro pax per day for bunk bed. You can have kitchen facility,linen,towel. Common bath and toilet for ladies. If you are a member of youth hostel you get a small concession for your stay.

Travel - local
There is a Helsinki card___option for 1,2,3 days. We bought for 3 days for 52—euro. This card entitles free travel in local tram, bus, ferry& entry to museums. You can get free city tour on Helsinki card, but you have to book in advance.

Airport to railway station
About two and half hours, with audio tape and optional language from Helsinki airport to city railway station. You can go by Fin Air bus for 6 euro or take a city bus for 4 euro. You can take your luggage by city bus.

Places to visit
If you want to see the city leisurely you need at least 3 days. We visited Front, Rock Church, Esplanade park, Uspenensky Church on the hill near the harbour. Senate square, library, Statue of Nicolas the II. We visited Soumelina Fort in the afternoon.

We had been to Alwar Altos town for a day. It was a 3 hour train journey from Helsinki. From Helsinki it is overnight train journey.

To eat
You get plenty of fruits, vegetables, salads, variety of breads, cakes variety of fish, meat.
Or you can have food in a restaurant. There are food stalls at harbour front too.

Rowaniemi__ From Helsinki it is overnight train journey.
We stayed in hotel, it was 30 euro pax per day with breakfast. From city station you get a bus
to city center at half an hour intervals or you can walk - it is about 1 and half km.

Lapland Tour
We had booked Lapland tour for 125 euros. It was for about 5 hours, and included pickup from hotel, boat ride to Reindeer Park, visit to Lappish family, lunch with them, visit to Santa park, meeting with Santa and back to hotel.
This city is in the center of Finland and it is on Arctic Circle.

Turku__stayed in youth hostel, 22 euro pax perday, no bus from station to hostel, we walked down. You can have a taxi but we did not travel by taxi so cannot tell the fare.
Bought a city card, do not remember exact charge but around 20 euro.
Free city tour of about 2 and half hours,with live guide. Free travel by bus and entry to museums.had a guided tour of Turku museum on city card.

If you want to see the midnight sun you should visit from 21 June to 10 July. If you want to go for skiing and sledge rides then from Nov to march.
We visited from 6 Aug to 15 Aug , it was summer time, pleasant climate, around 16 to 20 cs. People are helpful and speak English,clean, green and blue country

Getting the Finnish visa__-It takes almost 10 working days, they do not have visa office in Mumbai. You have to submit confirmed return ticket, confirmed hotel reservation, railway tickets, health insurance, last 3 years IT papers, if you are on leave, a letter from the office. First you have to appear for a interview by appointment, submit all the papers and after their approval send it to their office in Delhi..

If you want to save on hotel and commuting cost, stay in the old city, around Sultanahamat. All the monuments are at walking distance. For all the monuments you have to buy tickets except Blue Mosque. There is always big queue, so start early. We stayed in hotel for 25 euro pax per day for attached room, including breakfast.stayed for 5 days so had 1 dinner on the house.
You can have good lunch/dinner for about 10 to 15 Turkish lira. Veg food is available. Fresh as well dry fruits,fruit juice icerem, Turkish sweets yogurt ,buttermilk coffee is available.

Tram and bus service is convenient, metro is also there but we did not travel. From airport to city you get a minibus for 10 euro may drop you to your hotel on request.from city to airport 4 euro.

We visited Dolmabachi palace, Topakapi palace, Blue mosque, Aya Sofia museum, Bosforus cruze, Grand bazaar, Spice market and Yerebatan Sarai.
We traveled by Turkish airways so we had a stopover at Istanbul.

Getting the Turkish visa__confirmed return ticket, IT papers, hotel reservation, health insurance, you get visa in Delhi in 4 working days.

I spent around Rs. 85, 000/- for 10 days in Finland and 5 days in Istanbul, minus shopping.

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