Jubilee 2005 Trip Info

Jubilee 2005 Trip Info

Note: The information created on the Wiki before July 2005 is now archived here

Trip Itinerary

GETTING THERE

7/2 9:45 Paul departs for Riga via ORD and WAW on UA/LOT flights arr:13:50 7/3

7/4 11:35 PM Depart SFO on Icelandair (8:20 hour flight + 7 hour time change)

7/5 2:55 PM Arrive KEF -- Reykjavik, Iceland

7/6 breakfast at Borgartun (comment: that's gonna be really early); transfer by bus to airport

    • 7:40 AM Depart KEF (another breakfast on plane)(3:25 hour flight + 3 hour time change)

    • 2:05 PM Arrive HEL -- Vantaa Airport, Helsinki, Finland

    • Transfer to Hostel Academica (in-suite bathrooms, pool, sauna, breakfast included, nearby swimming beach) for two nights in Helsinki

    • (Marjorie and Monica depart SFO via Reykjavik)

7/7 Erik Schutter, Mark Ryken, Debbie and Abe, Paul, Phillip arrive in Helsinki from various other places

7/8 10:00 AM depart by bus from Hostel Academica to Kaustinen -- approx 6 hour bus ride + stop for a lunch provided by the Festival. There is a toilet in the bus

    • Marjorie and Monica in Helsinki 14:05, and are met by Paul. The "gang of three" leave Helsinki on train #45 at 18:30, arriving Kokkola 22:32, (now the "gang of four" as we are being joined by Eric Bennion)

KAUSTINEN FESTIVAL

7/9 - 7/15 Jubilee performs at festival, see Performance Schedule. We will have "Performing Guest" passes valid in all 200 events, except 7 concerts in the Folk Arts Centre. We will stay at a school in Salonkyla, where there are three classrooms and a gym. Breakfast is served there at the school. Lunch and dinner are provided in the Festival restaurant in the Festival area.

7/16 (Saturday). Big day of closing weekend of festival. No Jubilee performances. Final dance at 10PM, w/ famous "Midnight Quadrille" dance to the music of house band JPP . Dance into the wee hours (dance goes till 4AM)!

    • Debbie, Abe, and Lew depart early AM to catch flights out of Helsinki

RETURNING

7/17 Return to Helsinski, there are three bus options:

    1. Departure time 5 a.m from Central Ostrobothia Culture Institute in Veteli. Arrival time in Helsinki-Vantaa airport about 12 o´clock and Helsinki about 1 p.m. Those of you who want to take this bus will be transported from Salonkylä to Veteli. Probably Hap and Hilary (flight at 1:30 from Helsinki) and those on their way to Tallinn (Paul, Mary Ann and Lizzie)

    2. Departure time 8 a.m. from the same institute. Arrival time Helsinki-Vantaa airport about 3 p.m. There will be three hungarian bands and a romanian band in this bus, all together 29 so there are some vacant seats also left.

    3. Departure time 9 a.m. from the school of Salonkylä. Arrives at Riihimäki Railway Station about 3.30 p.m.; Helsinki-Vantaa airport about 4.30 p.m.; Hostel Academica and Stadion Hostel about 5.30 p.m. This bus for those who travel from Riihimäki to Russia, Marija, and the rest of your group staying at Hostel Academica Hostel Academica (let Ruth know if you want to be part of that group reservation, and you haven't already)

7/18 Depart HEL 3:20PM, arriving SFO 6:35PM same day (Linda G, John R, Monica, OJ, Chip, Ken)

7/20 Paul departs Tallinn to SFO via WAW and ORD (LOT.) Mary Ann and Liz depart Tallinn for London, Gatwick via Estonian Air, ultimately arriving back at SFO 6/25, 6:35.

7/23 Depart HEL 3:20PM, arriving SFO 6:35PM same day (Barbara, Dee, Joe, Ruth, Tirtza, Barry, Tony, Joan)

Festival Schedule

Jubilee performances listed at Kaustinen website

See map of festival area

    • OPENING EVENT with top performers from Finland as well as folk dance ensembles from abroad, e.g. Tallari, Hääkuoro, Festival ensemble Pirukapo, Csángó-Hungarian folklore group from Romania and Jubilee American Dance Theatre from the USA.

Sunday 10.7.2005 -- Festival Arena -- 9:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.

    • SVÄNG FROM FINLAND, SWING FROM USA Kaustinen's Ensemble of the Year, the harmonica quartet Sväng as well as Jubilee American Dance Theatre from the USA.

Monday 11.7.2005 -- Festival Arena -- 13.00-14.30

    • MUSIC FROM THE WORLD with best performers from Finland, the Valjala folklore group from Estonia as well as Jubilee American Dance Theatre from the USA, whose repertoire entails folk dances from New England sailor dances to Mexican dance tradition from Texas.

Tuesday 12.7.2005

    • free day -- to Kokkola and beach

Wednesday 13.7.2005

    • Festival Arena -- 13.00-14.30 LET THE PEOPLE DANCE Featuring Finnish folk dance groups as well as Duna Art Ensemble and Jubilee American Dance Theatre from the USA.

    • Café Mondo -- 23.00-23.45 JUBILEE BAND from old-time music to tex-mex.

Thursday 14.7.2005 -- Festival Arena -- 13.00-14.30

    • LIVING TRADITION Composite concert of Finnish and international music, featuring e.g. students of Ala-Könni-opisto music college as well as Jubilee American Dance Theatre from the USA.

Friday 15.7. 2005 -- Festival Arena -- 16.00-17.30

Saturday 16.7.2005

    • free day, but get set for ...

    • Festival Arena -- 10 p.m. A NIGHT OF CELEBRATION – FROM HUNGARY TO KAUSTINEN! The festival’s grande finale with Ottoset, violinists from the Central Ostrobothnian academy of music in a Hungarian mood, Márta Sebestyén & Muzsikás, Duna Art Ensemble, the legendary Night Quadrille with JPP and Antti Savilampi. The evening ends with dance tunes by Menox on the best open-air dance floor in Kaustinen…

    • Smokesauna

Emergency Contacts

Please add cell phones, email addresses, phone #'s for credit card companies, US Embassy info, whatever people can think of.

    • User list -- there is a potential page for each person on trip, listed by email username. (Link color indicates whether the page is emptyor has content.) You can add special contact info, travel plans, and whatever else you want, to your page for others to access

    • Email -- to tour(at)jubileedance.com goes to everyone on tour list. Anyone who happens to check their email can then relay a message to the appropriate person (such as, "So-and-so, I will pick you up at airport"). This might be a good option for non-emergencies

    • Mobile Phones -- note that incoming calls are generally free, but it will probably cost you 30 to 50 cents a minute, or more, to call a mobile phone in Europe from the U.S., even with a "cheap calling plan." When dialing from outside Finland, omit the leading zero. E.g., to dial Hilary from US: 011 358 40 810 8730

    • Update! here are the cell phone numbers for our time in Finland

        • Hilary 040 810 8730

        • Phillip 040 810 8726

        • Joan 040 810 8727

        • Barry, Dan 040 810 8728

        • Lew, Majorie 040 810 8729

        • Tony (in Helsinki, July 6-8, 17-22): 050 408 4274

        • Marjorie (in Sweden, July 20-30): +46 733 72 29 54

General Travel Info

See also specific country pages:

Passports

You need a passport valid for 3 months beyond your return date. Please check your passport to make sure it qualifies. If you don't have a passport or do need to renew it, please take care of this right away, to save yourself a lot of hassle and expense. Forms and instructions for new passports and renewals are at Passports See the forms for everything you will need, but in particular, you will need proof of citizenship: either a certified birth certificate, previous passport, proof of naturalization, or see instructions for other possibilities. These may take time to get, so check for the one appropriate to you. A driver's license is not sufficient.

You'll need 2 passport photos. Many photo shops do this for $10 or less, AAA does it for $6 for members. Costco charges $4. High-quality digital photo prints are OK -- see the instructions with the forms for more details on photos -- make sure your prints meet the requirements if you go the DIY route.

You can renew by mail UNLESS:

    • if you are applying for a U.S. passport for the first time

    • if your expired U.S. passport is not in your possession

    • if your previous U.S. passport has expired and was issued more than 15 years ago

    • if your previous U.S. passport was issued when you are under 16

    • if your currently valid U.S. passport has been lost of stolen.

Locations to turn in your application at Passport Office Locator

Visas

    • Finland, Iceland, etc. None of the Scandinavian or other European Community countries require a visa. However, the period of stay for US citizens visiting the Schengen states (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden) is a total of three months cumulative stay in the combined member states during any six months period.

    • Russia You do need a visa for Russia. The processing fee is $100 (!), and you will need "visa support documentation," i.e., a tourist confirmation from a Russion travel agency or hotel. It also mentions documentation from an agency in the U.S., but I haven't investigated this completely yet. If anyone knows the full info on this, please pass it on to me or the group. See "Tourist Visas" at Russia (http://www.russianembassy.org/) for the official Russian scoop. The U.S. Consular Information Sheet on Russia is at State Dept (http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1006.html) (long, but well worth reading -- Russia is still very bureaucratic when it comes to visas and entry/exit). I also saw a mention of group tourist visas somewhere, but haven't investigated whether that would be advantageous.

    • Estonia does NOT require a visa for US citizens. I haven't investigated any other former Soviet republics, or any other Eastern European countries.

    • Other countries, see Travel Tips (http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/brochures/brochures_1229.html)

Travel Websites for Europe

    • Opodo (http://www.opodo.co.uk) -- similar to Travelocity. Highly rated by Consumer Reports, prices in British £

    • Evasions (http://www.evasions.com) -- air travel. Hap found Helsinki-Milan RT airfare for about €200

    • Octopus Travel (http://www.octopustravel.com) -- hotels, including group booking function

    • EasyValue (http://www.easyValue.com)

    • EuropeByAir (http://www.europebyair.com)

    • DarraghSmyth (http://www.darraghsmyth.net)

    • Savvy Traveler article (http://marketplace.publicradio.org/features/savvy/020430savvy.html) -- Great article covering low fare airlines in Europe, though a little out of date

    • European Low Fare Airline Association (http://www.elfaa.com) (ELFAA) -- list of many of the low fare airlines in Europe; you have to go to them and search them individually -- they aren't included in searches on the main travel sites. And, the names of the airlines at the bottom don't have links -- you have to look them up manually!!!

Note that many European carriers, including some major airlines and especially low-fare airlines, have very tight luggage restrictions. If you are considering them, check the restrictions and over-weight charges carefully before booking! E.g., RyanAir: 33l lb checked luggage total, one 22 lb carry-on, and about $4/lb for over-weight.

    • RyanAir (http://www.ryanair.com/site/EN/) RyanAir has cheap flights from Tampere (2 hours by train from Helsinki, 3 hours from Kokkola, probably buses from Kaustinen as well) to Frankfurt, London Stansted, and Riga, with connections to many other cities in Europe.

Other General Transportation Info

    • IcelandAir (http://www.icelandair.com/?loc=flag)

    • Ferry links for Northern Europe (http://www.baltictravel.net/northern_europe_ferry_information.html) -- want to go somewhere by sea? ... check here. See also Russia page

    • Latvia Travel (http://www.balticsww.com/tourist/latvia/transportation.htm) -- links to travel resources in Latvia

    • Eurolines (http://www.eurolines.lv/en/netiesi.php) -- bus routes and schedules in the Baltic states, Russia and Poland and other European destinations

Maps/Language/Currency/Phones

    • Maporama (http://www.maporama.com) -- mapquest equivalent for Europe and the rest of the world. Trying to find a city? Use this!

    • BBC Phrasebooks (http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/other/quickfix/) -- short versions with audio pronunciation for 34 languages!

    • A Currency Converter (http://www.oanda.com/convert/classic) -- allows you to select different rates ...i.e Interbank, Typical CC + x% gouge!

    • Cell phones (http://www.wordtravels.com/information/cellphone.htm)

Medical emergencies

    • Kaiser Permante members:

Your Health Plan benefits entitle you to emergency care anywhere in the world. You are entitled to be reimbursed for care received in emergencies and for unforeseen illnesses or injuries that require uurgent attention. If you are hospitalized, you or a representative should phone Kaiser as soon as possible with the name of the hospital, the doctor's name, the hospital telephone number and the diagnosis.

    • in California, call toll-free 800-772-3532

    • outside California, call toll-free 800-227-2415

    • outside U.S., call toll-free via MCI International Access Code

        • Finland 08001-10280 + 1-CALL-KAISER (1-225-552-4737 = card number & PIN)

        • Iceland 800-9002 + "

        • Estonia 800-12122 + "

For more info, see traveling. Note that Kaiser provides reimbursement, so be prepared to pay on the spot if necessary. (Some European countries have health care systems that are more user-friendly than here, but I have no particular idea about Finland.) [TP]

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Paul (#5), Tony, Phillip, and ???, for contributing lots of info

What to Bring: Packing list

Toiletries:

    • Shower

        • Shampoo/Conditioner

        • Soap/Face Cleanser

        • Lotion

        • Razor/Blades/shaving cream

        • Fingernail clippers/emery board

        • Toothbrush/paste/floss

        • Towel/washcloth (travel towels take up less room, and are more absorbent)

        • Kleenex

    • Outdoors

    • Medication/Supplements

        • Aspirin/Tylenol/Motrin

        • Prescriptions

        • Cold Remedies

        • Vitamins

        • Metamucil cookies (works like a charm!)

        • Feminine products

        • Masculine products

        • Tums

        • Icy hot or Tiger Balm

    • First Aid

        • Bandaids

        • Nu skin or Liquid Bandage

        • Knee brace, disposable heat packs, etc.

    • Clothing maintenance

        • Shout wipes

        • Spray bottle

        • Woolite or other fabric soap

Make-up kit:

    • Mascara

    • Eyeliner

    • Shadow (light and dark)

    • Blush

    • Foundation

    • Lipstick/liner

    • Sewing kit

    • Safety pins

    • Clear nail polish

    • Tissues

    • Makeup remover/cotton balls

    • Hair clips, ties, bobby pins, bendy clips

    • Hair nets

    • Mirror

    • Hair gel

Clothing:

    • Costumes (duh), including appropriate undergarments, such as dress shields, slips, t-shirts

    • Rehearsal clothes, several sets

    • Shirts, long and short sleeve

    • Pants and shorts

    • Skirts and dresses

    • Jacket, sweater, silk long underwear

    • Underwear, bras (bring more than usual, to allow for sweaty rehearsals and performances)or white short-sleeve T-shirts (keeps your costume shirts decent longer)

    • Bathing suit

    • Sleeping clothes

    • One somewhat dressy outfit-dress or nice pants and top for women, nice shirt and pants for men

    • Walking shoes, nice shoes, flipflops (extra shoelaces, and a buffer or buff cloth)

    • Sun hat, rain hat, warm hat, sun glasses (it can be warm and sunny at lot of the day)

    • Waterproof jacket, umbrella, rain shoes (thundershowers are common in July)

    • Gloves

    • A pashmina shawl can be used as a cover-up, we well as an extra blanket, and takes up very little room (you can buy a knock-off for a pretty good price)

Miscellaneous:

    • Camera, video camera

    • Film

    • Ipod, cassette player

    • Batteries

    • Binoculars

    • Electrical converter

    • Swiss army knife (be sure to pack in checked luggage, not carry-on)

    • Flashlight (but not going to be dark very much)

    • Water bottle (or reuse plastic bottles you get there)

    • Large plastic ziplock bags (for dirty clothes, etc.) the kind that roll up to get rid of extra air are especially useful

    • Snack food (like cliff bars, nuts, jerky) (or buy stuff there)

    • Books

    • Earplugs and eyeshades

    • Alarm clock

    • Travel pillow

Travel Needs:

    • Money belt -- to wear under your clothes

    • Passport

    • ATM, debit & credit cards -- see Money below

    • Driver’s license

    • Medical insurance card (and a claim form)

    • Photocopy documents and store copy in a separate place

    • Day pack

    • Small bag for schlepping rehearsal things

    • Garment bag for all costumes-can be checked along with your suitcase. Please bring a garment bag or some type of plastic hanging bag in which to transport your costumes to and from performances.

Useful appliances:

    • Hair dryer (see Electricity)

    • Curling iron (suggest you work something out to share these with other people, so everybody doesn’t have to bring one)

Carry-on: Women: carry on clogging dress and mary-janes. Men: carry on 1860's shirt, black flat front pants and black shoes. Musicians: carry on your black and white costume.Those going via Reykjavik, please put change of clothing and utility kit (without sharp objects) in your carry-on as well, and check your baggage straight through to Helsinki. This will save everyone time at the airport -- if everyone does it. You will be much happier on Wednesday morning.

Baggage

Icelandair Baggage Regulations (http://www.icelandair.com/main/view.jsp?branch=3551992): for each Economy Class passenger:

Transatlantic Flights/Piece Concept: (US to Iceland and Europe and return)

    • two checked bags, not weighing more than 32kg (70lbs) each, total of the 3 dimensions (L+W+H) does not exceed 158cm (62in). (So, it should be possible for a few people traveling w/just one large suitcase, and returning home right after the festival, to take an extra stuffed with the costumes belonging to people staying in Europe longer.)

    • one carry-on bag, not weighing more than 6kg (13lbs), total of the 3 dimensions (L+W+H) does not exceed 115cm (45in).

Also, a few volunteers may be needed to carry on an instrument for musicians with more than one instrument (Chip, Tony, Dan?).

People overnighting in Iceland: We will try tp check luggage through from SFO to Helsinki. There will be a private bus waiting at the airport to take us to the Borgartun Guest House. Please pack everything you'll need in Reykjavik in your carry-on, so we can skip waiting for luggage claim in the Reykjavik airport and have more time to explore Reykjavik. This will also speed check-in, which is quite early the next morning (it's a 40-50 minute bus ride to the airport, and a 7:40 AM flight). Be prepared for cool weather, as average July temperatures are a little above 50ºF.

People staying with group in Helsinki: Note that Hostel Academica (http://www.hostelacademica.fi/eng/index.htm) website states: "All prices include bed linen and towels, buffet breakfast, morning sauna & swimming, service and VAT."

Other useful things

I have a folding reading light to use in places that have terrible lighting. It is from Sharper Image, folds up to 5"x1" in a little leather case, and costs $30.00. The other useful thing is a folding suitcase which folds up into its own case. When folded it is only about 6"x3", unfolded it is about 18"x12"x3". They are available in different travel catalogues. [Debbie]

Electricity

Current is 230 V, 50 Hz -- like most of Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia.

EuroPlug -- like most of western Europe, two round prongs, ungrounded. Schuko plugs, which are similar but add a ground prong, are used in Finland too.

Some devices, such as some DC power bricks, will work fine on 230 V with a simple plug converter; it will specify in fine print on the device. If 110-120 V, 60 Hz only, you need a step-down transformer, and should consider whether you really need that device! Electronic devices can be destroyed by wrong voltage.

Russia and parts of Eastern Europe use plugs that look similar, but the prongs are smaller in diameter. For more info, see Electricity around the world (http://users.pandora.be/worldstandards/electricity.htm)

Money

Universal Currency Converter (http://www.xe.com/ucc/)

Finland uses the Euro: € 1 = $ 1.21; $ 1 = € 0.82

Iceland kronur (ISK): 1 kr = $ .015; $ 1 = 65 kr

(Rates approx. June 2005) PLUS conversion fees

OTTO ATMs are common in Finland, and charge cards are even more commonly used than in US. Outside of tourist spots, Russia, Estonia, and other Eastern Europe countries are a different story.

CHARGE CARDS Compare the fees for cash advances and currency conversion of your ATM, debit cards, or credit cards, to determine which is best to use. There's a lot of variation, and a lot has changed in the last year or two. Until recently, ATM cards were definitely the best deal: good conversion rate, and no additional service charges, so usually the best way to get cash in Europe (much more convenient than traveler's checks). However, some banks are now charging a 2% "conversion fee", in addition to up to a $3 flat transaction fee on ATM cards. Debit cards may have the same conversion fees. Most credit cards charge a 3% fee in addition to the exchange rate conversion. Bottom line: check with your particular financial institutions to find out what their fees are for each of your cards and choose accordingly. Read more here (http://biz.yahoo.com/brn/050624/16435.html?.v=1) orhere (http://europeforvisitors.com/europe/articles/atm_conversion_fees.htm).

Earplugs

Highly advised for group accommodations... Cheap foam or silicone earplugs work fairly well but, in situations such as loud concerts and airplanes where you want to hear much less but clearly, fancier earplugs that block all sound frequencies equally are better. E.g., (3 sets / $35 ppd) for Etymotic Research (http://www.etymotic.com/ephp/er20.asp) ER-20 fromEarPlugStore (http://store.yahoo.com/earplugstore/profmusearpl1.html), which has many other choices too. [TP]]

Fauna

According to some sources (http://wikitravel.org/en/Finland), the mosquitoes in Finland can be a real nuisance in the summer, and it has been recommended to acquire a prescription of Zyrtec. Start taking it a few days before the trip and then through the end, to greatly reduce the impact of the bites. Zyrtec won't chase away the mosquitoes, but just make the bites much less noticeable.

Also, don't count on "natural" bug repellant. DEET, the active ingredient found in most otc repellants, is the substance most effective at repelling mosquitoes. Some folks on the Internet swore that the Finnish brands work better than American ones.

Tirtza says West Nile virus not reported in Finland. See CDC info re West Nile (http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/) andRepellents (http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/RepellentUpdates.htm)

TP comments:

    • Mosquitoes are reportedly a "major problem" up north in Lapland, but around Kaustinen they are considered a mild problem.

    • Musicians esp should avoid DEET, which seriously damages finish of wood instruments. Effective alternatives include products with picaridin (e.g, Cutter Advanced, $6 at REI) or plant-based oil of lemon eucalyptus (e.g., Repel Lemon Eucalyptus, $7 at REI). See article

Finland

Kaustinen

Helsinki

  • Accommodations:

      • Hostel Academica (http://www.hostelacademica.fi/eng/index.htm) -- where Jubilee will stay in Helsinki nights of July 6 & 7. N.B., "All prices include bed linen and towels, buffet breakfast, morning sauna & swimming, service and VAT."

      • EuroHostel (http://www.eurohostel.fi/main.php) -- recommended accommodation close to downtown Helsinki

      • HotelsFinland (http://www.hotelsfinland.com/) -- Helsinki & other major cities

  • Local Transit:

      • Airport transit -- via FinnAir buses to/from Central RR Station, Elielinaukio (Eliel Square (http://www.ytv.fi/ENG/) W side of station, platform 30), @20 minutes, takes 35 min., about €5. Local bus YTV 615 (to Railway Square, E side of station), taxis, vans, car rental, etc. also available.

      • Helsinki Railway Station (http://www.vr.fi/heo/eng/helsinki/helsinki_rtasema.htm) has toilets, baby-care room, passenger information system, covered and raised station platforms, luggage lockers (€2 or €3/day), restaurants, coffee-shops, kiosks, 3 automatic teller machines, public card phones, etc. Map and Connections . While in the middle of town, it has its hazards (esp non-Finns) -- i.e., careful if by yourself at night esp if female -- but compared to many places Finland is very safe

      • HKL Public Transit (http://www.hel.fi/HKL/english.html) "Local tickets are good for all modes of public transport within the area in question. So, HKL tickets are valid on bus, tram, metro and train services within Helsinki and on the Suomenlinna ferry ." Single tickets are about €2 (tram €1.80). Free transfers within 1 hour. Tourist Ticket for 1, 3 or 5 days (€5.40, 10.80, 16.20) entitles you to unlimited travel within the Helsinki city limits on all public transport Electronic Travel Cards (http://www.ytv.fi/matkakortti/english) may be worthwhile for those staying longer in Helsinki. On streetcars, use the front car, not the rear car where derelicts often ride

      • Passenger guide (pdf) (http://www.hel.fi/HKL/english/06_passguide/Guide2002.pdf)

      • Public Transit Map

      • Sightseeing on 3T/3B tram (http://www.hel.fi/HKL/english/08_extra/matkailu/3t_tour.html) -- a figure-eight loop around the major points of interest in an hour

      • Transit links (http://www.hostelacademica.fi/eng/links/index.php)

    • The Esplanade, in the east-central part of the city (due east from Hostel Academica on other side of town), is the central district and the first area to explore or hang out at cafes, etc. It's a block from the main neoclassical square with the cathedral, university and government buildings and also near the main port areas (http://www.hel.fi/port/english/index.shtml), where ferries and cruise ships dock and you get smaller vessels to the fortress island Suomenlinna, sightseeing etc.

        • Tourist Bureau (http://www.hel.fi/tourism/EN/matkailutoimisto.asp) at Pohjoisesplanadi 19, at the east end of the Esplanade behind "Havis Amanda," the statue with fountain that is the symbol of Helsinki.

        • Stockmann's (http://www.stockmann.fi/portal/english), a department store, "THE place to shop for just about anything," at Aleksanterinkatu 52 B, west end of the Esplanade.

        • Academic Bookstore (http://www.akateeminen.com/) on the Esplanade at Keskuskatu, across street from Stockmann's

    • Markets: The main open-air market and Old Market Hall are at the South Harbor, at east end of the Esplanade. Another market is at Hakaniemi Metro stop, north of downtown.

    • Biking: Tourism website (http://www.hel.fi/tourism/en/suunnittele_liikkuminen.asp) says "Helsinki is a conveniently compact city, so it is easy to get around on foot. There are also around 900 kilometres of bike paths that will get you anywhere. During the summer months you can try a city bike. These are standard bikes without gears and can be taken with a 2 euro deposit. City bike racks are located throughout the city centre." HKL site says: "Intended for common use, a citybike is a practical way to get around town during summertime. There are 26 stands in the centre of Helsinki from where you can get a Citybike for your own use by paying a deposit of € 2. After you have finished cycling, please return the bike to any City-bike Stand to await the next person needing a bike." See City Bike (http://members.aol.com/humorme81/helsinki.htm) or City Bike Bicycling map Other bike rental places includeGreenbike (http://www.greenbike.fi/index_eng.html)

    • Swimming: "places are, in order of preference, Pihlajasaari island, Uunisaari island, Seurasaari museum island, Mustikkamaa island on the east side and connected to the Korkeasaari zoo island, and Hietaniemi beach in the city. Only the first two islands require boat access from the southern tip of Helsinki. Out of town, Espoo to the west and Vantaa to the east abound with Baltic beaches, more islands and even lakes. Wouldn't even recommend the Helsinki pools -- unless you want to see a whole lot of Finns splashing at the Uimastadion or Kumpula outdoor pools, weather permitting." [AM] There is a swimming beach a short distance west of Hostel Academica. Near EuroHostel at Katajanokka there is a floating wood dock and ladder for swimming at park, just east of where the icebreakers are docked, a park with a view across the channel to Korkeasaari Island.

    • Suomenlinna Island (http://www.suomenlinna.fi/index.php?lang=eng) is a popular tourist excursion by ferry from the South Harbor

    • Zoo (http://www.hel.fi/zoo/index_eng.html) -- "Helsinki has the only general zoo in Finland with species from all over the world. Its specialities include snow leopards, lesser pandas, Rocky Mountain goats, and many species unique to Northern Europe, such as owls and mustelides." It's on an island; go by ferry from South Harbor

Transportation

    • General Travel Info for air travel websites (note esp. RyanAir flights from Tampere)

    • ExpressBus schedules (http://www.expressbus.com/aikataul_eng_fs.html) -- Use "All Departure Days" button

    • VR trains (http://www.vr.fi/heo/eng/index.html) -- use "Journey Search" (lower left) to get to a "to-from" entry page

    • Bus service for Kaustinen - Kokkola - Helsinki

  • Helsinki Kokkola Train Schedule

    • Vantaa Bus Schedule (http://www.finnair.com/filecontent/com/citybus_com.txt) -- FinnAir bus between Vantaa Airport and Helsinki downtown, with several stops including Railway Station. Every 20 min., takes about 35 min., €5.20 (reportedly can pay in $US or by credit card if don't yet have euros)

    • Vantaa Bus Schedule (http://aikataulut.ytv.fi/linjat/en/s615.html) -- city line 615 between Vantaa Airport and Helsinki Railway Station. Takes a few minutes more than Finnair bus, and costs less (1 regional fare)

    • Vantaa bus stop (http://www.ytv.fi/liikenne/kartat/terminaalit/ulkomaa.gif) -- airport bus-stop map

Other Travel Info

Note: Because Finnish and Swedish are both official national languages, on things like maps you'll see two names for each place, Finnish and Swedish

    • http://wikitravel.org/en/Finland is a must-read

    • http://johnmartintaylor.com/misc_finnish_notes.html lots of interesting practical notes

    • Finnish Tourist Board (http://www.gofinland.org/)

    • See also General Travel Info

    • Interactive topographic map of Finland (http://karttapaikka.fi/default.asp?id=233) -- Lacks street names but has distance measurement tool

    • Passports and Visas: You need a passport but not a visa to visit Finland

    • Money: Finland uses Euro €1 = $1.20, $1 = €0.84 (approx. July 2005)

    • Electicity: 230 V / 50 Hz, EuroPlug -- like most of western Europe, two round prongs, ungrounded. Schuko plugs, which are similar but grounded, are used in Finland too.

    • Time zone: GMT 3 (summer), GMT 2 (winter) = 10 hours ahead of West Coast

    • Telephones: The international country dialing code for Finland is +358. The outgoing code is 00, 990, 994 or 999, followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 1 for US). The main cell phone carrier is ELISA (http://www.elisa.com). Mobile phone networks cover much of the country; the network operators use GSM networks, which are compatible with most international mobile operators, but not most US phones. You need an unlocked GSM 900/1800 band (or tri-band) phone with a Finland carrierSIM (http://www.telestial.com/products/finland_sim.htm). ELISA stores sell a "Columbus" prepaid SIM card for __ Euro that includes __ Euro call credit, at __ cents/minute (cheap!).

    • Calling from US to Finland: [international access code] + [country code] + [city code] + [local number] = 011-358-9-......

    • Internet cafes are available in major towns and cities. Many public libraries have free internet access.

Culture

    • Finnish Phrases (http://www.bbc.co.uk/print/languages/other/quickfix/finnish.shtml) -- short version with audio pronunciations from BBC / Transcriptions -- suitable to print or memorize.

    • Finnish Phrasebook (http://wikitravel.org/en/Finnish_phrasebook#) -- longer, includes pronunciation guide

    • Tools for Learning Finnish (http://www.henkimaa.nu/finndex/suomea/learning/tools.html). A great collection of online resources for learning Finnish

    • Tavataan Taas! A good beginning course with audio samples

    • Finnish For Fools (http://www.finlandjournal.com/article.php?type=e&id=29). A humorous take on learning Finnish

    • Cartoon (http://tophill.com/images/nq050419.gif)

    • Some photos (http://fotot.jarvenpaa.net/en/search.php?q=Helsinki&l=en)

    • Finland Festivals (http://www.festivals.fi/) -- click on "English"

    • Sibelius Academy (http://www2.siba.fi/kamu/index.php?id=25&la=en) -- Folk Music Department, Helsinki (closed in summer!)

    • My Kantele -- fine song by a Finnish group, Loituma (MP3 1.8mb). The kantele, the national instrument of Finland, is a small plucked harp with 5 to 32 strings and a wood body like a lap dulcimer. No problem to fit in the overhead compartment of an airplane...

    • Finnish Music (http://www.rootsworld.com/rw/finland/index.html) -- devoted to the kind of music performed at Kaustinen Festival. CD reviews (http://www.rootsworld.com/rw/finland/finnrec.html)

    • Northside (http://www.noside.com/) -- US distributor of Scandanavian music

    • Digelius Music (http://www.digelius.com/) -- big music shop in Helsinki

    • Music Shop (http://www.kaustinen.net/english/index.asp?luokka_id=61&main=3) in Kaustinen is excellent source for music books, recordings, etc.

Iceland

Read about Iceland (http://www.randburg.is/is/beforeyougo/Iceland_the_Country.asp) or here (http://www.whatson.is/) orhere (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/country_profiles/1025227.stm) or especially HERE (http://wikitravel.org/en/Iceland)

Airport: Keflavik International Airport is 50 kms (31 miles) from Reykjavík (http://www.visitreykjavik.is/), with good but expensive shuttle bus connections to the capital.

Accommodations: Borgartun Guest House (http://www.visitreykjavik.is/yellowpages.asp?cat_id=63&element_id=192)

Tourism: Good interactive map of Reykjavik (http://www.visitreykjavik.is/Interactive/interactive.html), including thermal pools such as the Blue Lagoon (http://www.bluelagoon.com/), bike rental, night clubs, and entertainment.

Money: Iceland kronur 1 = $.015, $1 = 65 ISK (approx. July 1, 2005). "Prices are generally high in Iceland, even higher than in Scandinavia." Sale is "útsala."

Language: Icelandic Phrases (http://www.bbc.co.uk/print/languages/other/quickfix/icelandic.shtml) -- short version with pronunciations from BBC

Climate: The mean July (the warmest month) air emperature is 9°C to F 11°C (48°F to 52°F). (For Dee only:) The sea surface temperatures are highest off the south and southwest coasts, 8°C to 12°C in summer.

Russia

A visa is needed. See Passports and Visas.

Russian Phrases (http://www.bbc.co.uk/print/languages/other/quickfix/russian.shtml) -- short version with pronunciations from BBC

Russia ruble 1 = $.035, $1 = 28.6 (RUS) (approx. July 1, 2005)

Red October (http://www.redoctober.us/default.asp) St.Petersburg high-end guided tours

Ferries -- Here is some information which I've collected concerning the excursion to St. Petersburg in PDF files. There are little yellow tags ot the center of the page. Click on them to read the notes that I've added. I haven't found any other ferries to or from St. Petersburg. The Tallin boat doesn't go to St. Petersburg anymore. If anyone found another one, please let us know. [Joe]

    • Boat (http://jubileedance.com/public/Boat.pdf) -- schedule of a boat between Helsinki and St. Petersburg. It includes fares for multiples which brings it into the affordable realm.

    • Kokkola to St Petersburg via Riihimaki -- the times and connections for a through-route to St. Petersburg without stopping at Helsinki.

    • St. Petersburg-Helsinki -- times and arrivals for the return trip.

    • Helsinki to St. Petersburg -- times of departure and arrivals from Helsinki to St. Petersburg.

Estonia

See also General Travel Info

Money: Estonian kroon (EEK) = 100 cents

Fixed exchange rate: 1 EUR= 15.65 EEK

Estonia krooni 1 = $.08, $1 = 13.1 (EEK) (approx.)

Electricity: Current is 220 volts AC, 50 Hz, European-style 2-pin plugs are in use.

Phones: Telephone cards costing 50 and 100 EEK are sold at newsstands, post offices and the tourist information office. Calling abroad, dial 00 and the country code. The GSM mobile phone system is available.

Language: Estonian Phrases (http://www.bbc.co.uk/print/languages/other/quickfix/estonian.shtml) -- short version with pronunciations from BBC

Food: Estonian Cuisine (http://www.inyourpocket.com/estonia/tallinn/en/feature?id=55202) -- funny, but informative!

Ferries between Helsinki and Tallinn:

Tallinn:

    • Tallinn information (http://www.tourism.tallinn.ee/) -- Lots of links and information

    • Digital Tallin (http://www.tallinn.info) -- High-tech website describing Tallin (capital of Estonia)