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Who else is heading to Finland?

Ive booked myself on this trip. Looks like a great laugh. Not sure whether to bring lots of my own cold weather gear or just the basics as described in the Trip notes. What are others doing?


Yes, I'm going too! Just booked a week ago and am still all over-excited about it and boring anyone who'll listen about what we'll be doing.

I'm not sure quite how cold it's going to be, but I was thinking of just bringing my own thermal under things that I use for skiing and not bothering with the outer gear as it's bulky to pack and doesn't sound like we'll need it. I am going woolly/thermal hat shopping tomorrow though (but doubt I'll end up with anything quite as impressive as yours…).  ;-)

Does anyone speak any Finnish.....?


You like the hat eh? Me too. I should have bought it really. The bloke we stayed with on Lake Titicaca lent it to me for the evening of dressing up and dancing (sounds dodgy I know!). Did you get your hat?

I dont speak Finnish, but ill maybe try and learn a few things. Mush/woah for the dogs might come in handy.

Looks like its sold out for our week now. Cant wait!


Myself and a couple of mates booked up for the trip a few weeks back and I can't wait.  Never done anything like this before tho have been skiing a few times.  Really looking forward to it!  Will probably do the same and bring thermal under things etc.  Am hoping that we're going to be over there at the right time of year and month for a good view of the northern lights - New Moon on the 16th Dec so hopefully not too much light interference!


Yeah, I’m really hoping to see the northern lights too. I never even thought to check lunar cycles – I’m impressed!


Yup, a new hat has now been bought. Looks a bit daft but at least it’ll keep my ears warm. Dressing up dancing - does sound like it could be a little dodgy, depending I suppose upon what you were dressing up as… You’ll have to give the group a quick rendition one night.


I have – slightly optimistically – got a ‘Teach yourself Finnish’ book/CD thing from the library, so am going to have a bash. Who knows, perhaps I’ll master being able to shout whoa in fluent Finnish. Failing that, I’ll have to resort to my usual multilingual skiing technique of screaming and arm flailing...

You all sound like you're really up for an adventure - so count me in.  Being a girlie I will tend to bring far too many clothes, but will look at that nearer the time to check the weather conditions.  I've been in - 15 in Norway and although any exposed hair freezes at that temperature, when you're hacking up the side of a mountain it soon thaws out again.

The question is, which one of you is the expert in making ice glasses to drink the local hooch when we're sitting in our igloo?

That reminds me, add a hip flask to my kit list! Sorted!

Jo, I hope your phrase book includes pronunciation. Looking at the site below, even saying 'I dont speak much Finnish' will require quite an effort


I hope when the firm alarm goes off I remember to head for the Hätäuloskäynti :-)

Mmmm, might just give the Finnish a miss "kiitoksia paljon"!

auta minua! on tapahtunut onnettomuus. kutsu ambulanssi!

I will learn this with all the daft activities we will be doing

Oh no we don't want any of that - The last two holidays have resulted in team mates breaking things! I hope you can sing as well as you can cut and paste Finnish, James as you are one of my all time favourites.

Look I know im an international superstar but even I have to relax sometimes and try to stay out of the limelight. Im not even going to be safe in Finland by the sounds of it. If you want a performance buy a ticket like everyone else!

Is that why you've got one gold star under you post activity :) when all of the rest of us are just dim and grey :(

That only appeared today. It must be based on quantity rather than quality because ive just been writing a load of drivel today :-)


Hmmm, I've just spent ten mins scouring up and down that Finnish language site trying to work out what the heck you two are on about! Oh dear, what have I started?  ;-)

I began reading my Finnish book last night and soon realised that either my librarian or the publisher is having bit of a mischevious joke and must have replaced all the real Finnish words with completely random groupings of letters in no particular order, just for a laugh..... I bet even the code-breakers at Bletchley wouldn't have been able to work it out. Either that or I may have over-judged my linguistic potential - it's bloomin' complicated!! So far though, my favourite word without a doubt must be the word for 'nonsense', which is pronounced 'Huppa-huppa'. Fantastic. I will be finding every opportunity to use it! ("What's that you say - it's cold outside? Oh huppa-huppa!", "You can't sleep in an igloo? Huppa-huppa!", "The bar needs to close? Huppa-huppa!"...)

The other important one to know might be 'kippis', which is 'cheers!' (for when you share round your hip flask James).  ;-)

Don't I get a swanky gold star yet.................?

Its such a shame that it isnt 'hubba hubba'. That would be hilarious. Nothing like taking the mick out of the locals by laughing at their language. Share my hip flask?? Are you nuts. Thats like sharing a bag of chips, you would rather buy someone a bag of chips that give up some of your own. Or is that just a man thing?

Or a mean thing!  I thought the whole idea of having a hip flask was to share it, but who knows.

 Never mind the huppa huppa, hubba hubba, what about the hubble bubble. They've got a jacuzzi haven't they??  A good word to have found Jo and so what is the word of the day today to learn?  We could be fluent if we tackle one a day until we go.

Anyway, must go now as I have to go into London to help my son by a mandolin ...  Maybe when I get back to post something later I too will have earnt a gold star!

I have ordered myself a peruvian stylie hat for the trip in honour of the one in my photo. Its more likely to be fleece/polyester rather than alpaca but should be good for a laugh :-) 

Cool. Should keep your pää warm.  And several other words on the human body in that section that we'll skip over!

We are a party of three. T'others being Jane (from Jersey) who I call JJ when I'm talking about  her (which she will hate). Won't you Jane?  Are you going to comment on that?  And then there's Pete (xx) he's going to get me out of all sorts of trouble (please) just don't take me near the high ropes again.

So I make that eight of us altoghether who have made themselves known on this posting.  At least you know you're not the only guy now James.

Phew, i was starting to think that would be rather scary! :-) Im in a party of one.


OK by popular demand, today's new word is: baari, pronounced something like baarey, with a rolling r. Unsurprisingly, this means bar. Thought we might need it after those cold days outside exploring (and since sharing hip flasks doesn't seem to be the done thing...!). The other useful one I've found is 'en ymmarra' (with various umlauts missing), pronounced something like 'en oom-arrah', meaning I don't understand. May be useful me thinks!

No flask/chip sharing?!? I'm shocked James, shocked...

Well I think our tasks for the week are clear. Pauline and I will work on guilting James into sharing his flask, while James you might want to resist the temptation to shout hubba hubba at the local women. 


I just did a google search on 'hubba hubba finnish' to check whether it was a word/phrase. Alas no luck. It did return something about burlesque dancing though!

So now im thinking I ought to bring two hip flasks, one for sharing and one for me. That way you can have whatever you like in 'the sharing flask' and I get all the whisky in mine. You wont get any of my chips however!

Come on now. No phaffing about with hip flasks, just bring a bottle of whiskey. I'll splash out on my own chips.  Anyhoo, does anyone know how expensive drink is in Finland. When i've  been to Norway a beer is about £5 a bottle and wine £26, so we tend to bring our own and pool it.

And so, enough about that - which is the bit that you are each looking forward to doing most during the week? And have you ever done anything like it before?


I have to say im struggling to pick one thing im looking forward to most. Does not being in work count? I was actually looking at the week log dog sledding trip but the dates didnt work out. Would also have been happy trying a weeks snow shoeing or cc skiing as I havent tried any before. Also quite fancy doing the optional ice climbing. Hows that for a non committal answer? Also looking forward to meeting my new buddies ;-)

Im really looking forward to mucking about in the snow for a change. Ive done summer walking holidays the last few years. Havent been skiing for about 6. Im doing a marathon the week before so im hoping its not too physically challenging! Sounds like a nice introduction to each discipline rather than anything too energetic, famous last words.

Did you get the letter about the change of flight times?

Yes. It's not really a problem as it just a little later and earlier, but I couldn't understand the difference in the length of the flight between the two.  Maybe they just got it wrong. I texted Jane as she has a connecting flight from Jersey, but she doesn't have any problems with it. I am in Hertfordshire so takes about 1.5 hrs to get to Gatwick, unless we brave the train. I got a quote of about £30 for parking so will probably drive.

I really DO have star envy now.  I obviously need to post more as not even a glimmer of a oner on my activity!

You have one now, but alas I have two. I was waiting for you to mention it! I was also goign to use star envu but you beat me to it.

Im coming from Wiltshire so doesnt make much odds to me either. Yes the flight change is odd, leaving later and arriving earlier. At least it isnt the other way round

Yey, I feel a sense of accomplishment now!  Do we know the words for stop and go?  Might be useful when dealing with the huskies, but in my experience there's not much that will stop them once they start!


Wellll....I turn my back for five mins and come back to find you showing off stars all over the place! Hope you'll still associate with us star-less types?

What I'm looking forward to most? Hmm, going to have to copy James' answer really - it's the combination of so many new things that appeals to me most. I looked at some of the trips dedicated to just one main activity but am not sure enough of what I'll enjoy most to commit to a whole week of something. So this will give us a nice taster of everything and then maybe we'll know what to do more of next time. Doubt I'd ever want a whole week of igloo building though..! I would have liked to have a go at ice carving too - saw that on a similar trip that I nearly chose instead, but decided on balance to go for this one. Maybe I'll just have to find myself a lump of ice and start hacking at it. ;-)

Yeah, I was puzzled by the flight durations too. Am coming from Berkshire, so will need to check when the latest train back is for the return, but otherwise should be ok.

Jo, i'll be driving along the M4 so if that passes you and you want a lift to and/or from Gatwick I'm willing to overlook the social embarrassment of you not having any gold stars! Perhaps you may have one or two by then! No need to decide now but if it helps let me know.


Thanks James, I may well take you up on it on the way back, especially if we run late (I'm in Wokingham).

I haven't got onto verbs yet!!! I'm still only on about p7...and the man on the CD seems to rattle on so quickly. It takes endless rewinding. Terve means Hello I think, but I will certainly look out for anything whoa-related for you!

I asked one of the Exodus sales people about whether it would actually get light or just seem dark all the time, and a lady who was there last Dec said that it will be light during the daytime - she reckoned from 9.30ish to 3pm or so, and then pitch black by 3.30. So hopefully we'll have daylight, but it'll be a bit briefer than here.

Yeah, maybe I'll finally be deemed worthy of a star by Dec 13th... By which time James will probably be on his 4th platinum star.


So im keeping to the simple words like hei for hi, sorri for sorry and bussi for bus. Can you tell im a natural linguist?!? I think we have to learn 1 to 10 havent we. Should be interesting to hear our pronunications. Viisi beers please

1: yksi, 2: kaksi, 3: kolme, 4: neljä, 5: viisi, 6: kuusi, 7: seitsemän, 8: kahdeksan, 9: yhdeksän, 10: kymmenen


I'd have a stab at pronouncing 1-6, but it's when they start getting more syllables that it gets confusing.

Have any of you ever had a go at rollerskiing? It's good training for cross-country skiing apparently - and quite a laugh. I may try to book a class before Dec in the vague hope that it'll get me a little bit ready for all the exertion.

How's the marathon training going?

hyvää huomenta (good morning)

No i havent tried that. Sounds like a laugh. Im not sure i will have any time for any preparation for the activities but im happy to turn up and be useless at each of them. As long as I have a laugh ill be happy.

Marathon training is not going the best. Ive done a few in the past few years but its getting harder. Im doing about 18-20 mile runs at the moment so im in the right back park but im not really enjoying it. I'll decide in the next few weeks whether to stick with it or not. I just do it for 'fun' so no big deal if I dont make it. Anyone else put themselves through this torture for no reason?

I am very confident in both your linguistic achievement and think that Jo deserves a gold star for that alone.  I am sure you can interpret for the rest of the group ...


A fluffy of linguists??? That should read flurry!

Hi everyone, I looked at this holiday a few weeks ago but it sold out before I got the chance to book.  It seems a space became available and so I have now booked on.  From all the comments it looks like its going to be a good holiday.  I may need some help with speaking Finnish, most days I struggle with simple English.


Look i have been outstarred by Gareth. I will have to increase my own post rate to compensate :-). Welcome aboard!

Thanks James.

I had seen the star comments but didn't want to point out my 3 bling star rating on a first post :D

 4 Here I come!!

I downloaded that app yesterday. I havent started swotting yet though, I dont want to peak too early! 6 to 3 for a snowball fight eh, I reckon the boys will still win! Reading the trip notes about what to bring, swimming costume (for saunas, but optional). I hope they mean going for a sauna is optional and not wearing a cossie in the sauna is optional :-)!


Hia Gareth and welcome back Lisa! Our merry band is growing. :-) I'm going to skirt over the whole three-star issue (sob...).

I like the Monty P video - not seen that before! I expect we'll all be humming it by the end of our stay (and the locals will hate us for it!). Yup, I think I'll get a head torch too - going to try to get myself organised early for once. (I say that every time.)

I tried using the Finnish CD in the car to/from work today - was useful, but at the end of the first bit I'm on, the woman very cheerily announces 'And now, diphthongs!' at which point I decided it was far too early and turned back to Wogan...

You haven't been to Scandinavia before then?!


Yes, I actually read it that costumes were optional. Gave me flashbacks to an alarming experience in Iceland at the local pools (on an Explore trip) where there was a fierce attendant in the ladies changing rooms (who we named Helga for some reason) and she knew what us Brits were like and enforced various rules... Oh the shame.

I worked in Oslo about 10 years ago for a few months but didnt spend any time in a sauna with the locals. Not too interested in looking at others folks bits!

I am signing off until Monday as I am away with the Scout Fellowship (recently renamed the SAS for whatever reason - maybe something to do with Bear Grills being in the army). Off to Derbyshire for a walking weekend so taking my Nordic poles and all!  May all the stars shine and multiply whilst I am gone and await to hear what wonderous words you have learnt in the meantime. x


Hi one and all, you all seem quite well aquainted already, I am pete I am joining you on the trip and travelling with Pauline, and have met Jane a couple of times. I have done a bit of this type of thing in the past, building snowmen and playing snowballs etc, even a bit of skiing, looking forward to northern lights, I have seen them a few times and they come in many colours and forms. I will join in the finnish lessons and try to master wine, beer, and whisky with the numbers 1-8 can't promise sucess but I have used fingers for pointing as a final translator to great effect int the past. see you soon.


Like the Monica sweetie! xx


Who is Monica and should I keep an eye out for her !!!

Hi Pete. I'll hazard a guess thats its some reference to Monica in friends, but im pleased to say I dont know what its in reference too! :-)

You've made me Google it now to explain!  "It is from Cockney Rhyming slang = Monica James (was a writer) and it rhymes with "names." It is usual in Cockney slang to use only the first half of the couplet... hence "Put yer monica 'ere." means sign your names."

Anyway, how's the Finnish going?  I went away for the weekend and it all went quiet.  We had some excellent walking to get the legs ready for hoofing up the Finnish hillsides.

I think my Finnish is probably better than my cockney slang! My initial enthusiasm has worn off as expected! Its too much like hard work!

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