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The Grand Tour 2010

a travel blog by The Grand Tour 2010

Priya and Dolly embark on an epic adventure through Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, France, England and Ireland. From Provinssi Rock in Finland to Avra Studios by the Mediterranean, our mission is to enjoy life, experience new cultures, revisit history and share the message of hope with people that we meet.
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Almost Time!

Beijing, China

Priya: We are officially 7 days from departure, and the excitement is building! We cannot wait to start this epic adventure! I have 14 things left on my list of what I need to get done before we leave, and I'm working on it one day at a time. The Countdown begins!

Doll: Yummy! (Pri: I have no idea what that means)

permalink written by  The Grand Tour 2010 on May 31, 2010 from Beijing, China
from the travel blog: The Grand Tour 2010
tagged Beijing, Start and Countdown

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At the first of the many airports

Beijing, China

Pri: So, we're finally here. Past the check in, immigrations and customs, waiting at Gate 10 for our Aeroflot flight to be ready to board. We are here way too early so have about two hours left to go before we board. Our bags are both under 15kgs, and we are pleased as punch about that. We will be stopping over in Moscow for a few hours, and after that will be in Helsinki, Finland by 6:00pm Yay!

Doll: I want to go to sleep. And our plane better not crash!

Pri: I want to sleep too. We had too little sleep last night, and our plane will definitely! not crash :) Here we are looking a little worse for the wear, but so happy to be starting this trip!

Doll: Russians are scary!

permalink written by  The Grand Tour 2010 on June 15, 2010 from Beijing, China
from the travel blog: The Grand Tour 2010
tagged BeijingAirport and FirstFlight

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So the Games Begin

Helsinki, Finland

Doll: We're sitting in Angel's House having tea. It never gets fully dark, and we have no bags. We arrived in Helsiki after 8 hours of flying with Ilya, the Russian steward, to find that our bags had been left in Moscow.

Hopefully they arrive here soon so we can leave sometime today. Yesterday we took the airport bus to the centre of town and waited for an hour before we found Angel. The silly phones in the train station didn't work so everything was a bit confusing, but we managed. Then five of us girls tried to to take the tram back home, but went the wrong way. When we finally got back home we attempted to find our way to a friends House. I love it how mostly everyone speaks English here, and besides a few drunkards, people are pretty helpful. It was all a bit hectic but now we have a GPS so it'll be impossible to get lost. I love the weather here. It's lovely!!!

Pri: The short of it is that we arrived safely. The long of it as Doll described was well long! We took a drive after we got in to have dinner at a friends place, and ended up getting a little lost as the directions were all in Swedish (we are in FINLAND! haha) and the road signs are infinitesimally small and embedded in the sides of the buildings. We found a sweet guy on the road in the middle of the night, with a bandanna around his neck and a couple bottles of coke who made sure that we got the right directions finally :).

We had a barbecue at midnight with the sky still bright as ever and not a star in the sky. The darkest it gets here in the night is just how it looks at about 4:30am in Beijing. It literally never gets dark during these next few months. The places here have names like Saarmenkatu kankurinkatu and much worse. We learned our first words hey hey kitos (which is probably spelled wrong) and means goodbye and thanks. We didn't bring our camera on the delicious outing last night so here's a couple of us in our first moments of Helsinki. We're heading off to Provinssi Rock today so won't be online for a while.

permalink written by  The Grand Tour 2010 on June 16, 2010 from Helsinki, Finland
from the travel blog: The Grand Tour 2010
tagged HelsinkiLost

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Seinajoki, Finland

Pri: I'm ill and I'm sleeply, and I'm cold.

Doll: People here are insane. It's about 10 degrees and people are running about in shorts and thongs. It's strange. No one came to our stall so we gave free hugs and talked to some people.

It was fun. There's this band, I think they're called Mew, anyways, the singer has a mad voice.
Atreyu is playing tomorrow, I'm soooo psyched about that. There were a few Finish bands that were pretty good. Hopefully tomorrow won't be so bloody cold und wet. Anyways, I love you guys. mwah!

permalink written by  The Grand Tour 2010 on June 17, 2010 from Seinajoki, Finland
from the travel blog: The Grand Tour 2010
tagged Provinssirock

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Day Number 2 - Provinssi Rock

Seinajoki, Finland

Pri: Point of interest - apparently in Finland, if you have been drinking, peeing in public is completely acceptable, whether you are a guy or a girl! Provinssi Rock is in a forest, and I swear guys have peed on every tree in the festival area. I know that gross, but I just had to tell you as it is so weird!! People don't even seem to be embarrassed about it.

Doll: ATREYU!!!! i love them! they must sing for me more often. I never thought I'd be at the front row listening to one of the best bands in the rain. It was mad! I will upload vids and pix laters. Now I need sleep. I've got BMV tomorrow. :D

permalink written by  The Grand Tour 2010 on June 19, 2010 from Seinajoki, Finland
from the travel blog: The Grand Tour 2010
tagged Atreyu

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Last Day at Provinssi

Seinajoki, Finland

Pri: Today was sunny and warmish! Yay! We actually painted people's hands and faces and also did henna tattoos. We were able to reach more people as they were a lot less drunk today. One Mum drove for five hours so that her seven year old son so that he could see his favourite band - Rammstein. We painted him a black scorpion. :) Went with Doll to watch Bullet for My Valentine....I have to say that I just find metal bands so funny to watch. The crowd was pretty unresponsive, I think I was the loudest on there. Doll had a great time! When Rammstein came on, Angel and I stayed in the car to keep warm and after that we all drove to Thampere where Angel's parents let us crash in their flat at 3:30am. As soon as we got in the door I just went straight into a bed and crashed out. Here's a painting I did on Doll's arm.

Doll: BMV is better recorded. But I still loved them live. Anyways. Sun is awesome.
So Ang, Asha, and I are standing there watching Rammstein and Ang saw Jason Jasmes walk by so Ash and I run off to find him...long Story short, I met Jason James. :D I'm sooo jazzed. Yay! He's awesome!!!

permalink written by  The Grand Tour 2010 on June 20, 2010 from Seinajoki, Finland
from the travel blog: The Grand Tour 2010
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Tampere, Finland

Pri: We had a little RnR today and after a great breakfast with Angel's parents we headed out to a summer cottage where Satu and Thiago and family hosted us perfectly. I had a chance to try and get over my fear of saunas there, by doing the sauna and then jumping into a cold lake.
We repeated this three times, and by the end of it I was a little less panicky than I usually am. The area where they live is simply gorgeous - right in the middle of a forest by the side of a beautiful lake. It was lovely to have some time to relax and chill.

Doll: I think I need a sauna in my House. It's good for the body and soul. I'm still so buzzed I met Jason James. :D My life is good. Anyways, the cottage we stayed in yesterday was absolutely splendid. Satu is lovely, I hope I'm like that when I have kids. We watched football and jumped in the lake. Fun stuff. :) I met J.J. :P

permalink written by  The Grand Tour 2010 on June 21, 2010 from Tampere, Finland
from the travel blog: The Grand Tour 2010
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Midsummer Day Dream

Stockholm, Sweden

Pri: We met up with Mia in Sweden yay! We took an all day cruise from Turku in Finland to Stockholm, and then had a couple of days in Sweden. We met her awesome family over dinner and enjoyed our first sun in days. Linda and Ike so graciously took us in and along with their Darling children treated us sooo well! We owe you guys a million! Stockholm is so nice and cute with picturesque buildings and castles. While there we experienced this delightful annual festival called Midsummer.

Doll: Stockholm is awesome! I like it, the weather's been lovely and I'm sooo happy to see Mei. I've miss her terribly. This is just all so exciting. We had lunch with David and Mei and then went to the "beach" turns out to be a lake in the park. The water was FREEZING! It was sooo cold. Insanity. I'm having fun! I love you guys.

permalink written by  The Grand Tour 2010 on June 25, 2010 from Stockholm, Sweden
from the travel blog: The Grand Tour 2010
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Copenhagen, Denmark

Dolls: I lovee Copenhagen!!! It's beautiful. The buildings were all made a few hundred years ago, and people are generally very nice. I would love to live here...for the summer. Winter is freakishly cold and dark. The city centre is close by so we can walk there, there's all these lovely cafes and restaurants everywhere, and everyone rides bikes. It can be a tad annoying, especially while we are driving, but they are saving the environment, so I'm all for it. I'm pretty sure Pri hates it though. I'm just scared I might run into one and die, but this kind old lady assured me they're very good at swerving. Anyways, I love it plus Germany beat Argentina so I'm extra happy. Oh yes, and our gang is way better than the other one. I just thought you should know.

Pri: Copenhagen is the first of the Scandinavian cities that actually looks and feels like a city. The friend that we are staying with has an apartment very close to the city centre and right outside his place was a bunch of cute little cafes and a little park, it was so picturesque and I love it. We sang at a bunch of places, and most people were quite friendly. Doll was put to work cooking dinner, and impressed everyone quite a lot with her culinary skills. Most of what Copenhagen we saw as we were out fundraising, and it is a cute city. The two things I didn't like were the massive amounts of cyclists who think they own the road, and the graffiti that covers a lot of the city as well.

permalink written by  The Grand Tour 2010 on June 29, 2010 from Copenhagen, Denmark
from the travel blog: The Grand Tour 2010
tagged Copenhagen

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Berlin, Germany

Doll: So we get our happy little bus from Copenhagen and drive to Berlin. We get there and think three hours is plenty of time for us to run down to the wall, take a few pix and be on our way. Yes, silly girls, I know. Anyways, turns out it's not right next to the bus station as someone told us. SO we finally get to the airport and our plane's leaving. So we sit in a hotel lobby all night, then the "24 hour train service" isn't so 24 hours. So we missed the bus we planned on taking. but it turned out not to be so bad cause we got a ticket for 39 Euros. The both of us together. So we get to the train and our first stop was...Magdeburg!!! I'm soo happy. I love it. So I didn't leave the train station but i saw one street and it was adorable. Anyways, on our way to Kassel (the last stop before Frankfurt) in the middle of nowhere the train breaks down. For an hour, with no A/C. Long Story short we trekked ages to the House and found out the next day that the day we were on the train none of the A/Cs in the entire train system were working that day. It's like the one day we take the train they have to have problems. Anyhow, it was hectic, but I loved it.

Pri: Like Doll said, Berlin was hectic. It was one of those no sleep for 36 hours deal, and by the end of it I was ready to drop off at any second. Anytime we would stop and sit down, I'd fall asleep. :P Oh, one extra fun thing that happened was that the wheel on my (borrowed :S) suitcase broke as we got into Frankfurt. It was a heavy last kilometre carrying that thing. We did get to see the piece of the Berlin Wall that is still standing, and Checkpoint Charlie. Something great that we saw on the way was a beer bike, a little bar on wheels that everyone pedals as they drink. They were singing and having a grand old time.

permalink written by  The Grand Tour 2010 on July 9, 2010 from Berlin, Germany
from the travel blog: The Grand Tour 2010
tagged Berlin, BerlinWall, CheckPointCharlie and BeerBiike

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