A Finnish Fortress.

Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
Trip End Dec 31, 2020

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Where I stayed
Anna Hotel Helsinki
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of Finland  , Southern Finland,
Thursday, June 30, 2011

The sun shone brilliantly as the ferry we had taken from Tallinn in Estonia sailed right close to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Suomenlinna and into the very beautiful Helsinki Harbour. Helsinki, with only a population of 568,000, is a "low rise" city unspoilt by giant modern skyscrapers, but blessed with stately heritage buildings of enduring elegant style.

On the ferry we met a fellow Aussie, Irene, from Melbourne, who had just popped over to Tallinn for a day trip and as we chatted we discovered that her hotel was quite close to ours and walking distance. As she had already familiarised herself with the city, she offered to take us there. Always on arriving in a new city or town it takes time to work out and manage a map (is it to scale and does it have North to the top or not?). The booked hostel or hotel may say it is walking distance but if you go the wrong way initially it becomes a LONG walking distance! This time it was a breeze with Irene's help.

Our hotel, booked over the internet was a delight. Right in the city centre area and by Finnish standards, not too expensive. It included a sumptuous breakfast which we made good use of and free wifi so we could catch up a little on our planning and our blog. On our first day we tried once again to locate a repairer for our computer. It was the same verdict, that it is fixable, but a new screen needs to be ordered, so this time we got the computer shop to transfer our files out and onto a portable drive, so at least with our new netbook we can access our files.

After a brief glimpse of the fortress of Suomenlinna from the ferry on arrival, we were keen to get a proper look, so caught a ferry over to the set of islands that house the fortress. First built in 1748, it was initially to protect the Eastern part of the empire against Russia when Finland was part of the Kingdom of Sweden. However in 1808 Finland became part of Russia, after the Finnish War and the fortress housed a Russian garrison for over a 100 years. Today it is a popular summer picnic and swimming spot for the Finns.

One group of picnickers made us chuckle. We heard the sounds of Johhny Cash singing "I Walk The Line" coming from a CD player - and who was enjoying this music? A group of much tattooed and pieced young ones having a mostly liquid picnic, in the warm sunshine! (See pic.) Many Finns were sun baking on the rocks surrounding the sea on the islands. It didn't really seem warm enough to us but you have to bear in mind they spend most of the year rugged up (or in their saunas!) and only experience a brief summer.  

Tomorrow we take off in a hire car for some country Finland, but already we like this country and its people.

Footnote: Fortress of Suomenlinna is UNESCO World Heritage listed.
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