Hmm... Helsinki.

Trip Start Jan 12, 2011
Trip End Jan 12, 2013

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Where I stayed
Eurohostel - Helsinki

Flag of Finland  , Southern Finland,
Wednesday, December 14, 2011

In short Helsinki was not quiet the exciting experience we had hoped for. We caught the ferry from Tallinn across the guld of Finland which took 2 hours. We were glad it was smooth sailing because neither of us has very good sea legs. We were informed while in Tallinn that Helsinki is quote "So boring!" and also that Russia has recently changed some laws which now allow travellers to visit St Petersburgh for 72 hours without requiring a visa. It was suggested that our time would be better spent there. Had we known this earlier we would have jumped at the opportunity to go to Russia. Unfortunately we were just too organised and had already booked accommodation and flights out of Finland. We couldn't justify wasting money already spent so, feeling more than a little disappointed, we stuck to our original plan.

Helsinki is a traditional seaside city with all the main parts set around the port. In all honesty it is expensive and lacking in things to do unless you're rich and can afford to go shopping (there are lots of great shopping areas) or have the time to venture into Finlands wilderness where you can do all sorts of exhilirating activities like hiking, rock climbing, dog sledding etc. Unfortunately we had neither the funds, time or weather to experience any of these! 

(Ali: if you're reading this, sorry to burst your Helsinki dream! Maybe you know something about it that I missed? If not, go in the summer and get to the mountains!)

We were hoping the hostel would have enough going on to keep us amused for a couple of days. Wrong! The hostel was quite awful... clean but zero atmosphere. It struck me as a cross between a prison block and a hospital in terms of layout and furnishing. We basically just had a drab and depressing room with a bed. There were no chillout areas or organised activities and the staff weren't overly helpful.The following morning we took a ferry to Soumennlina Fort which ranks as Helsinki's number one tourist destination. Built in the 18th Century, under the ruling Swedish Government, the Soumenlinna Fort is a historical military monument, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site a few years ago. The barracks which have been renovated, house about 900 Finns who live on this island fortress.

In the late afternoon we strolled through the christmas markets and walked for a while around town until the weather turned horrible! There was not a flake of snow in sight but plenty of wind and rain to cool us down. We retreated to the horrible hostel for an evening of uno and so came to an end our stay in Helsinki.

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