2 days in Helsinki
Trip Start Jul 07, 2009
10Trip End Jul 29, 2009
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It was a particularly stressful time in the lead up to our departure with packing boxes, moving out of the flat and more than one temper tantrum... mostly John ;), but first up on our whistle stop tour of Eastern Europe was Helsinki…
Chloe’s friend, Heikki, met us at the airport and took us on a tiki-tour of Helsinki en route to our hostel, the Academica Summer Hostel on Hietaniemenkatu (some would say he was a little lost, but we prefer to say that we saw the sights). It was great to be met by a local and to catch up with an old travelling buddy (thanks Heikki!)
Helsinki hosted the 1952 Summer Olympics and the various stadia are still in use throughout the city. We took a morning run around the Gulf of Finland, the main stadium and surrounds – all a little less impressive than we had expected. On the way home, we found a bar called the KY Club – which we found just as amusing as other Finnish words.
We spent the rest of the day exploring the city centre and Suomenlinna Island (Fortress of Finland). This was actually a group of six small islands fortified by the Swedish in the 18thCentury against the threat of the Russian Bear. This is a UNESCO world heritage site and well worth a visit if you ever make it to Helsinki.
From Helsinki, we took a Viking Line Ferry to Tallinn, Estonia. This was an experience in itself… a Finnish stampede to get on board when the gate opened (Pamplona eat your heart out…), to the Finn’s smashing back the dirt cheap drinks onboard.