Finland, Finland, Finland

Trip Start Oct 20, 2010
Trip End May 03, 2011

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Flag of Finland  , Southern Finland,
Sunday, March 6, 2011

The country where I want to beeeee
Pony trekking or camping
Or just watching TV
Finland, Finland, Finland,
It's the country for meeeee

That's quite enough Monty Python for the moment, so on to the blog post...

Helsinki is a very pleasant city, and quite small as capital cities go. Despite this it manages to have one of the most confusing public transport systems ever invented by mankind. As such, I decided that the best course of option coming off the ferry was to get a taxi to my other ferry, 3km across the city. This proved to be a wise decision, as it negated the need to take at least 3 different methods of transport, which would inevitably have ended up in some form of rage related murder

The second ferry took me out to a little island fortress called Suomenlinna, where my hostel was located. It took about 15 minutes and was performing similar icebreaker duties to the cross-Baltic one I had just taken. Actually, on the last one of these I took (on my way to the station earlier) the driver full on charged a sheet of ice that had a bigger footprint than the boat itself. I even noticed him correct his course so he would hit it more cleanly. The boar actually rose out of the water a bit and crashed down on the sheet, splitting it in two. That guy is now officially my hero.

I did the walking tour of Suomenlinna fortress on the first full day, which was a bit brief and overpriced but otherwise pretty informative about the history of the place, from its foundation as a means of fending off Russian interest in Swedish lands, though its capture by Russia (fail) and also its use as a prison after the Finnish civil war.

On the second day I took the ferry over to the mainland and visited the Helsinki City museum, probably the most engaging museum I have been in since I have been travelling. The subject matter isn't exactly the most incredible, but it was excellently presented and I can safely say this is the only museum I have been in so far where I read every piece of information that was presented to me. I usually go in with such good intentions and give up about halfway round... Well worth a visit if you're ever there, anyway. Free, too.

I realised that in being in Finland, that not only had I finished my (brief) sojourn in the former Soviet Union, but I had also finished my time in Eastern Europe. Eastern Europe has been a very different experience to anything I have ever done before. It really is a completely different way of life out there that I am glad I have seen, but I would be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to getting back in to the swing of Western comforts...

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