Lost in Helsinki
Trip Start Aug 23, 1996
583Trip End Ongoing
Day 1 - GPS Link
As this is the UK, snow started to fall at Gatwick, so the Captain told us that we had to leave now otherwise we would not be allowed to take off, so amazingly, we did !!! And as this was an early starter, we slept practically all the way.
Once landed, we were in a true winter land. There was snow everywhere, so we jumped onto a bus and headed downtown. It was quite an exciting drive, with the bus sliding and skidding and missing exits, but we did make it in one piece !!!
Realistically, we didn't have much time, because once we got to the city, it was already past 12, so we dumped the bags and started running. We had a map showing a walking tour, and even with the GPS, we couldn't quite figure out the start. After around thirty minutes of fucking around, we found the start and hit the road.
Starting at the markets, we had a look at the sea, it was quite frozen, next up was a church, but it was all locked up. We went past the Presidential Palace and came to the most known site in Helsinki. It was big, it was white, and it was the Cathedral, but it was closed due to weddings !!! Onwards we walked, past the Parliament house, through some parks until we arrived at the scene of the 1952 Olympics, and even though the stadium was closed, the tower wasn't, so we went to the top for the views of a cloudy snowy Helsinki !!! Back on the road, we followed it back to the sea and as it got dark, I kind of realised that I had no idea where I was. My map and GPS data did not meet up. So figuring that following the sea we would eventually get somewhere the GPS and map would agree, we did this for the next hour, until finally we found where we were. In essence, we were only ten minutes from our hotel, but all day walking in a blizzard was well, I am an Aussie, so what do you expect !!!
Starving, we found a place for dinner, and as this is Northern Europe, we both wanted to eat reindeer, but at €32 a steak, we gave it a miss. Oh well !!!
Day 2 - GPS Link
As we awoke, once again there was a blizzard happening, so after breakfast, we once again tried to get into the Cathedral, but this time it was closed for a service !!! So instead we saw a ferry coming in, jumped on it and went for a ride across the frozen sea. On the otherside was the World Heritage site of Suomenlinna. A massive fortress built over six islands. Originally built by the Swedes to stop the Russians invading. As the place was covered in snow, we pushed on through the white, looking at gates and guns and generally freezing our feet, but it was fun. Time seemed to slip away, and by two, we jumped on a ferry and went back to town.
There was one more tourist site I wanted to see and that was the Temppeliaukio Church. Now the GPS knew of it, so we made our way in the direction, but once there, expecting a normal church on a hillside, all we could see was a snow covered hill with a glass dome. We walked around to the front, and there it was, a huge rock which had been excavated out, and a glass dome on top of it. I had never seen a church like it, it was so different, so we did the touristy thing, took the snaps, and moved on out of there.
As we were in Finland, Lucy finally found the one thing she wanted to do, and that was skate on an outside rink, and as an added bonus it was snowing !!! I sat back and watched her as the snowfall turned into a huge blizzard, and it was fun watching her struggle !!!
We had time for one last mega expensive meal, but still no reindeer !!!
Thirty six hours in a city, is not much, but when it is snowing, it is doubly hard !!! Great place, another tick off of the list, hopefully we will come back