In Helsinki

My last post ended, I thought, rather abruptly. It was getting a bit long and I know myself that concentration spans tend to be short… (well mine is at least)!So instead, I decided to break the booze cruise post up, and now I’ll regale you with the details of what we did in Helsinki.

As I already began to mention, we took a little wander in the streets, the outdoor markets, to the cathedral (look at the previous post). Then we decided to check out Suomenlinna, a UNESCO world heritage site located on a little island just out from the city itself. There is a whole bunch of history about this place (hence it’s UNESCO status), but as that is already so nicely summarised on another webpage, I’ll leave the details out. Needless to say, this place had a fortress built on it during the time that Finland was part of Sweden, for security and to control traffic entering and exiting the harbour, and, well, the fortress is cool, and I got some cool pics that I want to share!

Suomenlinna, now home to a naval base.

Getting to this island involved taking a small ferry (I know, I know, we just arrived by ferry, but this was seriously just a baby sized one in comparison). It took all of 10 or 15 minutes to get there, so pretty quick, and then we hopped off. We decided to go on an exploratory walk, and just take a look around, with no particular goal in mind. Along the way we passed some cool buildings. Apparently about 850 people live there, and who knows how many tourists visit there… Would be a little weird to have people always wandering past your home, staring. But at least it’s colourful!

Pink building and bikes.

Yellow building.

Red brick building.

Another yellow building!

We also spied a little bit of wild life, despite there being so many people around all the time. 

Adults and babies – don’t go too close!

Baby bird, whoops maybe I got a little close!

Seagull on nest.

There were also cannons, no longer working obviously, set up to give a real impression of what the fortress-like island must have really been like. And to give the big kids something to play with…

Anyone there?

Somewhere to rest my head?

Or something to ride on?

And we discovered a very cute and colourful cafe on the island – in fact I think there were a few cafes, but this was the one I took a picture of because it looked so cute.

Cafe on Suomenlinna.

And then it was time for us to go. The ferry arrived into Helsinki at 930am, and departed again at 5pm, but you have to return to the ferry terminal about 1 – 1.5 hours before departure because of the queues, so one has a short day to look around the city if you intend to take the same day return trip. We had time to grab some late lunch back in Helsinki, and then it was back to the ferry terminal to board, and depart. Our return was accompanied by thunderstorms and rain, but it didn’t make any noticeable difference to the bumpiness of the ride home. Then again, the Baltic Sea can hardly be called an ocean…

So, to do a cruise or not? If you don’t expect too much, plan on making your own fun, and can avoid drunken people, I’d say do it!



2 responses to “In Helsinki

  • Ange smith

    Love hearing your stories from over that way! The cruise from Helsinki to Stockholm was an important part of our exchange year…and do much fun! Unfortunately our trip was just weeks after the famous sinking of the tallin ferry disaster and we experienced a horrendous storm….we ended up drinking a bit too much to deal with the fear!

    Have you made it to Estonia yet? Totally worth a trip…the buildings are totally awesome!

    • kiswe

      hey Ange, Yea a ferry crossing kind of is something you just have to do right? And they are fun! Haven’t been to Estonia yet, but have done a crossing to Riga… oh maybe 1.5 years ago. There is just so much to see up this way, I feel i won’t get around it all!!!

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