jn82’s Epic Adventure

Day 107 [16 May 09] – Helsinki

Posted in Helsinki by jn82 on May 16, 2009

I had the whole morning and some of the afternoon to kill before catching the train to Moscow today, so we headed to Suomenlinna, what is supposedly the greatest sea fortress in the Baltic. Located only a short 10 minute ferry ride away from the Helsinki ferry port area, Suomenlinna is easily accessible to tourists and is said to be one of Finland’s most popular tourist attractions and must see sights. It even boasts of a UNESCO World Heritage listing as an example of the European military architecture of its time. The fortress has served as a base for the armies of Sweden, Russia and Finland.

Getting there was easy (and cheap, 3.80€ return ferry) enough, and we just followed the main trail marked out on the map and caught the major sites. There is not actually much to do on the island except walk around, and the only shops are small cafes or souvenier shops.

Suomenlinna Church.

The Great Courtyard and the tomb of Augustin Ehrensvärd.

The dry dock.

After walking for around just over 1km, we got to the more military area of the island at the sand banks and guns of Kustaanmeikka.

Around Kustaanmiekka.

In the next few pictures, you can see the canons mounted among the grass and facing into the sea. There are also many canon mounds and bunkers under the grass for storage of military equipment and other stuff.

Canons.

The King’s Gate.

We headed back to the mainland around 2pm, and had a fish lunch at the markets facing the sea. The salmon I had was probably a bit more expensive than an average meal I could have got elsewhere, but it looked and tasted very good so was okay for €10.50.

Salmon and potatoes.

Off to catch the train to Moscow now!

Today’s pictures here.

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Day 105 [14 May 09] – Helsinki

Posted in Helsinki by jn82 on May 14, 2009

The ferry got to Helsinki around 10am this morning. The overnight ride was not fantastic, and I woke up a couple of times in the middle of the night probably because the ship hit something or hit the brakes a little too hard. Once on shore, we made our way to the hostel which was around 1.5km away, dropped our bags, and then headed out to the city.

Unsure of where really to go, we went around the kauppatori (market square) and up to Senate Square to see Uspenski Cathedral on Katajanokka island. It was the first glimpse of Russian architecture I have seen so far, which is appropriate given Helsinki’s proximity to St. Petersburg.

Uspenski Cathedral.

The landmark Tuomiokirkko (Lutheran Cathedral).

Market area.

Oldest building in Helsinki.

Once we were done with walking around this partof the city, we took a bus to the Sibelius Monument. According to Wikipedia:  “The world-famous composer Jean Sibelius’ monument was designed by sculptress Eila Hiltunen and unveiled in 1967. It is one of the most well-known tourist attractions in Helsinki as nearly every guided tourist tour is brought to Sibelius Park to marvel at this unique work of art resembling organ pipes, welded together from 600 pipes and weighing over 24 metric tons.”

I think it is pretty overrated as it was just a piece of metal in a park.

Sibelius Monument.

Had a pretty long day to tired to type a lot.

Today’s pictures here.