suomenlinna and helsinki

Well I'm back home again. I flew in last Tuesday night and I'm still waking at 1.30 a.m irrespective of the time I go to bed. The last few days of my trip were spent in Helsinki, a city I last visited in 2010. Apart from a new rail line to the airport, the city seems little changed. 

My hotel was down on the wharf near the cruise ship terminal. Soon after I arrived I caught the tram to see Helsinki Cathedral and Market Square, a lively part of town filled with tourists.

I had a delicious salmon supper for dinner.

The next day was my designated shopping day having done none in Greece. I bookmarked a few shops on the Design Trail and spent the morning wandering around.

The shops don't open until 10.00 or 11.00 in Helsinki and most are closed on Sunday so I wandered around the town first and then around the Esplanade.

The park was a hive of activity and lots of spring flowers were in bloom.

I managed to buy a few things on my shopping trip that came home with me. I was restrained though because after Greece I found Helsinki quite expensive. 

The locals were out and about enjoying the sunshine. After lunch the day clouded over so I postponed my trip to the UNESCO heritage site of Suomenlinna until Sunday.

Maybe that wasn't such a good idea when the day dawned grey and drizzly. I visited the Art Gallery first then made my way to the ferry. 

I'd come to Europe well prepared for bad weather and had packed both an umbrella and a rain jacket just in case. Naturally I'd left both items in my hotel room that day. 

I knew Suomenlinna was the site of a Swedish fortress so I was expecting it to be all grey stone and dour. I wasn't expecting it to be so pretty.

800 people live on the islands and many of the buildings are really colourful. There are cafes, restaurants and shops and many, many museums.

There is a walking trail (the blue route) you take from the jetty across 2 islands to the Kings Gate.

You pass by Suomenlinna church and these fantastic buildings.

These buildings are part of the Russian Merchant Quarters.

The island is lush and green.

It was heady with the scent of lilacs.

You walk through a tunnel to reach the Great Courtyard.

This is such an elegant building.

I walked towards the fort as the weather started to take a turn for the worse.

By this time the drizzle had turned into cold driving rain so I decided to return home.

This is what the sky looked like as the ferry came into Market Square.

As soon as I made it back to the hotel the sun came out. I hadn't finished seeing the island and felt a bit cheated and with a late flight the next day, I decided to make a 2nd visit to Suomenlinna.

On Monday the weather was much better and there were fewer tourists.

I found all these places I'd walked by in the rain.

This is Piper Park, which is so pretty and it houses a cafe overlooking a beach and some battlements.

The Cafe

The battlements overlooking the water.

The pretty cove.

I kept walking until I reached the Kings Gate.

Finland is quite a young country formerly governed by both Sweden and Russia. Now the Finnish flag flies over the Fortress

A final look at the buildings before the ferry back to Market Square.

I was so glad I made the 2nd trip to Suomenlinna. It was well worth the 15 minute ferry ride.

So that's it. No more holiday happy snaps for a while. I'll have to start planning for next years holiday.

See you all again next week with some baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,



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