Colour me not impressed

Suomenlinna Travel Blog

 › entry 8 of 14 › view all entries
Another ferry returning to Helsinki from Suomenlinna. The ferry holds nearly 100 people and 2 cars

So the big thing per the tourist books is a "day trip" to Soumenlinna. For the uninitiated, Suomenlinna is an island, well,  a fortification of 7 islands near Helsinki that provided protection to Finland from Russia back in the early 1900s. It eventually succumbed to Russian forces in 1908 I believe, which led to the invasion of Finland by Russia.

The last few years, Suomenlinna (or Sveaborg in Swedish) has become  a famous picnic spot (well, and the token UNESCO heritage site) for locals and tourists alike, the schtick being a "quick quiet getaway from the hustle and bustle of Helsinki". Although having spent a day in Helsinki, it's probably the most serene capital I've ever been to!

Boats leave  for the island literally every 20 minutes with warnings that one cannot purchase tickets on board, and one has to pay a fine of 80 Euro or something  if found  without a valid ticket in posession.

On board the ferry to Suomenlinna (or Sveaborg in Swedish)
Phew! I thought the frequency was an overkill, but having witnessed the sheer amount of people, it makes perfect sense. 

So, I woke up that morning quite early. Breakfast was supposed to be served  at 8a (which is when the reception opens) but no one showed up. Finally, a bunch of Asians staying decided to open up the fridge and storage, pulled out the cereal et voila - we had our breakfast up and running. I still chuckle thinking how annoyed they were getting each minute of delay. The receptionist finally showed up at 845a, saw that breakfast was operational and hardly looked apologetic. she just came in and brewed coffee. I was a little surprised.

Anyway I left the hostel shortly after 10a, walked along the city centre through Senate Square and finally to the harbour where ferries to Suomenlinna leave.

Alighting at the island
I reached the island before 11a with a whole host of other tourists and wandered around the island. 

I started out at the church that has its own interesting history - it was built Eastern Orthodox "onion" style and is one of very few churches that doubles as a lighthouse! Yes sir! Not only that, but it omits a morse code 'H' for Helsinki, and to this day is the first sign for folks travelling by sea that they've reached Helsinki. The church was surrounded by these tall metal pillars which was quite interesting, and definitely very different from the usual trees and graveyards.

I wandered past the working library, then across to the quieter side of the island which was really a harbour for small boats and some wild vegetation, then I returned via the main block to some of the highlights of the island including the dried up dock (where ships were also built) and the King's courtyard.

Entrance to town
The most interesting thing for me was seeing the prison (working prison) with relatives lined up to meet their loved ones serving term. There was also an abandoned submarine but it looked rather new!

Two other big highlights of this island, which I ironically visited at the end were the "Guns of Suomenlinna" that's really popular for kids to climb on and have their photos taken, and the King Fortress itself. I stopped by a cafe there for some cheese pie kind of thing. 

I wanted to take the ferry from this point itself (we were at the diagonal end of where we first alighted) but there was some confusion  in the timings and looked like the ferry wouldn't come. So I did a hurry walk back  to the area I originally boarded. Stopped by a grocery store, bought some ice cream and  then caught the next ferry back to Helsinki. It was close to 3pm when I reached. 

All in all, whilst it was a great day out with some brilliant weather and great sun, it really didn't feel like anything special. 

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Another ferry returning to Helsink…
Another ferry returning to Helsin…
On board the ferry to Suomenlinna …
On board the ferry to Suomenlinna…
Alighting at the island
Alighting at the island
Entrance to town
Entrance to town
Suomenlinna church
Suomenlinna church
Suomenlinna church
Suomenlinna church
Suomenlinna church
Suomenlinna church
Suomenlinna church
Suomenlinna church
Suomenlinna church (notice the oni…
Suomenlinna church (notice the on…
Suomenlinna library
Suomenlinna library
A cafe with perhaps, the owners d…
A cafe with perhaps, the owners' …
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Random
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random
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Suomenlinna Prison (working prison)
Suomenlinna Prison (working prison)
The submarine
The "submarine"
Kings courtyard
King's courtyard
The dried dock where they used to …
The dried dock where they used to…
Random shot of someones garden!
Random shot of someone's garden!
Headed towards the tunnels
Headed towards the tunnels
Tunnels
Tunnels
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random
I liked this!
I liked this!
Guns of Suomenlinna
Guns of Suomenlinna
Swedish flag
Swedish flag
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Random
The kings fort
The kings' fort
Kings Fort
King's Fort
Returning to the main ferry termin…
Returning to the main ferry termi…
Suomenlinna
photo by: vances