Off the ship, train Turku to Helsinki

Helsinki Travel Blog

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Thu This is J's 6th new country this trip! About 6, when J's alarm goes off, I shower and J says while I'm in, a man peered inside to ensure we were awake, and we go upstairs for a coffee and yoghurt in the cafe' with only one cashier. Collect our things and disembark, and again, went thru "nothing to declare" and never saw anyone about immigrations and the coveted passport stamp for Finland! Feeling again like we are on the Great Race, we venture over to the train station, no 743 but 830 train, no! I ask a lady and says busses here "all go to other cities" so back to the ship dock to find a local bus to the central station downtown, one of 3 stations in Turku, Finland where we are! A local bus pulls right up, yes he goes to downtown but another 4 blocks is the station, I hand him 5 Euros for the 2 of us and we are off. Before arriving I check with him again, and he says to take one of 4 bus numbers, we get one right away, and after a bit, ask this sweet gal about the station, and she is so helpful in English. I give her a Kennedy half which she refused 3X but took blushing and smiling so humbly. We arrive at Central station and get on our new and fast express Pendolino train right in front of us, and finding the first class car as the first of the 5 car self-propelled train and relax. 5 minutes to spare! I see a Huge jackrabbit out the window. At a later stop, I get chased out of my perfect single seat by a reserved seat holder. And again at my next seat! Finally can stay at a 4 person face to face one the rest of the trip. No indication of reserved seats anywhere, was like musical chairs or something.
Anyway about 9:30am we arrive Helsinki Central station and admire the architecture of the outside, Saarnen did it. My memory much improved since Stockholm, I direct us to the right tram stop, and we take it to the hostel's stop 7 out, and luckily are able to check right in! And it's a small room with just 2 beds! Super. We organize a bit, open the window. That darned bed is like sleeping on a plank of wood just about! We buy a 24-hr transit card from front desk, and go back to the station and take a rather warm 3T tram all around the city, then soon catch a salad bar and burrito American style at Iguana. All filled up, we walk down the big promenade to the boats, and take a city ferryboat included on our citypass to Suomenlinna. Construction on the sea fortress began in the 1700’s when Finland was part of the Kindom of Sweden. The people of those times generally referred to it as the ‘Gibraltar of the North’. The Russians surrounded it in 1808 and it was surrendered, after which Finland became part of Russia until the October Revolution in 1917. Somewhat overgrown with green but great fun to walk around in, we go down to rocks with slippery seaweed by the Baltic. A nice cool breeze is going. There must have been 200 lilac trees in full bloom and plenty of perfume in the air from them. The cobblestone streets we were walking on have become very tedious to walk on!
Another ferry brings us back, J looking for a Finland patch, we go to this huge Orthodox church where a hundred townspeople are all sweeping the many many rows of front steps with water and brooms. great sounds. We get a drink and come back to the quiet hostel room. I doze real quick, and we do pictures and travel logs. Weather continues brilliant and is sporting some interesting lenticular clouds now. The screaming gulls everywhere are still screaming, not a pretty sound. We have pizzas downstairs served by a young chick from Estonia. J disappointed she likes hip-hop music. We are there nearly 2 hours, and about walked out for the day. We notice many patrons here and Stockholm are older folks, one looked like he left his retirement home. Oh well, no age limit here. Had some town market-bought cherries and dark chocolate and went to bed, window open and gulls still awake, just hasn't gotten dark yet at 10:30p
JudgeDredd says:
That was so funny watching you get kicked out of seat after seat on that train. I still could not figure out how to tell which was reserved.
Ahhh..Ms. Estonia!
Posted on: Nov 29, 2008
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Helsinki
photo by: portia