Sunday 23 July 2006
Highlights: Suomenlinna Island, Lutheran Cathedral
My last full day in Europe but an early night is necessary due to my morning plane tomorrow and the need for some sleep due to something like a 30 hour day.
I decide very early on to visit the Suomenlinna Island which is a former Fortress created by the Swedes as they were worried about the rising Russian empire, later the Russians were very happy to use this for themselves 🙂 The island is located in Helsinki harbor but the local ferry did the trick (no time for swimming). In winter you can just walk over to the island (i.e. for about 7 months of the year). The place was very impressive but I really enjoyed the chance to just explore the coastline and walk around the island, cliffs and all. In some ways it reminded me of South Africa given the hot temperatures, strong sun and the extensive hiking I did.
Sitting on the edge of a small cliff just watching the waves come in, I found a real sense of peace. I’d recommend a visit. Some locals were having a picnic which seemed like a great idea.
I rounded out the day with a visit to the Lutheran Cathedral which is in Senate Square. Like most Lutheran churches the place doesn’t really go into icons or the like, except the statue of the founder! The structure itself is magnificent however, and with 48 steps out the front the bus loads of elderly people struggling to climb up made for some free entertainment 🙂