Suomenlinna island

Suomenlinna island
Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki, Finland


Snore. Snore. Yesterday I had just been thinking how nice it is sleeping in a room with other people, how much less isolating than a hotel room might be. But after such a quiet night the night before I had forgotten how it puts you at the mercy of others’ sleeping patterns. We had one spare bed and it was taken by a fat Italian. I felt warmly towards him as he smilingly waved good night. Minutes later he was asleep. Minutes after that he was snoring. And he kept that up through most of the parts of the night for which I was awake. Which seemed to be most of the night. Luckily he left early, but it was noticeable that, unlike yesterday, none of the others did, as if they now needed a lie in. I felt a pleasant sense of unity.

A cannon guards the fort
Cannon with a view

Once up I headed for a picnic and then the ferry to Suomenlinna island, a big attraction which used to be a fortress. 5 euro return on the city ferry from market square, or you can pay more to be taken round the edges and given a tour. It’s a very easy walk, 1.1 km from the main quay following the ‘blue route’ to the King’s gate at the end of the southern island (there are 5). There are museums, one on a submarine that saw action in WWII, a beach-or bathing rocks by shore, at least, and it’s all very pleasant. I ate, snoozed and wandered, particularly pleased to find that after a walk on the ramparts you can duck into the tunnels beneath. Most are not dark, nor far from the outside, but it’s still atmospheric, and there is one dark section where you really need a torch. Or to follow a local family with torches – though if you then leave a respectable gap, hold your hand up to avoid banging your head on lower bits of the roof you can’t see, eh?

Submarine exhibit on the island
Das Boot.

Mini ow. I’d spotted mention of an icebreaker fleet in the ‘map for youths’ I was carrying, and it’s just a short stroll from the market square to the mini peninsula which has the recommended view. Cool, big ships, lookout towers (enclosed) on either side high up looks to be a feature. Finally, I ran. This time east then south to go round the bottom end of the city, by the sea. I found a small beach and of course ran along it, then took the waterfront path to the west of the city, realising I wasn’t gaining on the runner ahead and so gunning it. My legs felt alright so I had to keep going-doing a loop rather than stopping at the lights with the bloke I’d only just passed-before finding that I was ending up with one last quicker mile round the lake that I had meant to hit earlier in the week, but missed. Fabulous; one run north, one west, one south and east.

Ice-breaking ships moored ready for cold weather
Ice breakers are cool

Final task once I’ve packed-make a (late) start on dad’s good advice to learn the Cyrillic alphabet.

Summary: 1:08:44, 14.78km reading: Nathan Englander, The Ministry of Special Cases.

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