Friday, September 26, 2008
Suomenlinna (Finland's Fortress) was near the top of my list of "must see again" locations. It's an island fortress built in the early 1800s, a 15-minute ferry ride off the coast of Helsinki. It was built by a Swedish king as a defense against Russia but has been used for other military purposes since. Some retired military families also live inside the fortress, in refurbished apartments. During the winter, a van service brings people back and forth instead of the ferry.
We got a kick out of this sign. You probably can't read it, but under "Regulations," it describes things that are not allowed on the island (among them: littering, entering private homes, drinking alcohol, and such).
The last item on the list? Probably not something you see on many signs:
No cycling on the ramparts.
I love this place, which is one reason it plays a role in ATWE.
Looks almost like a Hobbit hole . . .
Cannons pointing out toward the water.
Storage areas. Near the cannons, so I'm guessing they're magazines.
View of Helsinki from the island. The tall green spire on the left is the National Museum.
Another view where you almost expect Hobbits to show up.
The dry dock. One end opens to the ocean and fills with water. Then ships come in and the water is drained out so the vessels can be worked on. It's very old, but it's still in use today.
One of the old buildings. Looked like it was a storage area for food and/or animals.
Here's a long fortress area where soldiers would fight from. There are tons of little alcoves along the passage where they'd gather.
One of the alcoves. The slits in the wall are where they'd stick out their rifles to shoot from.
Neat to see the different layers of building. You can tell what's older and what was added later based in part on the building material used (stone versus brick).
The Suomenlinna church. Note the "fence," which is made out of chains and old cannons.
Walking through one of many tunnels. It was interesting to see "library" and other signs along the way. This is really a community embedded inside a national monument.
It was quite cold and windy the day we visited. We had a while to wait for the return ferry, so we dropped in on the island's little grocery store. We got some drinks and snacks. I picked a bottle of Pommac, a soda I'd all but forgotten about.
With my first sip, a flood of sensations and familiarity once again came over me. Good stuff, that Pommac!