Sunday, June 29, 2014

Helsinki by Sea

My last day in Helsinki was Midsummer's Eve. This is a BIG holiday in the Scandinavian countries where they essentially celebrate the sun over the longest day of the year. And when I say big, I mean HUGE. Everyone heads out to the country to celebrate for the whole weekend. Of course, that means almost everything in the city was closed. And I mean literally everything. McDonald's was closed guys. In fact, McDonald's was closed for three days.

So, what do you do when the whole city shuts down? You leave. While I couldn't go frolic in the Finnish countryside, I decided to hop on a boat. I had wanted to see the Sueomelinna Fortress since I had first realized I was headed to Helsinki, and it did not disappoint.

You can see the Lutheran Cathedral in the background, then the blue building is city hall right on the water.
On the way to the island, we passed a bunch of smaller islands with one or two small buildings each.
I fell absolutely in love with these idyllic little red shacks on a small outcropping of rocks in the harbor.
 The fortress is out on an island, and has been around since the 1700s. While not all of the buildings were that old, they had an absolutely beautiful weathered look from the salty spray of the sea wind.

These geese were VERY mean.
While people do actually still live on the small island, much of the original fortress is still in tact, if not worn down and a bit overrun with vegetation.

This was probably my favorite thing about Helsinki (besides the food). If you ever make it to the city, don't miss it!

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