We touched down in Finland around 1:00 AM, made it downtown around 2:00 AM and to our hostel around 2:30 AM. Being the ever courteous people the Fins are, they were kind enough to leave the sun on for us so we could find our way. At 2 in the morning it looked like dusk out and the night never got completely dark.
One peculiarity of the 24 hour daylight was the song birds that could be heard singing at 2:00 AM. This made us wonder what kind of sleep schedule the birds were keeping.
Helsiki was a not a beautiful city but what the city lacks, the country side makes up for 10 fold. We thoroughly enjoyed the small amount of time that we spent here.
Things we did (The Run Down):
- Suomenlinna Fortress – This fortress is located in the Helsinki harbor and was created in the 1700’s to protect the city. It is a great place to get away from the city for the day and experience a taste of the wilderness. The fortress also provides you with a small part of Helsinki history since it was taken over by the Russians for a period of time and had a small village on the island that remains there today. This fort reminded me a lot of the old forts that can be found along the North Carolina coast.
- Finnish History Museum – The museum provided a brief but informative history of the country; ranging from prehistory (Ice Ages) up until today. If anything, we learned that Finland endured many wars throughout the centuries and was influenced a great deal by both Sweden and Russia.
- Rock Church – This church was built into the rock-bed that can be seen all over Helsinki. The church was located in the middle of one of the city squares, and made for a truly unique spectacle.
- Market – Our favorite market in Helsinki was found in one of the main harbors up against the Baltic Sea and housed tons of fresh sea food and interesting souvenirs such as reindeer pelts. For those of you that remember, Andy lost a sandwich to birds in The Cape of Good Hope, South Africa. Apparently he has not learned his lesson, since the seagulls in Helsinki seem to be just as cunning, and found a way to take a bite of Andy’s sandwich yet again!!
- Additional Adventures – We also just walked around Helsinki, and visited a couple beautiful parks and enjoyed the local restaurants that we found along the way.
For the middle of the summer we expected it to be a bit warmer than it actually was in Helsinki. We never took our fleeces off, and actually added another layer of clothing when it down-poured on multiple occasions (including hail). It reminded us a lot of the weather that we saw in Iceland last September.