Call of the North (20): Helsinki

July 29

The first target in Helsinki was the railway station, to buy tickets for the next destination. The lady at the counter was called Ms. Ruotsalainen, which I found very cool :). That’s when I felt it – I’m in Finland!

When you leave your luggage at the railway station, you should be careful and take everything you need with you. If you forget something and have to reopen, you have to repay. Like I did.

Lonely Planet advised a breakfast at Esplanade or Sindberg, so I did

and then, on the way to the harbor, I take a random look left and see this

What’s with the crowd? I had planned the big Cathedral for later, but adjusted flexibly and checked it out to see what’s going on with the crowd.

A fanfare was playing, people applauding… I was wondering what it could be, when someone tapped me on my shoulder: “you have the American air, you should know: what’s going on here?”

I turned and said – “Ai hev nău aidia! Ai mast ask maiself.”

Confusion. She probably didn’t expect that weird accent coming out under a boston red sox hat. “Another converted russian”, she must have thought. Many people think my accent is russian, which mesmerizes me.

I finally found out it is a military fanfare festival in town, and this was a “teaser”.

3 orchestras, the Whites,

the Blues

and the Riders.

Very enjoyable performance:

It was soon over, so I went on, into the church, since I was there already. Not much decorated inside, but with nice sounding organpipes:

Returned to the harbor, just in time to catch a public transport boat to Suomenlinna. On the way I saw Marinella, the boat that brought me here:

anchored lazily

letting a sailor tickle its bell.

Suomenlinna is a fortress-island, UNESCO heritage, constructed by the Swedes, taken by the Russians, damaged in was, and finally taken by Finns.

Rocky beaches with people sunbathing,

Russian cannons shooting at 8km,

the Vesikko submarine, the only one Finland kept after the war, as a museum

which i visited

to see how submarines lived.

Tough life.

For example, they slept here. And loaded the torpedos as well.

Back to town,

to the Upensky Orthodox church, with a rich exterior

and interior architecture.

Next, after taking a picture called “blue”,

I went to follow my King Kong syndrome, to the highest panorama point in town, the Ateljee bar from hotel Tornio.

On the way back to the harbor I met these creative gentlemen at Kappeli,

on the way to see the symbol of the city, the Havis Amanda statue

playing with kids.

Birds

said goodbye, and after a last stop on the steps of the great white cathedra

I hit the road to the railway station, in anticipation of the last major Call of the North on this trip.

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