Thursday, June 04, 2009

Helsinki, Finland

We squeezed in 8 hours in Helsinki between ferry rides. It took us 3.5 hours to travel back and forth between ferry terminals and the city which left us 5.5 hours to explore the city and beyond.

Sure, we could've taken the ferry from Tallinn, Estonia straight back to Stockholm, but instead we took the detour to Helsinki!

The two hour ferry ride brought us floating pass some islands near Helsinki at 9:30 am.

It sure was pleasant to be back in Scandinavia where English is spoken, but of course prices were more exorbitant. After dealing with luggage and transportation logistics, our first order of business was of course to find a cafe.

Enjoying mochas and a cardemon bun at the famous Fazer cafe, known for chocolate.
A much deserved rest after 5 hours of traveling, and it was only 11:30 am.

As we ferried to Helsinki, we checked our guidebooks for advice on what to do. The first thing to do in Helsinki: take a ferry to the island of Sveaborg. Eh? You mean the moment we get to Helsinki, we should leave Helsinki? I think our half day here may be enough time afterall.

On the 20 minute ferry ride to the island of Sveaborg. The seagulls following us were freaky!

Joy and me on Sveaborg island which was pleasantly nature filled.
Even in our short time here we managed to get both city and nature in.

Exploring near the old fortress walls.
The island was a fortress to protect Helsinki from invasions.

Back in Helsinki strolling the clean wide streets near the ferry port.

Salmon, dill and potato soup with lots of yummy fresh bread and spreads. Typical Scandinavian. What more could you want?
One of my favorite meals of the travels. It was all you can eat so we "stocked up" since dinner was going to be somewhat nonexistent on our overnight ferry.

You would never see this in NYC!
Isn't Scandinavia pleasant?

We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Helsinki. Though much smaller than its counterpart capitals of Copenhagen and Stockholm, Helsinki shared the similar lovely Scandinavian quality. We felt like we covered it pretty well in our half day and our curiosity was finally satisfied after all these years.

Home to Stockholm on the SLOW overnight ferry! 5:30 pm - 9:40 am.

It's dubbed the party ferry since a lot of people take it to drink all night and buy duty free alcohol. But for us, it was our cheap ride back to Stockholm. At first we didn't even have a cabin, but come midnight, the reality of sleeping on a bench, in the game room or on the floor of a dark cold common room was not appealing. So, from the moment we found out that a 24 euro cabin was available to the moment we were horizontal in the beds was less than 15 minutes. So grateful for beds! Sometimes we are just too old for certain types of traveling.

And now for my final day in Stockholm.

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