Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Sea Fortress: part 1

On the second day of Midsummer, with the majority of shops, museums, and almost everything else of interest closed, I decided to take the ferry to Suomenlinna (or Sveaborg, if you are Swedishly inclined).

"Founded on islands off the coast of Helsinki in 1748, the Suomenlinna sea fortress is a cultural treasure. It's construction began in the 1700s when Finland was part of the Kingdom of Sweden. The guns that still face west on the rampants at Kustaamiekka [Southern most part of the largest island] are a reminder of the period under Russian rule in the 19th century"-Suomenlinna brochure

As well as being an outdoor museum, Suomenlinna also houses a permanent population in period residential buildings. The island also has a church, post office, small supermarket, and more icecream kiosks, cafes, and souvenir shops than you could poke a stick at.

Walking out the door wearing jeans due to the windy and overcast look of the weather I hitched a ride on the Metro, which luckily started service just as I got to the station (around 11am the sign told me. How usefully vague). Getting into town a little later I walked to the ferry terminal near market square. Buying a return ticket for just €3.80(?) I hopped on the waiting ferry which departed 5 minutes later.

15 minutes later...

Arriving at the island I hopped off the ferry and immediately walked away from the crowd, over a bridge to the island of Pikkumustasaari, which by my translation = Little Black Island.

Doesn't look that special... Scroll down.

I found this giant ring fixed securely by the sea shore. Still not that special I guess. Shoes still quite white.

There wasn't anything in the brochure about this island, but there weren't many people walking there so I veiwed this as a good place to start. The buildings were all closed but there was a sort of dingy, dark, and slightly scary looking opening guarded by a creepy effigy, so, onwards...

Thanks to the benefits of flash photography, here is a blurred image of the inside of the cave(?). I promise that it was a lot darker than it looks.

The floor was also littered with bones to help with the ambiance...

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