Today, I finally got an early start. This seems to happen when I am nearing my last day in a place. I started the day by taking the ferry to Suomenlinna, which is a UNESCO world heritage site. The last one I visited was a temple in Kyoto, so I was pretty excited about this. The ferry over was very cold, but I liked watching the ferry move through ice on our way to the island. The journey takes about 15 minutes and there is inside seating if you want to be smart and not freeze. There’s a 12 hour ticket for 5 euro, but I ended up getting the 9 euro day pass since I was planning on going other places.
While there are tours on Suomenlinna, there seem to be few in the Winter (at least as far as the ones from the visitor’s center are concerned). I personally thought it was pretty easy to see everything just by following what is outlined as the “main path” on the maps stationed all over the island. There’s a thick blue line on the map denoting it as well as the signs having a blue arrow for the ones on the main path. Don’t be like me and think that when it says prison on one of the signs that it’s a prison you can actually visit. I think it was an actual prison because I got near the entrance and it said “No entry”. For the most part, all the museums except the main one are closed in the winter, so I would just stick to the main path and maybe stop at things you see along the way. It’s fairly small, so it takes less than 30 minutes to walk from the ferry drop off to the end of the path or “King’s Gate”. I spent about two hours on the island. I think maybe around 2 and a half to 3 is sufficcient to see everything, but keep in mind the ferry runs semi-infrequently, so it would be good to check the times before going.
One of the best parts of the island was the ramparts near the King’s Gate. Parts of it are blocked off because of some restoration going on, but you can still walk along a majority of it. The view from there is very beautiful and worth going to see.
After the ferry, I took the tram to Toolo again to eat at Ravintola Kuu. This was supposedly my “fancy” meal for Helsinki, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. I’m not sure if I ate too much beforehand or not, but while the salmon was good, it was hard to eat after a while. I had the Toast Skagen which I really enjoyed (it has shrimp, apple, and some sort of onion) as well as the Catch of the Day from the set menu. The waiter said that the most popular meal is getting salmon soup and the reindeer, but I think that would’ve been even more than what I did have. The two course meal is 24 euros which is not bad. I couldn’t fit dessert in or I would’ve had the three course meal for 28 euros.
I took a trip to the library after (called Library 10) in an attempt to print some stuff out, but unfortunately it seemed like only people with a library card were able to print things out. I’ll just wait it out and hope that I won’t need to print anything soon. The library, while small, was pretty impressive though. They had a corner in the back with 3D printers, scanners, sewing machines, and more. Basically, it was like a workshop space where you could make and design things. There were also record players and a sheet music section which is something I haven’t seen before in a library. I couldn’t do much, but it was still cool to see. Lucky for me, the post office and a grocery store were also in the same building, so it was a convenient place to get lots of tasks done.
I also went twice to the Old Market Hall which is near where the ferry leaves at Kauppatori. It’s similar to Hakaniemi Hall because it’s very much like a farmer’s market, but there are slightly different booths. Definitely less meat booths and definitely smaller since Hakaniemi has a second floor. There’s also a Soppakeitto there and a pretty nice Vietnamese booth.
My last day in Helsinki was pretty nice, and I made sure to stock up on lots of snacks before I leave for Oulu tomorrow. Finally, it’ll be time for Lapland, Finland where I’ll be twice as cold. Hoping my AirBnB up there is a good experience and that I get there safely!